Spartan called up to White Sox for a day
The greats of Major League Baseball radio broadcasting: Ernie Harwell. Red Allen. Vin Sculley.
Add UNCG alumnus Curt Bloom ’85 to the list.
In a weekend to remember, Bloom was invited to provide the radio commentary July 24 beside Chicago White Sox radio announcer Len Kasper.
Bloom already knew many of the players – not only how they reacted to curve balls but also what they chatted about in the locker room. About 70 percent of the current White Sox roster has played in Birmingham, when they had stints there in Double A ball for the White Sox organization. Bloom has served as the radio voice of the Birmingham Barons in Alabama for 31 years, earning his way into the Southern League Hall of Fame.
He was there when Michael Jordan at age 31 tried his hand at baseball. Jordan played for the Barons in 1994, when Bloom was in his third year broadcasting there. He recalls a pick-up basketball game with Jordan on his team. He set a pick – and Jordan memorably told him, “Curt, I don’t need that.” (See archival ESPN report.)
When his wife, Laura, was not far from going into labor, Jordan patted her belly for good luck. Their oldest daughter, Chloe, is now in her mid-20s. Time flies – like those three homers Jordan clobbered back in Birmingham’s spacious old stadium.
Fact is, Bloom has called a few Braves games and Orioles games, in the early 2000s. Perhaps there will be more, in his future. But this Sunday afternoon in Chicago was special. He caught up with players and coaches he’d known, including some for the visiting Cleveland Guardians too. And the well-played, two-hour, 31-minute game made for a fantastic time.
Afterward, we asked what were the highlights. “Doing the starting line-ups and four innings of play-by-play,” he said. And one more, an honor his broadcast partner gave him: calling the last out of the game. “And the ball game is over. The White Sox win it!”
He got his professional start while at UNCG. “In between my freshman and sophomore years, our campus radio station (WUAG) broadcast the Greensboro Hornets the second half of the season. It was in 1982,” he said.
“Later, I landed a job as a board operator at (Greensboro radio station) WKEW for about a year or so running Orioles and Braves games. Back in the day, all interns or first-job guys were in charge of producing or being board operators for other events. It was great practice for what I am doing 30 years down the road.”
His most memorable professor at UNCG? “Frank Donaldson in Broadcasting (now Media Studies). We are friends to this day. I speak to his class every other semester via Zoom. He is a mentor and a wonderful guy.”
And he adds that Donaldson helped the students get a head start. “Frank Donaldson helped us all get internships.”
A broadcast communications major in the 80s, he saw that the University and the city were growing. He loved UNCG Athletics. “I was the team manager for basketball for two years and soccer for three. I made some of my best friends at UNCG and especially on our soccer team. We won three national championships during that stretch!”
He and his wife, Dr. Laura Lore Bloom ’86, now a professor at The University of Montevallo, met at UNCG, where she was a home economics and education major. They have two daughters, Chloe and their youngest, Alexis. And they’re grandparents now.
What’s next for Bloom? Right now, he’s living the dream, making memories and sharing the joy and drama of baseball. Plus calling college football and basketball and teaching a college course.
And you never know what the next day will bring.
By Mike Harris, UNCG Magazine editor
Courtesy photos of Curt in the White Sox broadcast booth and with his family.