From coast to coast, their voices heard through car speakers and porch radios, talented baseball radio broadcasters paint the picture from the ballpark throughout the spring and summer nights. Our choice for 2013 Broadcaster of the Year: John Sadak, voice of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League).
A native of New York City, Sadak ascended to the International League this past season, becoming the third radio voice in the history of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise.
“Talk about a commanding presence on the airwaves,” said Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard. “John is the ultimate professional in calling a game: he tells a great story and is always compelling in his descriptions of the action.”
“John calls the game with such smoothness and such eloquent detail,” said RailRiders President and General Manager Rob Crain. “Going through the hiring process, John separated himself with his detailed description of the game without speaking too much. He was fluid, he was descriptive, he spoke to the listeners as they were having a casual conversation over coffee.”
Sadak had previously worked for the New York Yankees, Lakewood BlueClaws, and, most recently, as the Voice of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, where he was named the 2012 Carolina League Broadcaster of the Year and twice awarded Delaware Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association.
In addition to his baseball work, Sadak also handles broadcasts for WestwoodOne, CBS Sports, and ESPN.
“What a surprise and what an honor,” said Sadak. “I offer my sincere thanks to Kevin Reichard and Ballpark Digest. This humbling award in a field full of tremendous talent marks the exclamation point to a fantastic year. My incredibly supportive wife Colleen and I welcomed our first baby into the world the same day I was offered the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre job. It appears our beautiful little Claire brought abundant luck along with her that has stretched beyond that October morning. None of this would have been possible without my family’s loving support.
“And many thanks to my boss and friend with the RailRiders, Rob Crain, for giving me the opportunity to call Triple-A baseball, along with my former boss with the New York Yankees, Mike Bonner, for seeing something in me years ago and all of his help since.”
In an industry full of talent, it’s not easy to single out a winner when so many voices are worthy of attention. Our runner-up this year: Sean Aronson, the voice of the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association). One of the hardest-working people in the game of baseball, Aronson not only calls the game in a highly professional manner, he also handles all media duties for the team and sells during the offseason. People who know him only through Saints media broadcasts don’t really know how essential he is to the franchise.
There were a number of broadcasters who merit honorable mention: Mike Curto of the Tacoma Rainiers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Mike Couzens of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low Class A; Midwest League), Craig Deas of the Lake County Captains (Low Class A; Midwest League); Mick Gillispie of the Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League), Tim Poszgai of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (short season A; NY-Penn League); and Tim Calderwood of the Schaumburg Boomers (independent; Frontier League). (No, we’re not leaving Jesse Goldberg-Strassler off this list: as a Ballpark Digest contributor in the offseason, it would be unseemly to honor him with this award.) This is annually the most hotly contested Ballpark Digest annual award.
ABOUT THE BALLPARK DIGEST AWARDS
Each year Ballpark Digest honors noteworthy accomplishments in the baseball world, whether it be Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, independent baseball, summer-collegiate baseball or college baseball. Readers are asked to submit nominations for awards in specific categories; Ballpark Digest editors then go though the submissions (numbering some 300 pages of documentation last year). The awards cover both individual accomplishments as well as team accomplishments. This is the fifth season for the Ballpark Digest Awards. A complete listing of Ballpark Digest Awards can be found at ballparkdigest.com/awards.
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