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Darrin Jackson Was Ready For His Curveball

“Entering his 11th season in the booth, Darrin Jackson has become a fixture on White Sox broadcasts.”

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Sometimes when life throws you a curveball, you just have to sit back, wait and knock it out of the park. White Sox broadcaster and former Major Leaguer Darrin Jackson is living proof.

Now entering his 11th year alongside Ed Farmer in the White Sox radio booth, Jackson finds himself in a place he never thought would be a destination. Others who followed his career thought it would be a perfect fit.

While Jackson was playing professionally in San Diego in 1992, the beat writers for the Padres would often ask him what he’d want to do after baseball. They asked about managing or coaching, and one asked about the possibility of becoming a baseball broadcaster. That left Darrin wondering if the writers knew something that he didn’t. Was he being released? Sent to the minors? Jackson was at a loss for words, which of course isn’t good for an announcer, “Um, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just talking to you right now.”

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The writers didn’t have any inside knowledge because Jackson, or DJ as he’s affectionately known, continued his major league career which all in all spanned 12 years. Jackson even spent two seasons in Japan. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1981, making his major league debut with the team in 1985. He really didn’t get much playing time on the North Side and actually asked the team to deal him, which they did in 1989 to the Padres.

He saw a few cities in the course of his time in the ‘bigs’. From San Diego he was dealt to Toronto in 1993. From Toronto it was on to the Mets and eventually the White Sox in 1994.

He then would leave the states and sign with the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League in 1995 staying there through the ’96 season, returning to the majors in 1997 with the Twins, then to the Brewers in ’98 before returning to Chicago with the Sox in 1999, which turned out to be his final season.

Jackson knew it was destiny returning to the South Side, because as he asked himself, “What would be a place for me to finish my career that would be great? That I’d want to work for that organization, when I got done playing and of all the places I had played instantly I thought about Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox. As an organization there was no other place I’d rather be.”

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After the season ended, he was not planning to retire, but an offer came his way and he took it.

“As it went being here (Chicago) in 1999, when I came back in my final year of playing, it was just right place, right time, because I was thinking about another year of playing actually, but an opportunity opened up in the broadcast booth and I was offered the opportunity to come up and do that” Jackson said. “I said you know you’re 36 years old, how much more are you going to play? I’m in good shape that’s not the issue, it’s just I’m really not playing anymore at all. I was just sitting around watching baseball, so why not go up there in the booth and watch baseball and talk about it.”, recalls Jackson.

He started on White Sox television with the recently retired Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, then transitioned into the radio booth with Farmer beginning with the 2009 season.

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As a former player Jackson spoke about how he handles a broadcast, especially when it comes to being critical of those now playing the game he did for so long. DJ likes to have fun but in the end the goal is a simple one.

“Tell the truth, of course you want to be honest, our fans aren’t stupid, they know what they’re hearing out of my mouth whether its factual or fiction. I try to do it in a way where it’s never offensive. I remember as a player when broadcasters would say something and then put their own personal spin on it and I never ever liked when somebody would go ‘I don’t even know why is this guy here, what’s he even…’ look that’s not being a professional, if you’re playing bad say this guy is playing terribly, he’s not doing his job he can play better.” Jackson continued, “Will I get on a guy that’s not hustling or making mental mistakes? Absolutely, and I have no problem walking right up to him after a game and if they want to say something, I’m right here, we can talk about it and I’ll tell you my side.”

The no nonsense approach is what helped make Jackson a major leaguer for so many years and it’s what’s making him so good at his current job on White Sox radio. But DJ is not without a sense of humor, especially when I reminded him of the old saying in the broadcasting business: it’s a lot easier up here [in the booth] than it is down there [on the field], but as a former player and not a trained broadcaster Jackson laughed that off.

“Hilarious! That’s definitely not true. I’ve got a whole bunch of names I can write down right now, of guys that would tell you, I’ve tried that and I failed, so it’s not that easy.”

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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