October’s Tricks and Treats

The month of October certainly has its fair share of tricks and treats in my broadcasting career. October 26th is a treat, but this was the trick…

Join me in a flashback to 2005. The Chicago White Sox had their games broadcast on ESPN 1000. Their pre and post game show host, Dave Wills, bolted for Tampa Bay to do play-by-play, and I applied for his old job. In March of that year, I interviewed with Len Weiner (program director) and Tom Serritella (assistant program director).

Len shared the various scenarios with me on the day that he offered me the job. Scenarios? That 2005 season was the final season of a radio broadcast rights deal for the White Sox on ESPN 1000. There was speculation that the White Sox would leave ESPN 1000 after that season.

Len told me…that I might do a good job, but they lose the radio rights and I won’t have a role at ESPN 1000. I might do a good job, they keep the radio rights and I continue to do the pre and post game shows for years to come. I might not do a good job, the radio rights stay and they won’t care for me to stay. I might do a good job, the radio rights leave and they will find a role for me. You get the idea.

I took the job. From Opening Day, the White Sox were in first place. In the middle of the season, it was learned that the radio rights changed from ESPN 1000 to The Score. The new radio rights deal would begin in 2006. During the 2005 season, I met with the program director at The Score to discuss the White Sox radio pre and post game show position for 2006 and to see if I could make the station switch, too.

When I left the NBC Tower that day, I did not have a positive feeling about my White Sox broadcasting future beyond the 2005 season. If you know me, you know that I am 99.9% positive all the time. I had a negative vibe at that moment. I remember walking out of the NBC Tower and to my car thinking, “I hope this White Sox season lasts until the final possible game of the season—game seven of the World Series—because I have no idea what I would do after this season.”

Well, that White Sox season did not make it to the seventh game. Instead, the White Sox season ended with the fourth game of the Fall Classic and the completion of a 4-game sweep of the Houston Astros. The final game was played on October 26, a lucky seven years ago Friday. That’s been my only World Series winner, but the first of three trips to the World Series in my four MLB broadcasting seasons.

October’s tricks and treats help define The Cool Factor.

–BD

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