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Q+A with baseball public address announcer

Let's learn more about another announcer:  The Public Address Announcer for baseball.   CGB enthusiast Eric Dezendorf is the pubic address announcer for baseball and was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

Eric Dezendorf is a graduate of the class of 2009. During his time at Cal he was an intern for Cal Athletic Media Relations, which catapulted him into the sweet, sweet role of public address for various Cal sports, serving full time for field hockey, while also subbing for baseball, softball, soccer, and gymnastics. While he was in school, Eric was a trombone player in the band, as well as a staunch proponent for college streaking. Currently, Eric sends highly targeted promotional internet messages until he is able to meld his body, mind, and soul with the California spirit. He also likes getting his head scratched.

1.  Is there a public address announcer whose style you emulate?

 I Have a soft sport for the "Voice of God", Roy Steele.  If I actually emulate him, however, is probably an insult to him. I try to keep at an even tempo and even tone. Public address is supposed to be a neutral position, Steele did that very well. I think Callahan currently is doing a pretty good job for football as well.
2.  Who gets to decide what music is played at the ballpark?  What are your favorite ballpark music choices?

For a time, it was me. Generally it could also be some marketing intern. Last year, it was two redshirts from the team who did it most of the time. But, at the end of the day, it is the Sport's Information Directors choice. It's his press box, and if he doesn't like it, it'll be switched.

My favorites tend to be classic rock or funk. I always used to play Springsteen's "Glory Days" when our team took the field at the top of the 1st, and I got a kick out of it. After we scored, I would tend to try to play things like James Brown's "I Feel Good". And before we came to bat, I always tried to do something a bit heavier, especially if we needed a rally. "Welcome to the Jungle", "Rock and Roll All Night", and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" all did wonders.

My absolute favorite from a few years ago was "Africa" by Toto. Jordan Karnofsky and a few other guys absolutely loved the song, and would totally rock out. Made me smile every time I was able to get that on.

Our closer from a few years back, Matt Gorgen, warmed up to "Shipping Up to Boston". Good choice.
3.  Does the size of the crowd or the excitement of the game affect your work at a game?  How?

Absolutely. I (and my friends can attest) love a captive audience. I mean, how great is it to have hundreds of people forced to listen to you? I can tell you. It's absolutely fantastic.

When a lot of people are there cheering, it's much easier to get them pumped, you feed off each other. When there are only a few people there, there's less feedback and excitement from them, and it turns into a vicious circle of despair if you aren't careful. Same goes for winning/losing.

However, it is your job as the PA to keep those few people excited or try to get the crowd back into it. And, like I alluded to above, I think that the thing people love in an announcer is consistency. So, I try to keep the level of what I'm doing in tune with the situation on the field, regardless of the crowd. So, really, the correct answer to the question is "one tries not to" for crowd level, but absolutely depending on game situation.

4.  What is your reaction to the announcement that Cal will eliminate baseball as an intercollegiate sport?
It's very sad. I've only been a part of the program for a very short while, but I've always known that it's special. I don't think it's completely hit me that it's going to be gone, and I think I'm clinging to a small bit of hope for that to come true.

5.  What are the best and worst things about Evans Diamond?
The best thing is that it's a gorgeous, intimate setting. Like a little haven in the middle of campus. The grounds crew also does an amazing job of keeping the field immaculate. Worst thing: like everything else around Cal athletics, the facilities are old and small. Bleachers only with a tiny capacity, tiny press box, no lights.

6.  What was your most memorable Evans Diamond moment? 

On the last game of the season my sophomore year. We were playing USC. I had to catch a ride to Salinas to play a gig at my friend's graduation party.  The game went long; lots of base runners but few runs. We had our bottom third coming up in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the ninth, and I was going to miss my ride. Michael Brady, our SS, who was not really a home run hitter, parked one deep out toward the RSF. I made my gig, we went on to sweep the series, our first in the Pac-10 in 2 seasons. It was a fantastic game.

7.  What first got you interested in being the announcer?


Who wouldn't want to be an announcer? I remember I used to watch my sisters' soccer games when I was little and pretend to be doing radio. Though PA isn't quite play-by-play it's still pretty exciting.  The opportunity showed up one day, I grabbed it.


8.  How does one go about becoming the announcer?


One gets lucky. I went to a baseball game my sophomore year, and at the end, asked the guys in the booth if they needed more help for games. They had me run the scoreboard, which then turned into a job in the media relations office. And those guys are the ones who make sure an announcer is at each game.  I let them know I'd like to try it if given the opportunity, and that arose. Moral: doesn't hurt to ask questions.

9.  How much do you get to interact with the team?


Not very much, a little bit with the coaches for stats and what not, but that's in the capacity of Media Relations, my other job while I was in school.


10.  Do you get paid to be the announcer?


For baseball, no. I'm just glad to do it. I do get paid for field hockey, as I am now the permanent person over there. And I'll get paid to do gymnastics or soccer when they need it.


11.  Do you get free food/merchandise at the game if you are the announcer?


Working for athletics will get you some swag. But, not just for being the announcer. As for food, definitely not... Curse you Sodexho! water yes.


12.  Do you want to be a radio/TV announcer or just stick with public address announcer?


I'd very much like to try radio, but I missed the KALX ship while at school. I'll have to find an in another way. For now, PA suits me fine.


13.  Who do you want to punch in the face? 


Derek Jeter and/or Mack Brown


14.  Can you take us through the standard day for a baseball announcer from pre to post game?


It's not terribly glamorous. You prepare a script the night before, leaving blanks for names, etc. Then you get those lineups, fill them in, and enjoy the game. Pausing only to let marketing hand you sweet announcements regarding sponsors, or to let a kid announce a half inning. Game ends, you read the final totals and the rest of your script, turn up the classic rock, and get out. It's like going to a ball game, but having to pay attention to the whole thing and let others know that you are there, paying attention for them. Oh, and the sweet groupies that follow you around after, asking for autographs and voice samples.

15.  What sort of direction or advice have you received regarding your announcing?


Keep it in your pants until they're in the van. Oh.... not regarding being Oski....... Slow down. That's the only true pitfall of a PA. Pacing. You have to speak a little slower than you think you should.