LIVINGSTON, NJ - Millions of kids grow up loving sports, but very few get to play at the professional level. Well, MLB Network anchor Greg Amsinger had that passion as a child and while he isn’t in the NFL or NBA, he is living the dream and talking baseball everyday on television. On Sunday, Amsinger spoke at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston about his career and the state of baseball.
Amsinger was raised a die-hard Cardinals fan in St. Louis and is one of seven children. He was the first in his family to go to college, but after injuring himself playing football, he had to figure out what he wanted to do, while still keeping his love for sports alive.
So he attended a small college and did radio, which he said is essential for all broadcasters when starting out. He then started a television station there, which focused on high school and college sports. It began with eight people and by the time he finished school, more than 80 students were involved. However, two years after he graduated it shut down because no one wanted to run the show. In television, people have to be dedicated, he said.
“Man, how could no one want to take that on?” he mused.
He worked as a local television broadcaster for two years in Indiana and lived in starving-artist conditions, which made his mother crazy, he said. But his hard work paid off when an agent noticed him and he landed a job with College Sports Television in New York City at the age of 24.
His agent, who he had not met yet, told him he could stay at his place until Amsinger found one of his own. To this day, he has the same agent and said he has made a huge difference in his life.
“I wouldn’t be here today without that guy in my life,” he said. “It was an uphill battle to start out as a nobody and get the national television gig, but I’m proud of that.”
To be able to talk about baseball seven days a week and watch every game is surreal, he said. He has been with the network since it started in 2009 and working with former players in a state of the art studio is amazing, he said.
“I think I’ve got the coolest job in the world,” he said.
He spoke about the recent Baseball Hall of Fame voting where for the first time in 17 years no one was elected because many of the people on the ballot were associated with using performance-enhancing drugs. He said guys, like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, will not and should not ever be inducted because they cheated.
“The Hall of Fame is special; they don’t belong there,” he said.
Darren Scherago, isn’t a big baseball fan, but took his daughters to see him speak because he wanted his children to see a broadcaster and hear about his experiences.
“I liked hearing him talk about his perception of baseball and his knowledge,” he said.
Matthew Nadel, 13, of Springfield, is a blogger on MLB.com and is a baseball history nut. Seeing Amsinger speak was fantastic, he said. (To see his blog, click here: www.baseballwmatt.wordpress.com.)
“I really do enjoy his opinions,” Nadel said.