Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 9, 2013
SALISBURY — Steve Hyder is a six-time winner of the Sportscaster of the Year award for the State of Rhode Island through the National Sportscaster and Sportswriter’s Association. But his 2012 honor, which brings him to Saisbury this weekend, may be his last.
Call it a leap of faith.
After some 22 years in the broadcast booth at the collegiate and minor league baseball levels, Hyder has walked away and is in the midst of writing a book about his career in the business. His next occupational opportunity has yet to surface but he is determined to finish his book project.
“It is kind of evolving right now,” Hyder says, “It was going to be a chronology of the 2012 Pawtucket Red Sox season in which they won the Governor’s Cup (the AAA baseball championship) but as I kind of sat down and worked on it, it evolved into a story of a vagabond sportscaster who never quite made the big time.”
That is where the faith part comes in. He has been writing the book since November, he doesn’t have a publisher for the project yet, and by his own admission his writing skills don’t come as naturally as his broadcast skills. But he plans to pull it off. “The problem is I don’t know if I am as good a writer as I had hoped”, he said, “and I don’t know if it is as interesting a story as I had hoped but I am giving it a shot.”
Hyder has spent the past nine baseball seasons as part of the broadcast team for the PawSox, Boston’s AAA affiliate. Prior to that he worked three season with the Syracuse Sky Chiefs AAA team, two years as a nationally syndicated sports talk host on Sporting News Radio in Chicago, and 10 years as a football and basketball broadcaster for Syracuse University. It has been a distinguished career, evidenced by his six NSSA state honors, but he walked away from the Paw Sox prior to this season because he was tired of the grind and was never able to secure the top slot of play-by-play man. Like most people in that profession, his ultimate goal was to be the the lead announcer for a Major League Baseball team or an anchor at the national level with a network like ESPN. “But sometimes those things just don’t come around,” he said.
“I have been very fortunate with some of the opportunities I have had but Minor League baseball is a young man’s game,” Hyder stated. “When I started out I was the age of the players but now I am older than the manager.” But his years with Pawtucket did give him the chance to get to know the future stars of the Red Sox like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Papelbon and John Lester. They all became part of the two World Series wins by the Red Sox “so that in itself was very rewarding.” he said.
“That is the one thing I miss about not broadcastng this season,” Hyder said. “I have not for one minute missed the daily grind. But I miss the guys because you make some really good friends.”
Making a some really good friends is also the biggest benefit he realized from coming to the NSSA program each year in Salisbury. “The people of Salisbury and especially the NSSA really roll out the red carpet for all of us.” he said.” They treat us all the same whether it is the guy from the smallest state like me or someone like Dick Vitale who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.’ He says he has made many lasting friendships over the years of coming here, especially Joel and Joyce Goodwin who have been his hosts on numerous occasions. He also has high praise for NSSA Executive Director Dave Goren and his staff. “Dave has done such an outstanding job of bringing the NSSA into the 21st century and it is such a fine organization.”
“It is funny but I had contemplated not coming this year because I am out of the profession now,” he said. “But since I won and will likely not win again I decided to come on down.”
After the NSSA awards weekend concludes he will head back to his native Rhode Island and dive headlong into his book project. Beyond that he is not sure what comes next. “I know I don’t want to be in minor league baseball anymore,” Hyder says. “but if another sports talk opportunity or college football or basketball broadcasting job come along I would certainly consider it.”
If that happens, Steve Hyder may yet be coming back to Salisbury in the future.