By Michael Page
The Orioles' search for a new public address announcer kicked into high gear Feb. 11 as the pool of 670 applicants were whittled down to a final field of twenty-five.
The finalists were gathered at Camden Yards on a wintry February afternoon and each given the opportunity to showcase their talents in a game-type situation.
"I've always wanted to be into pa announcing," said Bruce Vogue of Baltimore, who initially auditioned for the job at FanFest. "I've always hoped to get that opportunity. Once I saw that the Orioles were offering the opportunity, I said, 'Gosh darn it, I've got to go for it.' I showed up at FanFest right over at the convention center and saw they were setting up there, did it there and sent them a tape and now I'm in the top twenty five."
The competition to become the new voice of Oriole Park is fierce. There are some local radio and TV personalities in the mix. Personalities well known to Baltimore radio listeners include Kirk McEwen of 98 Rock and Mark Zinno of 105.7 the Fan. Local TV broadcasters Andy Barth and Chris Ely are some of the other names Baltimoreans will recognize.
Two women made the final 25 and are looking to become the first female PA announcer in Oriole Park history and only the second in all of baseball.
"It was kind of a whim," Lisa Winston of Montgomery Village said. "I wanted to stay in baseball. I have been a baseball writer for 25 years. I was the minor league editor for USA Today and I was at MLB.com for four years. I specialized in the minors.
"To hire a woman, you will be consciously choosing to go a little bit out of the box. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it would be a great time to do it. It's the 20th anniversary of the park. Maybe that would be a good change to make. There's no better place to be than at the ballpark, which is why I've done what I've done for 25 years."
The Orioles organization is no stranger to a female voice. Adrienne Roberson, the other female finalist, has served for the past nine seasons as the public address voice for the Bowie Baysox, the Orioles' Double-A affiliate.
The Orioles hope to name their new voice and the successor to Dave McGowan, who stepped down after 14 seasons, during the coming week.
Posted Feb. 12, 2012