UConn Grad Adam Giardino Hopes For Shot At Big Leagues -- In Broadcasting [The Hartford Courant :: ]
(Hartford Courant (CT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 16--There are 11 former UConn baseball players in the minor leagues, hoping to make their way to the majors. But they aren't the only former Huskies with dreams of making the big leagues.
Adam Giardino, a 2011 UConn graduate from Franklin, Mass., is entering his fifth season as a broadcaster in minor league baseball. Giardino, a former sports director at UConn's student radio station WHUS, is working now for the Yankees' Double A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder.
"It's great to have him around," said Bill Cook, Trenton's director of public relations. "He just works really hard. He has new ideas and new things to bring to the broadcast so I think he's got a very high potential."
Giardino, 24, will begin his second season with Trenton and first as lead broadcaster. Not unlike players, he worked his way up the ladder.
Giardino interned for college credit as a broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox before his senior year in Storrs. That year, Giardino made the call at WHUS for the UConn football team's Fiesta Bowl appearance and the men's run through the Big East and NCAA basketball tournaments.
"It just seemed like one thing kept topping the next senior year," Giardino said. "To be there first hand and travel with the teams -- even now I'm still convinced I won't be able to top it in my broadcasting career."
As graduation neared, Giardino received a call from PawSox announcer Steve Hyder, who offered a paid summer position. The following summer, after a referral from Buffalo Bisons announcer Ben Wagner, he was hired by the Lakewood Blue Claws, a Phillies Class A affiliate. Giardino said he worked long hours and got his first taste of full-time minor league life. In addition to radio broadcasts, Giardino made sales calls, worked with the sponsorship team and wrote press releases and website updates.
"Adam stood out in all those areas," said Greg Giombarrese, Lakewood's director of media relations and play-by-play broadcaster.
Giardino realized that minor league baseball would be his best opportunity to find his voice behind the microphone.
"Baseball is still my favorite sport to watch and follow," Giardino said. "I certainly was able to analyze the situation and realize that minor league baseball and getting into some team was my best option to get professional play-by-play experience as soon as possible."
Last season was one to remember not only for Giardino, but also for the Thunder. Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis spent rehab time in Trenton. Giardino called two of A-Rod's home runs and was a part of the broadcast team during the Thunder's run to the Eastern League championship.
"There's no guarantee if I work in minor league baseball for the next 30 years that I will get to be a part of a situation on the field that was as unique and rewarding as last year with the Thunder," Giardino said.
His broadcast partner from last season, Josh Maurer, moved up to Triple A to join the Pawtucket Red Sox, making Giardino the lead broadcaster in Trenton. Maurer said Giardino has the talent and work ethic to continue his march to the majors.
"He's really ahead of what generally would be the natural progression," Maurer said. "There aren't too many people that have gotten that far that quickly. He's ahead of the curve and that's impressive."
Because minor league broadcasting is seasonal, Giardino moves back in the offseason to live with his parents, Carol and Michael -- who he said are incredibly supportive of his career.
It's a career that started when Christopher Schmidt, a teacher at Franklin High, suggested that Giardino announce girls basketball games on public access cable during his junior year.
There is a mural of Fenway Park in Giardino's childhood bedroom, so Giardino is employed by a team he used to root against.
"To work for the Thunder, you're very proud to be one of the Yankee affiliates," he said. "As a result of that, it's such a well-run organization. Every single player that comes up through the Yankees system that I get a chance to interact with, who someday puts on the pinstripes, I will be pulling for them."
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