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BASEBALL

'It's a lifelong dream': Omaha Storm Chasers announcer makes his MLB debut

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Jake Eisenberg knows how a handful of Storm Chasers felt last week when they were called up by the Kansas City Royals to play in Toronto.

Eisenberg made his major league debut this season, too.

Eisenberg, Omaha’s play-by-play announcer the past two years, has filled in as a New York Mets’ play-by-play man for more than 25 games during the first half of the season.

Not a bad gig for someone who grew up on Long Island listening to Mets games.

“It’s a lifelong dream,” Eisenberg said. “It’s a dream beyond a dream.”

Eisenberg

Jake Eisenberg, the lead play-by-player for the Omaha Storm Chasers, calls a game against the Iowa Cubs.

Like the players, Eisenberg is climbing the baseball ladder — as a broadcaster. Before coming to Omaha, Eisenberg called games for three teams on the East Coast, including the Brooklyn Cyclones.

In late February as he prepared for the season with the Chasers, he saw that the Mets were hiring a third announcer to fill in on road trips when their primary broadcaster, 68-year-old Howie Rose, would take time off. Eisenberg decided to apply and interviewed for the position.

Soon after that, Eisenberg took a call while he was in his radio booth at Werner Park letting him know he got the job.

“It was a surreal moment to be in the booth here and get a phone call like that,” he said.

Eisenberg is thankful that the Chaser organization has been flexible and allowed him to work part time for New York. He called his first game for the Mets in Arizona on April 22. Then Eisenberg was presented with another unique opportunity.

In early May, three Kansas City announcers got sick. To fill the void, Eisenberg was asked to do radio play-by-play when the Royals hosted the St. Louis Cardinals on May 3 and 4.

“I was able to call MJ Melendez’s major league debut and Bobby Witt Jr.’s first homer,” Eisenberg said. “To see those guys grow and shine here, and then to call their games in Kansas City, it was very special.”

Eisenberg called those games with analyst Mike Sweeney, who was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2015. Like Eisenberg, Sweeney was a last-minute addition.

“I met him about five hours before that first game,” Eisenberg said. “But the way we broadcast those games, it’s like we knew each other for years. It was great calling games with him.”

When Eisenberg does Mets games, he primarily is teamed with Wayne Randazzo. Eisenberg mainly does games when the Mets are making West Coast road swings, but the week before the all-star break, he called games in Atlanta and at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

“The toughest part is keeping on top of how both teams are doing,” Eisenberg said of the Chasers and Mets.

Before heading back to Omaha for its weekend series with the Iowa Cubs, Eisenberg was at Dodger Stadium for the all-star festivities as he followed the Mets players there.

He heads into the second half of the season expecting to do fewer games for the Mets, who currently have the second-best record in the National League. He tentatively is slated to work their series in Oakland in September.

That schedule is in flux. And as he’s found out the past few months, anything can happen this season.

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