It is the nature of baseball – players, coaches, managers and even broadcasters move from one team to another, trying to better themselves in the ranks.
Such is the case with Visalia Rawhide Director of Broadcaster & Media Relations Donny Baarns, who left the end of March to take a position with Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Stormchasers.
Baarns, who was the voice of the Rawhide for eight years–having called more than 1,000 games for the team–has been replaced with another California-native, Danny Angel.
Angel, who hails from Sonoma, is the nephew of Joe Angel, the Baltimore Orioles broadcaster.
“He was really the impetus behind my broadcast career,” Danny Angel said of his uncle.
Angel would attend any game possible where his uncle was broadcasting, which included some San Francisco Giants games, close to home.
“It was like the Wizard of Oz,” he said, “I got to see behind the curtain.”
“I love baseball,” he said, “I just love the game.”
Angel played Little League, but in high school he became a rugby player.
After earning his broadcasting and media communication degree from San Francisco State University, Danny Angel has spent his last seven summers calling ball around the country including games for the Norfolk Tides, Potomac Nationals, Aberdeen IronBirds, Laredo Broncos, Edenton Steamers and the California Winter League. He was named Broadcaster of the Year in the summer collegiate Coastal Plains League in 2012 and 2013.
“You are the storyteller for the team,” Angel said. “You are the only avenue to the team [for the public].”
Angel admits that he was always afraid of public speaking, but is very comfortable in the broadcast booth.
“You’re kind of talking to yourself,” he said, “There’s no one else in the room.”
Perhaps his favorite stint to date was with the Edenton Steamers in North Carolina. A small town of 5,000, it is not the best singles area, Angel admitted, but he lived with a host family and enjoyed learning the history of the area and the natural environment. He stays in touch with that family, continuing to visit every time he is anywhere near the area.
But now he has landed his first year-round baseball team job back in his home state of California.
“Before it was like I was just going [away for the summer, for a temporary job],” he said, “Now it is that I have moved to Visalia.”
Angel lives in a team-owned house with some of his co-workers. His move came quickly, having received an initial call from Baarns in early March. He was chosen for the Rawhide broadcaster position from a field of about a dozen candidates.
“We actually did not post this position because we would have gotten hundreds of applicants, and wanted to avoid the over-load. Donny researched and selected the top 12 candidates he thought would be a good fit for what we were looking for, and we narrowed those down from there,” said Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft.
“With the season coming up so quickly, we were on a tight timeline, so the fact that Danny had all the skill-sets we were looking for, his family history in the industry, and the fact that he lived in California all worked well to his favor,” she said. “After meeting him in-person, we decided that he would be a good fit with our current staff, and the rest is history.”
And just as quickly, Baarns has moved to Omaha.
“Donny and I joined the Visalia staff only a year and a half apart. So I’ve gotten to work with Donny all of his eight years with the team and see his progression,” Pendergraft said. “He’s done well getting himself into the position to obtain a job at a higher level and continue to advance his career – we are incredibly proud of him for getting that opportunity!
“He left a large fingerprint on the Visalia organization by organizing all of the Club’s history, which had never been done before him. That took a lot of effort, research and late nights at the library. The book that he wrote, Goshen & Giddings, is a gem and we look forward to working with Donny on more similar projects like that in the future. Donny will always be a part of the ‘Rawhide Family.’”
This year, marks the 70th anniversary of professional baseball in Visalia and it is sure to bring a lot of interesting fan opportunities.
California League Coach of the Year, JR House, returns for his second year at the Rawhide helm. He led the Rawhide to an 86-54 regular season record last year, during which the team won both halves in the North Division.
The Rawhide will seek its fourth consecutive playoff appearance after advancing to at least the League semi-finals in each of the past three seasons.
The Rawhide’s first game is in Bakersfield on Thursday, April 7 at 7:15pm. Opening Day at the home park is Thursday, April 14 against Bakersfield at 7pm. All home games and some Bakersfield games will be announced by Angel on podcast.
Visit http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t516 for more information. For tickets, visit the box office at 300 N. Giddings or call, (559) 732-HIDE (4433).