I am often asked, “How do you remember the player’s names and how do you keep up with the action while broadcasting a hockey game?”  I answer: “We all have God-given talents and I am blessed that this is one of mine.” 

For most of us, these talents fall in line with what we love to do.  I attempted to be a teacher (one of the most important occupations on the planet) and felt like a square peg in a round hole.  When my daughter, Pattie, was born, I had to be escorted by a nurse to a chair in the delivery room.  How do these nurses and doctors handle the pressure?

Don’t get me wrong, I need a lot of help when it comes to broadcasting hockey.  Thanks to Patrick Armstrong, I’ve had excellent game notes to reference during every Mavericks’ game the last four years.  Patrick took a job with St. Charles Chill; his shoes will be difficult to fill.  My broadcast partner, Troy Snyder, can read my mind and is very fast at finding information when I need it.  Technical knowledge is not something I was blessed with.  Fortunately, Tom Manning, Operations Manager of the Independence Events Center, has this gift and has used it to bail me out several times.

I am a hockey announcer who is amazed at the guys who bring us baseball on the radio every summer.  How do these guys do it?

From late October through late March (hopefully mid-May in 2014), I call three-to-four games a week.  Voices of the diamond do it EVERY day from April until the end of September.

When I give the starting lineups it doesn’t matter which team’s lineup I give first, what order I give the player’s positions (I try to always give the visiting team first,  starting with the goalies, then defensemen, then forwards), or which order I name the officials.  The baseball guys must announce the visiting team, followed by the home team in the correct batting order and listed by position as they are mentioned.

When a line change takes place I announce it if time is available and I usually don’t have to worry about who’s available on the bench……their shifts will come up in the near future.  The baseball announcers need to not only tell who is at bat, but take a peek at every defensive position prior to each half inning to know of changes. They also need to know which players are available to pinch hit or pitch and if they are a righty or lefty.  Plus, they must remember which runner is on which base.

Like I said….these guys are amazing.

I’ve broadcast a few baseball games over the years. Most of which were high school contests in the Frank White Classic Series at Kauffman Stadium.

I have only called two innings of professional baseball and did not know I would be calling these innings until they began.  When I broadcast Wichita Thunder hockey, I often had Dennis Higgins, “voice” of the Wichita Wranglers baseball team, as my color analyst.  In 1998, Dennis, who later broadcast San Francisco Giants baseball, invited me to the booth to do color during a Wranglers game against the San Antonio Missions.  Following a commercial break, Dennis disappeared and left me to go solo for two innings.  It was fun; but, I am much more suited to be the “voice of winter” as opposed to the “voice of summer.”  I did OK but at one point said, “The Wranglers have outshot the Missions 6-4.”  Of course I meant outhit.

To my baseball broadcasting friends like Stu Paul (formerly of the San Antonio Missions and Nashville Sounds) and Robert Ford (“voice” of the Houston Astros) I say, “Thanks for making our summers more enjoyable and keep up the good work.”

Their time is now.  I am eagerly looking forward to calling some Mavericks’ hockey on the frozen pond in October.