Better Know A Broadcaster: Alex Freedman

With baseball paused for the foreseeable future, Baseball America has decided to introduce you to some of the men and women who work as broadcasters for each club.

What Is Your Name?

Alex Freedman

Which Team Do You Work For?

Oklahoma City Dodgers (previously known as the Oklahoma City RedHawks through 2014)

Which Other Baseball Teams Have You Broadcasted For?

High Desert Mavericks (2007-10), various college teams on a fill-in basis

What Other Sports Have You Broadcasted?

Basketball, football, hockey, volleyball

Who Is Your Favorite MLB Broadcaster Of All Time?

I’m hesitant to use the GOAT (or FOAT) label, but I will share who four of my favorite current broadcasters are. Dan Shulman is simply masterful, and I don’t think he gets the notoriety that he should. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t do as many nationally televised games as he used to, but when he does ESPN Radio during the playoffs, it’s truly appointment listening.

Tom Hamilton is someone I have really grown to admire over the last several years. I think our styles slightly mirror each other, although I definitely don’t have his vocal range. He does a great job creating drama, and while some might say he gets overexcited, baseball and sports should be exciting!

Bob Carpenter did the majority of the Cardinals TV broadcasts when I was growing up, so I’m also fond of him. He still does a great job with the Nationals and he makes it seem effortless. His “See…you…later!” home run call is succinct and memorable.

The broadcaster I listen to the most these days is Joe Davis. I’m not breaking any news here, but Joe is a stud and will likely be calling the World Series one day. It shouldn’t be legal to be that talented. We have a bit of a relationship due to the Dodgers, and although it’s cliché to say, he is a better person than broadcaster.

Where Is Your Favorite Road City?

If we’re just evaluating the city, it’s Nashville, but from an all-around experience, it’s Memphis. The ballpark and broadcast booth are great, and we stay within walking distance of the field. (This is highly valued by players and staff members alike.) The food options are plentiful from BBQ and beyond, both in the immediate vicinity or a short Uber ride away. And if hanging out on Beale Street is your thing, it’s right there.

Special honorable mention to Des Moines—the official “sleeper city” of the PCL.

What Is Your Career Highlight?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one, so I’m going to list a few. Over 12 seasons working in minor league baseball, I’ve seen plenty of players on major league rehab Assignments, but one clearly stands out above the rest: August 26, 2017—the night Clayton Kershaw pitched at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

There was a buzz in the stadium from the instant the gates opened, and the official attendance was 13,106—the largest crowd since the ballpark’s inaugural season in 1998. It was kind of surreal how quiet the stadium was when Kershaw was pitching. It wasn’t due to lack of enthusiasm, but rather everyone being so focused and dialed in to watch one of the greats perform in their local ballpark.

Sept. 1, 2015 is another day that sticks out. OKC and Iowa played a doubleheader that day with major division title implications at stake. The first game went 19 innings and ended with a walk-off home run by Buck Britton. The Dodgers came back late to win the second game, thanks to a big two-run double by Corey Seager. The first pitch of Game 1 was at 4:35 p.m. and Game 2 wrapped up just shy of 1 a.m.

The end of the 2018 season is something I’ll likely never experience again.

Due to a series of rainouts and inclement weather in Colorado Springs, it set up a scenario in which the OKC Dodgers had to win four games in two days to win the division. A loss in any one of them meant the team would not advance to the playoffs. It was like a college baseball, but in Triple-A. Somehow, the team pulled it off. With each passing inning, it was hard to believe what was unfolding.

In 2014, when our team was affiliated with the Astros, I was given the opportunity to broadcast a couple of spring training games in Kissimmee, Fla. It was the first time I was part of a major league broadcast, and I’m thankful the Astros’ radio team afforded me that chance.

From a non-broadcasting perspective, a career highlight took place in the fall and early winter of 2014.

We underwent an ownership/affiliation change with the Los Angeles Dodgers in September and were tasked with doing a complete team rebrand in about three months in order to transition from the RedHawks to the Dodgers. Anyone who’s been part of a rebrand in a sports or non-sports capacity knows that is an extremely short timeframe to get everything done. The unveil/press conference took place Dec. 3, 2014 and it went better than we could have possibly imagined. It was a massive undertaking for everyone involved and there was a huge sense of accomplishment once it was finished. 

What Unseen Parts Of The Job Do You Feel People Should Know About?

I’m sure I’m going to echo most of the sentiments my colleagues have previously shared in this space. In the minor leagues, odds are high broadcasting is one of the many portions of your job.

For some, it’s sales. For others, it’s coordinating travel. For those like me, it’s also overseeing communications in both the baseball and non-baseball areas of the business. There are going to be games you might not feel as prepared as you would ideally like to be because other parts of your job took precedence that day. Things are always subject to change instantly—ranging from roster transactions to weather to logistics—and you have to be able to make adjustments in corresponding fashion.

If this is a job you want to do, you’re going to have to be prepared to make sacrifices in other aspects of life “normal” people are able to enjoy. It can have big impacts on your personal relationships and family life. Some of my counterparts in the business have young children, and I have no idea how they balance being a parent on top of working crazy hours six months out of the year. If you live on your own, it’s even hard to take adequate care of pets. (I have been able to foster a dog during the quarantine.)

Finally, although this isn’t part of my job, there is one last point I’d like to make regarding minor league baseball to share with others: With the travel and packed schedule involved, it’s hard enough for me to even talk some days, but I’m not the one who has to step into a batter’s box and face 95 mph fastballs or be precise with command of pitches under those circumstances. These guys are immensely talented and there is so much that goes on behind the scenes each day to get prepared physically and mentally for each game.

What’s Your Best Story From The Road?

Brevity is not my strong suit, so I’ll name a few. (And I’m probably forgetting others.)

In 2009 when I was with High Desert, there was a crazy four-game series in Stockton that started with the series opener going 21 innings spread out over two days. Each of the first three days of the series were impacted by curfew and/or finishing up suspended games, so we didn’t get back to “normal” until the final game.

Our team ended up sweeping the series and then we boarded the bus to continue the road trip in Visalia. Maybe about an hour into the drive the bus stops at a gas station. The pitching coach, Jaime Navarro, stands up and points at five guys to come with him and says no one else should get off the bus. Each guy came back to the bus carrying 2-3 cases of beer all bought by Jaime. He said there were two conditions: everyone had to clean up after themselves and everyone had to be quiet once we got to the hotel in Visalia.

In 2013, we were supposed to fly from OKC to Sacramento. Due to bad weather, our flight was canceled and the team had to bus to Dallas and then split into different flights throughout the day. The flight I was on just happened to also have Sacramento’s mayor at the time, Kevin Johnson, who was coming from a meeting where he had solidified the Kings’ future in Sacramento.

After we landed, there was a huge media hoard waiting outside of security. We joked they were all there for us ahead of the highly anticipated RedHawks-River Cats series.

This past season,  we were busing back to OKC from San Antonio. Whenever we are busing through Texas, it’s a given we’re stopping a Buc-ee’s at some point. So there we were on a Sunday night around 10-11 p.m. at a Buc-ee’s in the town of Temple, Texas.

As I’m walking back toward the bus, I noticed a police car was slowly driving along side of me. I look around and more police cars are converging near a U-Haul and another car parked next to our busses. Next thing I know, officers are hopping out of the cars with guns drawn and yelling orders at the drivers of the U-Haul and the other car. One officer even had an automatic rifle with a scope and was using the nose of one of our busses as a shield.

The U-Haul driver took off on foot and a few officers pursued him into the night. Those who were in the other car eventually came out and were detained. After about 15 minutes we were told we could leave. The next day I went to the local newspaper’s website but I couldn’t find any information. To this day, I still have no idea what happened. My guess is the U-Haul or the contents of the U-Haul were stolen. 

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