By: Chris Kutz
When a Minor League team hits the road, the traveling party consists of players, the manager, the pitching coach, the hitting coach, maybe a roving instructor or two, the strength and conditioning coach, the athletic trainer and the radio broadcaster.
The group of around 30 takes early morning flights and late-night bus rides to move on to their next series of games. Needless to say, Minor Leaguers would love to experience the luxury a Major League travel itinerary brings with it (i.e. less 3:45 am alarms, more leg room on charter flights, etc.).
The voice of the Grizzlies, Doug Greenwald, is not one to look past the travel inconveniences. For the month of March, Greenwald calls the San Francisco Giants’ Spring Training games via webcasts. While in Arizona, he does the least amount of traveling he does all year.
“The longest ‘trip’ in spring training for me is from Scottsdale to Surprise. That’s maybe 55 minutes. Get in the car, and go,” said Greenwald. “During the PCL season we generally have to be at the Fresno Airport by four a.m. for a six a.m. flight, and play a game that night (sometimes in Nashville or New Orleans). Or be on a bus for a handful of hours, get into Fresno in the wee hours, and play that night.”
Once the Grizzlies season ends in September, he heads up to the Bay Area as well as across the nation.
“I spend time in San Francisco with my family, and go to the big league games at AT&T Park. I will also take that time to unwind, do some traveling on my own,” said Greenwald.
“I’m a huge college basketball fan. That’s always been my second love behind baseball. I will go around the country, and watch college hoops.
“This season I saw games everywhere from Fullerton to Burlington, Vermont to Troy, Alabama. I have seen in person NCAA Division I basketball games in 48 states (including Washington, DC). The only states where I have missed in this category are Wisconsin, and Montana. I hope to complete my cycle next basketball season.”
March becomes quite a busy month for Greenwald with the college basketball season kicking into full madness and the baseball season launching one more time. Greenwald doesn’t mind, however. With 2012 being the seventh season he has broadcasted Cactus League games, Greenwald is used to an action-packed March at this point.
Since 2006, Greenwald has called San Francisco Giants’ Spring Training games on SFGiants.com. Greenwald and the Giants were one of the first Major League teams to offer their fans the chance to catch the Spring games.
“[The idea of Spring Training webcasts] was proposed by Jon Miller,” said Greenwald. “I went up one day to say hello to him at AT&T Park in September of 2005. He knew that since I was broadcasting for Fresno, it was a good role for me, and the Giants were to have every spring training game aired one way or another”
Up until 2005, the Giants’ Spring Training games were only broadcasted on KNBR on the weekends.
“By only doing games on the weekends, it was almost as if fans lost track of the team during the weekdays. By doing them on the web now, every pitch (one way or another) of Spring Training is heard,” said Greenwald.
With Greenwald’s familiarity of the Giants farm system, calling Cactus League games became an easy transition for him. Most of the players, including late-inning substitutes, had either passed through Fresno at one point or were well on their way to the Triple-A level.
Providing webcasts of Giants’ Spring Training games gives Greenwald a Spring Training of his own as he gets up to 18 games before the regular season’s first pitch. It also provides him the opportunity to interact with listeners, something he does all season long with the Grizzlies.
“[T]he biggest benefit [of Spring Training] is hearing from the fans, the positive reaction the games on the web have been, as we get e-mails from all over the world. It is amazing to reach out to folks in California, Germany, Denmark, all over, who follow the club.”
“There was an e-mail from a fan listening in a hospital in Australia. We thanked him over the web for his note, and he sent an e-mail back saying we made his day by responding to him, and wishing him well. A half world away, yet the pushing of a send key made it felt like we were with him in his room.”
The voice of the Grizzlies, once again, was making a day happier for one listener at a time. This time, at least, he didn’t have to travel far to reach them.
By: Noah Frank
I promised I’d deliver it to you, so here it is: our exclusive interview with Jon
Miller from the Scottsdale Stadium press box. Listen in as I try not to
stammer too much and let Jon compose and weave his tapestry of language in
regards to everything San Francisco Giants and Fresno Grizzlies-related.
For those of you who haven’t yet heard the good news, Chukchansi Park is in the midst of a nice little off-season makeover. The old video and matrix boards are being taken apart as you read this, and new video boards will be installed starting next week and be ready (hopefully!) by Opening Day. In addition to the regular board being a nice upgrade from the original model, the matrix board will also have video capability, meaning all kinds of fun new graphics to keep you Grizzlies fans entertained this season.
As you can see, the construction crews are already going full-speed ahead. Thankfully, the weather has cleared up here in the Valley, so they’ve been able to operate under sunny skies for the last week. Word on the street is that there might even be a popular member of the Grizzlies staff (a very furry, orange staff member) who is pitching in to try to help us beat the clock as we count down to Opening Day on Friday, April 16th. After all, if you recall, he was the one who put us in this predicament in the first place.
In the meantime, there is plenty else going on in Grizzlies-land, as we’ve released our full promo schedule including fireworks night, giveaways, theme nights and celebrity guests. We also just announced our weekly promotions, chalked full with some awesome value nights.
Next up I’ll post my interview with Giants broadcaster Jon Miller from Spring Training as he breaks down what to expect on the field from your 2010 Grizzlies.
It’s another beautiful weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Former and future Grizzlies alike are mixed among veterans and the practice fields are full of players as the teams have yet to make their first round of cuts, when they will send players back to minor league camp.