Incmikoski: 'FOX made me what I am today'
NOV 08, 2012 6:02p ET
My career path is taking me to my home state of Pennsylvania and to the city of Pittsburgh, where I will become the new sideline reporter for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the pre-game reporter for the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as a high school football sideline reporter for Root Sports Networks.
Having worked in the Fox Sports family for the past 10 years, it's tough to leave. FOX made me into what I am today. In 2002, it started when I was a booth spotter for the legendary Pat Summerall for FOX's "NFL Sunday" broadcasts, and it was an experience of a lifetime. As my mentor and friend Brian Baldinger, who was Pat's broadcast partner that season, put it, "Bro, this is the Harvard Graduate school of broadcasting right here." He could not have been more accurate. Spending four more seasons as a "FOX Box" guy (for those of you that don't know, the "FOX Box" is the on-screen scoreboard that you see during FOX's NFL telecasts), I learned the business from the technical side. Then I spent a few more seasons as a booth spotter with Matt Vasgersian, where I learned how to prepare for a game broadcast.
Ten years later this all ties together, as I leave FOX Sports with a decade of memories, many of them I will never forget.
Having spent practically every day of the past four seasons with the Minnesota Twins, I have learned more than I ever imagined possible. Opening Day, 2010, at Target Field is one of the top three days I have ever experienced in my life in sports. The looks on the fans' faces as they watched outdoor baseball in their hometown, many of them for the first time ever, will remain etched in my memory forever. For that day, I have FOX Sports North to thank. They put me front and center in that telecast. It was one of the greatest days of my life. It was a day I'll never forget.
I love FOX Sports North. They gave me the chance of a lifetime, a chance to be a reporter and host on a regional network that serves over two million viewers. They gave me a chance to interact with hundreds and hundreds of fans, maybe into the thousands. Twins fans, Wolves fans, Wild fans and the devout fans of Gopher hockey. Many of you have stopped me on the concourse, on the field and at The Loon! Seriously, how can you NOT live in Minneapolis and not have The Loon as your stomping grounds? You have said so many kind things to me regarding your enjoyment of our telecasts on FOX Sports North. I never took one of them for granted, not a single one, and I appreciate each and every one of you who stopped me to be so kind with your words. I've met many Minnesota sports fans via social media, and it's been a really cool experience. Gregory Ash, Megan Vossen and Nicholas Host to randomly name a few. I never took your support of us for granted. To Greg, Megan, Nick and the many others who have stopped me to chat about sports - thank YOU!! It was MY pleasure.
The two people who brought me to Minnesota, Jeff Byle and Joseph Maar, were not only bosses and mentors, they are friends for life. I owe each of you a public thank you for putting me in this position. Mike Connelly and Mike Roth, the former Executive Vice President/General Manager and the former Executive Producer at FOX Sports Arizona, gave me my first shot as a TV reporter in 2008 and for that I am endlessly thankful. Tony Tortorici and Trevor Fleck are the Executive Producer and Coordinating Producers of FOX Sports North, and they are wonderful people who are making our product even better every day. Trevor, you've been a big brother from day one, and it means the world to me.
To my coworkers at FOX Sports North -- John Stroh, Dave Dittman, Vanessa Lambert, Marshall Ness, Brent Rieland, Peter Anderson, Nicole Kunkel, Ralph Gasow, Matt Gangl, Bruce Wolfe, Sarah Servetnick, Ryan Bartlett, Max Michalak, Jordan Austin, Skip Krueger, Steve Fleegel, Ted Allaire, Chris Tveitbakk, Larry Robertson (one of the funniest dudes I've ever met), and the many others that I haven't named -- you're all friends for life.
The people whose faces you see every single day on the TV screen at FOX Sports North are as awesome as you may think. Tom Hanneman & Jim Petersen, in my opinion, were the best broadcast team in the NBA, and they were amazing to work with each and every day during the winters. I really enjoyed our three seasons together and will never forget the laughs we all shared together. Tom will remember me most for one saying -- "Hanny, say something funny . . . NOW!" I did it to him hundreds of times, and he never let us down. He's one of the nicest and funniest human beings you will ever come across in your life.
Thanks to my colleagues Anthony Lapanta, Marney Gellner, Kevin Gorg, Kevin Lynch, Quincy Lewis, Roy Smalley, Tim Laudner, Ron Coomer, Tom Chorske, Darby Hendrickson, Doug Woog and of course, Dick and Bert. From the time I met him, Bert and his wife Gayle treated me like their son. Bert is a Hall-of-Famer on the field, and an even better person away from the field. One of the first calls I received after getting this new job was from Dick Bremer. He congratulated me and said he enjoyed the four years we worked together. Thank you, Dick, I enjoyed it even more!
Spending the past four summers with the Twins is something I wish many in our business could experience. I'd bet the house that Ron Gardenhire could possibly be the nicest and most easy-to-work-with manager/coach in all the four major sports. It was an honor and a joy to be around him every day during baseball season. Simply put -- he's the best! Mike Herman, Dustin Morse, Mitch Hestad and Molly Gallatin have overseen the Twins PR department in my time here. These guys are the best in their business, and those that work in the media know how important good PR guys are, and Mike and Dustin define it. The Twins organization is first class and I was honored to be around them for four seasons.
Many thanks to Mike Cristaldi, Aaron Seehusen, Dan Bell and Mark Rosenberg with the Wolves PR office. You've have made our jobs much easier at the arena each day.
And to the guys and ladies that make our shows what they are each and every day, the players on each of our teams - the Twins, Wolves, Wild, Gophers and Lynx -- class acts, all of you. Many times we pester them for interviews, random questions, facts, stories and whatever else comes up, sometimes at the worst time. I can count on one hand how many times I've had a bad experience. That's saying something. Just look at some of the stars in the Minnesota sports scene -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Kevin Love -- it's hard to determine whether they are better athletes or people.
I guess I've gone on long enough here, but it takes this long to realize how many wonderful people make our lives better here in the Twin Cities in the world of sports. I can only sum it all up in two words -- THANK YOU!!
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