Curtis: The Cape Cod finishing school for young broadcasters

From Bryan Curtis at The Ringer on August 6, 2018:

Josh Schaefer is like a lot of summer interns. He arrives at work early and leaves late. He doesn’t make much money. He is excited about his future in the way old people forgot they ever were.

Josh also gets feedback from his boss. One night last month, it came via text message around 9 p.m.—or about the seventh inning. “Don’t say ‘just in the nick of time’ when you can say ‘safe’ or ‘out,’” Josh’s boss wrote. “Too many words. Your listener is thinking, ‘Spit it out.’”

Another text followed: “Add the detail of how close the play was AFTER you make the outcome clear.”

Josh is a play-by-play announcer for the Chatham Anglers, a team in the Cape Cod Baseball League. For most of the Cape’s beach-and-restaurant crowd, the nightly games between teams of college all-stars, at Chatham’s Veterans Field, are a chance to put a capper on a perfectly Rockwellian day.

But climb the stairs of the two-story, wooden press box behind home plate and you will find one of sports media’s great artistic workshops. Chatham is a finishing school for young play-by-play announcers. In the summer, college students come here to call 44 games in 55 days. They have their home run calls tweaked and the passive voice (“Motoring into second is Torkelson …”) scrubbed from their vocabulary. You walk into this press box a precocious game-caller and you might walk out Joe Buck.

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Originally published: August 6, 2018. Last Updated: August 6, 2018.