We have a new position for Donny Baarns, as the veteran broadcaster is leaving the Visalia Rawhide (High A; California League) and joining Mark Nasser in the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) broadcast booth.
Baarns will also host the on-camera StormChasers Live pregame show before each home game at Werner Park.
Baarns joined Visalia in 2008 as the #2 broadcaster, before assuming the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations role in 2009. In 2012, he was recognized with Ballpark Digest’s national Minor League Broadcaster of the Year Award. He provided play-by-play for select spring-training games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012, and will return to Arizona this week for his third year of calling all Oakland A’s Spring Training webcasts.
The Los Angeles native also worked to research and compile the rich history of Visalia’s baseball tradition. Baarns’ efforts included the publishing of Goshen and Giddings: 65 Years of Visalia Professional Baseball, and multiple historical displays around Rawhide Ballpark. He also oversaw the founding of the Visalia Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, which has seen 18 inductees immortalized on full-scale bronze plaques on the park’s Hall of Fame Wall, with more to follow.
“I’m extremely honored and excited to join the StormChasers, who have established themselves as one of the premier franchises in Minor League Baseball. But I’m also sad to leave this wonderful city, this unique ballpark, and the close-knit Rawhide family that we’ve built here,” Baarns said. “I’m so proud to have been a small part of this club’s resurgence over the past decade, and so grateful to our owner, Tom Seidler, and our General Manager, Jennifer Pendergraft, for the opportunity they’ve given me to build a career in baseball.
“Wherever I go, I will always consider myself a Visalian,” Baarns continued, “and I will still care passionately about this ballclub and this town. I know that there are many more great things ahead for the Rawhide, and I’m looking forward to being a fan for life.”
“Donny was the right guy at the right time for us, as a broadcaster and historian,” said Rawhide President and Managing Partner Tom Seidler. “He invested hundreds of hours to bring to life the rich history of professional baseball in Visalia. He developed into one of the top young broadcasters in professional baseball, always representing Visalia and the Rawhide with class. I’m proud to see him move up the ladder to AAA, and I have no doubt that the Major Leagues will follow.”