We have personnel news to report from the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) and the Walla Walla Sweets (summer collegiate; West Coast League).
The Rafters have named Matt Steinmetz as their new Assistant General Manager.
“Matt comes to us with a wide array of experiences, having been an intern in the Northwoods League to working for the Brewers and Bucks,” said Rafters general manager John Fanta. “I look forward to having him meet all of our fans and contribute a new perspective to our continued success.”
Since 2014, Steinmetz has interned for multiple sports organizations including the Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Blizzard, and Green Bay Bullfrogs (summer collegiate; Northwoods League). His other experiences include stints with the Milwaukee Admirals and Milwaukee Brewers. Most recently, he was a part of the Brewers Grounds Staff while working towards his Master’s degree. Steinmetz will work with Rafters season ticket package holders and businesses to find entertainment and group outing solutions and will also oversee game day operations at Witter Field.
Steinmetz began his career in baseball as an intern with Green Bay Bullfrogs in 2015. He received his Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from St. Norbert College in 2015 and his Master’s in Sports Business Management from Cardinal Stritch in 2017. Matt is a native of Boyd, Wisconsin.
“This organization has been very successful the past few seasons and I look forward to doing my part to continue that,” Steinmetz said. “I am excited to help bring a high-quality product to Rafters fans and hopefully another Championship.”
In Walla Walla, Brandon Pavlina has been named the Sweets new play-by-play broadcaster and media relations manager for the 2018 season.
“This is an amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to become a part of #SweetsCountry and the Walla Walla community,” Pavlina said. “I am really looking forward to engaging with the fan base leading up to the season and putting together the most fun and insightful broadcast the Sweets have ever had.”
The 24-year-old is from Dyer, Indiana, located in the Northwest tip of the state just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in the spring of 2017 with a degree in sports communication and a minor in telecommunications.
“He comes from a strong program, and we look to add him to the list of broadcasters who have started their careers in the Borleske Stadium Press Box,” said Sweets president Zachary Fraser.
Pavlina has spent a great deal of his life involved with the game of baseball. He was a four-year letter winner in baseball while attending Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana and won two 3A state championships during his tenure.
After his playing career concluded, Pavlina knew he still wanted to be involved with the game he loved. He joined the Big Ten Student U program at Indiana University and had the opportunity to broadcast several different IU athletics and a great deal of baseball games.
Pavlina has also remained involved with the game but on the officiating side of the diamond. During the summers that he spent home in Northwest Indiana, he has umpired several hundred travel ball games at all ages, ranging from Little League all the way up through high school.
“Umpiring has offered me an incredibly unique perspective on the game that I honestly wish I had while I was still playing,” Pavlina said. “When you are a young and naïve ball player, you may argue and disagree with calls, but when the shoe is on the other foot and you are the one making the calls, you understand that the umpires are trying their very best and how difficult the job truly is.”
Pavlina spent the summer of 2016 interning with ESPN 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. He worked alongside The Dan Dakich Show and The Ride with JMV assisting the producers with their daily functions.
He currently works for the Regional Radio Sports Network, based out of Mishawaka, Indiana, broadcasting high school and college athletics all across Indiana. To this point with RRSN he has called football, soccer, basketball and volleyball games with the expectation to add baseball and softball in the spring.