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Mike Baca: Voice of the Wildcats

Mike Baca, right, talks with Chico State women's basketball coach Brian Fogel while broadcasting a game. Baca has been calling the Wildcat basketball and baseball games for the last 25 years. Photo credit: Julie Ortega

Since he was 5, Mike Baca, Chico State’s basketball and baseball broadcaster, knew he was going to be a sports announcer.

Even at an early age, he would turn down the volume of Warriors games, turn on the cassette recorder and tape himself talking over the plays, Baca said.

“It was like tunnel vision,” he said.

Baca has been covering Chico State basketball and baseball games commercially since 1997. But before he was hired as a professional, he started out with Chico State’s own KCSC in 1990.

Baca’s passion and enthusiasm sets him apart from the rest, said Anita Barker, Chico State athletics director.

“He is almost a part of the team,” Barker said. “He wins with us. He loses with us.”

One of her favorite Baca moments was during the men’s basketball game in the 2014 West Regional Championship against Cal State San Bernadino, Barker said.

With the Wildcats making a comeback run and on the verge of tying the game, Amir Carraway, now a Chico State alumnus, made two clutch free throws.

“He just erupted out of his chair, and he was as far back from the table as his headset cord would let him be and jumping around and dancing around,” Barker said.

During the 25 years he has been broadcasting Chico State athletics, he has rightfully earned the title “Voice of the Wildcats.”

However, Baca almost didn’t make it back to Chico.

After he graduated from Chico State in 1994, he worked as a producer for Mike Golic, NFL veteran turned sports talk radio host. He only worked there for a few months before leaving, but if the timing had been different he could have stayed in Phoenix, Baca said.

“I probably would be in Bristol,” he said.

Bristol is located in Connecticut and is home to ESPN headquarters.

He is not hung up on how things could have been. The poor timing was a blessing in disguise, and he is very happy to be announcing Chico State games on the radio, he said.

Radio broadcasting is more enjoyable than television broadcasting, and Baca is proud to be taking after his inspiration, the late Bill King, a longtime Bay Area sports broadcaster, he said.

One can really hear Bill King’s iconic style during Baca’s broadcasts, said Luke Reid, Chico State’s sports information director.

As for Baca, he has no plans of broadcasting anywhere else in the near future, he said.

“I’ve been so immersed here,” Baca said. “I’ve gone to school here and done the games on the student station. I love Chico. It’s a great place.”

James Groh can be reached at [email protected] or @James_Groh14 on Twitter.

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    Kim Hassey // Apr 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Mike, My name is Kim Hassey and I listen to Chico baseball games because my son is on the team. My son has always been a starting Cather but he is not starting for Chico this year for what ever reason ? My response to your commentating is that when a player comes in that is not a starter you always make a point to say they’re from the bench. Like it is a negative! Let me tell you I am more proud of my son not being a starter and being game ready ever time.

    This is a challenge for any player who is not a starter to be ready physically and mentally at all times. Team is the key word here! I think you should make a point of how hard it is mentallly to be game ready. They never say in the major leagues coming from the bench is? I hope that you consider my observation on your announcing and give some applause to your so called bench players!

    Please give me your thoughts on my commits.

    Thank you,
    Kim Hassey