Fenway Park in Boston has been rolling through guest PA announcers ever since the stadium's voice, Carl Beane, died in May after suffering a heart attack while driving. At a recent Red Sox game, the selected fill-in announcer was ESPN.com writer Gordon Edes, the former national baseball writer for the Los Angeles Times (and before that the beat writer on the Dodgers and Kings.) This was no token, one-batter gimmick. Gordon announced the whole game, and as a kid from New England, it's something he dreamed of doing. Though he probably never imagined the owner of the Red Sox would be trying to tickle him as he enunciated the name O-mar In-FAN-te.
From his amusing account of the experience for ESPN's website:
The Boston Red Sox could not have prepped me better for a job I had performed only in my head as a kid. Stepping up to the flat rock that served as home plate in our backyard, my brother Lionel waiting with a baseball covered with black electrical tape because of the pounding it had taken on the stone wall that served as our backstop, not pitching until I had silently announced, "Now batting, the left fielder, No. 8, Gor-don EEEE--ddssszzz." Echo, echo, echo.
Stephanie Maneikis, the senior manager of fan services and entertainment, relieved me of one of my biggest concerns when she came up to the booth to go over pronunciations. I'd already checked with Dave Van Horne, the Marlins' broadcaster, about the visitors' names. Van Horne informed me the new pitcher, the kid from Falmouth, Mass., was pronounced Seee-shek (Cishek, Steve) and reminded me reliever Chad Gaudin's last name was pronounced Go-DAN.
Maneikis went over the names of the non-baseball folks I would be acknowledging before and during the game. I sensed potential danger when it came time to announce that night's "hero," not because her name was difficult, but because she had a rank at both the beginning and end of her name: Captain Mary Jo DuPont Majors. I easily imagined screwing that up somehow.
(As long as we're on screw-ups, my day had begun in less than promising fashion. I'd stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a coolatta, which seemed like a logical thing to do on such a hot day. It seemed less logical when I was met by my ESPN producer, Lem Lopez, who took one look at me and said, 'Why are your lips blue? Your teeth blue? And your tongue -- have you seen yourself?''
(That prompted a quick visit to the local pharmacy, where the following exchange took place. Me: How can I get rid of this blue stuff on my tongue? Pharmacist: You can't.)
There's video at the ESPN link.