We've been covering the White Sox minor league system for over a decade, focusing almost exclusvely on the players. Even our recent guest pieces were written by the players themselves. But if you want to understand how the system really works, you also need to understand the important roles played by the teams' front offices.
The article below was written by Brian Boesch, Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting for the Winston-Salem Dash, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Brian's piece provides a unique, first-person perspective on his very challenging and rewarding job, as well as the many hats he has to wear. We hope this gives our readers a broader look at life in the Minors...
By Brian Boesch
15 hour work days. 12 off days in five months. Overnight bus trips. Less-than-glamorous hotels.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While thousands of young, talented athletes attempt to climb the ladder to Major League Baseball, there are hundreds of broadcasters describing their every on-field move while trying to realize the same dream.
I am proud to be one of those broadcasters.
As a child, I watched baseball as much as possible, fantasizing that my future included a stint in The Show. Throw out my lack of hitting, pitching, throwing, running and fielding abilities, and I would have been all over those prospect lists.
Broadcasting became the most attractive alternative, and I started my play-by-play career during my freshman year at Ohio University. My first game, which took place north of a snowstorm in Mount Pleasant, Mich., was so choppy that my mom offered some constructive criticism.
My second broadcast ended with a crazy 1-4 lineout that resulted in a double play to preserve Ohio’s one-run win, and the final call was not actually English. I think I did sneak in “Ohio wins!” at some point, so there’s that.
Still, I was hooked, and my broadcasting aspirations took me from Athens, Ohio, to Burlington, N.C., to Frisco, Texas to Winston-Salem, N.C. I slept everywhere from an extended stay hotel to the upper floor of a townhouse that I found through Craigslist.
Heck, I even stayed in a tent at a friend’s house for a few days to save a few bucks.
All of this—seven internships or part-time positions—culminated in this opportunity with the Winston-Salem Dash. I was humbled by the opportunity to work for a first-class organization that is affiliated with an incredible big league club. BB&T Ballpark is one of the nicest facilities in the minors, and the Carolina League is a quality circuit with great people.
My position with the Dash stretches far beyond the broadcast booth. I handle all of our media relations. I author all of our social media outlets. I manage our team website and blog. I handle much of our marketing strategies. I assist our sponsorship sales and activation departments. I speak about the Dash to various civic groups and school classes around our region. I also work as a studio host for the University of Kentucky’s radio broadcasts through IMG College, which is based in Winston-Salem.
The reality is that most minor league broadcasters have significant, time-consuming responsibilities outside the broadcasting. Most minor league teams do not believe in a full-time role belonging to someone who only broadcasts the games.
Thus, I need to prove my worth in other areas in order to hone the craft that, hopefully, will help me advance in the broadcast world.
This is a difficult balance, but it is the reality at the minor league level. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, though. Thousands of broadcasters strive to reach the minor leagues, and I am incredibly lucky to be here.
Even though a minor league play-by-play job features long hours and significant stress, the perks are incredible. For five straight months, my office is a baseball stadium. My “co-workers” are the future members of the Chicago White Sox. Each day is different because of this great game of baseball.
Most importantly, I get to learn about the men who will one day represent the White Sox. They consistently wow me with not only their on-field efforts, but also their behind-the-scenes demeanor.
The coolest part about my job is that I get to watch them grow as baseball players and human beings before they are well-known in Chicago and throughout the game. I will not remember all of the details of each player’s time in Winston-Salem, but some memories will stick with me forever.
Like when Andre Rienzo had genuine concern for me after I failed to put on sunscreen during a trip to Myrtle Beach.
Or when Chris Bassitt waited to tweet about his promotion to Double-A Birmingham until I had sent out the official roster move.
Or when Adam Heisler apologized to me multiple times after his foul ball shattered my computer screen.
Or when Marcus Semien thanked me for my role on the team no more than 30 minutes after the Dash lost the Mills Cup Finals two years ago.
The memories go on and on, and almost every player I have encountered during my time with the Dash and, by association, the White Sox has been a pleasure to get to know. Ultimately, my goal is to tell those stories through our broadcasts, on our blog and via our social media accounts, and I am truly blessed for that opportunity.
Even though my job requires long hours and includes many non-baseball tasks, the people I meet make it worthwhile. Whether I realize my dream of broadcasting MLB games down the road or never advance past this level, I will always look at this part of my life very fondly.
I encourage you to keep an eye on Winston-Salem and the rest of the White Sox farm system. Some great players are on the way to Chicago, and their stories are tremendous. Why wait to start learning about them?
Thanks for taking the time to read about life as a minor league broadcaster. I always welcome questions and comments, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baseball is almost here again! Hope you will tune into a Dash broadcast on a White Sox off day at some point this season.