(May 13, 2019) There is a perception among some baseball broadcasters that calling independent league baseball is less valuable than calling games in a prestigious collegiate summer league. Nick Badders will argue otherwise. Badders has used his experience in indy ball to become the new voice of the Elizabethton Twins.
Elizabethton is the rookie affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
“In late April, STAA sent out a Job Leads email [to members] with an exclusive tip that the Twins might have an opening, so I started doing research on the team and preparing to apply,” Badders recalls. “The next Job Leads email confirmed the opening and gave instructions for applying. I was ready to go and sent off my application fairly quickly.”
Badders is finishing his junior year at Arizona State University. He spent last summer with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. “Most of my friends at [ASU] were off in the Cape Cod League and I was on the West Coast, broadcasting professional baseball at one of the lowest levels of professional baseball and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Badders states passionately. “At the start of the season, I had to come to terms that I wasn’t doing that, but I am so glad I worked in Sonoma.
“It’s sad that there is a stigma around independent baseball, it was a stigma I experienced when telling people I worked for an indy team. There really shouldn’t be one. It’s professional baseball. It’s a high level of play, too. Sure, it’s not affiliated, it’s not the Cape League, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to become a better person and broadcaster. The experience is so incredible.
Badders calls his time in Sonoma phenomenal. “I’ll preach that all day and every day. I broadcasted over 80 games on my own, while handling media relations duties. There is pretty much no way to get better experience than that. It gave me a lot of time to learn about myself as a broadcaster and honestly, just get better. I even figured out how I could keep score to make my games smoother. At the end of the season, I was a completely different person and broadcaster compared to before the season started.”
Badders joined STAA last fall on the recommendation of several other Pacific Association broadcasters. “Of the eight other regular broadcasters in the Pacific Association, I think four of them were STAA members. Specifically, I talked with Geoff Safford of the Napa Silverados and Scott Armstrong of the Vallejo Admirals (both great people, but broadcasters as well) and they both spoke highly of Jon [Chelesnik] and STAA and the services Jon and his team provide.”
Improving his cover letters is something Badders believes helped him earn the Elizabethton job. “I wish I had done this with more jobs that I applied for earlier in the offseason,” Badders says. “As soon as I saw the opening with Elizabethton, I tailored my resume and cover letter to the job description, which is critical. What I wish I had done more is that I also sent it to Jon [Chelesnik] for critiques and feedback. I had done it once earlier in the offseason, but after a couple of back-and-forths this time, my resume and cover letter were where they needed to be for this position. I think that was the difference in landing me the job.
“Jon helped make sure my resume was right for the position and easy to read, plus he helped me realize I was overthinking cover letters and put me in the best possible position to succeed.”
Badders was initially hesitant to join STAA because of the cost. “I wholeheartedly believed the cost would be worth it, but any extra money spent on a monthly basis for me is worth a hesitation,” he says. “I figured it would be worth it though, I just had to find other places to save every month.
“I knew STAA would give me the best opportunity at getting [a minor league baseball] job. I had perused the job boards in the prior offseason but joined for the perks beyond that. I knew it would not only land me a job in affiliated baseball but help me stay there by improving my broadcasting and making sure my applications were where they needed to be.”
The minor league baseball job is more challenging than Badders anticipated. “I wasn’t seeing as much response to my applications as I expected and as the spring started to near, it became more and more frustrating,” he recalls. “I think I had slightly underestimated the competition there would be. But in that struggle, I had to remind myself that I had the experience and skill required.”
The experience and skill were largely developed in indy ball. “Sonoma was an incredible experience and I’m so grateful to everyone there, especially General Manager Brett Creamer, for the opportunity,
“Any aspiring baseball broadcaster should apply for jobs in independent leagues. You will thank yourself later,” Badders says. “My time in Sonoma gave me the tools to make the jump to affiliated baseball and those are tools I look forward to using in Elizabethton.”
(Visit Nick’s website).