Emma Tiedemann, 27, was the winner among 133 applicants for the Portland Sea Dogs’ play-by-play broadcasting job. Photo courtesy of Emma Tiedemann

Longtime Texas Rangers radio voice Eric Nadel received an email years ago from a college kid looking to make it in the business, like he often does. But Emma Tiedemann’s note was different.

“She was not one of those students who wanted help getting a job,” Nadel said.

“No, she’s done all that on her own.”

Tiedemann, who absorbs input from everywhere she can, was simply looking for advice. Nadel, who received the Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award in 2014, became a fan of the younger broadcaster.

“A self-starter and incredibly hard worker, she’s really smart and perceptive,” Nadel said. “She is, technically, an excellent play-by-play announcer.”

And soon … hopefully soon … Tiedemann will be describing games involving the Portland Sea Dogs.

Tiedemann, 27, was named the new Sea Dogs’ radio announcer on Monday, replacing Mike Antonellis, who is moving to the booth of Triple-A Pawtucket after 15 years in Portland.

“The Sea Dogs have a stellar reputation,” Tiedemann said of her attraction to the job. “And, obviously, there is their relationship with the Red Sox.”

The Hadlock Field radio booth appears to be a coveted job – one reason why the Sea Dogs have had only four lead broadcasters, prior to Tiedeman, since their inception in 1994. To replace Antonellis, team president Geoff Iacuessa sifted through 133 applications.

“I think our fans will enjoy listening to her call a game,” Iacuessa said.

Tiedemann may be young, but her resume is loaded. She first put on a headset when she was 15. Her most recent job was a two-year stint as the radio play-by-play announcer of the Class A Lexington (Kentucky) Legends. She was the only female announcer in the South Atlantic League – and one of only five in the minor leagues last year. One of those five, Melanie Newman, just made a big jump, from Boston’s advanced Class A affiliate in Salem, Virginia, to the Baltimore Orioles.

Tiedemann will not be the only woman announcer in the Eastern League. Kirsten Karbach, another one of the five last year, will be beginning her second year with the Reading Fightin Phils.

Tiedemann hosted a gathering of the five women at a charity event two weeks ago in Lexington.

“It was really empowering, hearing their stories and what they’ve gone through,” Tiedemann said. “I just view myself as broadcaster who happens to be female … Once you find an outstanding organization, they don’t care about your gender; they just care if you can do the job.”

Iacuessa’s vetting process was extensive.

“I listened to all of the demos that were submitted and got it down to 35 that I liked, and shared with the staff,” Iacuessa said.

“From there, I had them rate each. None of the staff knew the rest of the resume. It was just based on the tape.

“From there, we took the top 15 rated and did phone interviews with each. Emma’s phone interview was fantastic and, when you looked at the experience … she quickly separated herself from the other candidates.

“Next, I took our top three candidates and shared with several season ticket holders and sponsors – that I knew listened to the games often – and, again, she rated at the top.

“Next, I called references for our top candidates and, again, she was off the charts … We then brought her to town for an in-person interview and we all agreed she was the best person for the job.“

Were the Sea Dogs looking for a woman announcer?

“Quite honestly, being a female didn’t help or hurt,” he said.

Nadel, in his 42nd year with the Rangers, said the fans will get used to the idea.

“People may have to adjust to hearing a woman play-by-play announcer, if they’re not used to it,” Nadel.

“It is a lot (for Tiedemann) to overcome. But she’s had no problem getting people to enjoy her work. She focuses on play-by-play. She describes well.

“One thing she has going for her is that people can instantly tell what a nice person she is. Likability is half the battle.”

Ability is the other half and “she’s been well-schooled by her grandfather,” Nadel said.

Tiedemann’s grandfather, Bill Mercer, is a legend among Texas broadcasters, including stints with the Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Dallas Cowboys and a variety of other gigs. Twelve years ago, Mercer was about to work a University of Texas-Dallas basketball game when he discovered his partner was not going to make it. He told his 15-year-old granddaughter to fill in. She was a natural.

“I talked the entire time,” Tiedemann said, and a career was started.

Throughout high school, she worked more UT-Dallas games. At the University of Missouri, she broadcasted several sports. She worked for collegiate summer teams in Oregon and Alaska, and later worked for the independent-league St. Paul Saints in Minnesota.

Now, she is in Portland, waiting with the rest of the country for baseball to begin again. Tiedemann spends part of her time researching Sea Dogs history; always working, always preparing for the job she loves.


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