Today is the one-year anniversary of my move to Altoona. Starting on a chilly morning in Defiance, Ohio, I jammed my car full of essentials and made the six-hour trek to Toon Town.
At the time, it seemed like just another yearly journey I made to join the minor league team that I would work for that spring and summer. My first minor league destination was El Paso, Texas three years ago that took two 12-hour days of driving. Fortunately, my second minor league stop in Beloit, Wisc. was a quarter of the distance.
The move to Altoona felt different, though. Keep in mind I came here without dreaming of being here one year later.
I proposed to my wife, Carlina, in July 2017 and we got married in mid-March of last year. The entire offseason was hung up on where we’d spend the first summer of our marriage. Once we knew Altoona was the destination, we rejoiced and began to plan for what the next several months would bring.
Yes, I realize that today is Valentine’s Day. That didn’t stop me from setting sail at this time last year.
The irony of it all is this is the first Valentine’s Day we have shared together since the day we met. On February 14, 2013, I was introduced to the woman that I would spend my life with. We didn’t start dating for a couple of years and baseball had caused us to be apart every February since.
Carlina joined me in Pennsylvania after our wedding and we couldn’t imagine anywhere but Altoona to be our first home as a married couple. We are even more excited to be here for the foreseeable future.
Since I’ll be around to get to know many of you much better, I’d like to give you the same opportunity.
As far as my career path, the 2019 season will be my fourth in Minor League Baseball. I spent the 2016 season with the El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A, San Diego Padres) and 2017 with the Beloit Snappers (Class A, Oakland Athletics). Before my MiLB days, I spent two summers in the Alaska Baseball League (yes, Alaska) as a broadcaster for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks.
I was born and raised in Northwest Ohio and lived in the same house my entire life before I started my studies at Bowling Green State University (in Ohio, NOT Kentucky). My family has operated a small grain farm since the mid-1930s starting with my great-grandfather, then my grandfather and now my dad.
With baseball season being so intense, the fall is one of the most enjoyable times of year for me to decompress from the previous six months. I am a huge fan of the Cleveland Browns, even through all the hard times and the revolving door at quarterback and head coach. I’m thrilled about where they are right now. I’m sure I’ll get my fair share of jabs from fans and co-workers being so close to Pittsburgh.
Additionally, I root for Notre Dame and my alma mater, Bowling Green. I also follow the Cleveland Cavaliers but it’s tough to have much of an interest without No. 23.
My wife and I share a passion for history and enjoy learning about it. That is one of our favorite things about Altoona. We’ve visited historical sites all over the area: the Railroaders Museum, Horseshoe Curve, Johnstown Flood Museum and Memorial, Flight 93 Memorial and Gettysburg just to name a few.
We also really enjoy traveling. With the proximity of our wedding to baseball season, we waited to take our honeymoon until the season was over. We explored the beauty of Upstate New York with stops at Niagara Falls, Cooperstown and the Adirondacks. Personally, I have been to 28 states in the U.S. so far and would love to hit all 50 before I turn 30. There’s a lot of states to hit out west.
One of my biggest regrets from my first season with the Curve was that I didn’t eat my first Curve Burger until late August. Big mistake but my waistline is probably okay with it.
From the highlight side of things, I’ve never had a foul ball enter the radio booth during my previous broadcasting gigs. That changed this year. To add to the drama, we had a sponsor doing an interview on the air with me at the time. No computers or humans were hurt by the rogue baseball off the bat of Bowie’s Martin Cervenka.
Another one of the highlights for me was getting a chance to travel with the team a few times and run the show while my predecessor, Trey Wilson, was out of town for two weekend home games. I guess it turned out to be some sort of an audition in the end.
When Trey brought me aboard at this time in 2018, I immediately learned about the expectations of the Communications & Broadcast department. Humbly, I like to think that I carry myself with much of those same expectations. I’m honored to carry the torch and do so with professionalism.
I am grateful to Derek Martin for having the confidence in my abilities and to give me the chance to continue the legacy of this department, which goes back to the beginning of the franchise with Rob Egan and Jason Dambach.
Working for the Lozinak family is a dream come true. This organization puts their employees in a position to succeed every day and cares for them deeply.
Another aspect that really excites me is the ability to connect further with the great Curve fans, season ticket holders, booster club members, the Pirates organization, our front office, Eastern League broadcasters, local media, the press box staff and all of our partners.
For now, back to work. I can’t wait to see you all back at the ballpark in just under two months!