Kalamazoo, MI – Growlers 2022 broadcaster Ben Pokorny will no longer return to the team in 2023. Ben received a full-time offer to join the Bradenton Marauders as their broadcaster. Pokorny was expected to return for the 2023 season in Kalamazoo before he received the job offer in Bradenton. Pokorny released this statement in regards to his departure from Kalamazoo.
It is with a heavy heart to say that I unfortunately will not be returning to Kalamazoo for another summer with the best organization in college summer baseball. Although I will miss those perfect Southwestern Michigan nights at Homer Stryker Field, I am so excited for the next step! In February I will join the Bradenton Marauders the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates as their new play-by-play broadcaster. It has always been my dream to one, be part of a championship team and two, work in professional baseball. The Growlers organization gave me the chance to stand there with a championship T-Shirt last August and now I am fortunate enough to be given this opportunity to join the professional ranks in Bradenton. From day one, sitting on the porch of my intern house last year in Kalamazoo I knew that the city, organization, and team itself were going to be special. We went from walking it off in the jug jerseys to sweeping the Pit Spitters and winning it all in such a short but memorable amount of time. I know that my future will have its ups and downs just like the unforgettable year we were lucky enough to spend together but if I learned one thing this summer… that is just baseball. Every fan, intern, staff member, and player did more to help me on this journey than I could have ever expected and there are so many people to thank.
Brian Colopy from day one believed in me and allowed me to be the creative and passionate person I am every single night and to have his support in this next step for me means the world. Dean Thomas and Evan Brown work their tails off behind the scenes to make every intern better, and the work they do on the media side of things goes unnoticed too often. I will forever be indebted to them for what they did for me and so many others. Coach Piechocki taught me more about baseball than I could have ever hoped to learn. The lessons of professionalism that he spent months trying to teach me are a big reason I was able to grow the way I did in the Zoo… and trust me, it wasn’t always easy for him. The boys on the team were my family from Kokomo to Duluth and everywhere in between and I hope to see them in pro ball with me soon. To the fellow interns that I laughed, cried, wrapped hot dogs with, and spent WAY too many hours at Homer Stryker with, you know we are always going to be connected by the summer we spent together.
Finally the fans, never in my wildest dreams did I think people would be making signs saying “Welcome home to the best broadcaster in the Northwoods League”. So many times this summer I sat in the press box and looked out at a sea of Growlers faithful, whether it was an 11 am game against Kokomo or a Saturday night sellout against little brother from Battle Creek, it always felt like the most important game in the world because of you.
I will always love Kalamazoo and the Growlers with all my heart and it hurts to go, but I know this team and organization is only at the beginning of its journey and I cannot wait to follow along. Roll Damn Growl
Come on baby yeah,
The Growlers organization is extremely proud of Ben and wishes him all the best. “Ben was a large part of helping us bring home our first championship in team history,” said Dean Thomas, the Director of Media & Entertainment with the team. “Ben was not only an incredible broadcaster for us but a great person as well. While we are sad to see him go, we are extremely proud of him and know big things are in store for his career.”
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 29th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff, 300 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com and on ESPN+. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.