Making the Majors: Brett Pollock

Minor league baseball is more than just players trying to make the major leagues. Behind the scenes are people doing their jobs on a day-to-day basis, many times without much recognition and certainly without much glamour. Just like the players, many of the people handling the everyday chores also dream of making it to the majors. In the first part of our <i>Making the Majors</i> series, we take a look at Lakewood BlueClaws Director of Media and Public Relations Brett Pollock.

Brett Pollock has already had a varied ride in his pursuit of reaching the majors. Pollock not only handles Lakewood's media and public relations department, but he serves as the team's radio voice. Actually, it's the radio job that Brett sees as his road to working in the major leagues.

After working in radio in the Poconos and Harrisburg, Brett Pollock decided he was ready to pursue a career in broadcasting with a minor league team. The best way to go about that is a trip to the winter meetings, where baseball, in addition to wheeling and dealing players, holds an annual job fair.

The net result for Pollock was a job with an independent team in Sioux City. While it was far from the big-time, it was a decent starting point and the Ft.Washington native was off to Sioux City to start on his road to the majors. For two seasons, Pollock was a part of independent baseball and he got there at the right time. The owners of the team bought a AA team in El Paso and brought Pollock along to work with that organization. "You're always trying to move up," said Pollock.

Just as he had made an investment in himself by going to the winter meetings, Pollock took the step of doing a one-hour sports talk show before game broadcasts. The investment wasn't just his time, it was his money, since he was paying for the air time out of his own pocket as a way to promote himself and the team. As the hour of sports talk grew, the team eventually took over paying the bill for the time. Pollock's game broadcasts and his one hour of sports talk were truly catching on. Just as he was in the right place at the right time when the Sioux City owners brought him along to El Paso, those same owners put him in somewhat of a tough situation when they sold the team. The new owners didn't see the need for having two broadcasters - which the previous owners had - and they also failed to realize the promotional value of Pollock's hour long lead in to the games. Seeing the writing on the wall, Pollock kept his eyes open for another opportunity.

It wasn't long before Pollock spotted what might be a good spot; a job in Lakewood, New Jersey. The job would give Pollock a chance to work closer to home broadcasting games for the Lakewood BlueClaws. While Lakewood, in baseball terms, is a couple steps below AA, the opportunity was too good for Pollock to pass up. "For broadcasters, the higher levels aren't always closest to the majors," explained Pollock. "Many times, it's about the connections that you make along the way." Knowing that moving down in levels didn't move him further from the majors, Pollock headed to Lakewood and is spending his first season with the BlueClaws.

With the change in levels, there was a change in the level of play that Pollock would be broadcasting. "I've been pleasantly surprised by the level of play, actually," reports Pollock. "Lakewood is the first time that most of these guys play a full season and it's a big jump. They learn about pacing themselves and staying sharp for a longer period of games." Lakewood is still a place where players are in a develoopmental phase. The emphasis there isn't always on winning as much as it is on developing players. Organizations look for young players to develop consistency and show skills that are strong enough to move them to the next level. "There are definitely talented players here," believes Pollock.

And of course, what would minor league baseball be without the road trips. Broadcasters have to make those trips, too and there was one this season that was a killer. "We traveled from Lakewood to Lexington for three games, then had to go to Hagerstown and arrived there around 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning for a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon game. Right after the Sunday game, we grabbed dinner at Pizza Hut and were right back on the bus on our way to suburban Cleveland," remembers Pollock. Not exactly fun, but after all, it is part of what minor league baseball is all about.

In addition to his duties as the team's broadcaster, Pollock handles the media and public relations part of the BlueClaws organization. He's the guy who needs to be able to constantly answer questions for other broadcasters and reporters. If anything happens with the club, Pollock has a list of people to get the news out to. Game summaries, player moves, anything. Pollock needs to let the media and in turn, the fans know what's going on. He also has to work with the public and make their experience with BlueClaws baseball a good experience. On the day we interviewed Pollock, he was in the office when we called around 9:00 a.m. It was the first day of a homestand, meaning that Pollock would be behind the mike for a game that night. He spent some time on the phone dealing with business issues, later issued a press release on two new players coming to Lakewood, broadcast the game that night and issued a game summary after the game. All in a day's work for Pollock.

Fans can hear Brett Pollock's work on internet broadcasts of Lakewood BlueClaws games. Just use the link that we've set up on our left nav bar to hear every BlueClaws game this season.

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