Foxx, Michael become latest voices of the Suns

April 02, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

Plain and simple, Loren Foxx and John Michael got "The Call."

For this pair, it was a little different than the one most baseball players anticipate. For the players, that infamous message is the one that turns them into Major League employees.

For Foxx and Michael, they felt the yearning that goes with dropping everything they were doing to become baseball broadcasters. It was a beckoning that was hard to resist and both left rather lucrative jobs to fulfill dreams by becoming the new broadcast team of the Hagerstown Suns.

"This is my dream and it's John's too," Foxx said. "It's what I always wanted to do. The timing to make a change like this is never right, but right now is as right as it's ever going to be."


For Foxx, 29, it was a matter of leaving his job in pharmaceutical sales in California to move cross country to work for the Suns - a move made more daunting last month when he returned home to get married.

Still, everything seemed like the right thing to do.

"When you think you have something that is a better fit, it's tough to give your all to something else just for a paycheck," Foxx said. "I'm 29 and my wife is 30. Someday, we'll have to decide whether to have kids. I want to take the time now to see how things work out. I don't want to somewhere down the road saying I wished I took that job in Hagerstown."

Michael found himself in a similar situation. He gave up a career as a trial lawyer to take a chance on broadcasting because he said he felt that's where he should be.

"Sports has been such a major part of my life," said Michael, who comes to Hagerstown from Pittsburgh. "I love baseball. It has such history and what it means to America and just to be part of it is special to me. To be able to get on the air and enhance the enjoyment of someone who is getting in his car after a hard day of work is something I feel really good about."

Foxx moonlighted as the play-by-play announcer for the Corona dell Mar Sea Kings for four years and a fifth with the Mission Viejo Vigilantes of the Western Baseball League, a now-defunct independent league. Michael spent time broadcasting high school games in western Pennsylvania before coming over to the Suns.

Foxx will do the Suns' entire season, while Michael will be the second man for all home games and selected road games. Both carry a similar style of letting the action on the field do the talking. It all begins on Thursday when the Suns open the season at Greensboro, N.C., starting a six game road trip before returning on April 10 for the home opener against Lexington.

"I want to let the people feel like they are there with me," Foxx said. "When we go to Greensboro, they have the oldest park in the league. I want people to feel and see what I'm seeing and smelling like taking a walk though the park. I love the strategy of baseball, but sometimes broadcasters get wrapped up in it and fail to see the forest from the trees."

"I want to try and describe the action to all the fans so the can 'see' the action through me," Michael said. "I enjoy that when I listen to games. The announcers who do that are the best ones and I want to be able to do the same."

On Thursday, Foxx will be the first to fulfill his "call."

"I'm just worried about everything I have to take on the road," Foxx said. "The game is secondary. I just have to remember to shut off my cell phone and talk about what is happening in front of me. If I can convey the action, then it will be a slam dunk."

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