West Bloomfield resident Brandon Rothenberg steps up to the plate each week on the Blue Wire platform.
Brandon Rothenberg has found his voice.
It’s on his new baseball-themed podcast called “Motor City Hardball” that is available through Blue Wire, a California-based sports podcasting platform that was launched in 2018.
Rothenberg, a 23-year-old West Bloomfield resident, has done 10 weekly episodes of “Motor City Hardball” since December. Each episode is released at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
“Baseball is my passion.,” Rothenberg said. “Hopefully this podcast will get my foot in the door to a career of covering baseball.”
Rothenberg sometimes has a guest on his podcast.
His guest in episode No. 5 was longtime friend David Vinsky.
A Farmington Hills Harrison High School graduate who was selected in the 15th round of the 2019 Major League Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Vinsky should resume his professional baseball career this summer in the Cardinals’ farm system after an unexpected season off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conversation between friends on Rothenberg’s podcast episode was informal, humorous and informational.
It ran the gamut from discussing Vinsky’s days as a three-sport high school athlete, baseball star at Northwood University and professional ballplayer to talking about Vinsky’s renewed interest in collecting baseball cards while trying to pass the time during the pandemic.
Vinsky told Rothenberg the amazing story of opening a pack of baseball cards and finding a rare card autographed by All-Star Mike Trout.
Eli Weil, another longtime friend of Rothenberg and fellow North Farmington High School and 2020 Michigan State University graduate, is trying to make Rothenberg’s dream of being a baseball media member a reality while giving his own career a boost.
Weil is studying at the Blackbird Academy in Nashville, Tenn., with the goal of getting into music production or audio engineering.
He created original theme music for Rothenberg’s podcast that is played at the beginning and end of each podcast and in the middle to break up the conversation.
“It took a couple tries before Brandon made his decision on the theme music for his podcast,” Weil said. “I wanted to create music that fit Brandon’s show. I think the music has an old-school Motown feel. I hope it creates a familiarity when you hear it, like ESPN’s theme.”
Rothenberg’s podcasting work has caught the attention of Tyler Chin, Blue Wire’s head of operations.
“You can tell Brandon is becoming more comfortable with each episode,” Chin said.
Blue Wire has a main roster of about 140 sports podcasters that includes several professional athletes, and — using baseball terminology — a separate place for promising minor league podcasters to hone their craft so they can move up to the big leagues.
That separate place is called Blue Wire Hustle. Rothenberg is among more than 100 so-called “Hustlers” who have come on board since October.
For $15 a month, Blue Wire provides Hustlers with what Chin calls the “back end” part of a podcast, including artwork and hosting.
Plus, through group chats and question-and-answer sessions with main roster podcasters, Hustlers can learn podcasting skills and how to grow a podcast.
“We emphasize community in Blue Wire Hustle. Having a support system,” Chin said.
That’s a comforting place for Rothenberg, who has found the journalism job market to be tight in the midst of the pandemic.
Rothenberg came out of Michigan State last May with an impressive resume that included internships with the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Utica in the summer of 2018 and the NBC Golf Channel in Orlando, Fla., in the summer of 2019.
During his junior year at MSU, he earned one of eight spots available for MSU journalism students to cover a Detroit Pistons-Cleveland Cavaliers exhibition game at MSU’s Breslin Center.
“I was assigned to the Cavaliers and wrote a story,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
Also when he was a junior, Rothenberg took a play-by-play class that was taught by Detroit Tigers play-by-play radio announcer Dan Dickerson.
Rothenberg and Dickerson became friends, and Dickerson invited Rothenberg inside the Tigers’ broadcasters Comerica Park radio booth twice to listen to the pre-game show and first inning of a game.
On one of his trips to the radio booth, on May 18, 2019, Rothenberg met former Tigers star Al Kaline after Kaline walked into the booth, and the two had a photo taken.
Sponsorships are available for Rothenberg’s podcast. He can be reached at Brandonrothenberg123@gmail.com.