I host a daily radio show, and even I get tired of hearing my own voice for two hours.
Radio works best with at least a couple of people bouncing ideas, stories and jokes off each other.
Listening to baseball games with only one announcer trying to cover everything gets real old, real fast. That's pretty much the norm in the minor leagues, though, since most teams have just one guy doing the play-by-play while trying to mix in a splash of color commentary.
Mirror photo by J.D.?Cavrich
Mike Passanisi (left) and Josh Ellis call games on the Curve Radio Network.
Radio broadcasts of Curve home games have been more entertaining this season with the team having two announcers, Mike Passanisi and Josh Ellis. It's not a traditional play-by-play/color commentator setup, but the format works as Passanisi and Ellis have some fun shooting the breeze about non-baseball topics.
"I think it makes it more entertaining for the fans," Passanisi, the Curve's director of communications, said of having a broadcast partner.
Let's face it: Baseball is kind of a boring game and can be very boring to listen to on the radio. The best broadcast duos make it fun by branching into all sorts of discussions while also keeping the listener informed about what's going on in the game.
"Doing 140 games last year by myself, you can only talk to yourself about so many things," said Ellis, who called games at Single-A Kannapolis in 2010. "It's so nice to have another person to talk to and get another point of view."
And to joke around with.
Passanisi and Ellis have had a running gag during morning games, which draw school kids on field trips. It's given the two broadcasters a chance to discuss some of the field trips they took in school.
"Mike had an interesting upbringing with his schooling because his driver's ed, they did it in BMWs," Ellis said. "He went deep sea diving with school, went to space camp with school. I went to the Liberty Bell," the Philadelphia-area native added.
Passanisi countered by saying, "Josh thinks I grew up in some town where they print money on the back of anything."
The two also have had on-air conversations about their favorite donuts. As Passanisi said, that's the kind of thing fans themselves talk about when they go to games, so it makes sense to discuss it on the broadcast.
The goal of every minor league broadcaster is to make it to the majors, where their job actually would be much easier since they don't have to call games by themselves.
Portland Sea Dogs broadcaster Mike Antonellis said it's not a difficult transition going from calling a game alone to having a partner. The Curve contacted Antonellis to help out during the 2010 Eastern League playoffs, and he came onboard to team with Passanisi.
"Mike and I became pretty good friends right off the bat, so it made it real easy on the air," said Antonellis, who's been in the business 15 years.
The Curve have no plans to start sending both Passanisi and Ellis on road trips, so one will have to do in those games. But if the team is at home and if you're not heading out to the ballpark, it's worth tuning in on the radio to hear a little something different with the two broadcaster format.
"It's nice that we come from the same idea broadcasting a game," Ellis said. "It's a baseball game, but it's also three hours of entertainment."