12/07/2012 9:58 AM
Tommy Thrall spent five seasons, 2004-08, working with the Kansas City T-Bones in the Media Relations department, starting as an intern before becoming the full-time Director of Media Relations and Broadcaster in ’07, after graduating from Northwest Missouri State. Thrall is currently the Media Relations Coordinator and Broadcaster for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In this Friday Flashback, as we catch up with former T-Bones associates who moved to other sports ventures, we feature Thrall, who answered questions via e-mail.
What was your role with the T-Bones?
Tommy Thrall: Besides calling the games, I did the website, wrote press releases, designed some graphics and did some corporate sales as well.
What are a few memories that are most vivid from your time with the T-Bones?
TT: Well there are a few. One that wasn't necessarily a bright spot for the team, but was a special moment to me personally was when the team was no-hit in Joliet by Pedro Villarreal. That was the first time I had seen a professional no-hitter and it was my first solo professional baseball broadcast. Other more pleasant memories are the All-Star Game in 2006, when Buck O'Neil participated; the Legends Game we had the day before, when Amos Otis hit the home run; on the Kansas City A's reunion night, Merle Harmon came up to the booth with the intent to do an inning or so with me, and he stayed for the entire game. That’s still one of my favorite memories as a broadcaster. In addition to all of those, was the radio booth being a social gathering place.
Of course the championship in 2008 and now T-Bones General Manager Chris Browne with his son Brett's lucky "Cheezy Puffs." Browny came up to the booth during one of the home games in that series and started shaking the Puffs as if they were are noise maker, the T-Bones rallied and won that game and the puffs ended up becoming a staple the rest of the series and they even made the trip to Gary. I'm sure they're still on the desk in the booth somewhere if they haven't been bronzed yet. I always enjoyed staff, friends and special guests that would stop by on a nightly basis. The people are such a great aspect of the T-Bones organization and the memories I've shared with them are my favorite from my time in baseball. And lastly I can't reminisce without mentioning playing Cadaco Baseball on-air during rain delays when I was working with Loren Foxx on the broadcasts. Loren was a great mentor to learn under, and we had a blast working together for nearly three seasons. Once I get started, I feel like I could go on and write a book's worth but I'll stick with those, so not to bore too many people.
Do you have a favorite moment or experience working with the club?
TT: It's hard to name a favorite. I think just working with great people for a fantastic organization. It's really hard to pin-point one favorite.
Career-wise, what have you done between working for the T-Bones and landing with the Blue Wahoos?
TT: I've logged a lot of highway miles, caught a lot of Z's on bus rides and have mastered packing my car with everything that I have. I first went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and spent a year there in the Carolina League where I had the privilege of watching many of the current Braves on their paths to Atlanta. Then I went to the Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa where I focused on Media Relations and broadcast the team's home games before moving to Pensacola. (On a side note, my last season with the T-Bones was the 2008 Championship season. Ironically enough, the Quad Cities team won the championship my last year there, too.) I also currently work part-time at a country radio station in Pensacola as a weekend DJ and the station's sister news talk station. I also work part-time at our local ABC-TV affiliate covering high school football in the area and selected ACC and SEC football games.
How did working with the T-Bones help prepare you for working with the Blue Wahoos?
TT: The T-Bones got me used to the day-to-day grind of working in baseball. I also learned a lot about the job while with the team – everything from the website, to layout and graphics design, to working with the media and how to handle a full slate of broadcasts. All of my experiences with the T-Bones helped prepare me for my wild journey.
What do you miss most about Kansas City and working with the T-Bones?
TT: I would have to say the fans and the people I worked with. I also miss all of the other broadcasters and media folks around the league. I miss things like trips to Winnipeg and going fishing with my friend and Goldeyes broadcaster, Paul Edmonds. Then there’s the little Italian restaurant by the hotel in Fargo. Things like that. There were and still are a lot of great people around the league and I always looked forward to each city I visited.