What Does Cheerleading Have to do with Minor League Baseball?

Last week, I had the weirdest stretch of a workweek in my career. By the end of the week, weird instances turned into coincidences, and that all started with Justin Bieber.

The Hudson Valley Renegades have a PA Announcer that’s very well known in the community. In addition to his time with the Renegades, “Zolz” has been the New Jersey Nets PA Announcer, a play-by-play broadcaster, a radio personality (including his current gig with WPDH) and has had plenty of other envious jobs. The one that may be his longest-tenured calling is his DJ business. Zolz Entertainment made a stop at Cheer Jamz to run the program for an event showing off all of its cheerleaders, including some teams and individual that are national champs.

Zolz invited Rick Kubitschek (the Renegades Director of Media Relations) and I to help him out by setting up the equipment and making sure everything ran smoothly. I haven’t turned any opportunities down yet in my time in Poughkeepsie (including seeing my first boxing match), and this was no different.

I had never been to a cheerleading and dance team show before, so it was a surprise seeing many of the different moves and learning exactly how the show worked. I was impressed with the athletic ability of so many of the contestants and gained a new respect for the sport.

After the show ended, I got a close look at one of the guys in uniform. He had long, shaggy brown hair that almost covered his eyes, and looked to be in high school. I heard someone call out, “Justin!” when I realized Justin Bieber’s doppleganger was about to do two or three flips in the air and a couple barrel rolls at the same time. (Forgive me. I’m no cheer expert yet, and I don’t expect to know the name of every trick in the book. Or even one of them.)

Friday night was definitely the most fun I’ve had as a member of the Renegades staff. “The Dutch” held a viewing party for the YankeesRays game. Renegades alum Evan Longoria was in the starting lineup, as usual. Five current Rays are former Renegades, but unfortunately none of the others made it into the game. Although seeing the game at Dutchess Stadium was fun, it’s what was going on outside the park that was best.

A few of the season ticket holders and some other dedicated fans tailgated in the parking lot and spent the night (as well as a few previous nights) camping out. They offered the staff members food and company, and we all had a lot of fun. I played my first football game in a long time, ate s’mores and sat by the campfire as if it were the middle of June.

Saturday kicked off the in-person individual ticket sales for the 2010 season, which meant a six day workweek for many of us. I pulled a Clark Kent, and Rascal had a great time with the fans that day. For those of you interested, over-the-phone and online ticket sales start Monday, April 12th.

My weekend concluded with a minor league road trip, but not to a baseball stadium like I had originally planned. I made the trek down to the Arena at Harbor Yard for the AHL Regular Season Finale between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. I had the chance to meet both Sound Tigers broadcasters in the process, after speaking with them originally online.

Phil Giubileo, the play-by-play broadcaster, had a handful of nuggets of advice for me, including one that may seem obvious at times, but also can be overlooked. Phil mentioned the importance of finding a flexible primary job in case you can’t work your days with the team.

Although I didn’t get much time with him, it was nice to finally meet Carmine Vetrano. He sought me out on LinkedIn, and it was partially to his credit (whether he knows it or not) that I made a push to get involved in minor league hockey. He is especially busy now that he’s running Media Relations for the team in addition to broadcasting, a part-time job and school too.

I’m hoping that unique weekends like this one will come my way, even if they’re closer to normal. I don’t know that I’ll have one as wacky as a mascot appearance, a Bieber sighting, a cheerleading event and a hockey road trip rolled into one, but I’m sure there’ll be something completely unexpected jumping toward me.

One comment on “What Does Cheerleading Have to do with Minor League Baseball?

  1. Dylan
    August 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Nice read Nick

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