It starts with a phone call.
If you’re like me, you may have, at one point, owned a season ticket package. Periodically the Padres will call their former season ticket holders to see if they want to buy a package again. I don’t begrudge them doing this. It’s happened often enough that I saved ‘Padres’ to my cell phone address book.
On March 13th, when my phone display read ‘Padres’ while it was ringing, I figured it was time for the ol’ sales pitch.
“This is Stephanie* from Padres HR.”
A million thoughts go through my mind; most start with Why is the Padres HR department calling me? Then, my brain kicks in – say something, stupid!
“Congratulations, you are one of the 50 finalists for the Padres PA Announcer position!”
My brain briefly trips off-line. Alternate power is quickly routed in allowing the conversation to continue.
I had completely forgotten about the PA job. I thought that had long since been decided. Turns out, as we all know now, the Padres had drastically re-vamped their selection process. Eight-hundred applied; 50 made it out of the tryouts.
The conversation is brief but pleasant. I have to complete a media waiver allowing my name to be included in the Padres Media release on 14 March, and I have to complete an employment application. Both need to be emailed (or faxed) to the Padres by 9 am Pacific time the next day. The auditions would be held on Saturday 15 March, and we were to be at the park by 12:45.
One small potential problem: I took this phone call while in Virginia on a business trip. If you’ve read this blog or followed me on Twitter at all, you know interesting things have been happening to me recently when I fly.
My flight back to San Diego wasn’t scheduled to land until 12:05. Not much margin for error. Luckily, my flight was not cancelled for mechanical reasons; twelve inches of snow did not fall overnight; San Diego’s airport would not be shut down due to fog. We actually landed on time. I walked off the plane, got my car, and drove to Petco, arriving about 12:35. The good thing about this schedule – there wasn’t really any time to get nervous. There also wasn’t much time to practice, either.
For the tryout, I was the 15th person through the gates. For the audition I was the 19th person to check in. Any time you’re handed Tony Gwynn’s number for an event related to the Padres, it has to be a good omen right? We waited until just after 1pm when the Padres representatives huddled us together, thanked us for coming, and explained what we would be doing.
As you walk through the main gate behind home plate, there is an escalator to your left and a set of doors. Through those doors is an elevator. We took the elevator up to the press level, the walked across the footbridge until we were let into the press area. Here we arranged ourselves by number. After that the wait was about 45 minutes for me. Mel Proctor was the second person to audition. He looked great.
Unlike the tryouts, where you spoke in front of everyone at a microphone, we were directed into (what I believe to be) the actual booth where the PA announcer sits. There was a camera set up to our left, and a control panel with several buttons on the table in front of us. Once given the signal by the camera operator, I hit the red button on the console and started reading the test page they had given me when I checked in. This took about a minute. During this reading we were tasked with rolling the R in ‘Cabrera’. No sweat.
Another 45 min or so of waiting, until we were escorted into the Fox Sports broadcast booth. We were to be interviewed next. Another camera set up. I stated my name. I said my name and spelled my last name. We were asked a series of questions, mostly related to just being a baseball fan. Easy Peazy. Then they asked that question: ‘Why do you want the job?’. You know, the one every interview asks? I blanked. I stammered through my answer. Ugh.
The last part of this round of auditions is to announce a game event during an actual game. Half of the candidates (including me) will do just that on 3/28 at USD, the other half the following day. Then 20 people will be cut, and the remaining 30 will get to announce at least a half-inning (my estimate) during one of the first 3 games of the season. Fingers crossed.
When I tried out, I never expected to make it out of the preliminary stages. Hoped; didn’t expect it. As long as I’m still in the running I’ll keep writing about it, to share this experience.
Thanks for reading –
*Not her real name.