Alex Freedman – Voice of the OKC Dodgers

Dodger Chatter or “DC” as we call him wants to do a blog on each  Dodger minor league play-by-play announcer. This is the first!  Enjoy!

Dodger Chatter

The heart and soul of baseball – minor league baseball – kicked off another season on Thursday, April 5.Four Dodger affiliates were scheduled for action with the Oklahoma City Dodgers playing a double header due to a cancellation of their game on Sunday because of an impending storm. Right-hander Walker Buehler threw the first pitch of the Dodgers minor league season inducing a routine ground ball to second base in the bottom of the first inning.

I watched outfielder Andrew Toles, on MiLb.TV, lace a double on the very first pitch of the season in the top of the first inning. However, I listened to that play and the ensuing plays on the Oklahoma City Dodgers  flagship station 1340 AM The Game with play-by-play announcer Alex Freedman. On away games I always use the radio audio for the Dodger affiliates while watching MiLB.TV.

That got me thinking a bit about the various voices of those Dodgers minor league affiliates, all of whom are returning for another season.

Their work schedule seems to be as demanding as that of the players, certainly in time commitment. They arrive at the park early, leave late after game reviews, and travel in the same manner as the players which at the lower levels is exclusively by bus.

All of these announcers have game day notes to prepare and study in preparation for the broadcast. One only has to listen to the data, anecdotes and other player information to realize they indeed do their homework.

Alex Freedman is beginning his fourth season as the voice of the Oklahoma City Dodgers. He has 10-years of professional broadcasting experience, working with the Oklahoma franchise since 2012, first with the RedHawks and since 2015 with the Dodgers.

He calls games for Oklahoma City, but his job doesn’t end there. As Director of Communications and Broadcasting, he has to deal with outside media requests, photo requests, provide information for writers, coordinate transaction information, and write the daily game notes.

His job description on the OKC official site includes the following:

  • Broadcast all 144 games on 1340 The Game (KGHM-AM). In addition to doing all play-by-play, host 30-minute pre-game show and 15-minute post-game show.
  • Write daily game notes and game recaps. Write press releases and promote special events to local media.
  • Coordinate all interview requests with both local and national media.
  • Provide all baseball-related material for
  • Help maintain and provide content for team social media. Make speaking engagements throughout the local community to raise awareness of the team and its core values.
  • Oversee department’s yearly budget. Responsible for maintaining press box staff.

His typical work day is often more than a 12-hour day. For a regularly scheduled game at 7:00 P.M. Freedman’s day usually starts at around 10:30 A.M. As early as 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon be begins to concentrate solely on that night’s broadcast. At times that must be taxing with the other duties he performs on behalf of the team and unexpected issues come up.

Freedman speaks freely about his preparation for games and of his love and appreciation for the work he does.

     “Writing the game notes helps out immensely,” Freedman notes. “Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but pretty much my preparation, outside of writing things in my scorebook, is done by that point just from writing the game notes.

      “Even as crazy and hectic as my schedule is for six months out of the year, it’s hard for me to imagine not being at a ballpark every single day.”

Although he is never at a loss for words to describe any situation, especially the unusual that he might never have seen before, he does  not have a signature call and does not even try to pattern himself after other more seasoned play-by-play announcers.

      “If you start thinking about that stuff, you’re setting yourself up for failure,” Freedman said. “If you’re thinking so much about what you want to say, you don’t really get out what you want to do. It doesn’t end up working out in the end.”

He also keeps his job in perspective relative to what the players are  doing on the field.

     “I tell people I’m just talking,” Freedman said. “I’m not someone who has to step in the batter’s box and try and react to a 95 mile per hour fastball. It really gives you an appreciation of what the players do given those circumstances.”

A native of St. Louis, Freedman attended Northwestern University and graduated with degrees in journalism and political science. Not sure what he would do upon graduation in 2006, it seems he has definitely found his calling, so to speak. Now just 33, he has aspirations to work at the MLB level one day.

To add to his resume he can include the  “Best Play-By-Play” award presented by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons in the PCL.

“The competition encourages the highest standards of reporting, programming, and promotion. It is designed to stimulate a desire for excellence among Oklahoma broadcasters in serving their public.”

Alex Freedman provided the play-by-play for the award, while his sidekick John Zondlo was the in-studio producer and engineer. Just as the game on the field is a team effort, so too is the game in the booth.

     “It’s pretty special to win this award for the second straight year, and it wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of several people,” Freedman said. “Each night we strive to put together the best broadcast we can, and we’re  honored to have our efforts recognized.”

The games have begun and the effort to put together the best broadcast possible has also begun.  Tune in to Alex Freedman, the voice of the OKC Dodgers, on 1340 AM The Game, or watch on MiLB.TV.

Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman 

Dodger Rants and Raves by Mark Timmons

  • To me, it looks like Kenley Jansen just “Flipped the Switch” or “Jumped the Shark” and it seems that he is back to near normal and not mere mortal!
  • Yasmani Grandal has not given up a passed ball or wild pitch through 8 games.  He worked hard to improve that and so far he has done just that.
  • There’s not enough time into this season to make any determinations and one thing I certainly appreciate is that most of the posters here understand you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  On other blogs the lunatics are calling for FAZ’s head, Roberts to be fired, Kike waived, Bellinger and Seager sent to AAA (not kidding), Kemp released, Grandal deported and Taylor moved to 2B. I appreciate you smart guys and gals who know what happens in a long season.  By the end of April, some patterns may emerge, but that’s just the start.
  • Dodgers are 4th in pitching and 27th in hitting. They are 13th in fielding. Here’s why I am not worried:  The Dodgers (for the most part) have had good at bats.  In many key instances, they have hit the ball “on the screws” but right at someone.  Those are the things that try men’s souls… and they even out!
  • I happen to believe that Clayton Kershaw is becoming a better pitcher and could have his best year ever in 2018.
  • When will they break out of their funk?  Is Ryu ready to pitch for his next contract?
  • By the way:  A-Gon hit a grand slam Sunday.  Good for him.  I hope he does well!

Takeaways From AT & T Park

  • I was at the game Sunday at AT & T Park, and after watching Chris Taylor take away two extra-base hits in the gaps at AT &T Park, I realize that he belongs in CF and is in fact, becoming one of the best Center fielders in baseball.  He saved two runs for certain. He is becoming elite.  You don’t move an elite defender like that… unless he is not hitting.
  • Corey’s elbow look fine to me.  I watched him AFTER he made throws (that’s where you can see if there is an issue) and he was not rubbing or shaking his arm in any fashion.  He’s still outta’ sync at the plate, but all he needs is some time.
  • As a team, these guys are together. Even Matt Kemp is part of the clan now.  After watching him run, warm up and just his general activity, he appears to be running with ease.  I still remain convinced that he can have a BIG year. His defense has certainly improved.
  • Final Takeaway:  The Giants Fans love their Giants, but as much as they love their team, they love beating the Dodgers more.  Thatmeans we still control them.  We are their existence!
AT &T Park – View from my seats

This article has 21 Comments

  1. Good morning….
    ” That means we still control them. We are their existence!”
    I really liked this phrase !!

  2. even though they play different positions and have different skill sets, i’m starting to see some cody bellinger in dj peters. right now the key difference is the bloodlines/experience bellinger has. peters will have to forge his own way forward. the other guy i’m really watching closely this year is dustin may. outside of walker buehler, I think he has the highest upside of any of our starting pitching prospects. and lastly, my sleeper pick this year is connor wong and so far he is not disappointing. our system is really exciting because in addition to the guys who are close to being called up (Verdugo/buehler/rios), we have guys who are poised to that big step forward (diaz/white/lux)as well as a bundle of players with the skills to be major players in our future (ruiz, smith, d. Santana, kendall, alvarez, Sheffield) I’ve always been a fan of the homegrown team, and the fact that we came “this close” last season shouldn’t detract us from our goal of being a largely self-sustaining organization. one thing last year should’ve taught us is that nobody is unimportant. develop a quality middle reliever and that could be the difference between despair and hoisting a flag. or find a decent reserve middle infielder. maybe farmer will be 2018’s mickey hatcher!

    1. I agree with Dionysus and maybe we also can add to this that we fired all the old Scouts that were there and hired all new ones that may know a little about baseball

  3. Big test for Ryu tonight and getting a start at home against Oak instead of in AZ should help a lot. He will need some run support and looks to improve his strike zone command. Wood goes tomorrow and while early a 2 game sweep would do wonders for the team-and he has gotten zero run support so far. Hill, Maeda and Kershaw (in some order) go against the DBacks in a rematch of the recent 3 game sweep at Chase. Bats are due to break out, my prediction is Taylor and Puig lead a resurgence with help from Kemp. Cody has been warming up, Utley has played well and Kike has been underwhelming, along with Logan.

    I too am a DJ Peters fan and expect big things from him. Another guy to watch is Jeren Kendall who is a natural in CF, has all 5 tools with blazing speed and only needs to cut down his K’s and put the ball in play more to be a can’t miss prospect. His defense and arm are both plus tools and he has good pop and a quick bat.

    Too early for trade moves or call ups so the guys we have have to break out of their funk and give their pitchers some run support. They had better at bats in SF and hit some balls hard so the signs are there. Facing the A’s for 2 might be just what the DR ordered to get their mojo back for AZ.

    1. not sure if kendall quite has the hit tool yet. it’s a work in progress. that said, it’s the most important tool to have. he’s one of those “if it clicks he’s going to be special” guys but he’s not there yet. consensus seems to be his defense and speed are advanced enough that he appears destined to play at the major league level even if his bat never develops. I see him as a CF only, so assuming Taylor stays in CF through his arb years [’19-’21], 2022 is the earliest we would need him. and that’s with several other potential CF candidates also in play (diaz, Verdugo, peters). i’m taking the long view on kendall. let him focus on fundamentals and if we think it’s never going to happen for him, use him as a trade piece.

    1. I think i’m coming around on alex Verdugo. I still don’t know if he enough power to play rf full-time, but he seems at on pace to be a productive major league lf or 4th outfielder someday (2019?). ironically, he’s blocked by a guy who’s also blocked [toles] and i’m not sure his skill-set is that different from toles’. I still see a trade providing some clarity to the situation eventually but i’m not sure if it needs to be this year. the dodgers love understudies and I suppose toles is the current one and Verdugo could take that spot next year. injuries always happen, kemp is no sure thing, even puig can pull a hammy in a heartbeat. I don’t want bad things to happen, but I would like to see what toles or Verdugo could do in an extended full-time opportunity. one of them could claim the job and never look back [ala taylor last year]. in these guys’ defense, using 13 pitchers and 3 catchers doesn’t really allow for much wiggle room on the roster. our top reserve OF is primarily an IF for heaven’s sake [Keekay]. hey, at least we dumped trayce!

  4. Alvarez had a pretty nice outing in his debut. Unfortunately, an error in the 5th inning got him tagged with the loss.

    1. future reliever. not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, when your 2nd best pitcher can get removed after four innings in the biggest game of the year, what’s the point in being a starter anyway? maybe better to jump in partway through and go as long as the currents let you.

  5. Why is Kike batting 4th? He was 0 for the entire week and has not shown any power so far. He is certainly well protected in the lineup! What do I know, maybe he goes off today. Utley and Grandal have produced so far and may be in the game once the starter leaves. If they can get Ryu 3 runs and he does not walk people they should prevail.

    1. I imagine Doc is hoping he breaks out of his 0-9 slump while batting clean-up this year.

    2. Kike has shown in the playoffs and in the Spring that he is hitting better against RHP and with power. Doc is trying to show confidence in him. I am all for it. Kike does have excellent power.

      1. Kike now has the lowest overal average on the team.

        We are facing a leftie tonight, and although the sample sizes are small, both Kike and Puig are doing worse against lefties.

        They only have six more at bats, against righties then lefties.

        And most of their strike outs are against lefties too.

        Puig has struck out seven times, five were against lefties.

        Kike is at 077 against lefties, and Puig is at 125 against lefties.

        But Puig does have a decent average against righties.

      2. Just don’t like him batting 4th when there are better options including a guy with 39 HR’s last year and another who had 35 in 2016. I like Kike and root for him and all the Dodgers but not hitting 4th.

        Back to back Jacks! Nice way to start the game!

  6. I do not know if this is good news or I begin to feel sorry for them …
    ”Giants Place Johnny Cueto On 10-Day DL”

    1. He rarely has two bad starts in a row and even though he isn’t what he once was, he’s quite good outside of AZ and Colorado. The last two games were good AB’s by Kemp. Tonight’s hits were like the Kemp of old and really the first two balls he hit hard all year. The previous double was a bloop. If his afro was as big as Kris Davis’ , Kemp would be my favorite player.
      Good to see 3 HR’s but a hit or two more would have broke the game wide open. Nobody can sell me on hitting Kike cleanup and Bellinger 6th. Lefty or no lefty. Bellinger hit 39 HR’s last year and was quite good against lefties.

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