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Dark Side Awakening

20150309_053310000_iOSLooking back on my baseball journey I now believe that the force was moderately to somewhat strong within me. My heart, mind and body were dedicated to the values of the good but somehow I felt that my interaction with the vaunted Dark side would serve me well when the light of good had been extinguished within me.  I truly enjoyed my time with the good.  It was a long and productive career fighting the good fight.  It was filled with triumphs and tragedies.  After every peak and every valley, the Dark side seemed to find its way into my realm. I fought it at times but I was drawn to it and couldn’t say no to it.  I didn’t necessarily dislike the Dark Side but I knew I did not want to join them when I was younger and much more athletic than I am now. I never turned them away, always interacting with them, answering their inquiries.  I knew that it behooved me to keep them close.  In the twilight of my trek I began to turn my focus towards the Dark side.  Their work in the baseball universe intrigued me and I wanted to know more.  I was drawn to it.  My knowledge in the baseball universe was extensive and the Dark side was calling to me.  What a unique opportunity for me to use my forces for good to enlighten the Dark side. I eventually gave into the fact that my abilities within the forces of good had faded, yet baseball force was still strong within my mind.

Kind of a weak attempt at story telling but I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and couldn’t resist the temptation.  The “Dark” side of course refers to the media.  I honestly never felt that way about the media, even more so now that I’m a part of the “Dark” side.  It’s just a word that was used to describe the media by players when I was still playing.  I was lucky to have played in some great media markets and was able to establish great relationships within it. 

During my playing days I NEVER said no to an interview.  I wasn’t a superstar that everyone ran to for a story or sound bite. Knowing this I made myself as available as often as I could for whatever they needed.  I also feel that going to college at Cal gave me some credibility in the sense that I could articulate an idea into a full sentence. 

My career officially ended on July 12, 2012 when I was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. We had just flown in from Cincinnati when Alan Trammell told me that Gibby (Kirk Gibson) needed to see me.  I knew.  It was time.  My body was breaking down and my spirit crushed by the grind of almost 14 years in the show. 

That was an interesting year for the D-back’s broadcast crew.  Darren Sutton had been let go earlier in the season and Mark Grace had some issues away from the booth.  There TV broadcast was in flux.  In the process of putting a M.A.S.H unit together to cover the rest of the season they heard that I was interested in pursuing a career on the media side of baseball.  So, in September of 2012 I was given the opportunity to cover the team that released me a couple of months prior.  Scott Geyer, who I believe is the producer for the D-back TV broadcast, offered to let me cover 2 games in September.  I truly owe Scott Geyer my broadcasting career.  He did me a huge favor by allowing me to cover those 2 games thus giving me my 1st demo reel. 

That off season the Astro’s announced they would be interviewing for 2 radio spots and possibly 2 TV spots.  I was lucky enough to interview for the positions available.  I was excited to just get my name out there so soon after retiring.  I honestly had no expectations going into the interview, I was excited to be a part of the process. The Astro’s flew me in and interviewed me for 4 hours! I met with human resources, head of radio, head of TV, executive producers, scouting director, the owner, and the president of the team.  I was exhausted by the time it was over but, what an experience!  I loved every minute of it because I felt like I got to go behind the curtain after so many years on stage. 

The Astro’s eventually called and offered me a deal that I could not refuse.  Bill Brown was cutting back on his travel and Jim Deshaies moved his talents to the north side of Chicago.  This left an opening for me to just do road games.  What an incredible situation and opportunity for me and my family.  The season is such a grind. After 14 years this gave me the ability to stay in the game while becoming more involved at home. A welcomed changed for my family. I was overwhelmed by the team’s generosity and took their offer.  I am now heading into my 4th season as the Astro’s color/analyst and I can honestly say that I love my job.  I am privy to so much information it would make any baseball junkies head spin.  The organization itself has been so encouraging and forthcoming with me.  I am also blessed to be working with an incredible broadcast crew. Putting a game on TV may look easy but knowing what I know now changes everything. There is some serious work going on before, during and after games.  I look forward to many more years of broadcasting Astro’s baseball and of course, telling more stories and bringing some light to this crazy game.

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