PALMER — When Mat-Su Miners General Manager Pete Christopher brought talent from all over the country to play in front of the fans at Hermon Brothers for the summer under the midnight sun this year, he also brought a pair of young broadcasters up to Alaska. Reese Lannon and Sean Nief are not only broadcasters for the Mat-Su Miners games, but facilitate a livestream, score the games on Pointstreak and run social media accounts for the team as well.
“We both had actually accepted this position last summer before everything had gone down, but Ihad been applying for some internships, looking for some work for the summer and my teacher sent me this one speicfic application for ABL baseball and I said all right, how many other times am I going to get to go to Alaska and have my living paid for and get to just cover baseball,” said Nief. “For me what happens on the field and calling that the first couple games, that was probably the easiest part for us. Everything else was how are we going to score this game, how are we going to stream this game, our camera is very old, just a bunch of things we needed to figure out before we got to focus on the best we could put out there.”
Nief is an incoming senior at Indiana University. Lannon grew up in Flatrock, Michigan and attends Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Prior to his trip up to Alaska to call games for the Miners, Lannon had never been east of the Mississippi River and had never eaten seafood, save for crab cakes.
“It’s good to get out here and be able to be a part of a functioning team and organization, but at the same point knowing in the back of your head I want to go bigger. I want to go higher than this but this is definitely a good stepping stone,” said Lannon.
While Miners hitters and pitchers put in a full day’s work at the field every day, the broadcast team has to be prepared to share what the Miners are doing with fans everywhere. Among the benefits of Alaskan mountain beauty and fresh fish, Lannon and Nief have had the responsibility of calling games for a winning baseball team all summer for the Miners, who are 21-8 in ABL play.
“Late inning games there’s nobody better than us. I think our bullpen is by far the best in the league and if you can get tie games or up a run late in the game, I think we are as good of a team as anyone because in the 7th, 8th, 9th inning we can bring anyone out of the bullpen throwing gas or dropping off breaking balls and then we’ve got a great manager in Ty [LeBrun],” said Lannon. “Alex Magers out of the pen, I mean I’ve seen guys in the major leagues do it but very rarely. I’ve never seen somebody at this level or anywhere close to it throw 90 mph with a sidearm fastball, just doesn’t happen and then you look at guys like Tyler Wilson just turned 19 and you could see him in a couple of years be a pretty high pick in the MLB draft. He’s got all the tools so it’s kind of cool to see these guys in their early stages of development.”
Aside from the broadcasts themselves, Nief publishes a series of pregame interviews on the Mat-Su Miners YouTube page with players. The instagram account often features behind the bullpen snapshots and pre-game content displaying the players’ personalities. Lannon and Nief will finish out the summer running the social media accounts and livestream broadcasts for the Miners with a uniquely Alaskan summer of experience in the booth.
“I’m going to be graduating after my next year so my goal is to just go to a market where I can work on something that I genuinely enjoy putting out good content,” said Nief. “This is always going to be a place I remember, that’s something for sure. I’ve never seen a place where seeing mountains in every single direction becomes commonplace.”