The Fort Wayne TinCaps Baseball seems like a dream. They have the best record in baseball, major and minor leagues, with a current record of 40 games over .500, winning 4-3 over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Wednesday, July 29 at Parkview Field.
According to league officials, having improved upon the best record in all of full-season professional baseball, the TinCaps are now 71-31 on the season.
And, we as baseball fans have been very fortunate to have this good news brought to us by great broadcast announcers. One of these friends of the airwaves making us feel like the TinCaps are really ours, and not just some team, is Kent Hormann. A native of Fort Wayne, Kent is the sportscaster for Comcast’s digital cable television.
With over 30 years of broadcast experience to his credit, Hormann opted to develop the inaugural play-by-play program for the TinCaps. It was early March when Kent was presented with the visionary from Team President Mike Nutter that a “live” broadcast was in the game plan. Subsequently, they tirelessly researched everything involved in putting the game on the air; from the cameras and microphones, to affordable production staff. Kent’s staff of 10-12 consists primarily of Ball State Broadcast Communication majors.
The working hours for a play-by-play broadcaster and staff are not conducive if you want to work an 8-5 job. The first pitch is thrown at 11:05am, 3:05pm or 7:05pm. But start time is not game time, it is two hours prior. In a previous game played at Parkview Field, Hormann waited an hour and a half due to rain before the game actually started, and then, play extended into extra innings. With a rain delay and extra innings, it was a very long day. But, for a person who enjoys his sports, as Confucius says, “Choose a job you like — and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Prepping for a game Hormann says includes gathering a plethora of stats. Everything from learning who’s pitching, who the righties are and whose a southpaw (lefty), who throws hard, who throws accurately, who has a change-up, who’s stuff works dramatically differently against a hitter on one side of the plate rather than the other. And then he examines the hitters. Learning who bats from the right, the left, or both, who has the quickest hands, who has power. After the pitching and hitting, he looks at who has savvy and knows exactly where to go when the ball’s hit at him. After all that, what about the competition? From what I see, it is curtains if you are not prepared.
Play-by-play announcers are the primary speakers, valued for their articulateness. With headsets on, standing in front of lights, microphone and camera, this play-by-play broadcaster accomplishes with each call, a broadcaster’s perspective (as opposed to the fans). His articulate and graceful voice knows how to describe the events on the field and understands what the viewers need to know.
“Infield is creeping in. Swinnnggg and a miss! That’s 2 outs.”
“Swing – a little dropper – left side.”
“Swinnnggg and a pop-up foul. That ball’s going to find the seats.”
And, Kent will rise to the occasion with dramatic stentorian tones when a play presents itself.
“Swing. Hit! And that ball is outta here. He just drove it outta here!“
But he also knows when to be quiet, often leaving pauses for fans to take in sounds of the stadium, increasing the drama of the game. It’s how he does his job—a passion for the game. His ability to recall statistics and events and talk the game is amazing.
In short, if it’s a good day at Parkview Field that produces interesting drama or tension, he conveys it and conveys it well.
Sportscasting for the TinCaps is done live, “in real-time.” And the last thing you want is a presenter who may say something outrageous. There is no editing its footage. How and what Hormann says needs to be right the first time.
At the top of the fourth inning ESPN 1380 radio voice Dan Watson joins Kent for color commentary. It may be a half-sentence here-an observation there, attempting to connect the viewers with Fort Wayne’s long tradition of exceptional baseball past, present and future.
Kent doesn’t alibi for the team’s bad performance he presents the viewers with the positive aspects of the team’s play. “The Fort Wayne TinCaps, fresh off winning a first-half division title, are in the midst of one of the best seasons in team history. They are also one of the hottest teams in all of Minor League baseball.”
The TinCaps is one of only two Minor League Baseball teams to broadcast each of its home games live—all 71 games—thanks to Hormann’s commitment to sports. These live games are exclusive to Comcast Digital Cable customers on Channel 81. Comcast reaches all of northeast Indiana and, since its inception, viewership has expanded with each game.
Minor league baseball in Fort Wayne has entered its 16th year, and so has Kent Hormann, behind the microphone, and now with “live” television broadcast. With the addition of digital television, history is being made on the diamond right here in Fort Wayne.
Yes, it’s another beautiful day for baseball! TinCaps Win! TinCaps Win! So, pull up a chair…it’s Comcast’s “Live” Baseball with the treasured voice of Kent Hormann, “You’re watching the TinCaps on Comcast.”
C. O. M. C. A. S. T.…All inspiring—expediential—always dreaming—never stopping.