Friday, July 3, 2015

Legion's distaff announcers

"Landon Michael reaches first on a hot grounder through the 5-6 hole to left field."

Holy smokes. What did I just hear? Somebody on the public address system at Holt-Moffitt Field actually knew what the heck they were talking about during a recent American Legion baseball game there.

Funny, though. The speaker sounded like a woman. That doesn't happen very often.

I looked inside the open door of the press box next to where I was sitting in the bleachers. Yep. There she was, leaning into the microphone:

"Coming to the plate, the next batter, Zack Shoemaker."

When did this happen? I can't remember Post 8 ever having a female P.A. announcer. Ever.

Teresa Dickson loves her job announcing Post 8 Legion baseball games.
"A family friend of ours, David Sellers, coaches the (Junior Legion) Braves," said Teresa Dickson, 19. "He asked me to be an assistant coach for the T-ball team, but we decided I might be a better fit as an announcer.

"They asked me back in May if I wanted to do the Legion games, and I said 'Sure,'" said Dickson, a rising sophomore at Lees-McRae College, where she plays second base for the Bobcats' softball team after she earned a scholarship playing second base for coach Mike Lambros at North Davidson.

"I'd never done P.A. before," laughed Dickson. "I never even spoke into a microphone before. But I have a loud mouth and a friendly personality, and I'm good at talking. And I'm familiar with the game."

After some initial nervousness — she asked her friend, high school teammate Maggie Fritts, to help her with the announcing, and they now alternate working games —Dickson grew more and more comfortable with the job.

She prepared herself for the position by watching some YouTube videos of baseball announcers, and she has now reached the point where she might consider doing more P.A. work in the future.

"I really love doing this," said Dickson. "Maybe some day I can do the P.A. at Turner Field."

She's serious enough about it to consider changing her major at Lees-McRae from biology — she's thinking about a career in physical therapy — to communications.

"It's surprised me how much I really enjoy doing this," she said.

As a side note — and perhaps an indication that this was all somehow meant to be — her grandmother is Beverly Armstrong, who was a pitcher for the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1953-54.

"She's really been an inspiration for me," said Dickson. "Sometimes when I think I might be burning out, she helps me get through it."

Maggie Fritts never thought she'd enjoy announcing games so much.
Fritts, meanwhile, jumped at the chance to join Dickson in the press box.

"Teresa actually came up to me and asked me if I had a summer job," said Fritts, 19, a rising sophomore at Salem College where she is coming off a standout season (.360 batting average, 6 home runs, Great South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year).

"I told her I was looking for one and she said that she was announcing at the legion ballfield and that I should come help her and split the games.

"So she's the one that's kind of got me involved in all of this," said Fritts, who also played high school softball at North Davidson. "I just thought it would be a cool summer job."

It wasn't without a little apprehension.

"I was sooo nervous the first time," said Fritts. "I was so scared that I was going to mispronounce somebody's name wrong and the parents would get mad at me and yell at me. In fact, I was so nervous that I mispronounced the last name 'Leonard.' That's a typical Davidson County name. How do you mispronounce the last name 'Leonard?' I think it came out ' LEO-nard.' It was awful.

"But it's not nearly as nerve-racking now," said Fritts. "They just kind of let you have your own style and they let you put your own twist on it. It's pretty free and wide open here. It's great."

So how do Teresa and Maggie rate each other?

"Teresa's very peppy, while I like to throw in a little pizzazz at the end of things, depending on how I feel that night," said Fritts.

Dickson had her own take.

"Maggie knows the game very well," said Dickson. "I'm the enthusiastic one. I think she's a little more relaxed than I am."

In either case, you'll be well informed with these two in the press box.

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