Nick Badders is headed back to the States to be the new play-by-play broadcaster for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The Naturals are the AA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Badders has broadcast experience in Minor League Baseball, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hasn’t called a MiLB game since August of 2019.
He’s stayed busy, though. He shares, “The Covid-19 Pandemic has been challenging in so many ways for so many people in our industry, but I’ve been lucky to be able to get plenty of broadcast and media relations experience that would in normal times be great, but now it’s allowed me to keep improving and stand out in the industry at a time when it’s rather stagnant.”
That’s because he’s been in the land down under, where he broadcast over 60 games with the Australian Baseball League.
He originally took a gig with the ABL’s Melbourne Aces in 2019 as a way to stay fresh during the MiLB offseason. It turned into steady work, though, amid the pandemic. He says, “During the ABL offseason, when there was no Minor League Baseball going on in the US, I kept active with the Aces, still doing social media and marketing work for the club.”
With the Naturals, Badders will call play-by-play and help with media relations and marketing. He Badders learned of a possible opening with the Naturals through an STAA Job Leads email.
Interestingly, some groundwork had just been laid for the Naturals opportunity. The day before that Job Leads email, a contact in the Royals organization had offered to advocate for Badders with the organization’s Minor League General Managers. When Badders read about the Naturals possible opening, he informed his contact, who contacted the team on Badders’ behalf. The team encouraged Badders to get in touch.
“Once I heard this, I treated it like I was applying for a job, studying up on what the last person in this role had done,” Badders recalls. He also touched base with the Naturals’ GM to share his experience and explain why he’d be a good fit.
Apparently, he hit a home run.
Badders has been an STAA member since 2018. The Naturals job is the third he’s landed since joining. He leaned of each of them through STAA: The Melbourne Aces, the Elizabethton Twins, and the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.
Badders values his STAA membership and especially appreciates the Jobs Leads emails and exclusive tips. “And the member areas have a wealth of information and message boards so I can consistently find ways to improve my broadcasting or approach with the job market,” he says. “Jon [Chelesnik] and his team are great resources as well to allow myself and other STAA members to become better sportscasters and move up in the industry.”
Badders advises new STAA members to introduce themselves in the forum and explore all the resources available. “There is lots to take advantage of and use to better yourself, including Jon and his team. Make the most of everything at your disposal and you will not regret it.”