Sidetracked: The Midwest’s Own Major Leaguer Trenni Kusnierek (1 of 2)



By: Melissa S. Wollering

Cole Hamels just gave up a solo homer to Andre Ethier and it’s only the first.  It’s 63 degrees out, but he’s visibly sweating. Game 5 of the NLCS will do that to you. Trenni’s head is filled with stats. If she could just double-check his ERA and games pitched during the ’08 playoffs versus the ’09 postseason so far.

Manny’s now at the plate. She sends off a quick email to MLB Network support staff. Manny singles on a line drive to Werth in right…yikes.  Wait, new message notification. The answer to the Hamels question!

Covering 30 teams is a far cry from one; good thing some of the best researchers in sports TV are listening. See, they’re at her service. All the while, she still refers to Wisconsin as HOME in all caps. You still hear her on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee. You still catch her volunteering as a tutor on the city’s Southside. We, too, are happy to be at Trenni Kusnierek’s service. The only difference: the rest of baseball is catching on.

“The biggest difference between national and regional/local TV is the amount of people and resources you have,” says Kusnierek, current MLB Network Reporter.  “As expected, everything is done a little bigger, and admittedly, a little better.  The research department has to be one of the best added resources!”

Having covered the Pirates and Steelers for FSN Pittsburgh for four years and the Milwaukee Brewers for FS Wisconsin in ’08, Trenni covered every outstanding performance, every dismal outing, every injury and every roster move over the course of a season.

“I took for granted always knowing the ins and outs of a team when I traveled with the Brewers, Pirates or Steelers on a regional level,” says Trenni. “When working on the national level, it is difficult to know the more intimate details of a team—who is the quiet leader in the clubhouse, the jokester who keeps everyone loose in September and October, how the team reacts to managerial styles. However, in turn, I think that makes you a better reporter.”

Traveling with one team is, in many ways, a luxury.  Now when Trenni travels, she’s meticulous about her homework and methodical in her line of questioning. On that day and for that game, she asks the right questions and snags the right people.  It’s also a little easier now that everyone knows who she is when she walks into a clubhouse.


“It is definitely the response you get from players, clubs and other members of the media.  It is a bit shocking to not have to beg, borrow and steal to get a big interview! There is a different respect that comes with the MLB logo on your mic flag.”

Fans certainly wanted more on Major League Baseball than satellite radio afforded them.  As a result, the launch of the MLB Network was far from quiet and its product seems to be meeting and exceeding expectations.

“I think our president, Tony Pettiti, along with our production staff made sure we didn’t rush anything in our debut so our product looked pretty polished right from the beginning.  I think that effort was noticed with baseball fans and folks in the industry.”

Trenni’s entrance onto the more visible national stage has gone just as well.  She still has a solid fan base from her home state of Wisconsin as well as her work in Pittsburgh and her recognition is growing. After an inaugural season, she’s been stopped more often at ballparks, followed more often on Facebook and Twitter and done a few more guest appearances on sports talk radio stations, her ultimate favorite format to kick back and talk baseball.

“Because our network is still very young, it’s not as though I can’t leave the house!” she laughs. “I always like to joke with the big wigs at work that if they’re hoping for a big following in Milwaukee—I think I can help!”

Ask and you shall receive, Trenni.  Regardless of growing numbers of fans, we are always at your service.

Check back for the second article in a series on our very own Trenni Kusnierek, a former writer, herself!

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  1. Part 2 of 2 should be up on Wednesday! Check back for it!

  2. This is a good “get” Melissa. I don’t know how Trenni finds all the time to do all that stuff. She must be one of those people who can function really well on 5 hours of sleep a night. I could probably never find all the time to do all that.

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