Chargers baseball is bringing something new to the field this spring. Juniors Cole McNeely and Tanner Sizemore and seniors Gabe Prieur and Tyler Creager took to the mic at the Chargers home baseball game this weekend as part of the radio program’s new live broadcasts.
McNeely covered every game and partnered with Sizemore on Saturday’s first game, Prieur on Saturday’s second game, and Creager on Sunday’s game. All the broadcasters are new to covering games but said they enjoyed the experience and feel confident in their coverage of the game.
“After getting the technical logistics figured out, all of them went well,” McNeely said in an email. “I did play by play this weekend for all four games for the first time so that was a unique challenge, but I picked it up pretty quick.”
McNeely had only covered one baseball game before this weekend’s slew of games, which won a Michigan Association of Broadcasters award. But after prepping for these games and getting the hang of the play by play call, he thinks these broadcasts were even better than his first one.
“I personally think they were better in some ways because I did quite a bit of prep work going into these games which gave the broadcasts some structure,” McNeely said. “One of the games lasted about three and a half hours on Sunday so that was a challenge on its own. The key is to try to never run out of things to say and keep it entertaining and informative, which I thought we did.”
Scot Bertram, general manager of WRFH Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM, was happy with how the broadcasts went.
“Baseball can be a tough sport to broadcast on the radio because there’s so much downtime in the action,” Bertram said in an email. “There’s more space to fill. It’s much different than basketball, where there’s always something going on. Cole and the guys did a wonderful job and they’ll only get better.”
For the first game, McNeely partnered with Sizemore. Sizemore and McNeely were former teammates on the Charger baseball team and have been close friends and roommates. Sizemore had never done any broadcasting before — but he does know baseball.
“Once you get talking baseball with someone who knows baseball, the conversation doesn’t need to be forced,” McNeely said. “Tanner has never done anything resembling color commentary before, but for his first time he did a good job. He knows the team and Coach Theisen very well and could give insights others simply don’t have.”
Although this was a new experience for Sizemore, he said he really enjoyed being able to watch baseball and talk about it with McNeely.
“Commentating with Cole was nice because I knew he had experience in things like this so I knew I could rely on him to carry the conversation and I could just follow his lead,” Sizemore said. “As far as the dynamic with him goes, we’ve lived together the past two years and we joke around all the time, so to be honest I’m surprised we managed to keep it as professional as we did.”
Since both McNeely and Sizemore were formerly on the baseball, they enjoyed being around baseball again and talking about it for hours.
“This was the first time I have been able to watch a game from a fan’s perspective so it was just cool seeing all the things that they do that they work on day in and day out that go unnoticed by most fans,” Sizemore said in an email.
McNeely loves getting back into the baseball atmosphere after a few years of being away from the game.
“It’s just nice being around baseball again,” he said. “I took a step away for a while because after playing it for 15 years I was a little bit burned out by it. I’m starting to love the game again.”
Though McNeely is falling in love with baseball game, he is also loving broadcasting and not pining to be on the field again.
“Don’t expect to see me out there on Simpson Field,” he said. “I’m enjoying my role in the broadcast booth.”