Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On the Beat With Terry Bonadonna of the Windy City ThunderBolts

 Terry Bonadonna's passion for radio started in his youth and he has been involved in radio broadcasting since he was 15. In 2010, Terry brought his passion to the Windy City ThunderBolts, an independent minor league baseball team. Terry turned  that passion into A Wonderful Waste of Time, his book which was just released and is the focus of our interview.

Actually, the full title is A Wonderful Waste Of Time: Tales From a Summer in the Press Box with the Windy City ThunderBolts and Independent Baseball. The summer in the title refers to the 2017 season. As Terry explains in our interview, the book is the result of him setting a main goal every season. For the 2017 season, it was the book and now three years later, that book is out.

In our interview Terry is very open about discussing his lengthy tenure as a broadcaster for the ThunderBolts, debating staying too long versus doing what he loves. That's where the aforementioned goal-setting started.

He is very clearly passionate about his job. Could he “move up” elsewhere and does he want to go elsewhere? Obviously, he could, but for now at least, he is happy where he is. That's a great thing for the ThunderBolts and their fans.

In independent baseball, where there could be a lot of turnover of the players, the broadcaster can become the face (as well as the voice) of the team. There's a definite comfort in turning on the broadcast and hearing that familiar voice. Terry is a vital part of the ThunderBolts organization.

I admire Terry. He is happy doing what he loves and it comes through loud and clear in our interview and on every broadcast he does.

While he loves what he does, it most certainly is still work. Terry talks about his average work day during the season. In covering the Chicago Bandits pro softball team, I have seen how hard broadcaster Mike Knezevich works. Broadcasters are often among the first people at the ball park on game day.

Also, in my limited experience in broadcasting, I know the challenges during the game. Of all sports, baseball is especially tricky. There's a rhythm to the game. The broadcaster must know when to speak and when to let the action tell the story. You don't just sit in the booth and start talking. Of course, it helps when you have a lifetime of passion invested like Terry does.

Terry covers all of this and more in A Wonderful Waste Of Time: Tales From a Summer in the Press Box with the Windy City ThunderBolts and Independent Baseball. The book follows the ThunderBolts throughout the season from Terry's perspective. Terry brings the reader into the press box, onto the field, into the front office and even on bus rides to other Frontier League cities. Readers will feel what it's like to go through a season in minor league baseball.

Near the end of the interview, I commented on how reading this book would be a wonderful waste of time. I kind of fumbled over my words, which is why I am a writer and not a broadcaster. Except for a few forays for the purpose of articles, I'll leave that to the professionals, like Terry. I didn't want my point to be lost or misconstrued. Much like spending an evening at the ballpark is a wonderful waste of time, so is reading A Wonderful Waste of Time. The truth is, neither is a waste of time, because both provide plenty of entertainment.

In making the book release announcement on social media, Terry joked, “I wrote a book. If you don't buy it, we're not friends anymore.” I don't think Terry has to worry about chopping his friends list.

Johnny Sole, Community Relations Director for the ThunderBolts, quickly shared that announcement and joked back, “I want to stay friends with Terry and also I want to read it, so I shall get it.” Later Johnny told me, “We want to congratulate Terry on getting his book published. He has seen a lot in his 10-plus years with us and has a unique perspective on all of his games, travels and preparations. It’s great to see that come out in this book, and people will certainly find it to be entertaining and worth their time.”

Others joined the praise parade on social media. It appears a lot of fans want to have a wonderful waste of time, too!

I really appreciate Terry for his time and consideration. As a baseball fan, I appreciate his work with the ThunderBolts and I cannot wait to read A Wonderful Waste Of Time: Tales From a Summer in the Press Box with the Windy City ThunderBolts and Independent Baseball. For more information on Terry and his book, go to Amazon and also TerryBonadonna.com.

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