There are many things that make Port Washington’s Jake Eisenberg pinch himself these days.
But meeting the “Wonder Dog” and telling him their connection may have been his most fun.
Eisenberg is 27, and has just completed a meteoric rise up the sports broadcasting ladder.
In late November, the 2013 Schreiber High School graduate was named the lead radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals, after spending two years calling Triple-A games for the Royals’ affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers.
In his new role with the Royals, he’ll be on a broadcasting team with Rex “Hit Dog” Hudler, a former major leaguer and someone Eisenberg remembers well from childhood.
“I used to play a lot of the “MLB The Show” video game as a kid, and Rex was one of the announcers on the game and I knew every line they would say, and I would imitate it back to the game,” Eisenberg said. “So when I saw Rex recently I told him that and we had a good laugh about it.
“This is all kind of overwhelming in the best way.”
Many sportscasters work decades before getting a big-league shot, but a combination of his skills, networking ability, and good fortune have gotten him to the bigs early.
After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2017, Eisenberg began his career with the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets minor league team, and began communicating with Mets broadcasting legend Howie Rose, who became a mentor for him.
“Howie is someone I grew up listening to, just learning the game and hearing how well he communicated, and so I reached out to him just asking for advice and to see if he’d listen to my tapes,” Eisenberg said. “And he was so welcoming and helpful right from the start.”
Eisenberg moved up the ladder in baseball, while also doing some basketball and other sports for the ACC Network Extra, and then landed with the Storm Chasers in 2020, a step away from the majors.
Sam Mellinger, the Royals’ vice president of communications and Eisenberg’s new boss, said the decision to have Eisenberg replace the retiring Steve Physioc on Kansas City’s Royals Radio Network broadcasts was an easy one, especially since they’d heard him do Chasers games for two seasons.
“He’s such a pro, and the enthusiasm combined with the professionalism made it clear he was the right choice,” Mellinger said. “The things you hear from those who’ve been around him a lot, the things they say about him matters to us. And how he treats people, and what those people said about him, was very important. And we heard only great things from everyone about Jake.”
Eisenberg got another big break last spring, when the Mets, his boyhood favorite team, hired him to do 40 games on radio replacing Rose, who had a medical issue.
Suddenly, the kid who was heartbroken by 2006’s NLCS Game 7 Carlos Beltran strikeout that ended the Mets’ dream season, and was at Citi Field for the World Series in 2015 rooting for the orange and blue (against the Royals), was in the booth announcing their games.
“It was unbelievable, to be around that and get a taste of calling major-league games,” Eisenberg said. “I also got to do two Royals games last year, and seeing how that organization treated me, it was like family. That’s where my heart is.”
What makes Eisenberg such a good broadcaster? His storytelling ability and his ease in calling games, bringing excitement when its needed, was attractive to the Royals.
“It’s hard to be humble and confident at the same time, but Jake has that,” Mellinger said. “He’s got a real good feel for when to ask a question (of his broadcasting partner) and how to ask questions that will get an interesting answer.”
Jake’s father, Mark Eisenberg, said his son was never one of those kids running around announcing everything around the house (“and here’s Dad with the laundry basket, navigating the stairs with ease!”), but that he simply loved baseball and loved telling stories.
“It’s incredible that he’s gotten to where he is,” Mark Eisenberg said. “(Mom) Jill and I aren’t shocked, but I guess we’re just surprised and delighted that his trajectory has been so straight. We knew he’d wind up here, we didn’t know it would happen this quickly.”
Mark Eisenberg said it was “an incredible thrill” hearing his son call Mets games last year, with his phone blowing up from friends and relatives who have known Jake his whole life. And a trip to Kansas City for next August, when the Mets play the Royals, is already in the works, as a Mets schedule hangs next to a Royals one on his refrigerator.
Jake Eisenberg said that one of the many fantastic things about moving up to the Royals job this season is that he’s gotten to know a ton of the young players on the team through his last three years in Omaha.
“This is an organization with some really good young players who I’ve gotten to know and who I’m really excited to see what they can do in the big leagues,” Eisenberg said. “It makes it all the more special that I’ve gotten to know many of them. We took a lot of bus rides together, and now we’ll be taking plane rides together.”
Eisenberg admitted that sportscasting appeal is subjective and that while he knows he’s reaching a high rung on the ladder at a young age, “there really isn’t a way that this is supposed to happen.”
“It’s never a situation where it’s ‘oh, you called Triple-A for that organization, so they’ll eventually move you up,’” he said. “And someone could listen to me and like what they hear, or they could listen to me and not like it. All you can do is build relationships, learn from those people, and when the timing works out, it works out.
“It still is kind of incredible that I’m getting to do this,” Eisenberg added. “I don’t think it will sink in until the season actually starts. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity, with an organization that believes in me and has trusted me to do this.”