After a long and intense minor league season where he broadcasts at least 140 games a year Tim does what any reasonable baseball fan does in his off-seasons; he writes about baseball.
For the past few off-seasons he has been involved in writing Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball's Most Off-the-Wall Team Names and the Stories Behind Them a brief history of some of the stranger minor league baseball teams. Its a fun read and we caught up with Tim while he was on the road to discuss how the book came to be. Where did you get the idea to write the book?
Tim Hagerty: It started in 2004 when I was the broadcaster for the Idaho Falls Chukars. We had just changed our name from the Idaho Falls Padres and so many people were asking me about why we changed our name it became a subject I wanted to know more about.
It became a real interest of mine and I was really surprised that there wasn't any books on this subject. So after doing this for a few off-seasons I began to think around 2007 that I might have a book. I went out and bought Getting Your Book Published for Dummies and it worked!
I got a few rejection letters but then was lucky enough to get a publishing deal.
For a short book there had to be a lot of research that went into it. What type of sources did you use?
Tim Hagerty: The current teams were great. They would call me back, send me their logos and history. It was the ones that no longer existed that were a little trickier. I would call town historical societies and half the time the answer was "what" and got a lot of weird responses.
My best source turned out to be the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I took a trip their once and stayed in contact with the historians who were extremely helpful in things from old newspaper articles to pictures.
It also helped me as a minor league broadcaster in learning about teams from the past and occasionally from talking with sportswriters I would get ideas about something interesting.
Every year minor league baseball seemingly gets more poplar. Do you think one of the reasons are the unique names?
Tim Hagerty: I do. If you look at baseball encyclopedias from the 70s and early 80s it used to be every team was named after their parent club. The reason was the owners wanted to remind the fans that they were watching future Dodgers, Padres or Red Sox.
Teams began to discover they can remind fans they are still watching future Major Leaguers and have their own unique brand. It isn't one or the other.
In the minor leagues the team broadcaster is usually the only member of the media that is there for all games; home and road. How close do you get to the players and members of the coaching staff throughout the season?
Tim Hagerty: When you see them more often than your own family you do become close. It's interesting because you do want to have good camaraderie but at the same time professionalism. If a manager is giving me some inside information on the team about what someone does well or needs to work on they might be a little more reluctant to talk to me if they see me out carousing with some of the players the next night.
You can go out with them but at the same time you are not one of the team. That being said, you still feel great when you see a player make his debut in the major leagues because you remember them when they were here.
Ninety-five percent of these guys are hard-working, honest and don't expect anything to be given to them. The best part of doing this job is watching a guy get called up to the major leagues for the first time. They act just like we would with this excitement and sense of awe, is this really happening to me?
It's what makes this a great job.