I spent 8 1/2 years working in Minor League Baseball, and before that spent a lot of time hanging around Minor League Baseball stadiums. My dad and I went on many trips during the summer months to various stadiums, sometimes my mom would join us. This space, I will be sharing a story, anecdote, or
I spent 8 1/2 years working in Minor League Baseball, and before that spent a lot of time hanging around Minor League Baseball stadiums. My dad and I went on many trips during the summer months to various stadiums, sometimes my mom would join us. This space, I will be sharing a story, anecdote, or something from my time in, and around, Minor League Baseball.
There was the year (1993) that we saw all eight stadiums in the Carolina League in which the highlight of the trip was seeing the only triple play I’ve ever seen at old Durham Athletic Park. There was the time in 1994 when I had a game in the morning and afterward, my dad and I decided to drive to Wilmington, Delaware to watch the Wilmington Blue Rocks win their first Carolina League Championship and I met George Brett. Or the time earlier that season that I literally ran into Michael Jordan. Or that August–1994 seemed to be a pretty good year for me–when I was asked to be a batboy for the Frederick Keys.
The times I sat through rain delays, collected foul balls, figured out how to get free admission to games and got to know players. There were also the times I’d go to games with friends, and after ran into one of the tallest basketball players in history. Hanging out with “ballpark family” after games until all hours or deciding to drive a couple of hours to see a game on a whim.
Then, after I started working in Minor League Baseball, starting the first ever baseball blog (before anyone knew what a blog was) for the St. Petersburg Devil Rays. Announcing for TWO teams during the same season, and one of those winning a league championship in the final pro game at their stadium. The season I announced all four games of a series between two teams that were played at both team’s stadiums.
Or the early-season struggle of Jared Sandberg, only to have his dad and uncle thank me for what I wrote about him, getting to meet his uncle and watching him set a home run record. The all-star games, being the first person to broadcast a Florida State League championship, the player who missed some games because of a Pop Tart, and leaving my first city. Watching, and broadcasting, a career ending.
The trek to New York and going from 10 months of baseball to three, getting stuck on the side of an interstate and sleeping all night in the bus driver’s seat, my first visit to New York City, being a mascot, and a quick schedule check that prevented me from being at Ground Zero.
The cross-country trip with my dad that included a visit to the Field of Dreams and wound up intertwined with Moneyball. The foul ball off my leg, the lights going out and becoming an old-time announcer, announcing my first cycle and official scoring another later in the season at a rival’s ballpark, and running music for a AAA team.
My first Winter Meetings, working with the largest scoreboard in Minor League Baseball (at the time), winning another league championship, being an emcee, and calling a shot.
Going home, following my dad (the only time in my career), a revamping a production that had been stale for years.
A trip to the Pacific Northwest, in-game DJ only, and finishing off announcing at AAA, AA, and A, while completing announcing for at least one team for all 30 Major League affiliates.
Going home again, returning to the front office, mascoting at a Major League Baseball game, and leaving midway through the season.
Yes, I’ve done and seen a lot in Minor League Baseball and none of it mentions I saw Barry Bonds in my first ever Minor League game, got my name in both Baseball Weekly and Baseball America, participated in a dizzy bat race against a kid celebrating his birthday, or have worked for THREE different organizations that have had two players play for them and go on to hit 500 home runs in Major League Baseball. Also haven’t mentioned that I’ve announced in all three Single-A Advanced Leagues, or three teams in one league in the same season. I also had a streak going of announcing a teams last ever game in three different leagues from ’99 through 2001 (Orlando Rays & Knoxville Smokies in ’99, St. Petersburg Devil Rays in ’00 and Pittsfield Astros in ’01).
There are a lot of stories to tell and I hope you enjoy my trip through memory lane. There will be some smiles on my side, some tears, and hopefully some will get something out of these stories. Whether it be advice on how to handle a situation on announcing, or just a chance to get a sneak peak into what it’s like to be a professional P. A. announcer who also works in the front office. This is going to be an interesting ride, please feel free to comment.