Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Long Days In Single-A Baseball

I am not sure too many people realize the amount of work and hours it takes to be a broadcaster in Minor League Baseball, at least at the Single-A level. I am not sure on the hours put in by Double-A and Triple-A broadcasters since I have yet to reach that plateau, but in Single-A, the days were long and grueling.

I was in a discussion with a college kid the other day about working in broadcasting and the day to day work expected. We got on the subject of my days in baseball and he, like I am sure everyone else in college or people that are not familiar with the industry, assumed I worked just the game. So a typical day was about four, maybe five hours long.

On the contrary, I usually was at my desk at 8:30 in the morning and did not leave the office until 11:30 p.m., sometimes later if there was a rain delay, double-header, or the game just dragged on. If you want to know what I did exactly, you can read about a typical day on the job here.

Try doing seven, eight, 10 days like that in a row. Try doing six days in a row like that, then having to be back at work at six in the morning because you have a game at Noon to prepare for.

Those days were the trickiest for me, games that started at 10:30 a.m. or Noon games. Sometimes the stats were updated instantly on the web and most work could be done after the game so I would stay up until one and two in the morning getting my game notes done for the early game the next day.

However, there are those times when other games in the league and in the organization go long and the stats don’t get updated. So the only option is to wake up at five or six in the morning to get the work done in time for that early start.

The hours I put in during a typical week usually added up to around 90 hours a week on average.

There are also the long bus rides and overnight trips to and from cities. Don’t expect to get too much sleep on those buses, they are not the most comfortable things in the world. The seats are usually close together and are tough on the knees, back and neck. If we have a sleeper bus, the rookies and first year guys immediately head to the beds thinking those are the prime seats.

Within an hour of the trip, guys are pouring out of the beds because if you have a bed at the top of the bus, it’s hot as hell and you are dripping with sweat. If you have a bed at the bottom, it’s usually the coldest place on the earth.

During a typical summer, a broadcaster can expect maybe 12 days off with three days off in a row for the Mid Season All-Star Game. So take away those three days off, and during a five month season in which 140 games are played, a broadcaster can look at having nine off days. Now depending on where a broadcaster is working and the league, some of those off days have to be used for travel days because cities are so far away, so an off day is not really an off day.

I was fortunate to work in Augusta where most cities were three-four hours away, so our travel was usually done the day of the game, or after the last game of a series.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved working in baseball. Going to work everyday and getting paid to watch baseball and talk about, what more could you ask for? I loved every minute of it!

It is work though, and requires a lot of hours at the lower levels and not much free time. Summer time growing up was the best time of the year. Pool parties, BBQ’s, hanging out at the lake with friends and just enjoying the long summer days.

However, if you want to work as a baseball broadcaster, you need to realize when everyone else is making plans to head out after the game, go to the lake, or whatever, more than likely you will still be working.

So that’s it in a nutshell, a little peak into the world of Minor League Baseball for all those out there who are not familiar, or thinking about getting into it.

A lot of fun, but a lot of work and a lot of hours.

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