For Orioles' job, let's go to the audiotape Nearly 300 have applied to replace Barney on PA

January 17, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

As spring training nears for the Orioles, some club officials are up to their ears in audiotape.

The number of applicants for the part-time position of public address announcer at Camden Yards is approaching 300, with more cassettes arriving each day postmarked before the Jan. 9 deadline. Spiro Alafassos, director of ballpark entertainment, TTC said he hopes to have Rex Barney's replacement named by March 1, but first comes the process of sorting through the candidates.

"It's a little steeper than the amount we had envisioned," said spokesman John Maroon.

"To actually take the time to make a tape and send a letter and resume, that takes some work," Alafassos said. "We thought we'd get maybe 100 or 150, but they're still trickling in and I could get another 50 or 100 more."

Alafassos said between 20 and 30 people will be interviewed as early as the end of next week. Ten finalists will be brought to the ballpark for an audition before the club determines a successor to Barney, who died in August after nearly 25 years as the voice of Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards.

With officials busy preparing for the coming FanFest, most of the tapes remain untouched -- except for those that warranted a listen out of curiosity.

"A couple came in interesting packages," Alafassos said. "We got one that was a tool box, and one that was wrapped around a stuffed Oriole bird's neck. Those, I had to listen to."

As Alafassos, Maroon and others delve into the pile, they'll hear from professionals in the business and fans with no experience. From men and women. From candidates across the country.

"We even got one from Zimbabwe," Maroon joked.

The names are being kept confidential, but, Maroon said, "There are more than a handful of people that have done or are currently doing PA for other organizations -- minor-league baseball, other major-league sports. And we also love the fact that Joe Fan is applying as well, because you never know when you're going to find that diamond in the rough."

Others who will join Alafassos and Maroon in the hunt include Joe Foss, the vice chairman of business and finance, and Michael Lehr, the executive director of broadcasting and marketing.

The winner will have to make a full 81-game commitment, plus potential postseason work. And he or she will need the confidence to follow a Baltimore legend.

"It's obvious that there's a mystique created by Rex for this position," Maroon said. "But they're not intimidated. If anything, they think, 'What an awesome job, what an opportunity to succeed someone of Rex's stature.' And they'll give it a shot."

Alafassos said: "Most people in their letters say they would be honored to be considered as a replacement for Rex. A lot of the surprising entries are from people we see every day in the press box who were friends with Rex and probably admired his work all those years."

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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