GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It's hard to believe it has been six years since television news anchor Mike Pomeranz first set foot in the KARE 11 building. He was immediately part of the team and he's been a trusted leader ever since. It is very tough for many of his co-workers to say goodbye.
"I am not a crier but I'm going to have a really hard time that first day I walk in and his desk is empty," said co-anchor and close friend Julie Nelson. "I have come to love working with him and just love him as a fabulous guy," meteorologist Belinda Jensen added.
Mike is on his way to sunny southern California to become part of the San Diego Padres baseball broadcast team. As a former professional pitcher and award-winning anchor, the new gig is a perfect fit. Pomeranz's KARE 11 résumé includes coverage of the Iowa Caucus and the 35W bridge collapse.
"When something like that happens, you're reminded of your critical role in the community and it's an honor to have been part of that type of coverage," he said.
His work sent him to Japan where he gave viewers their first look at Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. He also took all of us on a memorable trip south, stopping in Memphis and Brett Favre's hometown of Kiln, Mississippi, on the way to the Minnesota Vikings NFC Championship game in New Orleans.
Some of his best memories come from his time as the host of "Mike's Backyard Barbeque," where he brought in guests to work the grill. His first episode, it absolutely poured. "The chicken and the juices were jumping off the plates at us. It was just hitting and splashing and making this big scene," Pomeranz recalls. He and his guest shared a tiny umbrella for the first segment.
"I was in here laughing hysterically," Nelson said when we interviewed her on the anchor desk, before noting the raindrops were the size of toddlers.
Mike is also well known for his willingness to try anything at the Minnesota State Fair. "You must have tape of the bubble?" he asked us as we chatted about his time at the station. Diana Pierce said he looked like a hamster as he rolled around in a large plastic ball on water. "I was trapped in this sweaty plastic bubble and Nelson couldn't get enough of it. She was like run it again, run it again!" Mike said.
Nelson, Jensen and Randy Shaver said even though Mike was always cool, calm and collected, you could count on him breaking a big sweat, especially at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
"The belly-sweat around his belly button, when he gets warm, it just grows," Shaver said while having a good laugh. "I can't stop. It's just where the Pomeranz naturally pools. There has never been a day at the State Fair that I can remember when one of those three hasn't said 'really dude? Are you going to clean that up?' I can't help it. I can't stop it," he said, also laughing.
Mike Pomeranz not only provided leadership in the KARE 11 newsroom, he was someone that dozens of employees came to for advice. "You could always approach him and he would always give you his time and he would give you thoughtful answers," Julie Nelson said.
When asked about missing three of his best friends - his co-anchors - he paused before answering. "We're all as thick as thieves and can't be closer. I'm forever grateful," Pomeranz said. "There's no way I'll be able to repay that, not to them, not to anybody in this building and not to anybody in the community."