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Better Know A Broadcaster: Trey Wilson

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?

Emory Earl Wilson III. But you can call me Trey.

Which Team Do You Work For?

Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants

Which Other Baseball Teams Have You Broadcasted For?

Bluefield College (Go Rams), Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie-level, Blue Jays), Lansing Lugnuts (low Class A, Toronto), Altoona Curve (Double-A, Pirates)

What Other Sports Have You Broadcasted?

Basketball, football, volleyball and a couple unsuccessful attempts at soccer.

Who Is Your Favorite MLB Broadcaster Of All Time?

As people, Greg Brown and Joe Block from the Pittsburgh Pirates. They were incredibly gracious with their time and kindness in the years I was working for Altoona. As far as stylistic influence goes, I listened to a lot of Jim Powell from the Atlanta Braves prior to doing this professionally, and I can feel a lot of his influence in my work.

Where Is Your Favorite Road City?

It used to be Richmond, but I liked it so much, I moved here. I really enjoy our trips to Bowie because we stay in Annapolis, Md. That’s one of my favorite places to go during the summer. I always try to take in some of the historic sights, tour the Naval Academy, eat some incredible food and get out of a boat in the river if time allows.

What Is Your Career Highlight?

Professionally, it was getting to call Altoona’s Eastern League championship run in 2017. The pitching staff, anchored by Mitch Keller, was unreal and they swept through the entire playoffs. And it was a team filled with some really high-quality people.

On a personal level, calling my first game as the so-called “Voice of the Richmond Flying Squirrels” in 2019 was the realization of a life goal, getting to come back to my home state and settle into a role that I hope I’ll be in for many years to come.

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

Working around this game often has so little to actually do with baseball, and it can take a toll on the inner fandom that led most of us to doing this in the first place.

The hours put into things that are kind-of, sort-of, a little bit baseball related—coordinating team travel, website management, public and media relations work, marketing work, graphic design, video editing, social media, writing, managing radio sponsorship—can all add up, and there are plenty of times during the season where I might log 100 or more hours working in a week. This is by no means a complaint. I’m fortunate to have a full-time job doing what I enjoy and doing it for a great organization.

But there’s a lot of cynicism that can settle in if you’re not careful. I try to combat it by stepping out of the booth every once in a while during a game. About once a week while my partner is handling the play-by-play duties, usually on the road, I’ll head down into the stands somewhere and watch about one inning of a game.

There are so many things we don’t see or forget about while we are upstairs in the booth that get drowned out by the sounds of 8,000 people and the never-ending ramble of your own voice: The player tossing a ball to a kid in the first row as he jogs to the dugout after the third out, the things a heckling fan says to an on-deck batter, the conversation in the row behind you where a know-it-all baseball guy is inaccurately describing the game to his group of friends (“I can’t believe they didn’t put a bunt down there. The manager is a bum!”), the smell of the burgers and other sights and sounds.

There’s no way we can be a relatable, common-man type of broadcaster if we can’t understand the mind of the casual fans in our audience.

What's Your Best Story From The Road?

Let’s go back to July 2018 when I was with Altoona. In my opinion, July is the toughest month of the season mentally and physically. You’re pretty deep into the schedule and it feels like you probably haven’t had a day off in a month (and sometimes that might be a fact), but you’re still a long way from the end. This particular story is about a handful of days where it felt like just about everything that could go wrong went wrong. This is a story people inside the industry might appreciate.

After a rainout, we had a Sunday evening doubleheader in Reading with a six-hour bus ride to Akron afterward. In the first game, Altoona went into the last inning with a 4-0 lead. Reading fought back for three runs and put runners on first and second with two outs. The pitcher worked a two-strike count. And then it started to rain. Two outs, two strikes in the last inning, and the umpire called for the tarp. We went into a delay that lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

The way our radio setup worked at the time in Altoona, we had to stay on the air through rain delays if possible. So Garett Mansfield—my partner who was in the studio that night—and I covered more than two and a half hours of what I’m sure was very high-quality radio (We filled it with some old interviews and a Twitter Q&A with fans). We finally resumed play.

First pitch: base hit to center field. The game was tied. And we headed to extras. Reading eventually ended up winning and then we had a second game to play. But it kept raining. We sat in a delay for a while before they eventually canceled the game. Ninety minutes or so later, the team boarded the bus and hit the road for Akron with a 6 a.m. ETA.

Rather than riding with the team to Akron, I hopped in with a friend, rode back to Altoona and finished the drive to Akron later the next day. That night, Altoona and Akron were scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch. But it rained. And the start of the game was delayed for almost two hours. They started the game, Altoona went up 4-1 through five innings and it started to rain. Again. And we went into a delay. Again. This delay lasted about two hours and 30 minutes. (I actually left at one point to run down the street and grab some cookies). The game resumed at 11:15 and finished up at about 12:30 with a 7-1 Altoona win.

The next night, there was a delay early in the game because the home plate umpire was injured after being hit by a foul tip. As everyone saw during the ALCS last fall, that can be a lengthy delay. Later that night in the eighth inning with Altoona leading 8-2, the power went out across downtown Akron and Canal Park went dark. We sat in a delay for about a half hour, which I spent rambling on the radio from my cell phone. They eventually suspended the game to finish the next day.

After the game as I was leaving the park, my truck had a really bad vibration in it. So I pulled off in a parking lot somewhere in Akron to check it out. I had just bought the truck, and apparently when they took the wheels off during inspection, they didn’t tighten the lugnuts all the way. So I had to call a tow truck, he showed up 90 minutes later and I paid the guy $50 just for me to use his own tire iron to tighten them. I went on my way and got back to the hotel around 1 a.m.

We closed out the road trip the following afternoon with a completion game and the day’s regularly scheduled nine innings. On the way back to Altoona, I took a detour up to Cleveland and watched Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit play a show. I felt like I needed it after that stretch of days. I actually ended up sitting next to then-Cleveland pitcher Andrew Miller, who had pitched on a rehab assignment in the power-outage game in Akron the night before. Small world.

When all was said and done, it was one of the most memorable road trips I’ve been a part of.


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