The most difficult game

Having graduated from Northwestern University in December, I’ve been job hunting ever since. Unlike most people who are in the marketplace, the job I’m searching for is incredibly specific. My goal is to land a job broadcasting minor league baseball. There are a lot of minor league teams out there; the problem is that for every job that opens up…hundreds apply. Once someone lands a job in minor league baseball, they tend to hang on to it for dear life. This is not an industry for someone who doesn’t have a passion for the game of baseball.  Having worked a season with the Huntsville Stars as a broadcast assistant at the Double-A level, I can tell you that baseball broadcasting is a grind. Your hours are not normal and those that are lucky enough to get paid still make very little. (And when I say very little I mean if you’re making more than 20,000 a year in minor league ball, you’re doing very well.)

I know of no other job where the compensation is so low but the supply of people who want the gig is so high. Part of this I think is due to the fact that all young aspiring broadcasters grew up in the ESPN era. ESPN makes broadcasting look glamorous, and at the highest level, it can be exactly that. But, similar to acting, for those at the lower levels it is not glamorous whatsoever. As someone wise once said “if you’re in this business for the fame or fortune..get out now.” But another reason the supply of broadcasters is so high is that there are a lot of people who grew up like I did..eating, drinking, and sleeping baseball. We can’t see ourselves doing anything else but broadcasting the sport we love. Sure, we all would have liked to have been major league baseball players, but most of us realized at around the age of oh 11 (in my case) that this wasn’t going to happen due to genetics or just lack of skill. So the next step is this: how can we still be involved in this game without actually playing it? The answer came easily enough to so many of us: broadcasting!

One of my friends is a talented broadcaster whom I worked with at the student radio and TV stations at Northwestern for four years. He graduated in June (I took spring quarter off to take the internship with the Huntsville Stars), and has been looking for a broadcasting gig ever since. I’m happy to report he landed a number two gig with a Midwest League team the other day. The only catch: he has to play the role of the mascot at public events related to the team. It’s also a seasonal job…meaning he’ll only get paid for the season…during the off-season he’ll have to find another job. Full time, lead broadcaster positions, are extremely rare and hard to find. You have to be proficient in not only broadcasting, but media relations, community relations, and group/corporate sales to succeed in minor league baseball. Wearing many hats is expected. The best way to stick in minor league ball is to become an expert salesman. If you can bring money to the organization directly, your value goes up significantly in the front office’s mind. If there’s one thing that connects all minor league teams is that money is always low, and sales must be made.

And in the end…there are only 30 major league teams. If you’re generous and say each have about three announcers that aren’t ex-players…that’s 90 people in America who have achieved their dream.

I’m looking to be one of those 90. It’s going to be a long, interesting journey, but here we go…

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One Response to The most difficult game

  1. Kenneth Avila says:

    I believe in you Morse!

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