PRESS RELEASE – The Newport Gulls have hired Rob Masse to be the team’s broadcaster and deputy director of media relations, according to General Manager Chuck Paiva. Masse will take over lead play-by-play duties from long-time broadcast icon Nick Lima, who is staying on as director of media relations and will continue to work in an on-air capacity this summer.
Masse comes to the Gulls after two seasons as the voice of the Plymouth Pilgrims, a young expansion franchise in the NECBL that has already sparked an intense division rivalry with Newport. The two teams squared off in an unforgettable, three-game Division Championship Series last August, a series edged by the eventual league champion Gulls.
While Lima has patrolled the Cardines Field Press Box since 2004 donning a suit, tie and fedora for every home game, Masse has likewise made a name for himself in the league with his distinctive on-air delivery, sharp suits of his own, and a wide variety of bowties. Given the unique style of both broadcasters, the 2014 Gulls vs. Pilgrims season series was even described on Twitter as “#BowtieVsFedora.”
“Perhaps more than any other summer collegiate team in the country, our focus in Newport is to give the fans, players’ families, and friends watching at home a Major League Baseball-style broadcast,” Lima said. “To that end, I’m thrilled the Gulls will continue to be represented on air by someone like Rob, who not only takes the role very seriously, but strives to give each and every broadcast major-league quality.”
Lima continued, “Rob’s experience, attention to detail, and distinct on-air personality were significant factors in my decision to recommend him to General Manager Paiva,” Lima added.
Masse, who also served as the Pilgrims media relations director, worked closely with the Newport Gulls broadcast team, including Executive Producer and Director of Broadcast Operations Tom Lima, to co-produce all three playoff games between the two clubs, including two games at Forges Field in Plymouth. Masse has also worked on air with Lima covering Gulls broadcasts as a fill-in color commentator as far back as the 2008 season. According to Lima, that familiarity with the Gulls existing broadcast system and personnel will help ensure a seamless transition in June.
In addition to his home and road play-by-play duties with the Gulls, Masse, in his role as deputy media relations director, will supervise interns, write game recaps and a blog at newportgulls.com, and edit team publications such as the Gulls 2015 Media Guide, among other duties.
Beyond his NECBL experience, Masse, a Rhode Island College graduate, has worked as the play-by-play broadcaster for the RIC Anchormen baseball and Anchorwomen softball teams. A Pawtucket, R.I. native, for the last 17 years he has been the public address announcer for the Tolman High School football, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls volleyball, baseball, and softball teams. He’s also worked as the lead commentator for the Renegade Wrestling Alliance out of Providence.
Lima, meanwhile, joined the Gulls in April 2004, broadcasting the 2004 and 2005 seasons on local television. He was promoted to director of broadcast operations for the 2006 season, when the Gulls became the first team in the NECBL to begin live, online video coverage of games. A two-time NECBL All-Star Broadcaster, Lima, of Cranston, R.I., continued to broadcast games on television, radio and the Internet before handing the reigns to protégé George Bissell in 2011. When Bissell took over the following year in the front office as director of baseball operations, Lima returned as full-time broadcaster, and was promoted to director of media relations in 2012.
Over the last three years, the Gulls media department has set the national standard for summer collegiate baseball broadcasts, featuring one-hour pregame shows, extended postgame show coverage, and unparalleled game coverage including six cameras, graphics, instant replay, and more. Each year, Lima and his brother, Tom, have worked to improve upon the previous year’s broadcast accomplishments.
Tom Lima said that in 2015 the organization is excited to welcome Rob Masse to the crew. “We worked very closely with Rob last summer, and he knows that for every hour we’re on the air, it takes many hours more behind the scenes to make it work,” he said. “I know our fans watching and listening at home will continue to get the best summer collegiate baseball broadcast experience in the country in 2015.”
“I do not take this responsibility lightly,” Masse said in an open letter to Gulls fans. “Not only am I working for the premiere team in the NECBL and all of summer collegiate sports, but I am replacing a legend in Gulls history.”
“Stepping away from Plymouth was not an easy decision,” Masse continued. “I feel I am coming home to Rhode Island and the Gulls, a team that has made my state so proud for the last 15 years. I am excited to spend my summer at historic Cardines Field, telling the story of your 2015 Newport Gulls every night. I am likewise humbled and honored to be given such a prestigious position.”
The Newport Gulls, members of the 12-team New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded as the Rhode Island Gulls in 1998 in Cranston, R.I., before moving to Newport in 2001. In addition to recruiting, fielding, and developing a team of the nation’s top collegiate baseball athletes and attracting 50,000 fans annually to Cardines Field, the predominantly volunteer organization strives to benefit the youth of Newport County via summer camps, reading programs, fundraisers, scholarships, and charitable donations – totaling nearly $1 million since 2001. The Gulls are six-time champions of the NECBL – the winningest franchise in league history – and were ranked as the overall No. 1 summer collegiate baseball team in the country by Perfect Game USA in 2012.
For more information about the Newport Gulls, visit facebook.com/newportgulls, follow the Gulls on Twitter @NewportGulls or visit http://www.newportgulls.com.