|Want to work at the "humble abode" of one Elwood J. Blues (at least the state police thought so)? The Cubs need a new public address announcer, and are willing to take applications via YouTube and the Internet.|
In some regards, it is good publicity for the Chicago Cubs. In a season that is threatening to look mediocre at best, the city’s National League ballclub managed to find a way to get people to talk about them in a less-than-negative manner.
The team actually needs a new public address announcer for the 81 games they will play this season at Wrigley Field, and also to make some public appearances about town on behalf of causes supported by the Cubs.
NOW IN ALL likelihood, the person who ultimately gets the job will be someone who has handled such duties for another professional sports team or large collegiate athletic program.
But in feeding the fantasies that anybody out there could have a chance to be associated with a Major League (in name only) sports franchise, the Cubs actually went ahead and put a classified advertisement on that job-search website, CareerBuilder.com.
Go to CareerBuilder and one can find the job description, a form to be filled out, along with instructions for the video one must make of themselves reading from a script, so that the team can hear what kind of voice they’re getting.
I’m sure they don’t expect to hear anything approaching the “gold” standard of PA voices – that of the late Bob Sheppard from Yankee Stadium in New York. Or their own "immortal," Pat Pieper, who handled announcing at Wrigley even before it was called Wrigley -- doing Cubs games from 1916 through 1974. But they don’t want to inadvertently hire someone reminiscent of Roseanne Barr doing the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to a Padres game in San Diego.
NOW FOR THOSE of you White Sox fans who think you can submit an application and take pot-shots at los Cachoros, forget it. The ballclub provides the script to be read from. You’re expected to say not uncomplimentary things about Starlin Castro and Carlos Marmol, while also giving a plug to CareerBuilder.com.
Which, if I recall properly, is a Tribune Co. property, just like the Cubs still are (the media company kept a minority interest in the ballclub when they sold them to the Ricketts family, AND it is Tribune broadcast properties that still use the Cubs as a major drawing card to their radio and television stations).
So that makes all of this a gimmick to get baseball fans who think that a job associated with a ballclub is an excuse to get paid while sitting around watching baseball, AND drinking a few free beers.
I doubt that very much. Although I’m sure the Cubs would rather have people think those thoughts, rather than focusing too much cranial power on whether or not Carlos Zambrano’s attitude overcomes any ability he may have as a pitcher.
INSOFAR AS AN announcer’s job is concerned, people don’t take into account the fact that 81 games in a six-month period means there will be significant time periods in one’s life when they will be unable to do anything else. In short, they won’t have much of a life – unless they think they can do a sloppy job and still get hired.
But if one can get hired, it can make for the potential of becoming a mini-celebrity of sorts about town. Nobody will know your face. But your voice will stand out, and the name will get filed away for that eventual moment when your body gives out.
I’d say there is an excellent chance that when Paul Friedman (who held the Wrigley Field PA job for the past 16 seasons) passes on, his obituary will identify him for that role, rather than anything else he may accomplish during the significant portion of life I’m sure he still has left in him.
Personally, I couldn’t even think of sending in an application as a parody (such as the moment I submitted my own name to the state’s Democratic Party to be considered for lieutenant governor nominee). My voice is a little too rough and wouldn’t be able to take the strain of so many hours of speaking.
IT REALLY HAS nothing to do with the fact that I have no use for the Cubs or the National League, EXCEPT to see which team it puts up to lose to the American League champion in the World Series (I still think last year was a fluke!).
So I’ll wish all you Cubs fans the best who want to fantasize about getting the job. Send in your applications. You have until Monday to put your audition video on YouTube, and submit your application. I fully expect the person who gets the job will be someone with a traditional resume, meaning they’ve worked in a stadium of some size and are used to being around ball players (who from my experience live in their own world with concerns most of us never fathom in the real world).
I also know that whoever does wind up getting the job will become the second-best PA announcer in Chicago.
For I doubt that anybody who turns up on CareerBuilder.com is going to be able to top Gene Honda – the voice of the BlackHawks and DePaul men’s basketball, when he’s not doing White Sox baseball.