Grow Your Tool Box: League Champions Resource

A couple of years ago, I consolidated past minor league champions and College World Series participants into a single excel file.

The lists stretch back to 1997, so they should cover the full career range of anyone playing minor league baseball today.

You are probably familiar with the recent champions of the league you are currently working in.  However, the PDFs below can help you identify players (and even managers and coaches) new to your league that have won championships in the past.

Similarly, we know schools like LSU, Stanford, and Texas make perennial trips to Omaha, but it’s unlikely we have all of their College World Series appearances committed to memory.

The lists are an easy way to improve your quality of information the next time a former Tiger, Cardinal, or Longhorn steps to the plate.  You can store them with your media guide and scorebook for quick access.

College World Series Participants (1997-Present)

Minor League Baseball Champions (1997-Present)

Independent League Champions (1997-Present)

Getting the Most Out of Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube

Today’s broadcasters are incredibly fortunate.

We have a wide array of resources at our disposal that can help us effectively prepare, most of which would have been unheard of as recently as 20 years ago.

If you are currently broadcasting in professional baseball, I encourage you to explore our recommended list.  Each resource can significantly improve the quality of information you can deliver to the listener.

Our preparation economy is limited, though, especially once the season is underway.

If you want to get the maximum return on the time you invest preparing for a broadcast, your two best options are Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube.

You are more than likely already familiar with Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube.  Our goal is to help you get the most out of each website and share some of the hacks I have learned over the last decade.

For simplicity, we will refer to Baseball-Reference as “BRef” and The Baseball Cube as “TBC” for the remainder of the post.

Both BRef and TBC provide biographical and statistical information for anyone who has ever played professional baseball.  I find BRef to be more user-friendly (fewer ads and crashes), but TBC has several unique features that you definitely want to take advantage of.

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See Every Play Through

Every one of us has jumped the gun.

We’ve all declared a runner was out, only to watch the shortstop’s throw sail past the first baseman.  We’ve all had to cut our home run call short after seeing the ball clank off the top of the fence.  It even happens in the Major Leagues.

When you jump the gun, it leads to a very jarring experience for the listener, especially when their only means of following the game is on the radio.  And when it happens, the listener has every right to question your credibility.

No broadcaster does this intentionally, of course, so what are the root causes?

  • You are “out in front” of the call because your speech pattern moved faster than the actual play developed.  This might happen from speaking too quickly, or because you started the call too soon.
  • The umpire may have a delayed signal, and you make the call on your own to avoid breaking your speech.
  • You hurry through the call to return to a supplemental topic you were discussing before the ball was put in play.
  • You assume the outcome because the outcome appears obvious.
  • You simply weren’t paying attention.

The last two are particularly inexcusable, but all of them are preventable by seeing each play through to completion.

You might do this more than you think, because most of the time you can get away with it.  It’s akin to not running hard out of the batter’s box.  No one really notices until a runner is thrown out at first, despite the infielder booting a groundball.

If you find yourself consistently ahead of the play, you can work on slowing down your speech pattern.  If you don’t want to change your pace, you can use the crack of the bat as a timing mechanism.  Start the call at contact, or implement a pause after contact to keep you “on time.”

As mentioned above, sometimes an umpire may have a delayed signal.  Under this circumstance, it’s okay to create a slight gap of dead air and then qualify after the fact with something along the lines of, “delayed call from Joe Smith at first base.”  The listener will understand, and calling the play in this manner is better than the alternative.

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