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PAWTUCKET â€” Conducting a job interview via Skype didnâ€™t impede Jeff Levering in the slightest.
Staring into a screen that contained the faces of Pawtucket Red Sox President Mike Tamburro, General Manager Lou Schwechheimer and Vice President of Public Relations Bill Wanless, Levering regaled the panel with tales of a teenage Dustin Pedroia. Picture two 16-year-olds playing on the same summertime baseball team and the lifelong memories that were forged.
â€śWe played on a team called the Capitol City Bombers that finished second nationally in an AAU tournament that year. I batted second and Dustin batted third,â€ť said Levering. â€śWe had a great time together and during my interview process, I showed [the PawSox brass] my California driverâ€™s license, which has a freshly dyed head of hair that Dustin did for me. I actually dyed his hair to his liking right after the tournament. Both of us ended up dying it bleach blonde.
â€śI cracked the joke that thatâ€™s when Dustin still had hair and (Tamburro, Schwechheimer and Wanless) all laughed,â€ť Levering continued.
Getting up-close and having mischievous encounters with the current second baseman of the Boston Red Sox may very well have placed Leveringâ€™s candidacy over the top. The PawSox announced Wednesday that they have hired the 29-year-old to work in their radio broadcast booth. Levering will replace the departed Aaron Goldsmith, who last month accepted a radio job with the Seattle Mariners.
Blessed with a deep voice and a sense of humor, Levering called games for the past three seasons for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Prior to joining Springfield, Levering spent three seasons (2007-09) as Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the High-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
Levering began his professional broadcasting career in 2005 as a field reporter and associate producer for Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket in Los Angeles covering the Angels, Dodgers, and Lakers. His responsibilities at the time allowed him to be present inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim when his buddy Pedroia made his Red Sox debut on August 22, 2006.
â€śI was there for his first big-league hit and saw him the clubhouse that night and wished him congratulations,â€ť recalled Levering. â€śThe next day, I made a couple of tapes of as many angles as possible with all the different calls from the Fox Sports broadcast that night. Itâ€™s going to be nice to see Dustin again and rehash some of our fun memories together.â€ť
Leveringâ€™s first day at McCoy Stadium will be Monday, March 4. A graduate of Californiaâ€™s Chapman University, where he earned a degree in broadcast journalism, heâ€™s already professed his enthusiasm for his new job by saying Wednesday that he counts 43 days until Pawtucketâ€™s season opener on April 4 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
â€śIâ€™m looking forward to introducing myself to (new Pawtucket manager) Gary DiSarcina and the rest of the staff and get to know what (the 2013 PawSox) are going to look like,â€ť said Levering.
Levering needs no reminders of the legacy of PawSox broadcasters, many of who have parlayed their tenure with the Triple-A franchise into professional gigs. Goldsmith ended up lasting just one season in Pawtucket after replacing Dan Hoard, who spent six seasons in the PawSox radio booth from 2006-2011 before earning the call to the National Football League (Cincinnati Bengals) in the fall of 2011.
The group of former PawSox broadcasters to ride the minors-to-majors shuffle includes Don Orsillo (now in his 13th season as the voice of the Red Sox on NESN), Dave Flemming (with the San Francisco Giants), Andy Freed (the voice of the Tampa Bay Rays) and Dave Jageler (presently the voice of the Washington Nationals).
â€śJust to be considered, interviewed and then selected to be a part of this great legacy that is the PawSox radio broadcast, it really is very humbling. Iâ€™m excited to continue the great tradition thatâ€™s been set for people like me,â€ť Levering expressed. â€śItâ€™s been fun to get know the organization with the tradition that it has.â€ť
Who will serve as Leveringâ€™s broadcast sidekick remains to be determined, according to the PawSox. That void was created when longtime No. 2 announcer Steve Hyder resigned in December.