Ballpark Digest, the highly regarded everything baseball website recently announced their annual ‘Broadcast of the Year’ award. This year Mick Gillispie received honorable mention for the third time in as many years.
When all levels of minor league baseball are taken into consideration, there are a host of broadcasters who can be potential candidates for the award. To be mentioned by Ballpark Digest for this honor is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Gillispie said, “I thought John was very deserving and a great choice but its also flattering to be recognized even if you don’t win. I’m glad it highlights the hard work of our staff and the hours we put in on a daily basis .”
John Sadak of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders was the 2013 winner after receiving honorable mention the previous three years. He was awarded based on his excellent on-air work and strong professionalism.
“The broadcaster award is the most competitive one in terms of talent that we need to consider so we take it very seriously,” Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichart said. “I think it’s pretty much given that anyone we mention in there is considered an upper echelon broadcaster.”
The publication accepts open nominations for the award every year, and keeps track of broadcasters who they feel are noteworthy.
“It’s a sort of an award where you can’t put something objective on it. It comes down to who we like,” Reichart said. “Unfortunately it’s not like we can sit down with a scorecard and add things up.”
Then after the season is over they bring in a panel of broadcasters to go over each candidate and select a winner as well as a runner up, and some people worthy of honorable mention.
“There’s other awards that are presented that you’re selected because you haven’t won before, rather than the content consistency and the excellence of your work,” Tennessee Smokies Broadcaster Mick Gillispie said. “When you have people voting on the quality of the work, and they base it off of experiences they’ve had, it makes it a much more legitimate award.”
Reichart said the phrase “hard work” is exactly what the award is for, explaining that any broadcaster can simply call the game, it’s all of the extra effort and standard they hold themselves to that make our candidates great.
Reichart said, “Mick works extremely hard not only to call the games, but to do everything else that his team does, and that’s what makes him stand out.”
The Smokies Radio Network broadcasts a Major League Baseball style pre/post game show to compliment the baseball play-by-play broadcast. They also have a video department which partners with CSN-Chicago and WGN-America to show their interviews and packages. Shows like “The Process” and “The Managers Report” were among the produced content exclusively available to Smokies digital media. Beat-writers assigned to cover both the home and road clubhouses post daily content including in-depth features.
Hard work takes many forms and can be perceived by different people in various ways. To those who vote on the award it’s all of the different mediums that Gillispie and his staff work to produce content for, but for the players it’s something completely different.
“He gets to know his players, if anything he is supportive, and you don’t see that many times from your broadcasting or radio guy,” Smokies Pitcher Dallas Beeler said. “You can tell him things, your comfortable talking to him. You can actually talk to him like a really person.”
The relationship that Gillispie fosters with every player to cross his path in a Smokies uniform is only one part of what allows his broadcasts to be worthy of this honor. Another integral part is his staff.
“I’m proud of not just my work ethic, but the work ethic of my staff. We feel that we are the best in Minor league baseball,” Gillispie said. “I couldn’t do it without them, plain and simple.”