**********The Michael Jordan Documentary begins Tonight/Sunday April 19 on ESPN…..**********
Curt Bloom, former UNCG Spartan on the call and let it roll again, from this week at ESPN/www.espn.com…..
$$$$$$$$$$ He has made it very exciting tonight. With the Barons leading 5-1, Michael Jordan steps in for the fourth time … two of his three at-bats were near homers … he skied deep to left center when he hit the ball to the wall in the fourth, and then in the sixth, Jordan pulled the ball a little bit more and missed by 2 feet … Fly ball deep to left again, Ratliff going back, back to the warning track, looking up … IT IS GON-ZO JORDAN! He’s done it!
— Curt Bloom, Birmingham Barons play-by-play announcer, July 30, 1994 $$$$$$$$$$
Curt Bloom, who’s still in Birmingham, calling Barons games for the 29th straight season. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that ’94 season,” Bloom said. “I spent 150 days with Michael Jordan. I played basketball with him — I remember trying to set a pick for him in a pickup game, only to have him tell me, ‘I don’t need that.’ Our daughter Chloe will turn 25 this August — she was born right after Michael rubbed my wife’s belly for good luck. I saw him struggle for a few months, but I also saw him become a ballplayer right before my eyes. He worked his butt off, but he enjoyed himself and bonded with the team.
“I swear, he was going to the majors.”
++++++++++There’s a new Michael Jordan documentary coming to ESPN on April 19, including Michael Jordan baseball…..++++++++++
**********Ten(10) Questions for Curt Bloom, Chicago White Sox Double A play-by-play baseball announcer, for the Birmingham Barons….**********
1)Curt Bloom, known by many as CB, you were once a UNCG Spartan, when was this and how did you end up at UNCG?
CB:I attended UNCG from 1981-1985..I came south from North Salem, NY (A suburb north of NYC)..I knew I wanted to get to a warmer climate and I knew a change of culture would be good for my future. A friend of mine and I drove down for a visit and we were sold on the spot.
2)What are some of your memories of Greensboro, and were you doing radio/announcing back then, and even deeper, did UNCG have baseball back then???
CB:I loved Greensboro back then and to this day, I love it just as much. I enjoyed the warmer climate, the cost of living, and the overall friendliness of the south. I attended UNCG during a very critical growth period. I was involved with the soccer dynasty of the early 80’s and I believe we really helped jump start the community as well as the university.
3)How quickly did you get to Birmingham, where did you go after Greensboro?
CB:I got to Birmingham in 1992. After college, I went back to NY for a short while until I got into pro baseball..My first job was in Bakersfield in 1988, Prince William for two years and Huntsville, AL for one season before joining the Barons.
4)You have been doing Birmingham Barons baseball games on the radio for 29 years, how do you lock-it-down and stay in the same town for 29 years doing baseball games?
CB:When baseball returns (hopefully soon), I will be entering my 33rd overall season and 29th with the Barons. Its been a blessing. Nobody stays in one place that long. After awhile, you value quality of life, community, cost of living and your surroundings. I have gotten to the point where I either get to the big leagues or I stay in Birmingham. It doesn’t make sense for me to make another move to just change my path.
5)You were the play-by-play man for Michael Jordan’s season with the Barons back in 1994. Describe Michael Jordan at the plate vs. the fastball, Michael Jordan vs. the curveball??
CB:?As I have said before, Michael Jordan exceeded everyone’s expectation. To think that he would post the numbers that he did was UN-thinkable. He hit 3 home runs in our spacious ballpark, he drove in 50 runs and stole over 30 bases. No one could have imagined that for a guy who never played pro baseball. Jordan was very competitive versus the fast ball…Over time and practice, he learned how to hit the curve ball and change up.
6)The Michael Jordan power on July 30, 1994, GONZO Jordan, tell us about that moment?
CB:Jordan had 3 great at bats that night. I thought he had a real shot earlier in the game. As I was talking about his previous at bats, he blasted one to left field that was clearly going over the wall.
7)Playing basketball with Jordan, did he need the picks/screens, and did he ever use them?
CB:I set a “famous” screen for him which he looked down at me and waved off. He said ” CB, I don’t need that”
8)He rubbed your pregnant wife’s belly, was it for good luck, or just Jordan being Jordan?
CB:It really was both..
9)What was life like when your Barons were riding in the Jordancruiser??
CB:The bus was as popular and as much as a legend, as was the whole year in general. Truth is, it was any more luxurious than most minor league buses on the inside. The outside had a weird color scheme, but the inside all though new wasn’t much different. The newness of the bus made it seem like it was Mercedes of its time.
10)Describe the competitive nature of Michael Jordan and from what you were able to see, his approach to the game of baseball?
CB:He worked so hard to make him self better. Baseball can humble you in one at bat. Michael put in so much time well before batting practice, during bp and after games if he needed. He “willed” himself to be better like no one I had seen.
Bonus Question:Curt Bloom said, “I swear he was going to the Majors”….If he plays two more years/seasons of minor league baseball, would he have been the fourth outfielder for the Chicago White Sox and why???
No doubt at all, he would have been called up in 1995. He can run, played good defense and certainly at the time would have been a good choice late in games to go to. Pitchers and catchers were nervous facing him.
**********Our thanks to Curt Bloom/CB, the former UNCG Spartan, for his time and work he put in today, in answering all of these questions for us, here at GreensboroSports.com….He has been on quite a journey over the past 30-plus years and we thank him again, for sharing part of that journey with us here today…Great work CB, from UNCG…..**********