Announcer recalls calling ‘Cats games

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Mitch Cox, associate director of athletics. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

May 17, 1939 marked the first time a baseball game was broadcast on TV. Princeton beat Columbia 2-1.

People had two options for catching the game before television made its way into homes — buy a ticket and sit in the stands or turn the dial on the radio.

Mitch Cox, associate director of athletics, has been calling baseball games for Chico State since 2002.

“I do anywhere from eight to 20 games a year,” Cox said.

He got his start in radio when he graduated from Chico State in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

“I did some single-A baseball games for the Angels and some football games,” Cox said.

Cox’s voice can be heard during the early stretch of the Chico State baseball season on KPAY-AM.

“I’m always calling the early-in-the-season games, before any of the tension builds up,” Cox said. “I don’t think I have a favorite memory of actually broadcasting, but I certainly have memories of games that I’ve gone to.”

He has high hopes for the baseball team, which is filled with newcomers, he said.

“I think our pitching and defense is going to be our rock,” Cox said. “Especially early in the season, because the offense is still trying to figure everything out.”

Cox is looking forward to watching senior outfielder Ryne Clark this season, he said.

“He’s got some very exciting skills,” Cox said. “He’s a big guy who can hit for power and has great speed.”

Cox occasionally calls Wildcat basketball games as well.

He sat in on a basketball game last year for Mike Baca, who regularly calls them.

“As confident as I am doing a baseball game, I’m that less confident doing basketball,” Cox said. “Baseball, you have time between pitches and you can tell stories. In basketball, you just have to call the action.”

Hard-to-pronounce names are one tough aspect of calling games.

Cox also works as an announcer for the volleyball games.

“We joke about that a lot,” Cox said. “When I first saw the name Anuhea Kaiaokamalie, I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ Once I got the pronunciation down, I walked around all day saying her name.”

If that doesn’t work, he isn’t afraid to just use their first name, Cox said.

“We had a shortstop here a couple of years ago, TJ Yasuhara, and I kept mispronouncing his last name,” Cox said. “So, from that point on, it was just ‘ground ball to TJ.’”

Angelo Boscacci can be reached at [email protected] and @Boscacci on Twitter.