Two years ago I started my run by announcing a stadium evacuation as a tornado was headed towards Prince William County. It was the first and virtually only thing I said that night other than the usual "Be careful on the metal stairs, get home safely, check the website for an update on when tonight's game will be rescheduled" type of stuff. Along the way, especially after the field's drainage system was replaced and a real groundskeeper was hired, we have had a number of Washington Nationals players come down to The Pfitz for rehab assignments. Including the ones shown below we've hosted pitchers Chin Ming Wang (who was impressed that I introduced him to the crowd in Mandarin - after having spent a year working on the radio in his native Taiwan), Tom Gorzelanny & last Saturday Ross Detwiler, among others.
|WSH P - Stephen Strasburg at Potomac|
|WSH RF - Jayson Werth at Potomac|
|WSH 3B - Ryan Zimmerman at Potomac|
A.J. Cole, Michael Taylor, Nathan Karns, Eury Perez, Destin Hood, Robbie Ray, Matt Skole, Chris Marrero, Sammy Solis, Zach Walters, Jeff Kobernus, Sandy Leon, Jason Martinson and Francisco Soriano are current players with major league potential who have either come through Potomac or are there now.
|Potomac Nationals INF Francisco Soriano's bat|
Now, for those who visit The Pfitz on a regular basis, you know that I give his name a special long intro, much like Jerome Hruska (Nats Park P.A. Announcer) used to do with Christian Guzman's name..."Guuuuuuuuuuuzman!" Often the visiting play-by-play guys will crank up their field mics to air the sometimes as long as 30 seconds of a long, strong "Franciscooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Sorianoooooooooo" as #4 walks to the plate. Even one of the concession guys texts me jokingly to see if I've ruptured my spleen or other body part. LOL
Some might think I'm doing these emphatic introductions as a way to put myself over, but in all honesty, I'm trying to get these smaller minor league crowds to not only get into the game itself but recognize the accomplishments of these talented guys who bust their asses for not a whole lot of pay or reward other than to someday make it to the "Bigs". Face it, if you act like a minor leaguer you'll be treated like a minor leaguer...and we try as best we can to give a major league game presentation even at the High-A level.
As I write this note the Potomac Nationals were coming off a 10 game winning streak last week and were anywhere from 3-to-4 games ahead in the Northern Division of the Carolina League.
I thought this might be a part-time gig just to keep a hand in the game I've been a part of for 13+ years, starting with the California Angels radio broadcast production while owner Gene Autry was still alive in the 1990's, continuing with the first six seasons with the Washington Nationals as their TV & radio ticket sales and promotional voice, along with producing their radio network as well.
There was a genuine feeling of pride last Sunday announcing to the crowd that three of the PNats were All Star selections for the Carolina League vs California League All Star Game next week. (Pitchers Blake Swartz & Robbie Ray along with speed demon OF Billy Burns) I'm hoping circumstances will allow me to continue doing this job until Potomac is able to open it's new stadium down 95 a few exits, scheduled for 2015...fingers crossed.
Although I didn't think much about it before this gig I am now a firm believer in supporting minor league baseball around the country and encourage folks to stop by Pfitzner Stadium or their local ballpark and see baseball in one of it's truest forms. If you need an incentive, former Washington Senators pitching great Denny McLain will be out on Friday June 21st for an autograph session and to throw out the first pitch. Shameless plug...go to PotomacNationals.com to get tickets!
|30 game winner WSH P - Denny McLain|