Star Chasers interns grow up alongside summer baseball players | Local
ERIC NEWMAN Solar Sports Editor
The primary goal of the Flagstaff Star Chasers is to develop its athletes over the summer before their various college seasons and eventually their post-college careers.
“Some of these guys have their foot in the door of a school. But a lot of them are still trying to get better, to get their name out there on the transfer portal or – for some of the junior college guys – to reach the next place,” said Brenden Martin, student and intern from the Northern Arizona University team. .
“It’s different, but I feel like it helps me as much as it helps them,” added Lindsey Ridgway, an intern and student from Northern Arizona.
Martin and fellow Northern Arizona co-student and classmate Michael Manny provide live game calls and a short postgame broadcast from each of the team’s home contests. Ridgway works on the live stream, taking stats, photographing games, and working on the website, with a few other miscellaneous roles added. Jake Anderson, the only non-communications student of the four interns, handles in-game operations like PA, working the scoreboard, music, and more.
People also read…
Each is ground level to provide a broadcast and quality in-game experience in the team’s first season. The goal is to gain experience, much like Star Chasers players and coaches. Hopefully, they believe, the time spent will pay off with a foot in the door for jobs in the future.
As such, they have the distinction of being the very first team draftees for Flagstaff’s only collegiate baseball team.
“I heard ‘summer college baseball’ and that was all I needed,” Manny said.
“Just the fact that it’s something different, something you don’t see a lot here because there’s no other team at that level in town,” added Martin.
Games are streamed regularly on the GameChanger smartphone app, with live commentary and statistics. At the start of the season, games were broadcast on Facebook and difficult for potential viewers to watch. It was one of the few challenges any new band could expect.
But now, with a solid, cohesive plan for games and a working concept of how to manage each day, there was a lot to be learned from step one.
“It was literally ground zero. We were in charge of PA, stats, live streaming, etc. I did it for a college sports team before that where it was already set up for me. Now I have a whole new respect for it, and I feel like I know right off the bat what I need to do for a job in the future,” Ridgway said.
Anderson, who wants to be a sports agent after his time in northern Arizona, feels the same way.
“It’s been interesting, for sure, because like Lindsey said, it’s a whole different feeling. I’m getting experience on a startup team, filling all these different roles , in order to understand them when I move on,” he said.
And even for Manny and Martin, who have already called several baseball games — including a few at Coconino High School, which served as the Star Chasers’ home all summer — the internship gives them more consistent practice.
“A lot of times it would be one or two games a week max, split between a few people, so you do fewer innings. With it, you get reps every day and it builds confidence,” Manny said.
And while the experience was one that each of the four believe they benefited from, they also realized they were doing the players and their families a service.
Athletes have traveled to Flagstaff from across the country this summer — one is even from Japan — and many are in small towns or competing for schools that don’t get much media attention. Successful players for Flagstaff now have regular clips of them playing well and believe they are gaining exposure to a higher level.
Roberto Garza-Nunez, one of the Star Chasers’ top hitters, left one game during the season and was featured on the postgame show for a brief interview. Manny recalls Garza-Nunez’s family responding well and being grateful.
“His parents came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for having our son on the show. You’re all doing such a great job,’ and that really meant a lot to me,” he said.