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Tim Hagerty | MiLB PxP Voice & Author

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2023 5:45 am

Tim Hagerty | MiLB PxP Voice & Author

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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June 30, 2023 5:45 am

Minor League baseball PxP voice & author Tim Hagerty joins the show.

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Do the Dew It Quality Mart. We are really pleased to welcome a long-time play-by-play announcer and author who comes from the baseball world. Tim Haggerty is joining us from Albuquerque right now, though Tim is along on a road trip with his minor league team, which is the El Paso Chihuahuas AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Tim, we're so glad to have you. Thanks so much for joining us.

Well, thank you, Amy. What is your favorite thing about minor league baseball and minor league baseball ballparks? I think to me it's the community. All your listeners, I'm sure, have their favorite major league team, but there's something about Albuquerque or El Paso across those cities' uniforms. The team I broadcast for in El Paso, there is tremendous passion for the team, whether it's people that are there all the time and know all the players, or even people that come out one time per game. I think you really get those casual fans in minor league baseball, which I love.

The spirit a lot of times, the enthusiasm, the energy. It's a ton of families, and it seems like the way that minor league teams go to the great lengths to have fun, entertaining activities, specific nights that will attract fans. It always seems like there's something that's a little more electric about a minor league ballpark that's full.

Yeah, absolutely, and I heard you in the intro talking about the 4th of July. This is the most exciting week all year for minor league baseball teams. There's a rule that every minor league team must be home on either July 3rd or July 4th. Every single minor league team across the country is traveling on July 4th, and the reason is those are the most packed crowds all year, so you want to give every ballpark a chance to experience that and receive that ticket money as well. Ah, that's really neat.

I'd love to hear about some of the fun experiences that you've had. Can you think of one of the more unique ballpark promotions at a stadium where you've called a game? Yeah, I remember in 2005, the Single-Aid Brevard County Manatees in Florida, they had this promotion where they wanted to set the world record for most ceremonial first pitches, so they opened up the gates at seven in the morning. They invited everyone in the community.

They're doing local radio hits. People are peeling off the highway, pulling into the stadium, throwing a first pitch, and then going back on their way to wherever they were going, and at the end of the night, they threw out 4,218 ceremonial first pitches and did set the record. Did you get to be part of that? I didn't. This was a park that I've been to. I wasn't there that particular night, but that came to mind as one of my favorites. It got tremendous attention.

That's fantastic. AAA El Paso Chihuahua's broadcaster Tim Haggerty is with us here after hours on CBS Sports Radio. He's in Albuquerque right now. You hear funny stories about how minor league teams travel. Buses, a lot of times there's been movies made about it.

The money that's not there, like it is in the major leagues. So how do you all get around? We're pretty lucky at AAA where we are flying as opposed to buses. In my times in the lower levels of the minor leagues, I spent many hours on overnight bus trips going through some very random places.

Albuquerque to El Paso, that's the one place that we do bus. It's only four hours. Major League Baseball, when they made some changes to the minor leagues a couple of years ago, they added a day off every week. And that was really a game changer because in the Pacific Coast League, it used to be that you'd finish a home stand, you'd get home at midnight, but you'd have to be at the airport the next day at 3.30 in the morning to fly to the next city because they had a rule that you had to take the first flight out. You didn't want to have to postpone a game because the team was having travel issues, which unfortunately occasionally happened. There was occasionally AAA games where it was a beautiful night, a packed crowd, but the other team didn't get there. So they wanted to avoid that. On your Twitter bio, it says that you visited 49 states, Tim.

I don't want to assume anything. What's the one state you haven't been to? It's the hardest one to get to, Alaska. And you really have to try to get to Alaska.

It's not like you're driving somewhere and you pass through Alaska. The tough part is with my job, really the only available months I have to go to Alaska are November through March, which I'm sure your listeners would agree is not the ideal time to head up to Anchorage or Fairbanks, but I think I'll get there sometime. Tim, what was it like for you when minor league baseball was shut down during the pandemic? If you're a broadcaster that makes your living doing this, or at least part of your living doing this, how difficult was that to have the uncertainty and not know when you'd be able to get back in the booth? Well, for one thing, I was lucky that I did continue to stay on the payroll and did some other community-related things.

But other than that, it was tough. Much like your job, we are just fighting to get airtime. We move to different places. We do other tasks. We are doing whatever it takes to get games.

When you're a sportscaster, that's what you're trying to do when you're in college in your early 20s, is just doing whatever it takes to get games. So when you have a schedule of 140 AAA games and you get the call of zero, I really felt that. There were times where that summer I'd look outside and it's 85 degrees and it's Saturday and it's sunny and I'm just thinking, man, they would have been rocking El Paso tonight. So, yeah, tough memory.

Man, Amy, you're asking me a really hard question on that one. But no, it was. That was an emotional season to not be able to call any games at all. Now, baseball's back and there's a pitch clock that has sped up the pace of play. It seems to be getting ray reviews at major league parks, but you saw it at the minor league level. Was it tough to adjust when it became a feature at minor league parks? I think the first game or two it did feel like speed up baseball, but then I got into a rhythm. And when people talk about the pitch timer, I know a lot of times they talk about the time of game.

But to me, the biggest benefit is the pace of play. I remember during the major league baseball lockout last year, they were showing an old World Series game on TV and it was the 2012 World Series. An old World Series game. I like that. That's right.

Yeah. Even as recently as 2012, there was a pace and a rhythm that I think got away in more recent years. So to me, the pitch timer really hasn't changed the game.

It's actually brought the game back to normal. To me, this is the pace of between the balls in play and between pitches is more normal to the game I grew up watching in the 90s. We're excited to have Tim Haggerty on the show from Albuquerque. He's there with the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, which is the Padres minor league affiliate.

And we're going to talk about a new book, a 10-year project that he's released here momentarily. But because you are at the AAA level, Tim, you often see major leaguers either before they get to the bigs or when they're on rehab assignments or trying to maybe reset a little bit. Over the course of your career, who are some of the major leaguers, whether it be more famous or more accomplished, that you've had the chance to call games for? Yeah, this year we've seen a couple with El Paso. We were in Sugarland against the Space Cowboys. That's the Astros AAA team outside Houston. And Jose Altuve was playing there. And they're only 25 minutes from Houston. So that packed the ballpark when you get somebody of his caliber for the hometown team. In El Paso earlier this year, we had Fernando Tatis Jr.

Yes. He was coming back from suspension at the time. And, you know, some fans might think that a major leaguer on rehab would go down and dominate, but it doesn't always happen. These guys, for the most part, have been out for a little while.

They're trying to get their timing back. But Tatis put on a show. At what point he was seven for seven with five home runs. Whoa.

He hit seven total home runs in eight games. And really that brought a lot of attention. And that's the great part about minor league baseball. You get the community aspect, the fun promotions you were talking about earlier, but you also see the caliber of players like that.

Right. And it's generally a much cheaper ticket than the major leagues as well. And in my experience, also not nearly as challenging to access the ballpark. So easier to get there, easier to find parking.

A lot of times it's a more laid back atmosphere, though it can be a lot of fun with the families and the stands packed. So, Tim, you've got a brand new book and I got to tell you that I love the format. It's bite-sized stories.

The graphics are cute. I love the way that the book is set up. And I'm excited to have you tell some of your favorites from the story. But when you and I were communicating, you mentioned that this is 10 years in the making. So what took 10 years?

Number one. Number two, why was it so important to you, despite the amount of time that you spend on it to release this book, to get it out there? Yeah, so my book has 1,001 minor league stories from the past and the present. And the reason it took so long is I wanted to have a really high threshold for what made it into the book.

Many ended up on the cutting room floor. It began in 2012. I've always loved baseball research. And when researching something else, I came across this Texas league game in 1888 that got delayed when a wild bull ran on the field.

And I thought, I cover this stuff for a living. And I've never heard of this story before. So it taught me just how many wild stories there are from minor league baseball history that a lot of people don't know about. What are a couple of your favorites?

I know there are 1,001 in your book, Tales from the Dugout, but a few of your favorites that you like to share with people. Well, earlier I heard you mentioning the major leaguers who were recently named All-Star Game starters for next week's All-Star Game. One of them, Corey Segar. I was calling a game and Corey Segar dealt with a wiener dog delay.

It was Oklahoma City versus El Paso. And there was five wiener dogs set to participate in a between innings race. Four out of the five ran where they were supposed to. The other one went rogue, began scampering all around the field. So there was a wiener dog delay.

As you can imagine, that video got a lot of attention. And Corey Segar was one of the Oklahoma City players in the field that this dog is running around. So in his career, he's been a World Series MVP and also dealt with a wiener dog delay.

Oh, that's fantastic. Speaking of dogs, as I was going through the book, some of the stories about dogs really jump out to me. I like this one, Jake the Diamond Dog, a golden retriever that travels the country appearing at minor league ballparks. His tricks include bringing the game balls to the pitchers, fetching towels for umpires and delivering flowers to fans. Have you seen Jake the Diamond Dog in person?

Yes, I have. And I've been lucky enough to see another bat dog. Jake the Diamond Dog travels around and teams took notice.

They thought this guy does so well and he's so entertaining to the fans. Why don't we have our own dog? So Las Vegas has Finn the Bat Dog. There's also the Bowling Green Hot Rods in Kentucky that have their bat dog.

So, yeah, it sounds like you're a dog lover, so you'll be happy to know various ballparks are picking these ideas up. Oh, that's fantastic. And these dogs are actually trained to bring the balls and the bats either back to the dugout or up to the umpire?

Exactly. In fact, there was a funny moment. I was calling a game in Las Vegas and a batter hit a deep foul ball. He wasn't sure if it was going to be fair or foul.

So, of course, he began running. But mid at bat, after a foul ball, Finn the Bat Dog ran out and snatched the bat and the batter's saying, hey, I need that. My bat's not done yet.

That's great. And one of the things that I love about the book as well is that you include a ton of history, which goes back to the beginning of baseball and its inception in minor leagues. But you also have more recent stories like 2021 and the AA Hartford Yard Goats, who actually had goats there at the stadium, but also going back a few years before that, the Gwinnett Braves, who did goat yoga, which has now become all the rage around the United States for some fufu yoga people.

I just prefer regular yoga. Have you been in a ballpark where the goats have been roaming the outfield? Well, recently I was in Albuquerque, actually, and they had postgame yoga on the field, but they did not have any wildlife. No, the Hartford Yard Goats. Yeah, they've really leaned into that team name. Evidently, Yard Goats is a railroad phrase, but their logo is a goat. And they had goats, as you mentioned, at the ballpark. And then the Gwinnett team had the goat yoga on the field.

The book has some illustrations, and I liked what they came up with on that one, where you see some people doing their yoga on the field, also with some goats eating grass around them. That's great. Only at minor league ballparks.

It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. Tim Haggerty is joining us from Albuquerque. He's got a brand new book called Tales from the Dugout.

1001 humorous, inspirational, and wild anecdotes from minor league baseball. 10 years in the making. Why 1001, Tim?

Yeah, that's a good question. I had about 1,100 stories, and I reached a point where I had to determine what the format's going to be. And one day, I was walking by my wife's cookbook, and on the spine of it, it said 1001 recipes, and I thought, that's the number.

I like that number. Perfect. It was a sign.

Exactly, yeah. I actually had to condense some things. So there's a story in the book. 1907, there was an umpire who got arrested for swearing on the field. In the 1930s, there was a player who got arrested for swearing on the field. So instead of two stories, that became one.

That's how I narrowed it down. And by the way, not just ejected, but actually arrested for using bad language on the field. I also saw one story, and I'm trying to look for it again, but I didn't mark it like I did some of the others, where one player had been stealing coins from somewhere in the ballpark, and he ended up giving himself away because as he's out there on the field, all the coins are falling out of his socks.

Yeah, that was in 1904. That was a Class C team, the Jacksonville Jays, and they released this pitcher. Back then, there were fewer ballpark employees, so sometimes the players actually assisted in some areas like taking tickets, and this guy was swiping money. So he takes the mound later that day and dimes in nickels that he stole from the ticket window, fell out of his socks, and onto the field during the game. So they said, you're out of here. You're not only ejected, but you are released from our team.

So good. All right, I have a special place in my heart for grandmothers, and I came across this one. Anne Kenyon, 91 years old, when she caught a foul ball barehanded in San Jose.

It was a Giants game going back just over a decade ago. The team had her come back three weeks later to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, even though at the time she had 15 great-grandchildren. That is amazing, and once again, I love the fact that minor league ballparks and minor league baseball in general appeals to families of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Yeah, and I absolutely love the fact that they invited her back to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

They recognize that this is somebody that we have to draw attention to her achievement. A great-grandmother catching a foul ball, hit with a little bit of speed, by the way, at a professional baseball game. Similarly, around that same time, the single-A team at Bakersfield, California, had a cat throw out a first pitch. There was a viral video of a cat that saved a little toddler from an oncoming angry dog, and the cat got a lot of attention. The cat's name was Tara. So they somehow used a veterinarian and this device and actually had the cat use its paw to push the ball toward the catcher.

My goodness. You know the story about Babe Ruth and how he got traded to the Boston Red Sox and how it was the steal and it was a fleece. And then sometimes we make jokes about wanting to move a player off a team and, hey, we'll trade you for a bat and a bag of balls. And so I saw this story in your book from Chattanooga. They bought two players and a case of whiskey from another team for two thousand dollars in 1920.

I mean in 1920, two thousand dollars is a lot of money. That's right, and I read in the newspaper archives that this is during prohibition, so they had to secretly smuggle that whiskey from Peoria, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Where did you find all these stories, Tim? There are a lot of sources. For the more modern stories, interviewing players, managers, coaches, and scouts, the wonderful thing about being accessible to the internet is how many newspaper archives are available with certain subscriptions. So many came from newspaper archives. There was old Spaulding and Reach baseball guides.

I made a research trip to Cooperstown in the Baseball Hall of Fame library. They're so helpful there. So really compiling from all kinds of sources. Again, I love the format because it's bite-sized chunks. There's cute photos in black and white, but it really is easy to read. And please don't get mad at me when I say this, but it's one of those books that you might find like a bathroom reader because it's just, you know, a few stories per page. But really, I think the format and the way that it's packaged makes it even more attractive than if it was, you know, 100, I don't know, 150 pages of straight print.

Well, thanks. I appreciated that. Yeah, the illustrations, those had nothing to do with me, but I think the artists did a great job. They're cartoonish, and that's what I hoped, where every couple of pages you're seeing this funny image. Some of the stories we talked about have their own attached image to it. It has a fun forward from MLB All-Star Billy Butler.

Yes. So I appreciate your kind words. How much did that mean to you to have Billy write the forward? It was awesome. Billy Butler was a prospect on the first ever team I broadcast for, the Idaho Falls Chuckers.

Shout out to your listeners in Idaho. And Billy and I occasionally weren't touched. We occasionally taped interviews. And one time at the end of an interview, he said, all right, Tim, let me know if you ever need anything. And you got to be careful when you say that to somebody.

Sometimes they actually take you up on it. So I contacted him and he provided a forward of a game that was delayed when there was a snake on the field that he was playing in in Wyoming. And he contributed a great entertaining forward. So that was great to have a major league All-Star as part of the new book.

I'll end with this one little story because of my connection to Syracuse. The Syracuse Stars uniforms weren't ready for opening day on May 3, 1885. So the Stars took the field in dress suits instead. Boy, have times changed in Major League Baseball.

And in minor league baseball too. Tim, when the book was finally in print and you had a copy in your hands after 10 plus years, what did it feel like? Yeah, that was a special day. And it really has been in the ensuing months. I'm receiving a lot of emails from people that are reading and enjoying it. It's fun to see it, you know, the Amazon number moving each day. So it's really been an honor that people are reacting the way they are to it and that people like it. So yeah, 10 years in the making and to actually have it in your hand and realize that people are owning it, it's very special. Well, it would make a great gift for a baseball lover, anyone who enjoys humor.

I really do think it's perfect for summertime. And Tim Haggerty is the author of Tales from the Dugout. 1001 minor league stories and it's already out and available on Amazon. You can go to his Twitter as well at TD Haggerty, H-A-G-E-R-T-Y and you can hear him at a baseball park near you right now in Albuquerque with the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas.

Not just stories from the baseball diamond but certainly tales from a lot of life that's lived at these minor league parks. Tim, we loved connecting with you. Thank you for reaching out to me. I'd love to have you on again when we have an opportunity.

Well, I'd love that as well. I've listened to your show a long time, so it's great to be on with you. Oh, I appreciate that. Thank you so much. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-30 06:56:14 / 2023-06-30 07:06:28 / 10

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