I spent the summer of 2012 in Bluefield, West Virginia as the voice of the Bluefield Blue Jays, Rookie-level affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Only 40 of the 66 games were broadcast, but I did them all solo on WKEZ 1240 AM, WHIS 1440 AM and BluefieldJays.com. I did PA for the games that weren't on the air.
During the previous summer, I was the Assistant Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers. As the #2 broadcaster, I called the middle three innings of play-by-play for all 70 home games and select road games on ESPN Radio 93.9 FM and MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.
Before joining the Pelicans, I was the Director of Broadcasting for the 2010 New England Collegiate Baseball League Champion North Shore Navigators. The Navs are a wood-bat summer college ball team that plays their home games at historic Fraser Field in Lynn, Massachusetts. I called all 42 regular season games and all nine postseason games, including the Championship Series. The games were broadcast on Teamline over the internet and on local television on LynnCAM TV.
August 8, 2012 Bluefield-Princeton Bottom 10
The Bluefield Blue Jays and Princeton Rays have the best rivalry in Minor League Baseball and it was a lot of fun being a part of it for a season. The two West Virginia teams are separated by only 12 miles and the Mercer Cup dates back to 1992, when Princeton was an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Reds General Manager Jim Holland came up with the idea to award the massive trophy to the winner of the 11-game season series between the Mercer County neighbors. A local trophy maker wanted to get involved with the Princeton team and Holland dreamt up the idea of the Cup and teamed up with then Bluefield GM George McGonagle to make it happen. Here is the gigantic trophy:
The Jays had won it in 2011 and led the 2012 series 4-2. Bluefield was two wins away from keeping the Cup, but they lost three straight and had their backs to the wall in this game. They scored three in the top of the first, but Princeton rallied late to tie the game at three and force extras. The inning above is the bottom of the tenth. Side-winding righty Wil Browning loaded the bases with nobody out to put the Rays 90 feet from the Cup. He wriggled out of the jam to extend the game. The whole night was an absolute roller coaster, with the Rays winning it in the bottom of the 13th. A leadoff walk preceded a throwing error by the third baseman, and the runner came all the way around when the throw bounded into right field. A disappointing finish to one of the best games I've seen at any level.
The picture in the SoundCloud players is my makeshift broadcast booth at Princeton's Hunnicutt Field. They didn't exactly have a place for me in the press box, but the folks there helped me with the setup you see there. I have wires coming out the press box window for my computer and the radio station's computer that streamed the broadcast online and a little table and chair to serve as a desk. I enjoyed calling the seven games there among the people in the open air.
August 26, 2012 Bluefield-Greeneville Top 8
2011 SDCS Game 1 - Myrtle Beach-Kinston Top-Bot 4
The 2011 Pelicans were loaded with top Rangers prospects. Mike Olt, Robbie Ross, Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin, Justin Grimm and Barret Loux helped the team win the Carolina League Southern Division first-half title. There was a mass exodus in the second half, and it started when Olt broke his collarbone in a collision at home plate. Wieland and Erlin were promoted to Double-A, then Ross took their place when those two were traded to San Diego for Mike Adams. Loux was shut down with an innings limit. The second-half champion Kinston Indians came to town for the first round of the playoffs and this is the fourth inning of Game One.
The Birds won this one 4-1 and scored five in the bottom of the first inning of Game Two. It looked like they were well on their way to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five set, but the K-Tribe quickly tied it up and won it in the 11th. The series shifted to Kinston and the home team won the next two 7-0 and 9-2 to move on to the Championship Series.
July 15, 2011 Myrtle Beach-Salem Bottom 10
The Pelicans had a ton of walk-off wins that year and this is one of them. Travis Adair lined a triple down the line to start this inning. Zach Zaneski, who like me graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2008, knocked a single to win it.
June 30, 2011 Kinston-Myrtle Beach Top 6
July 19, 2011 Ryan Strausborger GW HR
Here's another game-ending hit. We just had the 14th inning stretch against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, and Straus sent us all home when he crushed a no-doubter.
Jon Daniels Interview
A great thrill to begin my stint in pro ball. 2011 was the first season of the Rangers-Pelicans affiliation and the reigning A.L. champs came to Myrtle after spring training for an exhibition game against Coastal Carolina University. My broadcast partner, Tyler Maun, was doing the game on TV so I handled the radio duties. I wrangled Texas GM Jon Daniels for the pregame interview and he couldn't have been more accommodating.
The interview above was from when he returned in August during a minor league tour. This time we were a few minutes into our chat when my digital recorder died. I was mortified, but Jon said not to worry about it and started over. I am forever grateful.
North Shore-Sanford 2010 NECBL 1st Round Game 1 Top 9
These are from my first year in play-by-play. I had such a fun year with the Navs and it was quite a ride to the championship.
The opening game of the eight-team postseason was against the Sanford Mainers. They really had North Shore's number, winning five of six head-to-head meetings during the season.
Braxton Graven led off the bottom of the first with a triple off Sanford lefty Shane Davis. Cody Dent (Bucky's son) knocked him in with a groundout. Davis did not allow a hit the rest of the game. The problem for him was Navs southpaw Crayton Bare, who pitched a complete-game five-hit shutout. The game only took one hour and 23 minutes and the last frame is above.
North Shore-Sanford 2010 NECBL 1st Round Game 3 Top 9
The Mainers won the second game at home to force a winner-take-all third game back in Lynn. Anthony Melchionda hit a three-run homer in the first and the Navs eventually opened up a 5-1 lead. Sanford crept back and trailed 7-4 heading into the ninth, which is above. Michael Roth, now in the majors in the Angels bullpen, was a darn good DH in the league. He hit a two-run homer about 9,000 miles to cut the lead to 7-6. But the next batter bounced out to end it and the Navs were moving on.
North Shore-Sanford 2010 NECBL 1st Round Game 1 Highlights
I was able to record the home broadcasts so I made these highlight packages for the next night's pregame show. This is Game One of the Sanford series and the familiar music of NFL Films.
North Shore-Sanford 2010 NECBL 1st Round Game 3 Highlights
North Shore-Newport 2010 NECBL East Finals Game 2 Highlights
After surviving the first-round series, the Navs played the Newport Gulls for the East Division crown. Newport was the class of the league and a heavy favorite. They won the first game at home and looked to sweep the Navs away the next night at North Shore. Dartmouth lefty Michael Johnson, drafted this June by the Dodgers in the 14th round and pitching in the Pioneer League, pitched a gem to save the season. He tossed eight and two-thirds innings of three-hit shutout ball in a 2-0 win. The next night the set shifted back to Newport's terrific rickety old Cardines Field for the deciding Game Three. The Navs jumped out to a 4-0 lead, withstood strong relief from Mark Appel and held on for the 5-2 upset win to clinch.
North Shore-Danbury 2010 NECBL Finals Game 1 Highlights
It was on to the Championship Series and a three-game set against the West Division Danbury Westerners. Kevin Kyle struck out 12 in seven and one-third innings and the bullpen finished up a 2-0 win to put the Navs one win from the title.
North Shore-Danbury 2010 NECBL Finals Game 3 Highlights
Danbury rocked North Shore in Connecticut 9-3 to send us back to Lynn for one last game for all the Tostitos. It was a back-and-forth contest and the Westerners scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead. In the bottom half, Boston College pitcher/catcher Garret Smith hit a bases-loaded two-out double to push North Shore back in front. Third baseman Jack Mayfield, now with the Greeneville Astros, made back-to-back great plays to start the ninth inning. Hunter Rivers induced a lineout to left to record the final out and clinch the league championship.
2010 North Shore Navigators Highlights
A regular-season highlight reel I made for the postseason opener.
2010 North Shore Navigators NECBL Championship Final Out