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Reaching The Majors Is Tougher For Broadcasters

Jason Barrett

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For a week, play-by-play broadcaster Josh Maurer struggled to control his nerves. He hardly ate or slept. His body only wanted to focus on the job, which he kept reminding himself was basically the same thing he had done hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. All he had to do was call the games.

The difference? Maurer wasn’t in the minors anymore. He was with the Boston Red Sox, an opportunity he had been building toward ever since he was a kid listening to sportscaster Harry Kalas do play-by-play for the Philadelphia Phillies every night. And for minor league broadcasters such as himself, it’s the kind of opportunity that doesn’t often come along.

Not many hear their voices, but they’re out there. Calling games in places such as Lancaster, San Jose, Durham and Pawtucket, all in service of the big dream. While players in the minors strive to be the face of a major league franchise, broadcasters in the minors strive to be the voice.

For them, though, a bit more patience is required.

At any given moment, Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have at least 750 roster spots to fill. Between the 60 full-time play-by-play jobs and other assorted radio and TV gigs, there are a fraction as many broadcasting jobs in the majors. The play-by-play positions are the pies in the sky for minor league broadcasters, and it’s basically impossible to rise quickly or cut corners in pursuit of one of those.

“It’s one of those careers where unless you have a big early push or unless you know somebody,” says Maurer, who calls games for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, “you’re really just going to have to work your way from the bottom up and go as far as you can.”

 

A young would-be announcer can aspire to make a living with a bat and glove rather than a microphone. But as is the case with most of us, the luck of the natural-athleticism draw tends to have other plans. For many, the microphone is the best way to stay connected to the sport.

 

Broadcasters in the minors are subject to many of the same things that test the commitment of players. The conditions are rough. The road trips are long. The pay sucks.

And minor league broadcasters can’t exactly minimize the hours they’re exposed to these things.

Announcers aren’t exempt from the assorted pains in the neck that come with the territory in the minors. For example, you never know when the team bus will break down. When things like that happen, it’s difficult to ignore the “grind” that is day-to-day life in minor league baseball. It’s only natural at such moments for doubts to creep in. And people—including significant others—do ask whether they would be happier in another line of work.

But for the baseball junkie, there are reasons to keep coming back to the mic. Among those are the games, which always get the juices flowing.

Beyond the thrill of calling the game, there’s also satisfaction to be gleaned from being around players as they try to play their way to the majors. If nothing else, it presents a chance to collect unique baseball stories.

 

These are the perks of the job, and they’re enough to keep a minor league announcer behind the mic—and, in the meantime, doing what’s possible to move up the ladder.

But that doesn’t mean moving around is easy. Things are pretty far removed from when a young Vin Scully could catch the attention of Red Barber and go from there. Like all ambitious professionals, minor league broadcasters must build their network.

“In other industries, if you meet a president of a company or a vice president, they can hook you in with another company or another similar job,” says Will Flemming. “There’s a finite number of Major League Baseball jobs. And once people have them, they don’t give them up.”

No kidding. A scroll through the broadcasting section on MLB’s official website reveals fewer than 10 primary radio or TV play-by-play men have gotten gigs within the last five years. (Yes, all men: Suzyn Waldman and Jessica Mendoza notably have color commentary jobs, but play-by-play in the majors is exclusively a boys club.)

Scully is the most extreme example with 66 seasons behind the mic for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, but the overwhelming majority of baseball’s play-by-play voices have been at it for a decade or longer.

By way of comparison, want to know how many players made their major league debuts in 2015 alone? According to Baseball-Reference.com, 227.

With this being the case, it doesn’t hurt for a minor league broadcaster to get a big break. Minor league players wait on pins and needles for their call to The Show. Broadcasters do too.

And when the call finally comes, the thrill is largely the same.

To read the full article visit Bleacher Report where this was originally published

 

Sports Radio News

Howard and Jeremy: Amazon Prime Video Is Best NFL Broadcast

“Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is good. Andrew Whitworth is good. It’s top to bottom — maybe Tony Gonzalez is the weak link, I mean, he’s fine — but top to bottom it’s a great broadcast.”

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Amazon Prime Video and Thursday Night Football received backlash last week for failing to mention a previously perceived concussion by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after the third-year signal caller suffered a scary-looking concussion in the first half of a game against the Bengals. WGR morning hosts Howard Simon and Jeremy White discussed the Amazon crew, with White saying he believes it’s the best NFL broadcast on Howard and Jeremy.

“I will say, the Amazon crew is getting criticized for not mentioning the Bills game during halftime. So, that aside, for me it’s the best crew,” White said. “Everything about Amazon’s broadcast is the best one. You and I talked about it last week. It is the recently retired players. It is so much better.

“When they were talking on the pregame — just football points, not Tua points — Richard Sherman they ask him like ‘You’ll be mad if what?’ and he said ‘I’ll be mad — and I’m gonna be talking to you at halftime about it — if the Dolphins, after playing 90 snaps on defense against the Bills, put their corners out on islands and don’t give them safety help. They’re gonna get beat, and I’ll be here to tell you it was a mistake that they’re not helping out their corners’. And sure enough, what happened? They did it and they got burned. He would have come back and talked about it at halftime if the Tua thing didn’t happen.”

He continued by pointing out several of the studio analysts as performing well early in their broadcasting careers.

“Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is good. Andrew Whitworth is good. It’s top to bottom — maybe Tony Gonzalez is the weak link, I mean, he’s fine — but top to bottom it’s a great broadcast.”

The pair also discussed the NextGen Stats alternate broadcast Amazon Prime Video produces as a viable way for those interested in learning more about deeper analytics and statistics of football to consume.

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Jets Partner With talkSPORT To Air Six Games on Radio in U.K.

The New York Jets and talkSPORT have agreed to broadcast six 2022 Jets regular season football games.

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New York Jets

Starting this weekend, fans of the New York Jets in the United Kingdom will have local access to their favorite team.

The New York Jets and talkSPORT have agreed to broadcast six 2022 Jets regular season football games. This will establish talkSPORT as the official UK radio broadcast partner of the Jets. Fans will also have exclusive access to the Jets Touchdown UK Podcast and additional Jets content including player and coach interviews.

“We are so thrilled to extend a radio broadcast of the Jets to our fans in the United Kingdom as we take the next step in utilizing our right to expand this game with the help of the world’s biggest sports radio station,” said New York Jets President Hymie Elhai. “This partnership will allow for so much more than 2022 season coverage as we continue to welcome some of the most passionate fans in the world into our fanbase.”

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Colin Cowherd Declares Twitter ‘Loser-ville’ Over Russell Wilson Criticism

“Twitter defended Johnny Manziel at every turn. Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton. The cool guys.”

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Colin Cowherd does not make much time for social media and he doesn’t have a lot of respect for the conversation there. He revealed Friday on his FOX Sports Radio show that is particularly true when it comes to Twitter.

“You know who gets ripped on Twitter? Steph Curry. You know what Twitter loves? NFTs and Bitcoin,” he said. “It is loser-ville. People that need to be accepted. Less successful people ripping more successful people. It’s a barnyard musical. You should try it sometime.” 

He compared the way polls show most football fans feel about Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson to the absolute drubbing he took on Twitter over his viral ad for Subway. Cowherd said that Twitter tends to side with image over quality.

“Russell Wilson was just voted by adults in America, people with lives, who aren’t concerned with being cool, the most likable player in the NFL,” he said. “Twitter defended Johnny Manziel at every turn. Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton. The cool guys.”

Colin Cowherd added that every moment that makes Twitter cringe becomes his new favorite thing about Russell Wilson. He said that the things social media users bash are the things most Americans find relatable.

“You know who else was on that list? Patrick Mahomes, who has a silly brother,” he said. “Sometimes his brother is out there being silly. We’ve all got a silly sister or silly brother! That’s America. It’s not cool.”

Cowherd closed the segment by declaring that he was going to go to Subway right after the show ended and order Russell Wilson’s “Dangerwich” to show his support.

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