From Newburyport to the Portland Sea Dogs

Todd Jamison at Hadlock Field

Todd Jamison at Hadlock Field

Todd Jamison moved to Newburyport at eleven and by the time he graduated from NHS he had figured out that he wanted a career in sports.

Todd (35) has pursued that career interest and has reached the management level with the Portland Sea Dogs.  I visited him before the Boston Red Sox Class AA affiliate’s noon game with Binghamton on June 4th.

He told me that he had received some memorable advice from his dad Michael (lives in Byfield) when he was young.  “He told me that my job should be something that I enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t have much of a life,” said Todd.

Todd knew what he enjoyed (sports) and set out in pursuit of a career in that area.  The idea of being a sports broadcaster started early.  “I always admired announcers Jack Buck and Bob Costas and wanted to be like them,” said Todd.  “When I was in high school I worked for WNBP.  I would bring my tape recorder to legion baseball games and do play-by-play of the games.  Then I would bring the recordings to the station and they would play them.”

Todd chose to go to Syracuse University because it was one of the best sports broadcasting and journalism schools in the country and he earned early acceptance.  “While I was at Syracuse I immersed myself in sports,” he said.  “I worked on the school newspaper and with the university radio and TV stations.  I also interned at local radio and TV stations.”

All that involvement paid off as Todd won the Bob Costas scholarship for sports journalism at Syracuse and met the well-known graduate.

Employment in sports followed in all sorts of places.  “I have had the chance to travel the country,” he told me.  “I’ve been in 45 of the 50 states strictly through broadcasting.”

He covered the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 for the Canadian Broadcasting Company (“I was on the field when Michael Johnson set the world record”) and he also broadcast a Final Four.

Todd did full-time minor league radio work in places such as Sioux City (Iowa), Louisville (Kentucky), and Sioux Falls (South Dakota) with a goal to get to the majors.

“I lived in the Midwest for four years and came to realize that I missed the New England area,” he said.

He interned at Portland in 1997 and was glad to get back to New England in 2002.  “When the long-time radio guy here (Andy Young) retired to go into teaching I became the radio voice for the Portland Sea Dogs,” he explained.

In 2005, things changed for Todd.  “My wife was very sick (She is doing well now) and I couldn’t justify being away half the year broadcasting,” he recalled.  Todd decided to move into other aspects of the baseball operations at Portland.

During the season, some of the things he does include managing the content on the video board at Hadlock Field, gathering sponsors, working on the website, and overseeing their radio network and the games themselves.  He also does sports talk show hosting in Portland.

“My job is year round,” he said.  “The off season is very sales driven.”

Portland may be Double A but their connection to the current Red Sox team is significant, according to Todd.  “There are 18 guys on this year’s Red Sox team who have played at Portland including Papelbon, Pedroia, Lester, Youkilis, and Beckett.”

Taking in a Sea Dogs’ game this summer makes perfect sense to Todd.  “We have the #1 first base prospect (Lars Anderson) in all of baseball and several other top Red Sox prospects too,” he said.

And then there’s the price of tickets.  Top ticket at Hadlock – $9.  Would that cover parking for a Boston game?

Todd helped put together this year’s Boston Red Sox media guide and he is looking forward to a Sea Dogs game that will be played at Fenway Park on August 8th.

Having learned of Todd’s background, education, experience, versatility, talent, and energy, I suspect that Todd’s trip to Fenway Park in August might not be his last one.

( This story appeared in The Town Common on June 16, 2009. )

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