Yeah, this post is a week late.
Baseball is my kryptonite. Cats get distracted by laser pointers; I get distracted by baseball. When the Padres announced open tryouts for their suddenly vacant PA Announcer position, there was no chance I’d let that opportunity pass. Like the Ghost, I have a face for radio, but I like to delude myself by thinking I have a voice for radio too. Or amplification over 80,000 watts of in-stadium power. Down to Petco I went.
In real life, the team I primarily work with is based on the East Coast. In order to get the most contact time with them I am at work by 0600 every day. Getting up early to attend an open tryout was no problem – I just stayed in routine. You never know how big a crowd is going to show up for one of these events. Despite the media attention on the tryouts, it didn’t appear this was going to create the same level of interest as, say, Aztecs Men’s Basketball tickets. That’s no excuse to sleep in however.
With coffee in hand, and after choking down the world’s most flavorless Bacon/Egg/Cheese biscuit, I got to Petco about 0540. Looked like about 12 gents in line ahead of me. Nice. What time the first guy showed up was a moving target; initially the rumor was 0500, but he said later he got there at 0300. Overachiever.
For the next 3 hours, not much happened. Channels 7 and 10 were there early, interviewing folks ahead of me in line and shooting B-roll. Pretty sure my ugly mug made it onto 10 news, but since no one’s really awake at 0600 on a Saturday morning no heart attacks were reported. If you were up feeding a small child and saw me, sorry to freak you out. The line didn’t really start to fill out until after 0700. The best part of standing there waiting is talking to the other folks standing there waiting. The gent in front of me is an usher at the ballpark. The fella behind me drove in from Ramona, and has a Johnny Cash-esque voice. He brought a CD of songs he’s recorded. That’s cool.
0830 rolled around and the line started moving. We were allowed into the park in groups of 5. You signed your life away and were given a number. Hilariously, I got 15. Jesus Guzman. Some have accused me of having an unhealthy fascination with the recently departed Guzman. Good omen, right? Then I remembered Jim Edmonds wore 15. He sucked as a Padre. Oh boy. We were given a questionnaire to fill out, which we turned in as we stepped to the mike.
We get into the stands and they have us seated in a section, with the microphone right in front of us. After about 50 of us filed in Wayne Partello addressed the group. He thanked us for being there and that the Padres were looking for the voice, that San Diego voice, to do the Public Address work for the future. He repeated most of what we already knew: The candidates would be pared down from X to 10, there would be interviews, then the finalists would compete at Fan Fest, where the winner would be selected by fan vote. He then mentioned the winner would work all games in Peoria before returning to San Diego for the season. That was new.
First guy up was pretty good. He then exited into a horde of cameras, microphones, and local reporters interviewing him. I thought, I’m as good as that guy. I can do this. About 9 guys later that hope was destroyed, as someone REALLY good stepped up and delivered. He was good enough that those of us waiting our turn applauded when he was done. Turned out he’s got 2 years of PA work experience announcing for Rugby 7’s in San Diego (I think it’s San Diego). No pressure. Next thing you know, you’re up.
And then, 54 seconds later, you’re done.
I recorded my tryout but that will remain a state secret for now. It could have been better. I said every player name correctly but made two mistakes. Either one of those probably doomed me. I haven’t gotten a call from the club. No matter. It was fun. I’m curious who made the final cut. Guess I’ll find out Saturday.
This post is dedicated to James Bland, who succumbed to H1N1 last Monday. RIP.