In case you weren’t paying attention…
— David Alton Dodd (@DavidAltonDodd) May 3, 2014
On 2 April the last of the final 30 contestants for the Padres PA announcer position had their night under the lights. Yes, as usual I’m behind.
For our final audition before the fan voting started, each of us were allowed to announce at least a half-inning of a regular season game. My day was 2 April against LA, and the ten of us were asked to be at Petco by 3pm. As you might imagine, most of the 10 got there well before that. Once the Media Gate opened, we were badged for the day and waited for an escort/further instructions.
Stephanie and Matt (again, not their real names) led us into the Lexus Home Plate area. There is an elevator at the far end, and we took that up to the press level for a sound check. The Dodgers were on the field stretching at 3:15, so they were treated to us trying to be simultaneously serious and humorous over the air. Most of us were, to various degrees; but one individual took the opportunity to welcome the ‘Los Angeles Losers’ to Petco. Not putting your best foot forward on a job interview there.
The sound check was fairly easy. We were given a headset through which the in-stadium entertainment Producer could talk to us. We verified we could hear her, then said that something cute on the PA system so they could make volume adjustments and verify we were close enough to the mike to be heard. After everyone had a go they asked if anyone wantedone more check. I did; because I wanted to practice saying Seth Smith. That’s not so easy to say when you’re trying to enunciate for 15K+ people.
Next they led us into the Padres front offices and a well-appointed conference room. Wood paneling. A table that could comfortably seat 15 people. All we needed was a wet bar and some smokes, and it would be a hell of a place to play poker. Here they had several handouts for us.
No, this is not an elaborate April Fools Day joke.
After the Petco Park audition, everyone got two weeks off. The next phase of the PA announcer search would happen during the two games at USD between the Padres and Cleveland Indians. We would introduce hitters during the final two 2014 spring training games. We were divided into two roughly equal groups. Half worked the Friday game, and the rest worked Saturday.
I drew the Friday game. We were asked to be at Fowler Park an hour before the 6:10 first pitch and I ended up getting there about 4:45. We verified our contact information with Padres HR, got our media passes, and were allowed into the park. We were sorted for the audition, and I ended up being the next to last person to go. Because the Indians put up two touchdowns in the first two innings, most of the candidates introduced a Cleveland player. I, luckily, came up in the bottom of the fourth and drew Tommy Medica and Yasmani Grandal. Thought it went well. We were free to go after that, and the Padres HR people told everyone they would call those continuing on after Saturday’s game was over.
I am not the world’s most patient waiter. Truth be told, I hate waiting. I kept looking at my phone and wondering. Finally it rang about 5pm. I had made the cut. I was told an email would follow with specifics for the next phase of the selection process.
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.
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.
The Padres held an “open” audition to find a new public address announcer on Saturday. I wanted to see what the process would entail, so I shadowed a friend who was auditioning.
[Note: I did not audition. I have a face made for radio and a voice made for blogging. And typing skills made for Twitter.]
After the following rather humorous exchange with Padres Trail* at around 7:15am…
…I headed down to Petco Park. This is an account of my observations.
*Padres Trail is not the friend I was tagging along with, but he knew I was going to be there. Obviously.