Sports

Sean Lynch: Meet the man behind the microphone

Sean Lynch
Sean Lynch Sean Lynch

Eamon Kelsey sits in the Memorial Ballpark press box an hour before the start of Tuesday night's Atwater Aviators game, scouring the internet for new and entertaining sound effects.

The 12-by-8-foot shack is more sauna than press box, and with the game being played right at the peak of the Central Valley's summer heat, Kelsey has already worked up a good coat of sweat.

And he's just getting started.

The air conditioning unit on the left wall provides just enough relief to prevent Kelsey and his volunteer assistants from passing out.

As physically draining as the 100-degree temperatures are, the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours will be every bit as mentally draining.

Despite the heat and a myriad of other distractions the ballpark provides, Kelsey must try to remain focused as he executes his many duties.

Included in his tasks are properly announcing the players before they step to the plate, playing and cutting off the batter's theme music before it interferes with the game, working the scoreboard, dropping sound effects and songs at appropriate moments in the game and trying to get the crowd fired up with various sound clips.

It's a great deal of responsibility for someone who just started his public announcing career for the Merced College baseball team a few months ago, but Kelsey is having the time of his life.

"It's funny to think that I've really only done this for a couple months," Kelsey said. "MC was looking for someone to do it and Sean Fasig told me I'd be perfect for it.

"It's what I'd like to do for a career, getting into broadcasting, so I gave it a try.

"There were some tough times early, but (Chris) Pedretti stuck with me.

"When the Aviators asked me to do it, Richard (Ruiz) said he wanted to make it as much like a professional game as possible. There's a lot of extra stuff to do, but it's a lot of fun."

Kelsey is certainly getting invaluable experience.

In addition to finding all the sound effects and organ music, Kelsey has to download all the music played throughout the game. Not many think about it, but a well constructed soundtrack can keep the crowd involved for all nine innings.

Kelsey explains it's done through trial and error.

"The biggest thing I've learned is it's all about timing and being yourself," Kelsey said. "You can't overload the crowd with too many sound effects, but if you play the right one at the right time, you can get a real positive response from the crowd.

"The same goes for the music. You have to have a balance between upbeat and slower songs.

"Some things work and some don't. I learn a little more every time I do it."

Working all the Blue Devils' home games in the spring has left Kelsey confident, but he's endured his share of growing pains with the Aviators.

Kelsey opened Tuesday's contest by welcoming everyone to Blue Devil Diamond. The booth has occasionally lost track of balls and strikes and more than once the wrong part of the order has been introduced at-bat.

And Kelsey is still trying to forget the night that someone else provided the booth its music and those in attendance were blasted with a few unexpected expletives.

It's all part of the learning process for a guy that's become the unofficial voice of collegiate baseball in Merced County.

"It's like anything else, I have my good days and my bad," Kelsey said. "You have to be able to multitask. I'm just trying to make sure I do it smoothly.

"My goal is to try to get better every time I do it."

Kelsey hasn't mastered that balance just yet, but with every time out the Atwater Aviators experience becomes a little more enjoyable.

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at slynch@mercedsun-star.com or 385-2476.

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