UVa-Wise senior has successful internship with Bristol White Sox

Jordan Childress, a UVa-Wise senior, realized a childhood dream this summer as official radio announcer for the Bristol White Sox baseball team.

Childress now knows exactly what he wants to do after he earns his communication degree in May.

“I want to live out of a suitcase and be in a different city every three nights,” the Dickenson County native said. “I love the bus trips and the road life. I wanted to work in baseball since I was seven.”

Childress interned with the Bristol White Sox as a junior because he wanted to use the skills he learned in the classroom-especially those from his communication classes-in the work world.

“It was time to get some experience,” he said. “I live, sleep and dream baseball, so doing public address work for the Bristol White Sox was a good fit.”

Childress returned for a second summer with the White Sox organization this year on the condition that he would do radio for the team’s games. He was the official team radio announcer, which meant he was calling the plays for all 61 games. Childress also handled the Bristol Herald Courier Pregame Show before each game.

He researched the organization’s new draft picks, many signed straight from high school and some from college, and called them for interviews. Childress, at age 22, found himself the old man among the newly drafted players, including 16-year-old Mickel Zapata from the Dominican Republic.

“I was the first person to interview him once he became a White Sox player,” Childress said. “I got to know the guys well, and I hope to see them do well in the future. I became friends with 18-year-old millionaires. It was unreal.”

Childress had the honor of calling the plays when the young minor league batters hit their first career home runs as professional baseball players, and he provided color commentary during their first hitting streaks. He collected several autographed bats during the summer.

As the “old man,” Childress, who is sports editor for the Highland Cavalier newspaper, also reassured the parents that their sons were eating well and showing up for the games in clean uniforms. The contact with the parents was special for Childress, especially since many of the fathers were former major league players themselves.

He was also the first in the Appalachia League to interview Buddy Bell, the vice president and director of scouting for the Chicago White Sox, and he chatted with baseball great Tim Raines, best known for his years with the Montreal Expos.

Childress wants to continue working in baseball and radio. He will attend the Baseball Winter Meeting in December to apply for one of about 500 jobs in Major League Baseball.

“I want to wake up each morning and be happy to go to work,” Childress said. “My goal is to work for the Cincinnati Reds. I’d like to encourage other students here to look for ways to get practical experience in their fields of study so they can apply the things they’ve learned in class to the real world.”


Photo by Jonathan McCoy