SYRACUSE, NY (NCC News) – Evan Stockton is in his first year in the Syracuse Mets’ broadcast booth, but if all goes to plan, this will be just one stop along a much longer baseball broadcasting career.
“When I was here in school, Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty did an awesome job broadcasting Syracuse Chiefs games at the time,” Stockton said. “It was always in the back of my mind when I went to Syracuse, it would be kind of cool to come back.”
Stockton graduated from Syracuse University in 2018 and he joined fellow SU grad, and Syracuse native, Michael Tricarico, in the two-man broadcast booth for the Mets this season.
Returning to the city has provided a different perspective for Stockton. He’s learning firsthand the connection fans feel to their local broadcasters.
“I’m a little pleasantly surprised at how many people are watching and listening,” Stockton said. “You’ll go out and you’ll somehow tell somebody ‘Hey, I work for the Syracuse Mets, I’m one of the broadcasters.’ And they go, ‘oh, heard you guys on the radio.’ Or ‘watched the stream the other day.’”
Stockton can relate to the connection these fans feel.
“Growing up, it was ingrained in me that a baseball broadcaster – specifically on the radio – can have a connection with the listening audience that other sports just don’t have,” Stockton said. “Because baseball season is probably too long, it probably has too many games, it goes from the cold and snow of April to the heat of July and August, back to the cold days of late October if your team makes the playoffs.”
Serving as a minor league broadcaster means more than just calling games, though.
Stockton said he often serves 10-hour shifts at the ballpark on game days. On top of studying for a broadcast, Stockton can be found preparing lineups, stats, or game packs for the fans and press box. On every phone call Stockton receives before game time, he always ends it with one question: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
But that’s the life in the minor leagues.
On days when the workload gets to him, he thinks back to a special moment he had before his first broadcast with the single-A Fort Wayne Tincaps. A colleague had invited a family friend and their six-year-old son to tour the ballpark ahead of the first game of the season. Eventually, the trio wandered up to the press box to find an anxious first-time broadcaster.
“I was up in the press box doing work, a little nervous, my first job out of school, how the heck’s it gonna go,” Stockton said. “And this little six-year-old looked at me and said, ‘So you’re the broadcaster? You get to come here every day and watch the game?’”
“It was such a God-wink to me that, hey, never forget that six-year-old you would think this is the coolest thing in the world.”
While he’s thankful for where he is, though, don’t think Stockton is done chasing his dreams. In the minor leagues, it’s not just the players that imagine a future in Major League Baseball.
Stockton admitted that at times he can find himself daydreaming about calling games for his hometown Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The young broadcaster was quick to point out that any job in the MLB would satisfy him, though.
If Stockton’s path does eventually end in calling games at the highest level, he’ll be thankful for the time he’s had to learn and grow in Syracuse.
“I think inherently that’s why it is important for broadcasters to spend time at the minor league level to hone their craft and truly appreciate the opportunity given to them, because when it comes, you’re ready,” Stockton said. “You’re prepared for every single opportunity, and you have imagined that day coming for a very long time.”