January 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Jackson Generals and hello Biloxi

It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to something you have been a part of for a long time. After six seasons with the Jackson Generals, I have accepted a position with the brand new franchise in Biloxi, MS to serve as Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting.  It’s a tremendous opportunity that I am extremely grateful for, and a chance to be a part of something.really special.MeWalker4

I have so many great memories in Jackson. I am a West Tennessee lifer and got started in sports radio in 2005. It was exciting to have the first daily sports talk show in the area on ESPN 96.5 and making it a smashing success. I’ll never forget the call I received from (now GM) Jason Compton while I was sitting in the press box at LP Field in Nashville at the Music City Bowl in 2008. He asked if I was interested in
becoming the new broadcaster for the (then) West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. It was an easy decision. I loved baseball after having played it for most of my life and being a die hard Cardinals fan. But, I had never gone through the riggers of a minor league baseball season and honestly had no idea of the things in entailed. Jason and (former GM) Tom Hanson put their trust in me and I went through many trial and error moments. I gave it everything I had for six years and have no regrets. I can never be thankful enough for that opportunity.

Someone asked me the other day what are my top moments with the Generals? I have never really thought about listing top moments. Their are countless things that come to mind. The transition in 2011, from West Tenn DIamond JBig 4axx to Jackson Generals. The playoff runs in 2010 and especially in 2012. The many, many experiences on bus rides and a lot of stories I cannot tell! The players that have made their way through Jackson and made a huge impact. The top picks like Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino, D.J. Peterson and Danny Hultzen. The big three in 2012, with Walker, Paxton and Hultzen in the starting rotation. Being chased around the field in Jacksonville by half the team trying to dunk champagne on me after clinching the first half title in 2012. Even though that team lost in thedressed up Southern League Championship, it will go down as one of the best minor league teams. Hosting the Southern League All-Star Game in 2011.

On a personal note, it was truly an honor to be recognized by fellow league broadcasters and GM’s in 2013 as Southern League Broadcaster of the Year. If for anything it just makes you feel like you are doing things the right way and has motivated me to not only be a better broadcaster, but also inspire me to advance my career. This is why I made the decision.Chris Kivlehan

Saying goodbye to the Mariners organization isn’t easy. From top to bottom, it is an organization filled with class. The coaches, front office personnel, scouts, PR staff have gone above and beyond for me and helped me grow in the world of baseball. They are filled with talented individuals on and off the field and are on the verge of something really special. The broadcast team of Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith, Kevin Cremin and Shannon Drayer couldn’t have been any more generous with their time and allowed me so many great experiences. The managers I have worked with have been terrific. Each different in their own way. Each taught me lots of things about the game of baseball.

To all the fans and supporters of the team, it has been a true privilege to be the voice of your team. I have grown Chris Goofa lot as a broadcaster and person because of so many great people. For all the “Kiss it Goodbyes” on home runs, salutes to Dave Niehaus’ “Get out the mustard and rye bread” grand salami calls and “Jackson General Winners”, it’s been a blast.

It is goodbye in a way, but the Shuckers make trips to Jackson in May and August. So life in the best darn league in the minors continues and I am looking forward to it. The familiarity with each of talented broadcasters and media guys and gals in the league is hChris Marderuge. The transition should be seamless and I am beyond thrilled to be starting in this new market. Jackson and West Tennessee will always be special to me whether I am working here or not. It’s home. It will always be home.

With that said, I look forward to staying in touch with so many great friends and supporters on social media, etc.. If you make a trip down to Biloxi, I’ll save some seafood and a spot on the beach for you. Thanks for everything.