Brown, Blass Visit Waynesburg University
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and interview one of my favorite people in this world, Lanny Frattare. If you haven’t read this blog before, you won’t know that I am a student at Waynesburg University, where Lanny Frattare, former Pirates’ broadcaster now teaches. Today, Lanny brought Greg Brown and Steve Blass down to speak at our school.
Now, I am not a communications major, so I was not even invited to this event. However, I was not about to miss this opportunity, so I got permission from one of the professors to come. I skipped two classes to come up and listen to two voices I have listened to a lot in my life speak in person.
They spoke a lot about how they got to where they are now. Greg Brown announced for the Buffalo Bison (a minor league baseball team) and the Buffalo Bills before making it to where he had always dreamed of announcing, in Pittsburgh. Steve Blass, of course, played for the Pirates and was considered quite a hero for them in his career, so he had little trouble getting the job as a color commentator after his career was over. He has now been with the organization for 50 years, and few people have done more for the organization as he has.
I sat feet away from the two as they gave us students advice on what to do and how to do it if we want to make it in the communications department. Greg’s main point was to be enthusiastic and get your name out there. He told the story of one of Three Rivers Stadium’s Public Address Announcers that only got the job because he called Greg, who was currently the PA announcer, and asked if he could have lunch with him and inquire about the field. The man brought his resume to the lunch and kept in contact with Greg. When it was time to get a new guy, Greg instantly suggested this man and he ended up getting the job. “The jobs don’t come to you, you have to go get them yourself,” Mr. Brown said.
After they were done sharing their stories and advice, it opened up for questions. One question popped into my head as I heard them talk. The memory of the Pirates 8th and 9th inning 5-run rally, that was capped off with 10th inning 3-run bomb from Jason Michaels came into my head. Greg and Steve were on the TV broadcast that night and I have never heard more excitement come out of two men then I heard when Michaels hit that bomb. My question to them was if those lines and those reactions are pre-planned or if they just come out. I specifically mentioned that memory in my question, and I mentioned that I remembered Steve saying something about a “Mrs. McDavis”, which he laughed at, and then appropriately said the whole line again.
Some other questions asked by my peers involved the grueling baseball season and how hard it is to stay with even while the Pirates are doing so awful. Greg and Steve admitted that it really does get old and weary at the end of the season, but they always manage to stay sane through it. Now, Steve doesn’t travel with the team anymore, John Wehner assumes his duties on the road, but Greg definitely has a lot on his hands at all times during the season. He said that October is probably his favorite time of the year because he can just go escape from baseball and sports and relax with his family. There’s no doubt that it would be incredibly hard to have that kind of job, especially when you are with a team that is as uncompetitive as the Pirates. They both sincerely love their jobs and have a great passion for baseball, and I wouldn’t expect either of the two to be leaving the Pirates anytime soon.
All-in-all it was a great experience for me. I have always had the dream of being an announcer for the Pirates, so the advice they gave me and the stories they told could really help me if I choose to pursue that dream. The only negative thing that came from this day was that now I’m especially anxious for the 2010 season to come.