Luck or Skill? Wins Follow Lord Byrom

Terry Byrom, the voice of the Fort Wayne Wizards, has brought his shining armor to the organization. In his young career, Byrom has yet to broadcast for a team that has not made it to the playoffs -- great news for San Diego Padres affiliates. <br><br> "I am putting that on my resume," said Byrom. "I want everyone to know I am two for two right now."

Did we mention Wabash College football went undefeated during the regular season under the direction of Byrom in the broadcast booth? They only lost to a Rob Adamson led Mount Union team. Adamson was in Mini-Camp with the Chargers for those who forgot and Mt. Union only had a 40 game winning streak heading into that game and had won 94 of the last 95.

"We went to Mt. Union and got our lunch handed to us, which happens to most.

"In Ogden, we won the second half Championship. In Fort Wayne, we won the first half Championship."

Don't worry about the resume; Byrom is not slated to go anywhere just yet. He is in love with the league and the attention they give to radio. Of course, if he gets closer to the Majors, no one would deny him that chance.

"I don't think anybody who does this would not tell you they would like to get to the Big Leagues, just like the players, just like everyone else. Its not just broadcasters, it is managers, coaches, players. Everyone aspires to get as high as they can. I don't think any of us lose sight of the fact that we work in baseball every single day and whether it is Single A, Double A, or the Major Leagues, it is still baseball and still one heck of a lot of fun – a lot more fun than a lot of other things that we could be doing.

"No matter how tired I get, when I go up to my booth, whether it is at home or on the road, it all just goes away. It is just incredible to spend day after day, night after night, at a ballpark, and around the batting cage and clubhouse, up in the radio booth and get to tell the story of the game. I love that."

His baseball-broadcasting career began just two short years ago. His break came in Ogden, a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate, in the short season Pioneer League.

The Ogden Raptors are about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City and in 2002 it was the place Byrom honed his swordplay on the air. He also got to see some traditional hockey towns along the way.

"We played in Canada – Medicine Hat. Medicine Hat was a neat place to be in, especially for us, because there were places open after the game, which is always how anyone associated with traveling views a town – what's open to eat. And in Medicine Hat a lot of stuff was open.

"The Pioneer League is short season, I hoped like heck not to go back there."

Settle down Ogden fans…it has nothing to do with your town.

"Although I loved Ogden, I loved the people there, it was a great place to break in. They have a great park there. I was able to just learn."

Byrom is now in a full season league and gets to duel quite a bit longer than he did in 2003. With the season being longer, the reward is more exposure over the airwaves. The experiences along the way have been invaluable, but if the dream were the Majors, going back to short season would be akin to being stripped of his Lordship.

"And for me personally, Prince Fielder was with us. It got me involved quickly in the whole media aspect. That was a huge plus to gain experience with that."

Prince is the son of Cecil Fielder, a Major Leaguer who spent the majority of his career with Detroit. Prince was all the hype the media portrayed him at. The 7th overall selection in 2002 hit .390 and was moved up to Beloit 41 games into the season.

After just one season of broadcasting minor league baseball, Fort Wayne opened the drawbridge and welcomed Byrom into his new home – Single A, the Midwest League.

"It is a great league, especially for broadcasters. Lots of neat ball parks and pretty good baseball."

Some prospects have been known to jump past Fort Wayne and straight to Lake Elsinore, did that factor into the decision?

"To be honest, what factors in are the towns and the travel and how important it is for radio. Both of those leagues, (California and Florida State), radio has not been that important. It is not something that is given a high priority in all of the cities. If they don't have radio, then they don't put a high priority on getting information for you and doing things for you. That is not to say that they can't have radio and not still take care of the broadcasters. Because of spring training in Florida, nobody goes.

"It is more fun to do what we do when there are 8 or 9 thousand people in a ballpark."

That should be obvious to the Chargers fans in attendance. Each year the coach pleads the fans to come to the game to cheer on their team and be the 12th man. Baseball is the same way. Players, and broadcasters alike, find it easier to get up for the game.

"It does make a difference. It makes it a lot different (without the crowds)."

Bigger castles are always the way to go. The fortress known as the Major Leagues will be found along the path for some. Right now, Byrom is content to be working in baseball in a town that shows passion for the game. His track record of success is impeccable. He hopes that will continue in 2004.

Lord Byrom has not been knighted yet, but if the winning ways continue to follow the path he treads, it won't be far off.

Note:

We follow up tomorrow with Terry Byrom to find out more about Fort Wayne, the highlights of his young career and his on air persona. Join us as we find out more about the man behind the mike in Fort Wayne.

Byrom will also aid us in our scouting reports of Fort Wayne prospects. Having "lived" with them for the year, you won't find a more objective view on the talent in the pipeline.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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