22 July, 2004

Young Cape League announcers calling it as they see it

      Forget ESPN "Dream Job." The sports announcers of the future are right here on Cape Cod. 

     The Cape Cod Baseball League's motto is "the stars of tomorrow today," and the league's young announcers are proving that is true not only on the field, but also in the press box. 

Brendan Fitzgerald and Patrick Riley handle the Cotuit Kettleers’ game coverage on the Internet via streaming audio and over the phones.
Photo by Bill Delorey

     Each of the 10 Cape League teams has announcers providing game coverage on the Internet via streaming audio and over the phones via an 800 number. 

Locals make good in Cotuit 

     In Cotuit the press box holds two familiar faces in Brendan Fitzgerald and Patrick Riley. Fitzgerald is entering his senior year at Ithaca College and is a Sandwich High School graduate. Riley is a Mashpee alumnus who graduated from Syracuse this spring. Both are living at home for the summer and stay busy with early morning work doing golf course maintenance. 

     The jobs at the courses pay the bills, but their true love is doing play-by-play for the Kettleers. Like the other college-age workers in the Cape League, they earn no money, but they have gained experience that will last a lifetime. 

     "This has by far been the most accessible place I have ever been. The coaches and the players are very easy to talk with no matter what the situation," says Riley. 

     Both majored in journalism or broadcast journalism and bring a history of calling college games. Fitzgerald worked at Ithaca's radio stations and called baseball and football games for the school. "The sports staff was about 60 or 70 kids and I have tried to stay as involved as I can. This past year I got more involved with TV sports anchoring," says Fitzgerald, who hopes to continue that experience in his senior year. He will spend his first semester interning at NBC or Fox Sports in California. 

     In his four years at Syracuse, Riley covered all three major sports: football, basketball and lacrosse. He tried to work in all aspects of the broadcasting industry and is ready to get an announcing gig for the fall. "I am applying for a bunch of jobs and I'm confident I'll get one; it's just a matter of where and what," says Riley. 

Two different paths 

     Riley and Fitzgerald have many similarities in their backgrounds, but their journeys to get behind the microphones at Lowell Park couldn't be more different. Riley is the seasoned veteran with four years of experience working for the Kettleers. He began helping out with public address announcing, and when the league began broadcasting the games two years ago he was eager get involved. 

     He did his first broadcast in the playoffs two years ago through Teamline, official carrier of Cape League Webcasts. 

     Fitzgerald is a Cape League rookie who first tried to get involved with Cotuit two years ago. "Luckily for me they kept my resume on the list. When they called and said they had the play-by-play position open, I jumped at the chance," he says. 

     The duo did not know each other before the season began, but they've quickly come together. Fitzgerald cites Riley's years of experience as a big help for their broadcasts. "It's nice to have someone who has graduated from Syracuse and who has the experience, and we've both been on the same page and working off each other," says Fitzgerald. 

     After four years, Riley considers the Cape League one of his favorite experiences and talks about the importance of having the games available on the Internet. "We're here to complement and supplement what they [players] are doing, and tell their parents or people in town or anyone who wants what is going on with the team," says Riley. 

By Patrick O'Neill