Friday, June 4, 2010
Andy Masur is the radio play-by-play man for the San Diego Padres, but got his big break in his hometown of Chicago, at WGN-Radio.
Rick: First of all, belated congratulations on the San Diego Padres gig. Is this really your fourth season already? How are you liking it out there in San Diego. I hear the weather is terrible.
Andy: Thank you very much. Yes, I can’t believe that I’ve started my 4th season already either. Seems like only yesterday I was packing up my place in Chicago and moving across the country. I’m really enjoying things in San Diego. It took a little time to get used to the different pace on the west coast, but I’m all good now. Great people to work with, a good young team and oh yeah, the weather certainly is an added bonus.
Rick: How would you compare and contrast San Diego Padre fans with Cubs fans?
It’s a little different in San Diego. There are many things to do in town that don’t involve going to a game. Beaches, parks, and just the weather in general make it a secondary thought sometimes to go to a game. In San Diego, management understands this, and that is why it becomes so important to put a good product on the field. Not saying that it isn’t the same in Chicago, but it is critical in San Diego. Promotions, affordability, and a good product create the fan base, which is still growing with the Padres.
Rick: I know you grew up a Cubs fan. Do they ever make you say nice things about Steve Garvey, and if they do, does it make you sick to your stomach?
Rick: I just interviewed Pat Hughes not too long ago and we discussed the one inning a game that he takes a break. His break really turned out to be your big break too, didn't it?
Rick: I'm guessing that working in that booth with Pat and Ron was a great learning experience. What are some of the things you learned from them that you've incorporated into your own approach on the air?
I’ve tried to incorporate some of Pat’s traits, but at the same time, still you have to be yourself. I don’t want to be a Pat Hughes impersonator, but I think Pat is one of the best in the business and why wouldn’t I want to use some of his knowledge? I can’t even really begin to count the things I’ve learned from him. We stay in touch, and I couldn’t ask for a better role model in this business than Pat.
Rick: The years you were at WGN were a roller coaster ride for Ron Santo; from the lows of his health problems and the Hall of Fame snubs, to the highs of the day his number was retired, and the Cubs 2003 playoff run. Was that time an emotional time for the rest of you in the booth too?
As far as 2003 goes, I’m just now finding that I’m able to talk about the year and how it started and finished. Ron’s Hall of Fame snub in February of that year was devastating to all of us in the booth. He really felt that it was his year. It didn’t happen. The Cubs played remarkable baseball that season, and I’ll never forget after they clinched the division with the double header sweep of the Pirates, how many of the players I interviewed in the clubhouse, were saying “this is for Ron”.
I remember the next day, when Ron’s number was retired, looking at the sign on the fence behind the bleachers in left field “Ron Santo a perfect 10” and thinking, this has to make him feel 100 feet tall. It did. An honor well deserved.
The shame of it all though, was Ron didn’t get to enjoy the playoffs in the booth. Another health scare kept him out, and all of us in the booth, from Pat to Matt Boltz, were devastated that Ron wouldn’t be with us. I’ll never forget Pat’s call at the end of the Braves series, “Ron Santo this one’s for you!”, I still seriously get choked up just thinking about it.
So to answer your original question, yes, it was a great year, but a very emotional year for all of us.
Rick: You've done quite a few different things in your radio career--everything from DJing, to traffic reporter and news anchor (at Metro), to sports anchor (at WGN & Sporting News Network), to play by play man. Is baseball play by play the job you've always wanted, or did you just happen to fall into this?
Rick: It's not an easy job, either. How has that transition gone for you, now that you do it full time all season long?
It took me a full season and almost midway into the second season of Padres games to really feel comfortable. They say it takes a baseball player around 500 at bats to feel like he belonged; well it took me nearly 500 games before it became like I felt I belonged. I really feel like I’ve gotten into a good groove now and I’m relaxed and really enjoying my job. Not to say that I don’t continue to work to be better, because I do, every day. I’m still very tough on myself, I listen back to innings, and calls every once in a while, just to see what I could have done better.
Rick: Do you make it back to Chicago in the off-season?
Andy: Yes I do. I get back usually a couple of times, once after our season ends and then once again around the holidays. I need to get my fill of winter and fall you know. All my family still lives there and it’s always great to be able to come home.