Look out, Jim Rosenhaus. Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson is getting awfully comfortable behind the microphone.
Masterson, who enters the 2013 season entrenched as one of the Tribe’s top pitchers, joined Indians On Deck host Al Pawlowski on the broadcast of the Cleveland State-Wright State men’s basketball game on Wednesday night from Dayton. And while his chosen second career might be as a pastor, as he told Indians.com recently, he’s showing his broadcasting chops.
Wednesday was the third time Masterson has joined Pawlowski for a Vikings game; CSU previously had beaten Butler last January and Ball State in November with Masterson providing color commentary. The Vikings weren’t as fortunate on Wednesday, as the Raiders won, 69-53.
So, how did Masterson get started on the CSU games? And how does he do? Pawlowski answered a couple questions for TribeVibe:
TV: Did Justin approach you last winter when he joined you on the CSU-Butler game, or did you reach out to him to gauge his interest?
AP: Justin and I have always had a good relationship and we would talk about things outside of baseball. Toward the end of the 2011 (baseball) season, we got to talking about college basketball. He knew that I called the Cleveland State games on radio and said, “If you ever need a color guy, I’d be glad to help you out!” I told him that would be great, I would love to have him, and we made plans to do the Butler game, which was the first broadcast we did together in January of 2012 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The games in that part of the country are good for him because he lives just outside of Indianapolis. He grew up in Beavercreek, which is just a few minutes away from the Nutter Center (Wright State’s home arena).
TV: How is he on the calls?
AP: He’s very good on his calls. He does his homework, reads the game notes, checks out the press conferences online and keeps up with Cleveland State when he can, so he has some good insight. I told him last night that it was like we were doing our 30th game together, not just our third. He has a good instinct for where to jump in with color on radio, which can be tricky in basketball. We have a good chemistry calling the game. He also is into college basketball, so he really knows the game.
TV: Is there any chance of Justin taking your job, or Tom Hamilton’s or Rosey’s any time soon?
AP: He’s received great reviews from our fan base, so yes. He may have all three of our jobs when he retires from baseball! Another side note: The fans love him. Several came up to him at the scorer’s table and he’s great with them. We saw about a dozen Tribe fans down in Fairborn last night. Most of them are also CSU fans, so they love the fact that he’s supporting the Vikings.
Meanwhile, Nick Camino, who covers the Indians for flagship radio station WTAM AM1100, tweeted on Wednesday night, “Justin Masterson is cracking me up on CSU radio call. Let’s go Vikes!” (Camino had a vested interest in the game, as he lost a bet with Indians righty reliever Joe Smith, who went to Wright State.)
Camino — who confirmed he now must wash Smith’s car at an unspecified future date as a result of losing the bet — later added, “As a color analyst, Justin knew when to talk and when to stop talking. That’s important during a radio broadcast, especially for the analyst. It sounded like he read up on both the Vikings and Raiders, because he not only knew players but also what types of plays they run and the the defensive styles they play.”
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond
“HOW ABOUT THAT!” Tribe fans – the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced this week that Tom Hamilton, “The Voice of the Indians,” is one of 41 broadcasters to advance to the second round of voting for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award thanks to your balloting efforts on the Hall’s Facebook page. Hammy still needs your help to get into the final round though, as the top 3 vote-getters will be placed on a ballot with 7 other finalists chosen by a Cooperstown-sanctioned committee. The 2013 Frick Award honoree will then be selected by a 21-member electorate and announced at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee in early December. Presented annually since 1978 for excellence in baseball broadcasting, the Ford C. Frick Award is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/baseballhall and #VoteHammy ! Voting runs through Friday, Oct. 5 at 5PM ET.
On August 16 & 17, the Indians hosted several of Indians Radio Network Affiliates for an annual workout on Progressive Field. Attendees lived in a Major League Player’s shoes for a day by dressing and in the clubhouse, taking batting practice, pitching and fielding. TribeVibe stopped to chat with one participant, Rusty Cates of WMAN in Mansfield, OH, to get his take on the day, his experience in radio and some of his favorite Indians memories.
TribeVibe: How many times have you been to the Indians Radio Network Workout?
Rusty Cates: I’m a repeat offender. It’s one of the greatest days of the year for us [radio broadcasters] we get to be on Progressive Field running around. We can sit in the dugout, take a few swings at home plate, catch a few fly balls and just have a great time with the other guys in the network. It’s great – especially when you’re a big Indians fan. I’m a lifelong Tribe fan.
TV: Growing up did you play baseball?
RC: Yep. I played Little League until 6th grade. I was pretty much that kid who stood in the far outfield – the spot where the coach places kids who won’t hurt the team much. In my adult years I’ve played church league softball, but I still like the game and do what I can while I’m on the field.
TV: Tell us a bit more about your radio station.
RC: [It’s a] News talk station in Mansfield, Ohio. We run a lot of the big talk shows like Glenn Beck, but weekends and evenings we do a lot of sports talk. I host a live sports talk program every evening from 6PM-8PM.
TV: How long has WMAN-Mansfield been a part of the Indians Radio Network?
RC: That is a good question and I’m sure it goes back 50 years at least. I grew up in the same city I work in – Mansfield. There was never a time in my life that I can’t remember WMAN not having the Indians.
TV: We have a lot of aspiring broadcasters we read TribeVibe. Tell us, how did you get started in radio?
RC: I’ve always wanted to be involved in radio. I went to school and studied communications at Bowling Green and worked at their radio station there in the ‘80’s and worked my way up.
TV: As a fan, does it feel any different being part of the Indians Radio Network?
RC: Well, I’m definitely an Indians fan, but even more so because I have some responsibility to the Indians [organization]. I write the promo bumps for on-air, I get to work on content that helps sell the Indians and I run the feature spots in the morning. I feel like I’m first hand, helping to deliver Indians baseball talk to the fans of the Mansfield area.
For 7 months we’re all about the Tribe, that’s a huge chunk of the broadcast year. So, our promotion and sales teams do whatever [they] can to get the Indians out there. The station IDs are changed to promote the Indians; we run at least one promo an hour about the Indians; we run all the ancillary programing about the Indians; game updates; manager’s minutes in the morning, game highlights. Once a week I’ll even call up Bobby D and chat and use that as a weekly feature. Every week at 7:10AM in the morning and he answers the phone like clockwork – it’s amazing.
We know the people of Mansfield love the Cleveland Indians. Even if they aren’t winning they are still apart of Cleveland’s summer, part of life and people still talk about it – it’s tradition.
TV: What’s your favorite Indians memory?
RC: When the Indians made it to the playoffs in 1995 and we were in the American League Championship, I had a chance to get some tickets and my wife and two daughters were with me and I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would witness the Indians getting that far in the playoffs. We were able to attend as a family. It was the year that people put bubble gum on top of their hats; high socks were a big deal, even Sister Mary [Assumpta] and the nuns were out! There was just so much pop culture that came out of that moment of the Indians in the playoffs.
To catch the Tribe on the radio in your region, check our list of Indians Radio Network Affiliates on Indians.com
-TribeVibe contributor Erin Parker