Thunder hire new broadcaster
Here are some highlights from the conversation he and I had earlier:
JN: So, how did you get here?
HF: I was able to work my way through college (Western Kentucky) and got on with the local team, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, where I worked for two years. They were a brand-new team the year I graduated from college. I worked one summer as a production intern and spent last summer as a broadcaster.
JN: You worked there for the Thunder's former General Manager, Brad Taylor. What did he have to tell you when you told him you were heading north to join his former employer?
HF: He just said that Trenton is a great place. I obviously knew, working with him, that that's where he spent his time prior to coming down to south central Kentucky. We'd see him wear Trenton Thunder gear around the front office every now and then. He said great things about Trenton and that it was a great place to live, great place to work and a good organization to be a part of, with the Yankees system.
JN: I know you have a past connection with current play-by-play man Jay Burnham. Can you explain how it helped you land the job with the Thunder?
HF: I met Jay the first summer that I worked for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Bowling Green was a member of the South Atlantic League, in Low-A, and my last year they moved into the Midwest League, so they switched leagues. Jay, at the time, was working for Asheville (also in the SAL), and I was a production intern that year and was able to host a pre-game show on the videoboard at the ballpark down there.
Jay and I struck up a conversation in the press box after that show one time, and it was a good thing getting to know Jay back then. I continued to keep him abreast of my progress along the way, and it turned into him hiring me for the position they had available in Trenton for this coming baseball season.
JN: In your short time broadcasting, what's your favorite moment doing a game?
HF: I think last year we had a no-hitter at Bowling Green Ballpark come down to the final at-bat of a game. They're obviously a lot bigger at the professional level, because a lot of times you've got one pitcher in there and it's going to go down in history as the next no-hitter or perfect game.
I think it was maybe the second or third pitcher that was on the mound out there, but it would have been the first no-hitter in Bowling Green Hot Rods history, and it went down to, as they always do, the final out, and I believe the final strike of the game. There was a controversial ball-strike call by the home plate umpire, and wouldn't you know, after that was called a ball the guy singled up the middle on the very next pitch.
That was very exciting, and the team, unfortunately, was not in any postseason races or anything last season. But that was definitely the most exciting moment last season, getting to feel the energy of, even in Low-A ball, what could have been a no-hitter and what that means in baseball.