Ever wonder what it is like to be a broadcaster for a lower level minor league team? That’s what this story from Paul Franklin for the Times of Trenton seeks to shine a light on as he speaks to the two young fellows who do the games on radio for the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate for the New York Yankees.
You might think that a broadcaster of a Double-A team might actually be able to make a living to some degree of comfort. That might be true of some broadcasters of some Double-A teams, but not for the Thunder’s radio team of Adam Giardino and Jon Mozes. They are young men in their twenties using this gig as a way-station along the roads of their respective careers, which comes through clearly in the piece, who is reproduced below. Alternately, you can read the piece on the original website at nj.com here.
Broadcast passion comes across loud and clear | Trenton Thunder
TRENTON – Days off are rare, if at all. From early April to early September, Adam Giardino and Jon Mozes are in the broadcast booth doing Trenton Thunder baseball games.
Some baseball fans probably feel they are off every day in a job like that.
Of course, there have been bus rides that would challenge such opinions; like when Giardino worked for the Lakewood BlueClaws and had a 12.5-hour trip to Kannapolis, N.C. Or for Mozes, when a trip from Winnipeg that began at 2 a.m. turned into a 16-hour ride when the bus broke down. An independent baseball team was heading to Gary, Ind., and wound up getting caught in Chicago’s evening rush hour.
Mozes, from Philadelphia, played the game into college and loved listening to Harry Kalas doing Phillies games on radio. Giardino’s parents painted a mural of the Green Monster in his bedroom, and even today when he returns home in the off-season he sleeps in a room painted like Fenway Park. Tupperware protects thousands of baseball cards in the basement.
Each was introduced to announcing as a direct result of their passion for sports; appropriately enough by teachers who happened to be good listeners.
“My high school teacher who was the girls’ basketball coach realized my passion for sports and told me I should take videos and do commentary of their games and submit it to the town-run TV station.”
He did, and that suggestion would pay dividends when Giardino enrolled at the University of Connecticut in 2007. Immediately contacting the student station on campus, WHUS, 91.3 FM, within a week he was doing men’s soccer.
Majoring in Journalism and Communications, he would eventually cover the men’s basketball team making a national championship run, as well as calling the Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma with a crowd of 60,000 keeping him fired up.
Mozes had a similar introduction to sports media when he was a freshman at the University of New Haven. The dorm Residence Assistant was also campus radio director, and after hearing Mozes talking sports, asked if he would be interested in doing color for the women’s basketball team: WNHU, 88.7 FM.
“I wasn’t sure of my career,” said Mozes, who majored in Sports Management. “By the time sophomore year was over it was pretty clear.”
Internships would follow throughout college; Mozes had stints with ESPN Radio (Hartford affiliate) and the 76ers. Giardino landed a summer job in Pawtucket; Boston’s Triple-A affiliate just outside of Providence.
Being in the right place at the right time can be as crucial as in any profession, and so it was when two weeks before Giardino graduated the media relations intern with the PawSox left. With no job prospects, the kid’s first paying job would be just 30 minutes from where he grew up.
Meanwhile, Mozes, a year behind Giardino, landed his first gig in Abilene, Texas, as an assistant broadcaster. Not all the games were played, however, as the league ran out of money.
“Was making $400 a month,” Mozes said with a smile.
Returning home, he dabbled in part-time opportunities; some Rider University women’s basketball, Montgomery (Pa.) County high school football and Gwynedd Mercy University men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Giardino would go from Pawtucket to Lakewood, and in 2012 flew to Nashville to work the room at Baseball’s Winter Meetings.
Making connections there would land Giardino the Thunder job in 2013, where he is now Broadcast/Media Relations Manager.
Mozes followed Giardino’s path to the Winter Meetings a year later in Orlando, and that in part led to him being hired part-time last year by the Thunder. When the No. 2 guy left in mid-season, Mozes stepped into the assistant’s position.
Giardino goes solo on road games, but the 71 home games are split over the air; one doing play-by-play and the other color.
“Harry Kalas,” Mozes said, meaning Phillies games on TV or radio.
Mercer County resident Tom McCarthy used to do Thunder radio and is now the TV play-by-play guy for the Phillies. The radio booth at ARM & HAMMER Park is named in McCarthy’s honor.
Giardino wants to return to his roots, doing radio at a Division I program for football and men’s basketball.
“I romanticize more with a job where you get to be excited when a school does well and accomplishes things. At ESPN you get to be excited about the game, but you don’t necessarily care who wins. They want the exciting outcome; the Hail Mary pass to always be caught, the half-court shot to always go in. I’d rather be tied to and emotionally invested in whatever school.”
Mozes agreed about coving a team as opposed to having a producer talk in your ear.
So by the nature of the business, they will continue to grab opportunities season by season, hoping eventually to grab the proverbial brass ring.
Mozes, one of three boys in the family (including a twin), will continue at Rider and Gwynedd, and do some public address announcing for the University of Pennsylvania; staying close to home for now. Giardino recently landed the play-by-play job for Dartmouth football, and in winter will handle color for Holy Cross men’s basketball in Worcester, Mass.; again close to home.
Giardino actually had a visit from his older brother, Sean, last week, a talented musician who stopped by to entertain fans by playing the organ at ARM & HAMMER Park for two nights during games. His full-time job is an engineer for the Long Island Rail Road.
“We have two jokes in the family,” Giardino. “One, my brother is the only guy who drives a train with a Master’s in Music Education. The second is that if you took a snapshot in our house 20 years ago, I’d be sitting there with my baseball cards and he’d be playing with his trains. Twenty years later it’s the exact, same, thing.”