Better Know A Broadcaster: Jason Kempf
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?
Which Team Do You Work For?
Charleston RiverDogs, low Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees
Which Other Baseball Teams Have You Broadcasted For?
St. Paul Saints (Independent - American Association), Wichita Wingnuts (formerly Independent - American Association), Dayton Dragons (low Class A, Reds) and Quad Cities River Bandits (low Class A, Astros)
What Other Sports Have You Broadcasted?
Football, Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer
Who Is Your Favorite MLB Broadcaster Of All Time?
Where Is Your Favorite Road City?
Quebec City, Canada (Independent) Lansing, Michigan (Affiliated)
What Is Your Career Highlight?
In 2019, while with Quad Cities, we had the opportunity to play the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. I grew up in small-town Wisconsin and had attended countless games at Miller Park throughout the years, but there was something about getting the chance to work in that press box for a game that made it a surreal experience. Toss in the fact that the game occurred in the middle of our two month season-opening road trip made necessary by the flooding of the Mississippi River and it is a day I will never forget.
What Unseen Parts Of The Job Do You Feel People Should Know About?
There is so much more than just hopping on the air at 7:00 p.m. and calling a baseball game. Some of the other responsibilities include: Compiling, printing and distributing rosters, stat packs, game notes and press releases. Coordinating all interview requests for the coaches and players. For new player arrivals—adjusting the roster, coordinating travel from the airport and hotel/housing arrangements, making sure the player has a headshot for the video board that night and adding it to the team website. Managing the website and social media pages. Pulling tarp. Selling radio advertising slots, tickets and corporate sponsorships. Occasionally donning the mascot suit to play broom ball after the first period of the local team's hockey game.
What's Your Best Story From The Road?
In 2018, the Quad Cities River Bandits had a game postponed by rain on the road in Beloit, Wis. The game was called relatively early in the night so the coaching staff invited me to play basketball with them at the YMCA.
After taking the rest of the team to the hotel, our bus driver, Bob, dropped the five of us at the Y. We tell him that he doesn't need to wait up for us, we will take an Uber back to the hotel. After playing a two-hour, hotly contested game of 21, we head to the Mexican restaurant across the street for dinner.
Now we simply need to call an Uber to get us back to the hotel. Only one problem ... there are apparently no Uber drivers in Beloit at 10:00 p.m. on a weeknight. We are four miles from the hotel so it's too far to walk at this point in the evening. Our pitching coach calls a local cab company and is told that it will take two trips and each trip will likely cost over $100. Seeing the need for urgent action, our hitting coach begins yelling at the cars who are stopped at the nearest intersection to see if they will give us a ride. Needless to say, that didn't go so well and probably scared a few residents of the city.
At this point we are desperate. We notice that the restaurant we just finished dining at is closed and the staff is beginning to leave. Our development coach walks over and asks our waitress if she would mind shuttling us back. Somehow she agrees to do so, but admits that her vehicle is probably not large enough for five adult males. I realized where this was heading and promptly hopped into the tiny trunk area of this vehicle for the trip back to the Rodeway Inn.
To answer the question everyone is asking ... our manager Mickey Storey won the game of 21.
Hat tip to Mickey, who arrived to his office in a road ballpark that season only to discover a live opossum waiting for him under his desk.