Detroit Tigers call up grad


Kellie Kenney '09An experience that she describes in dream-like terms has, fittingly enough, landed Kellie Kenney in her self-professed dream job.

Eleven months after her May 2009 graduation from Bluffton, where she was a communication major, Spanish minor and a standout softball player, Kenney began this baseball season in the Detroit Tigers broadcasting department, arranging player interviews with the Tigers media partners.
How did she get the plum assignment with her favorite team? Honestly, I have no idea, she laughs, saying her hiring and first two-plus months on the job were like a flash of light.
Kenney first applied with the Tigers for the 2009 season, while still at Bluffton, but nothing came of it, she explains. Before the start of this season, however, she got a call to come in for an interview and decided to give it a shot. Afterward, she got the call, telling her to come back to Comerica Park for work shortly before opening day.
She was told her personality was a plus, but Kenney also believes a well-rounded media background molded while she was at Bluffton has helped her cause. She was a sports writer for the Witmarsum for two years and, as a sophomore and junior, was sports director at campus radio station WBWH, which really helped when I went for interviews, she recalls.
In addition, for most of her college career, Kenney worked at WTLW-TV in Lima, where she gained her first exposure to professional athletes and learned, she says, how to put aside being a star-struck fan in order to do the job. The work primarily involved filming high school and college sports, then editing the film and writing shot sheets, which taught her how to write for TV. She still does some writing now, she adds, noting that she compiles an information sheet and questions for Tigers radio interviews.
It s been a great first year for me, says Kenney, who spent almost 24 hours at Comerica Park the day the Tigers hosted visitation for beloved Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who died May 4. More recently, she helped translate and photograph an online chat in English and Spanish with pitcher Armando Gallaraga, who was denied a perfect game June 2 by a missed call at first base with two out in the ninth inning.
I was born and raised a Tigers fan, so I was just ecstatic about this opportunity, adds Kenney, who graduated from Toledo s Emmanuel Christian School in 2005. Looking to play college softball, she was drawn to Bluffton by the campus community and especially her future teammates. I just clicked with them right away, remembers the Toledo resident, who helped the team to a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference co-championship as a junior and a school-record 30 wins as a senior. She ranks in the top 10 in a number of career statistical categories at Bluffton both as a pitcher and a designated hitter.

Her job with the Tigers is guaranteed only through the end of the season, but Kenney doesn't mind. I m just doing my best every single day, and the World Series won't end until November, she says. The Tigers will be there, and so will I.