Mock signs off as Suns' play-by-play announcer

July 28, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

Through Ryan Mock's eyes, the game of baseball has been more than a game of baseball.

The whole event says a lot about a team, an organization and its fans. It can give a city an identity. But most of all, baseball provides the subject for colorful conversation that you share with friends.

Since 2007, Mock has provided those insights of baseball while doing radio broadcasts for the Hagerstown Suns. It was a chance to talk to friends about one of the games he loves.

On Tuesday, he told his friends goodbye.

Mock signed off for the last time as the voice of the Suns, leaving behind a part of himself he intensely enjoys for a chance to reconnect with other things he forgot he enjoyed just as much. With luck, the two will merge somewhere down the road.


"This is bittersweet at best," Mock said before Tuesday morning's matinee finale with the West Virginia Power. "I'm the kind of guy who likes to travel and see the world and (has) a passion for sports. I had a chance to go to Colombia during the offseason and it rekindled my passion to travel and understand the world and the opportunity to see how sports interact with it. This will be a chance for me to explore that other part of me."

Mock is leaving the Suns at the end of the week to head home to Oregon and prepare to enter graduate school at the University of Washington.

Mock will study in the Evans School of Public Affairs to earn a Peace Corps Masters International MBA. After graduating, he will spend two years in the Peace Corps.

"I like to see the world through the prism of sports, like soccer," Mock said. "You can see a lot about the world through sports and how it affects people and their cities."

Dave Vatz, the Suns' assistant of media relations, will fill in for Mock during Hagerstown's four-game road trip to Greensboro. When the Suns return on Monday, Brian Holland will debut as the new voice of the Suns.

Mock joined the Suns as the assistant director of broadcasting and media relations in 2007 and was elevated to director status the next year. Besides handling press releases, assembling information and providing interview opportunities for the media, Mock's main job -- and passion -- was broadcasting games. Mock grew up in Oregon and worked as an intern with the Portland Beavers, a Triple-A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League, prior to his schooling in Australia.

"It is kind of weird," Mock said. "Not a lot of people see the blood, sweat and tears that it takes for a small staff on this level of baseball to put a game on. I will miss the long hours but I'll do anything to make sure the game is being played for the fans."

Mock's versatility and willingness to work for the good of the organization are attributes the Suns will miss the most.

"The first thing I realized about Ryan is that he is passionate about the sport and broadcasting things, but he does a lot of things behind the scenes," said Suns general manager Bob Flannery. "He has a good knowledge of baseball. He's definitely a baseball guy, he loves the sport. I listen to most of his broadcasts when the team is on the road, but the thing about Ryan is when he gets done with his broadcasts and then he comes down and get involved and helps out.

"I'm happy for him. His schooling will give him more chances to give back to society."

Mock would not be considered a conventional baseball broadcaster. He brought across a homey, conversational style that mixed stories with the facts of the game. His descriptions were peppered with action and statistics, as well as humor and other topics mixed in to help inform and entertain fans through a three-hour game.

"I've got to talk about baseball for 140 games and five months a year," Mock said. "I tried to make it conversational -- like a conversation around a table with friends -- while being focused on a game. Like any conversation, it will take you all over the place and you don't know where it is going to go.

"I am no different than any other member of the Suns staff who works to put on the games. The only difference for me was I got the chance to get on the air and talk to the fans about the games. That's what is going to make it tough to walk away."

Editor's note: This story was edited July 28 to correct spelling errors.

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