Affiliated versus indy baseball broadcasting

The job is the same regardless of where you’re doing it.
The job is the same regardless of where you’re doing it.
Several years ago, an affiliated minor league baseball team contacted me for help in identifying candidates for their vacant play-by-play and media-relations position. We had one STAA client who I was especially excited to present to the team based upon his skill and experience. I was stunned by this team GM’s reply: “I won’t hire anyone from independent baseball.”

While this attitude is overwhelmingly the exception rather than the rule, it isn’t the only time an affiliated team GM has said such a thing to me. When I finally asked one of them why they felt so strongly about it, he told me he felt some independent teams were encroaching upon Major League Baseball by putting teams in Major League markets. These GMs missed the opportunity to add folks who could have contributed greatly to the success of their organizations.

Logically, the experience gained in independent league baseball is as valuable as that gained in affiliated ball. The responsibilities are identical:

  • Press releases
  • Recaps
  • Daily program inserts
  • Media guides
  • Play-by-play

The job is the same regardless of where you’re doing it. It’s like in Hoosiers when Gene Hackman takes the Hickory players into Butler Fieldhouse and their jaws drop on the floor at the enormity of the building. Then he has the guys measure the height of the basket and the distance to the free throw line and, whaddya know, they’re the same as inside their tiny gym at Hickory.

There is even one major advantage provided by indy ball…

Independent teams are more willing to hire broadcasters over 30.

I don’t know why it is, but I have seen several examples of older broadcasters, and guys who have been out of minor league baseball for many years and want to get back in, get the opportunity in independent leagues that affiliated teams wouldn’t give them.

There are many highly talented, hard working and highly qualified broadcasters working in independent league baseball, hoping for a shot in affiliated ball. Here’s to hoping that whatever lingering bias against them might still exist, quickly disappears.

Photo by Frettie.