Doc Emrick Will Call a Pirates Spring Training Game in March

BRADENTON, Fl. – Legendary hockey announcer Doc Emrick will be calling a Pirates Spring Training game at some point in March. He has been coordinating with Pirates’ announcer Greg Brown, and the two are working on finding a date that works for Emrick’s schedule.

“I’m working with Brownie whenever he and I work it out on the schedule when I’m in town and he’s doing a game at McKechnie,” Emrick said. “And whomever he happens to be working with that day will be who I’m working with.”

Emrick was in the Pirates’ clubhouse today, talking with the players and picking up some gear. Armed with a new Spring Training cap and a few other clothing items, he sat down and talked with the media about his upcoming gig. It all started back when he was doing a fantasy camp with the Pirates, and thought that calling a game would be fun.

“I thought ‘gee, if there was ever a case where I could be on with Brownie, that would be fun for me.’ I don’t know if it would be for the audience, but if it was a harmless Spring Training game, maybe people would be sympathetic and say ‘Well, that’s just Doc. Let him go for a little bit.'”

Emrick will be leaving Bradenton tomorrow, and will be calling the two upcoming outdoor NHL games. Spring Training games start a week after that, and at that point he’ll be able to work out the schedule. He’s not sure yet whether it will be on TV or the radio.

“I’ve got to leave tomorrow and head north and lament the fact that I don’t do a summer sport, at least for one day,” Emrick said. “Because I have a feeling we’re going to feel it a little bit in Minnesota.”

Emrick also took the opportunity to talk with a few players today, including Mark Melancon, who he had never met. He had one big question for the Pirates’ closer.

“I asked him, ‘Is this a good job?’ Because I sit at home in the ninth inning and I think ‘This is the last job I’d ever want to have.’ I did the same thing the first hockey game I went to when I saw the goaltender, because then they weren’t wearing masks. It was a long time ago. And I thought, ‘This is no job. This is another job I found I don’t want.’ But he said ‘Yeah, it is. I know you sit at home and you might be nervous, but I’m not. This is what I like doing.'”

As for his job as an announcer, Emrick is well-known for his work in hockey, but has limited experience calling baseball games. In fact, he has just one game called, which came a long time ago at the University of Miami with someone familiar to Pittsburgh fans — Stan Savran.

“Stan was a senior, and I was a grad student, and on late notice, they needed somebody to go to Miami Field to do a game between Miami and Kent State,” Emrick said. “Stan and I went down. Stan, of course, knew some of the players personally. I didn’t know anything. All we had was a lineup, no media guide, nothing. And so we shared innings doing the Miami/Kent State game. I don’t remember who won. I do remember that you can only mention the flag blowing a certain way in center field so many times without driving people nuts, but there was a lot of time to fill between pitches. So I was awful. Stan got through it okay, and he reminded me a few years ago that Thurman Munson played in the game, and that Steve Stone was available to pitch, but did not. That’s my only baseball game.”

The biggest challenge, Emrick said, would be calling the pitches and distinguishing between a fastball, two seamer, slider, and other pitches.

“I don’t think I’m going to graduate to that very fast. I’m probably not going to be able to do that,” Emrick said. “If I can get the count right, that will be nice.”

As for any special home run calls, there’s nothing planned yet, except for trying to avoid getting mad if the other team homers.

“I have no idea,” Emrick said on a special call. “I don’t think it will be anything too creative or unique, that’s for sure. I don’t do a lot of unique things, but I’ll probably be more surprised than anything else. If somebody pokes one, it depends on which team it is, because I do care about this team, and I was raised on Bob Prince, so I don’t think I’ll be too happy if it’s the other guys. But I have to at least pay respect to the guys that are up there I guess.”

We’ll have an update when more information comes out on which game Emrick will call.

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