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Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chats

Ballpark Digest

Ballpark Digest editors discuss the news of the day and the culture and history of baseball in a variety of podcast formats, ranging from weekly Broadcaster Chats to Jesse Goldberg-Strassler's Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus.

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Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022
May 23 2022
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022
Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the beginning of the 2022 season and analyze trends on. and off the field in then Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat. Topics discussed in this podcast:Topics discussed in this podcast:-       We begin a discussion in a totally irrelevant fashion discussing ponies as an endangered species. A pony, of course, is a seven-ounce bottle of beer; only a few breweries still produce them in Wisconsin (Miller and Rheinlander).-       With the end of May approaching, we’re finally in the full swing of the 2022 MiLB season. Jesse and Mick are back in rhythm on their daily broadcast schedules and adjusted totally to the six-day MiLB Tuesday-Sunday series work week.-       The six-day MiLB series schedule does present some challenges in terms of starting pitching: do starters go twice a series or do we see spot starters at some point? The Smokies are off to a good start, and Mick says one of the reasons is the high level of performance from the starting pitching. Those pitchers are benefiting from a good defense behind them. -       Unlike others in the industry, Mick and Jesse don’t hate the pitch clock. But they agree it runs too fast: giving players a few extra seconds between pitches and plays would be a good idea, and as a broadcaster adding a few more seconds to tell stories would improve broadcasts. This leads to reminiscences of Jim Tocco, former Voice of the Montgomery Biscuits, and how he would react to the new pitch clock. This surprisingly transitions into a discussion of Moustache May in MiLB and popular games in clubhouses.-       Also discussed: other rule changes in the minors, including larger bases. The larger bases don’t seem to be a factor at all—after a few innings, no one notices—and overall a quicker pace of play seems to be working. Similarly, a ban on shifts doesn’t seem to be impacting play.-       Another change, though not a rule change: it seems like balls in the minors this year are juiced—or at least a few of the three balls used—while balls in the majors are widely assumed to be dead. On the MLB side, there’s the continuous discussion of whether juiced balls are used on national broadcasts, vs. a dead ball for “everyday” use. In the end, it could be an unintended side effect that changes in the cork and seams, along with humidor usage, is strongly impacting the game this season.-       The next battle: the fight for a uniform strike zone, with the feeling ABS systems and in-game challenges are inevitable. Robo-umps recently made its debut in Triple-A baseball, as testing moves up the MiLB ladder.-       The industry is still working its way back to normal—i.e., a 2019 level of performance—due to supply-chain issues—and facilities standards still persist as a big problem for team owners. For the Tennessee Smokies, meeting the facility standards won’t be an issue, as the team is moving to a new ballpark in 2024.-       Is a combined no-hitter really a no-hitter? Mick says no, even after calling a combined no-hitter.-       The broadcaster lingo of the week: ultimate grand slam, which wins a game when a team wins by three runs after a grand slam; and walkoff walk is shrimp. Why shrimp? On the Internet a reference to a walkoff walk would be accompanied by a meme of a shrimp walking on a treadmill. Mick’s terms: a cocktail pitch, a high 3-2 pitch, and scratch gravel, where a fielder goes as low as possible to make the catch.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, wh
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022
May 23 2022
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Lessons Learned So Far in 2022
Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the beginning of the 2022 season and analyze trends on. and off the field in then Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat. Topics discussed in this podcast:Topics discussed in this podcast:-       We begin a discussion in a totally irrelevant fashion discussing ponies as an endangered species. A pony, of course, is a seven-ounce bottle of beer; only a few breweries still produce them in Wisconsin (Miller and Rheinlander).-       With the end of May approaching, we’re finally in the full swing of the 2022 MiLB season. Jesse and Mick are back in rhythm on their daily broadcast schedules and adjusted totally to the six-day MiLB Tuesday-Sunday series work week.-       The six-day MiLB series schedule does present some challenges in terms of starting pitching: do starters go twice a series or do we see spot starters at some point? The Smokies are off to a good start, and Mick says one of the reasons is the high level of performance from the starting pitching. Those pitchers are benefiting from a good defense behind them. -       Unlike others in the industry, Mick and Jesse don’t hate the pitch clock. But they agree it runs too fast: giving players a few extra seconds between pitches and plays would be a good idea, and as a broadcaster adding a few more seconds to tell stories would improve broadcasts. This leads to reminiscences of Jim Tocco, former Voice of the Montgomery Biscuits, and how he would react to the new pitch clock. This surprisingly transitions into a discussion of Moustache May in MiLB and popular games in clubhouses.-       Also discussed: other rule changes in the minors, including larger bases. The larger bases don’t seem to be a factor at all—after a few innings, no one notices—and overall a quicker pace of play seems to be working. Similarly, a ban on shifts doesn’t seem to be impacting play.-       Another change, though not a rule change: it seems like balls in the minors this year are juiced—or at least a few of the three balls used—while balls in the majors are widely assumed to be dead. On the MLB side, there’s the continuous discussion of whether juiced balls are used on national broadcasts, vs. a dead ball for “everyday” use. In the end, it could be an unintended side effect that changes in the cork and seams, along with humidor usage, is strongly impacting the game this season.-       The next battle: the fight for a uniform strike zone, with the feeling ABS systems and in-game challenges are inevitable. Robo-umps recently made its debut in Triple-A baseball, as testing moves up the MiLB ladder.-       The industry is still working its way back to normal—i.e., a 2019 level of performance—due to supply-chain issues—and facilities standards still persist as a big problem for team owners. For the Tennessee Smokies, meeting the facility standards won’t be an issue, as the team is moving to a new ballpark in 2024.-       Is a combined no-hitter really a no-hitter? Mick says no, even after calling a combined no-hitter.-       The broadcaster lingo of the week: ultimate grand slam, which wins a game when a team wins by three runs after a grand slam; and walkoff walk is shrimp. Why shrimp? On the Internet a reference to a walkoff walk would be accompanied by a meme of a shrimp walking on a treadmill. Mick’s terms: a cocktail pitch, a high 3-2 pitch, and scratch gravel, where a fielder goes as low as possible to make the catch.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, wh
Ballpark Digest Podcast: Eric Shuffler, Staten Island FerryHawks
May 11 2022
Ballpark Digest Podcast: Eric Shuffler, Staten Island FerryHawks
Eric Shuffler, president of the Staten Island FerryHawks (Atlantic League), joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to discuss the creation of the team, the work in reviving the team's scenic waterfront ballpark and how it will offer more than just baseball as a community center.Topics discussed in this podcast:·      Unused since the 2019 season, SIUH Community Park--the former Richmond County Bank Ballpark--required millions in renovations for use as a working facility. Maintenance had been deferred for many years, while other essential components were reaching end of life for a 20-plus-year-old facility. Upgrading HVAC systems and elevators isn't sexy, but were essential. Also essential: the installation of synthetic turf, allowing for more events like concerts, graduations and youth baseball. Concessions were updated as well; seat replacement is now set for 2023.·      The FerryHawks moniker came after a very open name-the-team contest. After an open call for monikers, there were over 2,000 submissions, which was pared down first to seven and five. In the end, fans chose FerryHawks; Eric describes how that came to be.·      Supply-chain issues were front and center in the team development, ranging from delays in ballpark components to issues with hats stranded on shipping containers overseas.Despite the issues, the team had a successful debut:Staten Island FerryHawks debut at renovated ballparkJesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Season 4 Premiere with Emma Tiedemann
Apr 5 2022
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat: Season 4 Premiere with Emma Tiedemann
Emma Tiedemann, the Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA; Eastern League), joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to preview the 2022 MiLB season, discuss rule experiments and discuss Texas Leaguers and marlins.Today marks the beginning of the 2022 Minor League Baseball season, as the industry takes another major step toward normalcy. While there are COVID-19 protocols in place still in place throughout the industry, ballparks will be operating at full capacity. Topics discussed in this podcast:·      Those outside the baseball world may take for granted the working conditions in 2021, when broadcasters began the season working remotely off a video feed due to COVID-19 concerns, eventually making their way back to broadcast booths and road trips. Emma and Jesse discuss MiLB play in April, dealing with snow, nor’easters and frozen tarps.·      A continuing issue in Minor League ball: rule experiments mandated by Major League Baseball. Some of the rule experiments are good (larger bases and pitch clocks), some up for debate (a ban on shifts). Jesse tells of players moving from the Single-A Cal League—where the clock was used—to the High-A Midwest League—where the clock was not mandated—and playing at the same pace, leading to quicker games. No one likes the idea of banning the infield shift, and the three agree that potentially mandating positioning for outfielders is a very bad idea.·      Original league names are back, causing great rejoicing in the chat. MiLB history Is restored!·      Other innovations discussed: robo-mowers, cashless ballparks, additional rule experiments at the MLB Partner Leagues, the evolution of ballpark tech (including facial recognition and videoboards everywhere), in-seat ordering for food/drink and concessions, ballpark upgrades mandated by MLB (including upgraded clubhouses and dedicated changing spaces for female coaches and umpires), better ballpark lighting (including underrated up-lighting), and wireless communications on the defensive side of the game.·      Today’s baseball lingo from Emma: Texas Leaguer, a looping fly ball that lands between infielders and outfielders for a hit. That leads to a discussion of a 1959 promotional book from Phillies Blunts covering baseball terms, including variations of Texas Leaguer like seagulls (leading to Dave Winfield references), dying swans, bleeders and banjo hits.·      Today’s baseball lingo by Jesse: marlin. In scouting circles, a marlin is a story told when the inevitable gabfest begins in the scouts seating at the ballpark. Emma’s marlin: When calling a game in Alaska, a moose strolled by, past the outfield fence—something you’d only see in Alaska.Emma Tiedemann has been a broadcaster since she was 15, launching her career as the Voice of the Mat-Su Miners in the summer-collegiate Alaska Baseball League and making stops at broadcast booths for the Medford Rogues, St. Paul Saints and Lexington Legends before debuting in 2021 with the Sea Dogs. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat, Auld Lang Syne Edition
Dec 28 2021
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat, Auld Lang Syne Edition
It's a festive gathering as Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss what happened in 2021 and what to look forward to in 2022 in the year-end Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat. The three bid farewell to 2021 in this free-ranging discussion. True, 2021 was a better year than 2020, the year of the COVID shutdown. And despite Omicron rampaging through the population at the end of the year, we are looking at a situation where 2022 should be a vast improvement over 2021, as we take further steps toward normalcy. Among the topics discussed: Among the topics discussed: The labor negotiations continue, with plenty of low-level talks between players and MLB in areas where there’s a level of agreement. January will be the key month in the talks, with February 1 being discussed as the idea time to come to an agreement.Mick’s strongest memory of 2021: how different the MiLB season was compared previous years, with six-game series, a shortened season, no playoffs (the plan at the beginning of the season) and struggles to house players. His 2022 wish list: improving off-field conditions for players, including higher pay.Jesse’s strongest memories of 2021: the lack of playoffs and why MiLB needs playoffs as an impetus to creating a winning atmosphere, better hotels and off-field conditions for players, and the rule changes at every level. Speaking of player conditions on the road: Mick tells a tale of bedbugs, insect repellant and Ryne Sandberg.With recent news about ballpark development in Oakland, Las Vegas, Tampa and Montreal, Jesse and Mick remember attending Orioles games in their youth at Memorial Stadium, how attending games was much more affordable, and how that affordability led to fans attending many more fans during a season. But as ballparks improved and attending game becoming more expensive, fans attended few games per year, with businesses becoming a bigger part of the mix. The Rays are approaching a Tampa/Montreal split season with a fascinating premise: folks aren’t going to attend 40 games a year anyway, so the way to drive demand for tickets is smaller ballparks.The three agree tanking sucks. Yes, there is a level of ineptitude with a losing team, but the union is right: tanking is bad and any new player agreement needs to create disincentives to tanking. This led to a discussion of why some organizations need to tank while others manage to rebuild without tanking. Yes, we’re looking at you, Rays and Braves.·Transitioning to 2022: Besides a resolution to MLB labor woes, the biggest stories of the year should be a resolution to both the Oakland and Tampa Bay ballpark challenges.There are still many things wrong with baseball, the use of two different baseball used in a season. Maliciousness or ineptitude? As it ends up, the theme of this podcast was ineptitude in the sport, so the wish for 2022 is a higher level of competency in the game: players and fans both deserve it.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, while often appearing on Marquee Network broadcasts and podcasts throughout the season. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
Meet our MLB Broadcaster of the Year: Baltimore's Melanie Newman
Dec 7 2021
Meet our MLB Broadcaster of the Year: Baltimore's Melanie Newman
2021 Ballpark Digest Awards season continues with a chat with the Baltimore Orioles' Melanie Newman, our MLB broadcaster of the year! In this episode we discuss Newman's history-making career in MLB and MiLB broadcasting as well as reporting on other sports.  Her background includes work both as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports Southwest and  play-by-play announcer for the Frisco RoughRiders and the Salem Red Sox. Along the way she made some history when she teamed up with Suzie Cool to form the first all-female broadcast team in professional baseball on a Salem Red Sox broadcast in 2019.She then was part of two more important events in 2021, become part of the first all-female crew to call an MLB game, as she called the action with Sarah Langs, Alanna Rizzo, Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner on a YouTube broadcast on July 21. She followed that up by teaming up with analyst Jessica Mendoza to call a game on ESPN on Sept. 29.Joining the Baltimore Orioles for the 2020 season, she has yet to experience what anyone would call a "normal" season: she made her O's debut on August 4, 2020, and in 2021 she called all the Orioles games--but called many of them at home when the team was on the road. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
The Savannah Bananas' Jesse Cole talks how to please fans at the ballpark
Nov 16 2021
The Savannah Bananas' Jesse Cole talks how to please fans at the ballpark
The 2021 Ballpark Digest Awards season continues with a chat with the Savannah Bananas’ Jesse Cole, winner of an Editor’s Choice Award, who is single-handedly working to bring fun and a new spirit back into the increasingly staid world of baseball.Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the 2021 season with the ever-energetic Cole, the Man in the Yellow Tux. In a year when the baseball world is struggling to attract younger fans and shorten games, the Savannah Bananas struck a nerve with those younger fans. Attracting capacity crowds to Savannah’s Grayson Stadium and embarking on a sold-out One City World Tour, Cole and his team upend all the rules of baseball a la the Harlem Globetrotters, attracting new fans to the sport thanks to plenty of national coverage from the likes of ESPN, Boston Globe and USA Today. That success has led to an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2021 Ballpark Digest AwardsSome highlights of the discussion:·      Cole and his wife Emily launched the Bananas in 2016, coming to Georgia after running the Gastonia Grizzlies, formerly in the Coastal Plain League. The emphasis, they decided, would be on plenty of entertainment in the stands, with all-inclusive food and drink. After a slow start—two ticket sales in the first three months—the pair decided to go all-in on the entertainment side, a bet that paid off in a big way with sellout crowds, attracting fans from every state in the union. That led to Banana Ball, unique variations on the rules of baseball.·      Flush with that success at home, the Bananas took their show on the road for the One City World Tour, resulting in two sold-out games at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala. That success is leading to a longer World Tour in March 2022, featuring stops at spring-training, MiLB and MLB Partner League ballparks. The pro team hits the road and plays Banana Ball (which Jesse explains); the summer-collegiate team plays by normal baseball rules and snared a 2021 Coastal Plain League championship.·      Though the Bananas received plenty of mainstream media coverage, the key to the team’s success means reaching fans where they are—and that means social media like TikTok, where the Bananas have 912,000 followers. What they get isn’t a traditional social-media menu of game highlights and game-winning hits, but rather game highlights like infield karaoke, batters competing on stilts, and batters introducing themselves when coming up to bat. Yes, it’s silly and more than a little absurdist, but it’s entertaining as all heck. Anyone who hates batflips will be flummoxed; anyone who loves some flash in their baseball game will be entranced. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for Nov. 9: Looking Forward to 2022 in Season Opener!
Nov 9 2021
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for Nov. 9: Looking Forward to 2022 in Season Opener!
Season 3 of the Ballpark Digest Podcast begins with a Broadcaster Chat, as Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard discuss the 2021 postseason, why Buster Posey is a lock for the Hall of Fame, why the 2021 Winter Meetings are likely to be a disappointment to all, and a preview of 2022 rebrandings and name changes.Some highlights of the discussion:·       The 2021 MLB season ended on a high note, with the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series after a season of adversity and a wonderfully unpredictable postseason. It was also memorable that it came in the midst of a year-long celebration of Braves great Hank Aaron. And, for those budding GMs at home, the Braves’ Alex Anthopoulos had a textbook season in player moves, with seemingly every move working. Will the Braves dynasty emerge? MLB does have a lot of parity when it comes to World Series winners over the last 20 years.·       Speaking of dynasties: What will become of the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays? They are both seeking new ballparks, and it helps to have a winning team in both markets. We still don’t know where the A’s will end up, but we may see some announcements shortly.·       Buster Posey deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.·       The trio update folks on the 2021 Winter Meetings in Orlando. MLB types will be sequestered at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, and we’ll be seeing a scaled-down event for MiLB types at the Swan and Dolphin. The Winter Meetings don’t really seem to have a purpose, and MLB doesn’t seem too eager to provide one—yet another example of MLB not really understanding how MiLB works.·       They look back at how the 2021 MiLB season ended. Six-game homestands worked; two road trips or two homestands in a row did not. It’s great MLB is stepping up to pay for player housing, though the devil in the details. One trend noted by all three: burnout in the sport is prevalent.·       PETA blew it with their attack on bullpens. Arm barns is a great terms, but with PETA officials totally lacking a sense of humor or whimsy, the point was lost and the chance to make an impact diminished.·       We’re entering the time of year when teams announce rebrandings. Discussed: the transition from Cleveland Indians to Guardians, and the move from Green Bay Booyah to Green Bay Rockers. More are in the works; generally, we’re pro-Fish Stick.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, while often appearing on Marquee Network broadcasts and podcasts throughout the season. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
The Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat strikes back!
Sep 1 2021
The Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat strikes back!
The Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat strikes back, as Mick Gillispie, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard gather to discuss the 2021 season—so far. Recorded last week, the three discuss the Minor League Baseball season in the first season under MLB rule. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly complicated what would have been a complicated season anyway, what with a new scheduling framework, new travel rules and more. Some highlights of the discussion:·      The ever-changing nature of the season schedule has raised concerns. When MLB first announced the 2021 MiLB schedules, there were to be no playoffs. But once the season started MLB announce there would be playoffs, albeit under some new arrangements.·      The new six-game homestand schedules have been a success and will continue into 2022 and beyond. There have been some adjustments here and there—in 2022 the schedule will allow for July 4 night games despite the holiday falling on what normally would be a Monday day off, and teams will be able to request morning games, a popular promotional tool for the younger set. The 2022 spring-training schedules have been very traditional in nature, while the 2022 MiLB schedules (at least Triple-A and Double-A) also feature traditional structuring, including a break for potential All-Star Games.·      Broadcasters are once again hitting the road, at least on the MiLB level. Mick has called both MiLB and MLB games this season from a booth and doesn’t think the fan experience was diminished, but Jesse shows a clear preference for in-ballpark broadcasts.·      The analytics vs. hands-on scouting debate continues in front offices.  Many analytics advocates—whose voices were loudest during the MiLB contraction—are not seeing their teams experiencing a lot of success this season. The traditionalists, meanwhile, say the only way to learn to be a big-league player is to play real games, not participate in the chain-link-fence leagues. Remote technology-based instruction can get you only so far.·      The treatment of players has been a big issue this season, ranging from housing problems to bad food in the low minors. With the 2020 MiLB season canceled and the 2020 MLB season curtailed, resources are stretched on every level of the pro-baseball hierarchy.·      Kevin bemoans the decision by MLB to dump Topps as a trading-card partner in favor of the inexperienced Fanatics after no negotiations or notice, ending a 70-year relationship. It’s all about the money.Mick Gillispie is Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs, while often appearing on Marquee Network broadcasts and podcasts throughout the season. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and the upcoming second edition of The Football Thesaurus, both from August Publications. Kevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.
Chatting Football Books
Aug 23 2021
Chatting Football Books
We have a little departure from our normal broadcasts, as Rick Gosselin, Tom Shanahan and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler gather to discuss their football books from August Publications.The three esteemed authors gather to discuss their books, why they decided to cover football and its impact on culture, and how they saw their books make an impact in the football world. Goodfellows, The Champions of St. Ambrose, showcases a true football glory story of guts and heart spanning nearly a decade. Through faith, fight and perhaps fate, the Giant Killers of little St. Ambrose High School rise as titans of their terrain and end up leaving a legacy millions of young boys and coaches aspire to but very few attain. St. Ambrose High, one of the most storied programs in high-school-football history, didn’t even have it’s own football field. But success pulsated from the three-story building in Detroit between 1957 and 1967, when tiny St. Ambrose produced five football All-Americas, 12 all-state performers, and future NFL players and Super Bowl champs. They were products of this legendary place where old-fashioned values reigned, where teamwork triumphed over individual glory, and where football was the glue of this community.The third edition of Goodfellows features a foreword from Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy and a new introduction from Detroit native, Michigan State University All-America and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure.It’s a world filled with armchair quarterbacks, designer blitzes, the Hogs, and Purple People Eaters. The colorful language of America’s Game—football—is the subject of The Football Thesaurus from broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, now out in a second edition.Field generals throw back-shoulder passes to vertical threats, working off the bump and run. Penalties were originally signaled by horns, not flags. Tailbacks follow the big uglies to paydirt for a touchdown.Football is a sport with its own lingo and jargon – a colorful patois that’s developed over the years and millions of games, college and pro, with today’s broadcasters developing their own descriptions of America’s Game. In The Football Thesaurus, a fascinating compendium of football terms, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler—broadcaster, storyteller, talker, voice—explains what football terms mean and how they came to be. When Jimmy Raye enrolled at Michigan State University in 1964, he did more than just enroll in a university hundreds of miles from his native Fayetteville, N.C.: he was part of a groundbreaking movement that changed college football forever.His story, as well as his Spartan teammates and coach Duffy Daugherty, is told in Raye of Light: Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, The Integration of College Football, and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans. History has not accorded Daugherty, Raye, and the Spartans proper credit for their roles in the integration of college football. Too many view Daugherty as recruiting a couple of All-American players from the South, winning a bunch of games with his 1965-66 teams and then having it all come to an end.All three books are from August Publications.
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for May 23: Dave Heller
May 24 2021
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for May 23: Dave Heller
Dave Heller, owner of two MiLB teams and a newly independent Pioneer League squad, joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to discuss his approach to fun at the ballpark and MiLB’s makeover in this week’s Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat.Heller’s first splash in Minor League Baseball came as owner of the Quad Cities River Bandits in the Class A Midwest League, where he implemented annual ballpark upgrades on the fan side, including a scenic Ferris wheel in center field, fan-friendly additions to the Modern Woodmen Ballpark upper level, and other amusements in the 360-degree concourse. The guiding philosophy behind all the moves: to create and enhance the sense of community at the historic venue, which reflects in the current support for the River Bandits. A portion of the proceeds from the amusements go to a local medical foundation providing free flu shots for every child in the Quad Cities.On the flip side, Heller discusses the challenges operating MiLB teams in the last year, whether it’s sitting out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and losing teams in the MLB reorganization of the sport. Quad Cities and the Wilmington Blue Rocks made the cut to the new 120 (only after Iowa elected officials lobbied to keep Quad Cities in the mix, however), but the Billings Mustangs and the rest of the Pioneer League did not. Instead, the Pioneer League will play this season as an MLB Partner League—the new term for what were formerly independent leagues—and break new ground in the west. All the Pioneer League teams will be operating in 2021 or 2022, joined by the Boise Hawks. While the Pioneer League has been making headlines due to 2021 rule changes, operations will be a challenge due to new, increased payroll, as Heller explains. But with a strong set of owners, Heller likes the chances of the Pioneer League thriving in the future.Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and the author of The Baseball Thesaurusand The Football Thesaurus from August Publications.  Kevin Reichard is publisher at August Publications and Ballpark Digest.
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 21, 2021
Apr 21 2021
Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 21, 2021
Tom Nichols, Voice of the Dayton Dragons, joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to share his favorite baseball stories, including the arrest of a player in the middle of a game, in this week’s Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat.Nichols began his career as a fill-in broadcaster for the Indianapolis Indians under Howard Kellman, then spent several years as the Voice of the Mobile BayBears and stints in Peoria and Fort Wayne before landing with the Dragons, one of MiLB's best operations. In this week's chat, Nichols shares some of the notable stories gleaned over his career, including a memorable series at Orlando's then-Cracker Jack Stadium where a BayBears player tangled with a Disney entertainer on the field and then was arrested the next day in the midst of a game, called in from his outfield position. He also tells tales of his most interesting broadcasting gigs, including a stint with the Kinston Indians, where he called his first game at Durham Athletic Park, where the broadcast area was basically a third dugout right behind home plate. The stories come fast and furious in this episode.The Baseball Thesaurus term of the week: Texas Leaguer, dating back to the spacious outfields of the old Texas League, where outfielders played deep to prevent doubles and triples. That made it easy for a batter to bloop a hit over the infielders and far from the outfielders.Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and the author of The Baseball Thesaurusand The Football Thesaurus from August Publications.  Kevin Reichard is publisher at August Publications and Ballpark Digest.