While listening to my rivals echo in The Diamond, I paced around the ticket booth contemplating an ad-lib: Should
I make a "sproiinnng!" sound after reading the line about those using profane language or gestures getting immediately ejected from the ballpark?
From the sounds of it, nobody else was considering the idea.
I was among 19 hopefuls vying to become the voice of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the person who introduces the AA baseball team and the singer of the national anthem.
I recalled reading the morning announcements in junior high. In 1976, I presented the daily Bicentennial Minute. Since then, I've emceed and hosted numerous shows and presentations.
When Jon Laaser, director of broadcasting for the team, sent a request for auditions to media types, I responded enthusiastically.
I dressed the part: loud plaid jacket, fedora, tie. Hiking the steps to the production office, I chose to vocally Go … All ...The ...Way.
The voice ahead of me, in a T-shirt and baseball cap, apologized for his hungover condition. He sure didn't sproiinnng.
I warmed up: "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Harry Kollatz Jr. The place: The Diamond on an exquisite April afternoon, where 3,000 lovers of the game have gathered. The team: the Flyiiiing Squirrels!" Then I looked over and asked, "OK to start now?"
Jon laughed: "I thought you already had! That was great — keep going."
I went through the script with great energy, enjoying myself, playing with the echo effect. I kept in the sproiinnng, and Jon and the auditioner following me applauded, making me feel that perhaps I had a chance to win the gig.
Alas, it wasn't to be. The Flying Squirrels' voice will be Jimmy Barrett, and his backup will be Michael Clifford, both of whom have sports backgrounds and work at WRVA.
They probably didn't sproiinnng.