When significant sports moments are celebrated, fans turn to broadcasters for the words that will help make those moments historic. Zach Metz ’25 doesn’t yet have something like “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” to call his own, but he’s been preparing to be a broadcaster for years.
“I would always be the kid who turned the volume down on a TV sports broadcast to commentate on the game,” he said. “It’s just a passion I’ve had since I was little.”
You might know Metz as a business major; the voice of the Hornets for Kalamazoo College’s baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball and lacrosse teams; or a quarterback for K’s football team. But this summer, he’s interning as the play-by-play livestream broadcaster with the Grand Lake Mariners in Celina, Ohio, one of 14 cities with a Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League team.
“I knew about the Great Lakes league through some of our players at K who had played in it, so I went on the league’s website, and I filled out an interest form,” Metz said. “I said, ‘I would like to broadcast,’ and Dave Maurer, our assistant general manager reached out. I sent him my materials and interviewed, and they offered me the job. I was excited to take it.”
His internship began quickly after K’s baseball team earned a 10-5 victory against Adrian in May, a triumph that gave the Hornets their first outright Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association regular season title since 1927.
“Calling the final out of that game was a lot of fun for me, especially with it being a game we had to win to get the outright title,” Metz said. “Whenever there’s a crucial RBI at the end of the game and you can really put some excitement into it, it’s fun. But I loved knowing that what I was doing at that moment was a small part of what the players and their families got out of it.”
After that, Metz was off to Ohio, where the Mariners are the second-oldest team in their league and are named for being on the shores of Grand Lake St. Mary’s. He stays with the team’s assistant general manager and applauds the franchise for welcoming interns as well as it does.
“Fortunately, this role in this league is pretty similar to what I do in college, so there hasn’t been a lot new to me aside from the players using wooden bats,” Metz said. “I talked a lot to the players on our team. I learned what their pitchers throw. Other than that, it’s not much different from any other game I’ve ever done. It’s finding the stats, putting them into a format that I like and rolling with it.”
Preparing for a game in the summer league involves putting together a packet for each Mariners opponent with their schedule, record, players’ stats, team stats and potential storylines.
“With baseball being slower, there’s more time to tell a story,” Metz said. “It usually takes about an hour for each side per packet in a format that’s easy to read.”
Taking to the road means additional challenges.
“On road trips, we don’t have video for our broadcasts—only the home team does—so it turns into more of a radio broadcast,” Metz said. “In that case, it requires me to prepare more because I need to talk more. I can’t stop and let things play out for a minute because the person listening doesn’t know what’s going on if I don’t talk. It can get a little tiring if the game isn’t going well for the Mariners, but really, I just need to get more preparation done.”
Yet no matter where he roams or where he broadcasts from, K—along with its community—will always be special to him.
Football Coach Jamie Zorbo “has helped me in learning how to approach academics and time management,” Metz said. “Steve Wideen, our sports information director, was the one who got me into broadcasting at K. I talked to him once and he said, ‘Alright, we’ll get you going.’ I did one game and he said, ‘we’re going to keep you.’ And Tanner White, too, another member of the football team who graduated last year was the broadcaster at K before I came here. We were in the middle of football camp once and I happened to get into the same ice bath with him after practice. He immediately said, ‘Let’s talk broadcasting.’ He told me everywhere to go, everything I need to get there, and we worked together for a year.”
He expects such connections, along with his internship, to be integral to his future.
“When I was deciding between colleges, I didn’t think I wanted to go to K because they didn’t have a set broadcasting or communications program,” Metz said. “But since I’ve been here, the people who helped me get these opportunities to broadcast and propel me forward have been so important. If I had to pick schools again, I’d pick K without a doubt. Aside from the actual education for me as a broadcaster, the connections you make and the people you meet are super important. That’s ultimately why I chose K and I’m thrilled I’m here.”