Every summer, teams across the Northwoods League give aspiring broadcasters a platform to showcase their talent in hopes of landing a full-time job in the field in the coming years.
For current Kenosha Kingfish broadcasting intern James Stanley, Kenosha is a stepping stone to pursue a career he has been fascinated with since he was a child.
“Where (my passion for broadcasting) really all began was, growing up, my grandpa was a TV and radio repairman, and he had this shop that was the size of a closet that he worked in out of his home. I always enjoyed going in there and listening to Kansas City Royals games while he worked on stuff, and just getting really fascinated with all of the equipment,” Stanley said.
Stanley hopes to get a job broadcasting baseball full time after he graduates next spring, and he believes the grind of a 72-game schedule over 76 days will help prepare him for it.
“My end goal is to get a job next year, hopefully in Minor League Baseball. I know there are some guys that move around in the Northwoods League, so I would also welcome that as a possibility. Other than that, I want to get a job with either (an NCAA) Division II or Division III college for the fall, winter and spring and then do Minor League Baseball in the summer,” Stanley said.
There has been a learning curve, though. Stanley was forced to sit out for a week earlier this summer after contracting laryngitis from talking so much over the air.
“I’ve done other things in (summer) collegiate wood bat (leagues) before, but nothing has been this intense,” Stanley said.
Even so, there have been benefits to the fast-paced schedule.
“Here, having a game every day almost, I’m able to make adjustments game by game, and I have done that before, but not to the same degree.”
And though the schedule is overwhelming at times, Stanley believes the heavy workload will not cause him to burnout.
“If you embrace it head on and you enjoy doing it, it won’t ever feel like work,” Stanley said.
A student of the profession, Stanley looks up to a few broadcasters, and he tries to incorporate pieces of them in many of his broadcasts.
“What I like doing is emulating certain calls from certain broadcasters and then emulating the way that they prepare for the game,” Stanley said. “You don’t want to be a poor man’s version of a Vin Scully or an Ernie Harwell, but you do want to take certain qualities of what they do and build off of those.”
As a storyteller, one of the most intriguing things for Stanley about the internship has been interacting with Kingfish manager and 14-year major league veteran Duffy Dyer.
“(Talking with Dyer) has been like having a living and talking Wikipedia you can just ask questions to and get some great stories like one about him and (longtime Brewers radio broadcaster) Bob Uecker going down to Lake Michigan and fishing,” Stanley said.
Stanley credits a lot of the successes he has experienced this summer to Kenosha’s broadcast producer, Jon Quinn, who he says has helped ease the transition from calling a few games a month at the University of Missouri to calling seven games most weeks.
“Things would not be going so smoothly if it were not for the work of producer Jon Quinn. He is the oil that keeps the machine going,” Stanley said.
Fans can listen to Stanley’s television broadcasts during home games on the Northwoods League Baseball Network and his radio broadcasts on the road on the Kenosha Kingfish Radio Network Facebook page. Both links are available on the Kingfish website under the “Listen” tab.