Saturday, July 26, 2008

12 Reasons Why.....Dan Bumpus Is An Intimidating Force For Baseball Fans

Today's special guest is a man who I think does a tremendous job in the broadcasting booth as the voice of the Kannapolis Intimidators,which you can hear and follow at www.intimidatorsbaseball.com . He is also another former Orange grad who proved that when you want the best, go Orange. Last year with Matt Dagostino in the booth, I started online streaming Intimidators games and enjoyed it. This year I have continued on that tradition and I enjoy this young man's calling of the game immensely. So give a standing ovation and show some love for Liverpool's own Dan Bumpus.

12 Reasons Why.....Dan Bumpus Is An Intimidating Force For Baseball Fans

1. Let's start off with a little introduction please, who is Dan Bumpus and what made the young Dan decide to go in the direction he did in his professional life?

So open ended I could go in a lot of directions here from my love of sea turtles to my hatred that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays but I'll stray back to your question. I'm the voice of the Kannapolis Intimidators (Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) of the South Atlantic League. I decided to go into sports broadcasting because I grew up just outside of Syracuse in Liverpool and always knew how great SU's program was. From about the second grade on I knew exactly where I wanted to go to college. It made the whole applying to college thing a whole lot easier.

2. Here is what I like referred to as a cheap pop because I know part of this answer but asking anyway because I love the answer, what college did you attend and what courses and programs do you think helped you prepare for this career? How and where did you get your first start?

I went to Syracuse University and graduated in the May of 2007. I majored in broadcast journalism with a double major in economics (backup plan I guess). While at Newhouse I took Radio Sports Broadcasting with the Voice of the Orange Matt Park and also a TV Sports Reporting class with SU alum and current ESPN broadcaster Dave Ryan. The broadcast journalism major prepared me to get into any aspect of being on air in radio or television. The program trains you in news reporting but if you can talk about a bank robbery it isn't too hard to transfer those skills to talking about sports.

I got my start broadcasting sports at WAER on campus. It's the same station that helped produce the likes of Marty Glickman, Bob Costas, Sean McDonough, Mike Tirico, etc., etc., etc. I started as a writer my freshman year waking up at 4am to write and voice sportscasts and worked my way onto the student run sports staff in February of my sophomore year. I called my first game that April. It was Syracuse against Albany in men's lacrosse in which the Orange won in overtime. I continued to broadcast games and served as the station's sports director at the end of my junior year and through basketball season of my senior year. In addition, I worked for the campus TV station, now CitrusTV, and interned for the Auburn Doubledays while in school.

3. What is your current position and walk us through a sample of your day at the ballpark? And since you have such an up close view of the team, do you think the Intimidators can win the second half of the season and get into the postseason?

I'll give you my day while the Intimidators are at home because life on the road is much simpler. When Kannapolis is at home I get up at 7am and start my day with a run. I'm into the office at 9am and I start putting together the coaches' stat packs. It has standings and stats for both clubs. After those are put together I take those down to the clubhouse and start to work on my game notes for that day's game. The game notes take a couple of hours and lead into lunch. After lunch I take care of the odds and ends of the position like answering media requests via e-mail or phone or pick out the pictures for the team's card set. There are a lot of little odds and ends that I take care on an everyday basis. Around 2 or 3pm (for a 7pm game) I start diving into my game prep to make sure I have everything I need for that night's game whether it be stats versus left-handers or what the opponents starter has done in the last seven starts on the road. Pretty much all the little things that I mention in the broadcast. Around this time I grab lineups from both teams and make copies of everything (lineups, game notes, rosters) for the press box and coaches. The Intimidators start to take BP (batting practice) around 4:30 so I go down and get my pre-game interview squared away as well as find out some more information that I'll use in the broadcast. After BP it's back up to the booth to get my score book ready. After a quick break for some ballpark dinner (preferably the chicken basket) its show time just before seven. Once the game is over I type up a press release to send to the local media and post the game story online at www.intimidatorsbaseball.com. I pack up, head to my apartment, sleep and repeat.

As for the Intimidators chances in the second half. I wish I had answered that question a week ago before the seven straight losses. But I think the Intimidators have a chance because there is a lot of baseball left in the six weeks or so left in the season. Every team can be up and down so it'll just take a good stretch to put the club in first to make the playoffs.

4. For people who don't normally attend minor league games, please explain why they should start now and what you love most about your job?

Minor League Baseball is built around the fan experience. Most minor league teams have the motto of "Oh yeah, there's baseball too." What that means is that there is so much going on whether it is specials like a Thirsty Thursday to promotions such as Fireworks nights that the game is almost secondary. Going to a minor league baseball game isn't just for die hard baseball fans. It's an affordable night out with family or friends. But for baseball fans, like myself, it's a great chance, especially at the Low-A level like the Intimidators, to see these players before they hit the fast track or make it big. As for the part I love most about my job,I'd have to say it's the three hours or so I spend on the air every night. Baseball is so much unlike all other sports where there is a lot of time to fill and up the broadcaster to fill it. That freedom I love. If I want to talk about Brett Favre's saga in Green Bay or Bill Gates' retirement from Microsoft I can. Plus I get a chance to talk baseball (all levels) which I love to do.

5. What's your view on other sports using a farm system similar to baseball's current arrangement?

I think it could be a very interesting. Hockey uses a system similar in terms of having players work their way up the chain and basketball has started to plant the seeds of one with the D-League but I don't know if any other sport can have the number of levels that exist in baseball. In fact baseball has talked about trying to be more efficient and trying to reduce (not get rid of) the minor leagues at the lower levels to become more efficient (fewer players, less money) and I think sooner or later it'll happen. But the minor league system in baseball is special because without it, it's hard to find those late-bloomers who have stuck around the game for seven years in Single-A before changing something and taking off into the big leagues.

6. I like to ask this so people can see the positives of the business so who is the one person you met who absolutely made you walk away thinking how great the experience was? Matt Dagostino pointed to Chris Jones as being, and I quote, " a pleasure to work for...just a laid-back guy who let you do your job and was very accommodating." What is your opinion of this assessment? And just out of curiosity, anyone you want to throw under the bus as a complete jerk or you prefer to be like Matt and take the high road?

I don't think I've had the chance to meet anyone that has left me in awe of being around them. But there have been plenty of people from former Syracuse athletes (Tim Green, Chris Gedney, Gary Gait, Mikey Powell, Lawrence Moten, etc.) that I've had the chance to work with or interview where at the end of the interview I can't believe I just talked to that person.

Matt is right on the money about Chris Jones. Getting a chance to work with him has been great. Chris and I both went to Liverpool High School so I think that common bond has helped smooth anything out.

And like Matt I'll take the high road and not throw anyone under the bus. Unfortunately there are people I've come across whom haven't been a pleasure to work with but that's part of the job.

7. Who was your favorite player to wear the Orange and why? Do you think an Orange baseball program would be something to explore or no?

My favorite Orangeman has to be Lawrence Moten. When I was growing up the high socks and the panther tattoo was what every kid wanted in Central New York. From his silky-smooth jumper to all the success he helped bring to the school I think that's why he would be at the top of the list. Donovan McNabb wouldn't be too far either or Quinton Spotwood.

A baseball program would be interesting to explore. The reason I say this is because there is a softball team at SU. If there's one why can't there be the other. I know the climate isn't ideal for baseball and softball but there are a lot of northern schools who deal with it and even one right in the same city (Le Moyne). That being said I don't think it will happen in my lifetime and I'm still young. I'll put one in if I ever become AD.

8. Many want to refer to this era of baseball as a steroid era so my question to you is, what is your opinion of the current state of the game of baseball?

I think the current game of baseball is great. Yes I acknowledge there are things that can be done to improve the game like an HGH test or finding a way to stay a step ahead of the scientists who are generating new performance enhancing drugs. But to me?the steroid era ended when they implemented testing for performance enhancing drugs which have weeded out a few who have shown up with positive tests and deterred plenty of others (I'm talking hypothetically because you can't tell for sure). I think if someone got to where they were because of PEDs that we're seeing them slowly fall off the map and deteriorate at a far faster clip than others due to age. Plus I look at it and realize that I've never seen the game of baseball except in this "steroid era" starting with the Bash Brothers in the late 80's if not before. I refuse to think that everybody was doing it and I think there are a lot of spectacular players who have done nothing but work hard and stay healthy who are putting up tremendous numbers.

9. Are you a fantasy sports guy and if so, who is your top draft pick if you were able to get the top selection in your leagues draft?

I am a fantasy sports guy but unfortunately I haven't been able to play as much as I would like. I'm in fantasy baseball league right now and if I had the top pick I would take Alex Rodriguez. He's been a little banged up this year with injuries and the whole Madonna fiasco hasn't helped his image much but if you look at the numbers he's putting up I don't think anyone else takes the top spot from him.

10. You wake up tomorrow and your television only has one channel, what channel is it and what one sport or team has to be on it?

That's a tough question because I have interests in a lot of sports. But I'll take the typical male response and say ESPN. I'd add college basketball has to be on and it better be Big Monday in the Dome.

11. When I saw the official announcement of who got the position of broadcasting Kannapolis Intimidators games in the off season, I did some research on you Mr. Bumpus and was told that you were a very professional and well prepared person who would be great at his job and would make the games enjoyable to me as a fan. With that said and not revealing my source that quoted that to me, how would you like to hear someone describe you and/or your work in the booth?

I think those words come pretty close to exactly as I hope to come across. I just want people to say that they like listening to the games I broadcast. I bring a slightly different viewpoint to the broadcast. I'm not going to hammer home the X's and O's and give you all the knowledge in the world on an aspect of the game. But what I will give the audience is a well-prepared broadcast with plenty of story lines and stats to move things along from one point in the game to the next.

12. Your Free Space-OK Dan, this one is all yours to say what you want to say. Plug it or spill it just remember, don't be mean and keep it clean.

I'd just like to remind everyone you can listen to the Intimidators at www.intimidatorsbaseball.com as they wrap up the season with the six weeks.

Thank You Dan, despite being a former Northstar myself, I still got love for those who went Orange later,even Chris Gedney who used to take our defense to school every time he played in school. I do recommend you all check out his broadcast as I think he does a great job and for the record, that source who complimented Dan was none other then Brent"The Axeman" Axe in case any of you are curious, including Dan. In fact, I am trying to post this before tonight's game starts against the Lakewood Blueclaws because its hard to concentrate writing and wanting to shout when he is about to announce Mark Fleisher connected for one out of the park. Also, in case you missed my rant on minor league baseball, I am a huge supporter and encourage you to at least try it once a year, it's the best value for your dollar out there today and who knows, that guy your rooting for now and your kid just got his autograph, could be the next major league all star. By the way,I also highly recommend the chicken basket at Intimidators Stadium and though it may not be Tully's tenders but its still a good deal for the money(some day Dan, I will convince them to open a Tullys in this area).

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame Dan forgot to mention he worked at Channel 9 for awhile too. I'm sure the experience he gained there also helped him in acquiring his current employment.

Orange Chuck said...

To be fair to Dan, he did do this during the season and its very easy to do something like that and realize later that you forgot to mention something. I haven't lived in Syracuse since 1989 so I can't say that I know enough about his past work to help out. Dan handled all aspects of the media relations for this team as well as the broadcasts of the games. I just know I listen to the broadcasts, enjoy them and like interviewing people so we can learn more about what they do. Thank you for reading the interview.

Anonymous said...

Yes he worked for Channel 9, but also Dan also has had experience broadcasting in a few baseball arenas in Syracuse. He interned with the Auburn Double Days (Toronto Blue Jays New York Penn League), worked two summers for the AAA Toronto Blue Jays affiliate Syracuse Chiefs as #2 broadcaster before heading to NC.For all teams he also worked as assist director of communications/media director. He worked last fall for ISP in Winston Salem as the game/studio host for UNLV and filled in for other schools when needed. When he called the SU games, we would always turn on WAER to listen to Dan and his partner as they were always professional and well prepared.