Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Sports communication major Nathan Nunez ’19 walked into his office for the first time and stared out the window in awe of his good fortune. Having followed El Paso’s minor league teams as a child, he one day hoped to make the big leagues. If he didn’t make it as an athlete, the lifelong sport fan was determined to have a major league career in broadcasting.

This spring, he took his first step as a season-long intern for the Chihuahuas, a Class AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

“Once I saw a game, I decided I had to work for them,” Nunez said. “I would love to intern with any team, but the fact it’s my hometown team is a dream come true.”

Nunez knew his first season in the minors would be a realistic introduction to sports broadcasting. There would be long days, short nights and a never-ending list of things to do. Like the players’ journeys, it could be a long path to calling Game 7 of the World Series.

For a glimpse into the daily life of a minor league broadcaster, check Nunez’ home gameday routine: He compiles statistics for coaches in the morning, then spends the afternoon writing detailed game notes and developing content for the team’s website and local media. When he gets a break, it’s time to work on “Fear the Ears,” the Chihuahuas’ first podcast.

From the first pitch onward, Nunez tracks game action with the scorer, as his records become the official data used by statisticians, coaches and scouts. Following each game, he coordinates player interviews with media, and hopefully heads home shortly after 11 p.m.

“I now know what the grind is like,” he said. “It’s awesome that I get to watch baseball every day and get paid for it. There’s nothing better.”

One internship perk is the opportunity to work with the team’s radio voice, Tim Hagerty, whose game calls provided the background soundtrack to summer nights since 2014.

“I love learning from him,” Nunez said. “(Hagerty’s) been in the business for years, and his pursuit of perfection is something I will attempt to emulate as I head into my career.”

He could join his mentor behind the mic, if the season goes well. Should that happen, Nunez hopes it will be the first of many days in the booth, not a one-time cup-of-coffee experience.

“I’ve wanted to do that since middle school and never imagined that I’d have an opportunity like this.”

Photo provided by Jorge Salgado/El Paso Chihuahuas