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Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for August 11, 2020

Ballpark Digest squareJesse Goldberg-StrasslerMick Gillispie and Kevin Reichard discuss a new Knoxville ballpark for the Tennessee Smokies, the current state of college football, and Red Barber’s use of the term pea patch on this week’s Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat.

In this week’s chat:

  • Mick and Kevin discuss plans for a new Knoxville ballpark for the Tennessee Smokies, where Mick is the broadcaster. The plan calls for new ballpark near downtown Knoxville, not far from the old Bill Meyer Stadium location. Mick discusses the location of the proposed ballpark and expresses great enthusiasm for the plan. Kevin discusses the paucity of new ballpark projects planned for coming years
  • Jesse brings up Sahlen Field, home of the International League’s Buffalo Bisons, pressed into service as the temporary home of the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the first time major-league baseball has been played in Buffalo since 1915’s Federal League team
  • Kevin then goes off on a huge tangent about the Federal League and ends up discussing Wrigley Field, one of two major impacts from Buffalo’s outlaw league (the other: MLB’s antitrust exemption)
  • Mick brings up COVID-19 issues facing Major League Baseball, softens his opposition to seven-inning doubleheaders and expresses optimism about MLB finishing the season despite issues with the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Mick raises the current issues with college football: will they play or not? Seems like no one has a handle on exactly what’s going on with the Power-5 conferences and where they stand
  • College football could be played if universities committed to player bubbles, but it appears they don’t have the will to do so
  • Jesse points out the ripple effects of the college season being postponed: support staff, administrators and broadcasters all being out of work
  • More layoffs among Minor League Baseball teams; the cuts now appear to be hitting bone as teams with lean front offices are letting people go
  • Mick decries how college football has evolved into a big-buck industry and seeks a return to a time when college football was more about college and less about football; if athletes want to play pro football, they should be allowed—although the NFL has made it clear it does not want to develop younger players
  • Is there room for a development league for younger players who want to turn pro but aren’t physically ready for the NFL? Enter the XFL, perfectly situated as a springtime development league and viable as a regional offering
  • Jesse points out how the NCAA has been lacking in guidance as conferences debate the 2020 football season, but the NCAA doesn’t really have a lot of power when compared to Power-5 conference commissioners, university presidents and the FBS
  • Mick says we are getting too far away from the amateur roots of college football
  • Today’s Baseball Thesaurus term: pea patch, a phrase used often by the legendary Red Barber. This led to a discussion of broadcaster styles evolving from the rural twang of Barber and Ernie Harwell to the more urbane deliveries of Vin Scully and Jon Miller
  • A shout out to Jason Benetti, who has sounded great this season as the voice of the White Sox

Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and the author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus from August PublicationsMick Gillispie is the Voice of the Tennessee Smokies and a spring-training Voice of the Chicago Cubs. Kevin Reichard is publisher at August Publications and Ballpark Digest.

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