In 2015, New Jersey native Joe Weil graduated from Boston University (BU) with a degree in sports broadcasting, putting him one step closer to becoming a professional baseball broadcaster.
Just one problem: In college, he’d done a lot of different sports — soccer, field hockey, women’s basketball — but he didn’t have much experience with baseball.
Fortunately, he turned an unpaid stint in the Cape Cod League (the premier summer league for college baseball players) into a full-time broadcasting position with Learfield IMG College — and that job turned into a full-time gig as the voice of the Winston-Salem Dash.
Weil, 26, was named 2019 Carolina League Broadcaster of the Year in early October. We caught up with him about his profession, his future plans, and baseball — his lifelong passion.
1. What got you into sports broadcasting?
“I always wanted to be a baseball player since I was really young. As time went on, I began to shift into being someone who could cover and broadcast baseball. The program I was drawn to as a kid was Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. I’d listen to Jon Miller [the former play-by-play voice of Sunday Night Baseball] every week. He was so good at it. He was colorful; his voice was amazing. I remember thinking, ‘Man, that’s a cool job to have.’”
2. How did you finally transition to baseball?
“I realized as I wound down my time at BU that I didn’t have any baseball reps. After my senior year, I was the voice of the Falmouth Commodores [of the Cape Cod League]. It’s funny, I tell people my first [paying] job out of college was at a deli. Then, I lined myself up for a job with Learfield IMG College. That lined me up for a job with the Dash. A lot of things worked out for me. I ended up in a city I really liked.”
3. How much work goes into broadcasting a full baseball season?
“I listen back to myself every night. I’ll ask, ‘Did I like the way I sounded? Where was my voice at for this play?’ In season, this job is a lot of hours. I have to remember sometimes that I’m still young in what I’m doing. There’s still so much growth to be had.”
4. Is baseball harder or easier to broadcast than other sports?
“I think for me, it’s easier. I know baseball better than I do any other game. Field hockey was one I never really mastered. I didn’t watch a ton of hockey when I was a kid. It’s such a fast-paced game. Doc Emrick [NBC’s lead hockey broadcaster] is probably the best in the world, maybe ’cause of how hard hockey is to call.”
5. What’s the next big professional goal for you?
“I love Winston-Salem. I’m so grateful to be in this city with the opportunities I’ve had. I’m from the northeast. I’d love to get back to that area and do what I’m doing: calling sports, calling games, doing play-by-play, hosting for a big network. A dream would be broadcasting for the Yankees or another Major League Baseball team. Most importantly I want to make a living out of this. I enjoy what I’m doing.”