David Peck came to Bowdoin in 2014 with high hopes for a career as a student-athlete. Injuries on the football field, however, put an end to this ambition, and even required him to miss the 2016-2017 academic year. With his graduation date delayed by one year but his health back on track, Peck now harbors sporting ambitions of a different sort.
For the second summer running, Peck is working in Rhode Island in the media office of the Newport Gulls, part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. His role, though, has expanded significantly: In 2017, he was a media intern; this summer he is the lead broadcaster. “This means that in addition to calling all forty-four games, both home and away,” said Peck, “I also write and post press releases on the Gulls’ website, coordinate social media, and conduct interviews with players, coaches, and other broadcasters around the league.”
It’s a long day, ending with an evening game and starting in the morning, “usually with a cup of coffe and an Excel spreadsheet,” explained Peck, “where I research and scout Newport’s statistics and the numbers of the opposing team for that night’s game. Broadcasting, however, is not all about stats,” he added. “It is equally important to have storylines going into the game based on previous results or things happening with the team. I make sure I understand the bigger picture related to the game, to help tell the story once the first pitch is thrown.”
Newport has one of the most extensive broadcast programs for collegiate sport in the country, said Peck. This involves recording a twenty-minute pregame show for every home game, which includes interviews and conversations. “As the play-by-play broadcaster, this is where I become more of a director and coordinator of the other interns, helping them choose which players to interview and what questions to ask.”
Peck arrived in the world of sportscasting via a fairly circuitous route, he explained. He came to Bowdoin, he said, because he wanted a good school where he could play both football and baseball, but once he was sidelined, he found himself drawn to broadcasting. It was in Florida during spring break, as a non-playing member of Bowdoin’s baseball team, that a chance encounter with a broadcast crew gave Peck his first opportunity to call an inning. He clearly did a good job, as one of the broadcasters told Peck he would be a good fit for the New England Collegiate Baseball League. This led to his first internship with the Newport Gulls.
His summer job has been made possible by a funded internship grant from Bowdoin’s Career Planning Center—one of seventy-eight such grants awarded this summer.
In preparation for his role as Newport’s lead broadcaster, Peck became an announcer with the Bowdoin team and ended up calling every game during the spring of 2018 in order to gain enough experience. “Broadcasting is a field that requires a lot of confidence,” he said, “and in order to be confident, you have to be sure that what you are saying is correct. But at the same time,” he added, “you also can’t be afraid of messing up in front of people. All our interviews are done in front of the team dugout while batting practice is going on, so there are a lot of distractions and it can be very nerve-wrackng.” The best way to deal with this, he said, is to be as fully prepared as possible. “I found that the more I knew about the night’s matchup, the easier it would be to open up the broadcast with an unscripted two-minute monologue.”
He may no longer be suited up and on the mound, but for David Peck, game days have lost none of their adrenalin-fueled excitement.
See Peck in the booth, calling a game with Nashville Predators broadcaster Will Daunic