So, you want to be an announcer?

Baseball America had this online last week, but I just got to it last night as I was playing catchup on my reading after the rainout.

I am going to leave this at the top. The starting lineups for the Rattlers in game one will be underneath this one once it gets posted.

Astros Announcers Take Hard Road To Majors
When things get a little slow on the road, Astros radio announcers Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond like to compare the paths that brought them to the major leagues.

It is a fitting game for the duo, as each of them labored through 12 years in the minors, making stops in cities like Sonoma, Calif., Beloit, Wis., and Brockton, Mass., before finally getting their big league broadcasting breaks.

Yet as they try and outdo each other with tales of the bizarre that could happen only in the minor leagues, it becomes evident that declaring a winner is neither possible, nor their goal. Briefly reliving a colorful past is enough.

A Rough Beginning

Raymond's career almost ended before it got started. He and a friend accepted a job out of college in 1995 as the broadcast team for the Southern Oregon A's (Northwest). However, the $500 a month salary turned out to be for both of them, and the free housing was a dump. After living out of his car for a few weeks, and getting shooed out of parking lots by police, Raymond quit before the season started, and left town with the team owner promising he would never work again. Ultimately, he landed a better gig with the Sonoma County Crushers of the independent Western League (now defunct).

Dolan's career got off to an equally shaky start. His first broadcasting gig was with Beloit in the Midwest League. When his paychecks dried up in the offseason, Dolan resorted to living out of the umpires clubhouse at the ballpark and giving plasma twice a week to help make ends meet.

"A lot of the people I was giving with were homeless. I said, 'I'm not homeless, I'm living in the umpires dressing room,' " Dolan recalls with a laugh. "I had a lot of closet space because of all the lockers, but there was no heat."
I am lucky -- in that my plasma donating days happened when I was working in the seedy world of Sports Information at a University of Wisconsin System School and that when I was starting with the Timber Rattlers I was also announcing for the Green Bay Gamblers to call somewhere in the vicinity of 200 games a year. Yep. Lucky.

But, seriously, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Go read it all.

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