Chip takes on Hickory – The Journey In and Day One
I am certainly no longer in Rhode Island or Colorado. The air is different, the way of life is different, the food is different and the streets really confuse me. I have made my way to Hickory, North Carolina to join the Hickory Crawdads baseball organization.
I graduated in May with my master’s in broadcast journalism from the University of Colorado and I have arrived in northwest North Carolina to work as a broadcaster with Andrew Buchbinder and take on whatever else comes my way.
My journey to Hickory began on Tuesday May 29 when I packed “The Stormtrooper,” my white Jeep Grand Cherokee, as full as possible with my entire life. I said goodbye to friends, and a life and city I had known for eight years. I was through wrangling buffaloes, hiking the flatirons, closing down the Attic and carousing at Gary’s Bar. Like Smokey and the Bandit, I was eastbound and down, loaded up and trucking.
I drove across the middle of America, rolling Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, before making a stop Wednesday night in Charleston, West Virginia. I spent the night with close friends and former co-workers from my previous two summers working with the West Virginia Power. After I awoke Thursday morning, it was time for the final stretch into Hickory.
I arrived at L.P. Frans Stadium around 4:30 p.m. I was greeted by my new roommate, Vicki Pumpple, who introduced me to Andrew Buchbinder my new broadcast partner. Andrew gave me a brief tour of the ballpark, the press box and our radio booth. We had discussed that I would start on Friday, but being present already, Andrew invited me to join him in the booth for that night’s game.
I hurried to my new apartment and made a quick turnaround to get ready for the game. I rushed back to the ballpark and got back just in time for the beginning of the broadcast. Andrew knew all the fans sitting in front of our booth and politely greeted them as they came in for the game.
After three innings of shadowing Andrew, we agreed it was time to get things rolling. As the top of the fourth inning began, Andrew introduced me, I said hello to the listeners and I was underway as the new broadcast assistant with the Hickory Crawdads.
I loved it. The game went well. The Crawdads won 3-2 and I was ecstatic to have joined the broadcast. You couldn’t have slapped the smile off of my face. I looked like a kid that had just found a hidden room filled with candy. Maybe it was from being overtired or delusional from driving across the country, but I was pumped!
After the game we had a breakdown meeting as a whole staff and afterward I was able to hang out and get to know some of my new co-workers. We chatted about life and exchange stories as some of us became more familiar with one another. Just when it appeared day one was complete, at 1 a.m. the weather was threatening with rain, so the staff was called back to pull the tarp onto the field. Welcome back to minor league baseball.
Chip Samson is in his first year as the second broadcaster with the Hickory Crawdads. He has spent the last two baseball seasons working with the West Virginia Power in Charleston, WV. Chip grew up in West Kingston, Rhode Island raising Newfoundland dogs. He loves buffalo wings, french fries, popcorn, pizza, beer and diet Dr. Pepper.