When Western Nebraska Pioneers baseball club owner Chuck Heeman emailed to notify STAA he’d hired member Sam Weiderhaft to be his team’s new broadcaster, he joked, “Mainly because Weiderhaft is fun to say. Plus he’s good.”
Heeman followed the comment with a winking eye emoji.
Weiderhaft is, indeed, good. He’s called a lot of baseball, too. “I believe what made me stand out to Chuck was my prior experience,” Weiderhaft hypothesizes. “Spending the summer of 2019 in the Cape Cod Baseball League was an opportunity of a lifetime and really improved my broadcasting skills. I was able to get a reel out of it that I was proud of, and broadcasted some incredible players. Broadcasting the top league in the country made me very familiar with summer collegiate baseball, and I think that experience will easily carry over to the Pioneers.”
The Pioneers are based in Gering, NE and play in the summer collegiate Expedition League.
“I had been anxiously waiting for baseball job leads to come out through STAA, as my contacts in baseball really didn’t have much information on what was going on professionally,” Weiderhaft recalls. “When I saw an opportunity to return to collegiate summer league baseball, I jumped on it.”
Weiderhaft will also help the Pioneers with media relations, a skill set he has honed over the past six months as an assistant sports information director and women’s basketball broadcaster at Coastal Carolina University. He’s also interned in sports information at an Indiana high school.
Uncertain job market
The Pioneers opportunity is a welcome one by Weiderhaft, especially amid the ongoing uncertainly of minor league baseball.
“Last year, I had started reaching out to minor league teams in October and had my eyes set on short-season rookie league coming out of college. I attended the MLB Winter Meetings Job Fair and looked like I had lined something up for the following summer. Obviously, it didn’t come about and I was crushed that I would not be calling baseball in the summer of 2020,” Weiderhaft says.
“I’ve been thinking about this upcoming summer and wondering how things would work out with minor league and independent baseball, and realized how much uncertainty is in the air regarding travel, crowd sizes, and team budgets. With little info coming out recently, I really wanted to secure a baseball job that would give me much needed experience despite the level, because I haven’t been able to call baseball since the summer of 2019. Seeing that the Expedition League played games in 2020, it was clear to me that this league and team would be trusted to carry out a relatively normal season.”
Joined STAA last March during his senior year at Butler University. “I found out about the STAA in my freshman year of college through the Jim Nantz award, and was recommended by fellow Butler alum Brendan King to checkout the site and use the different features, including the job leads.”
Now, one of those STAA job leads ensures that Weiderhaft will be spending his summer at the ballpark. And that Chuck Heeman will have countless opportunities to experience the fun of saying Weiderhaft’s name.