By: Michael Ganci

Nine Innings with Wayne Randazzo

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With the Mets making their jump to WOR, they are still looking for a radio identity.

Howie Rose and Josh Lewin are etched in stone to call the games, but WOR announced that Wayne Randazzo will be the pre-game and post-game man to set the stage and wrap things up.

Randazzo was nice enough to give The Daily Stache a few minutes of his time for a special edition of #9innings. For earlier editions of #9innings, click here.

Here’s what Randazzo had to say:

What is your broadcast experience? What’s been your favorite job to this point?

I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of some great experiences so far in my career. I’ve done a little bit of everything. Most recently, I’ve begun to call football and basketball games for ESPNU and ESPN3 and baseball, softball and basketball for Big Ten Network on a fairly regular basis. I was able to broadcast some big time college football games last season for Sports USA on the radio including Ole Miss’s upset over Alabama. I’ve filled in on the White Sox Pregame and Postgame shows in the past while working at 670 the Score in Chicago, where I’ve been for the last three years.

I was lucky to land a gig in Panama during the World Baseball Classic as hired by MLB to broadcast one of the qualifying tournaments with Jose Mota from the Angels. I’ve called seven seasons of Minor League Baseball with the Mobile BayBears and Kane County Cougars. It would be impossible to point to a favorite, but it was definitely a major highlight to get the call to the big leagues and offered the opportunity to work with the Mets and WOR.

What was the interview process like for WOR? What was it like when you found out you landed the gig?

It was the thrill of a lifetime. I’ve wanted to broadcast Major League Baseball my entire life, literally since I was a little kid so it was the phone call I’ve been dreaming about. It actually came from my agent, Eric Winchel, who is a terrific guy and was a big help in putting this together. Tom Cuddy and the people at WOR couldn’t have been nicer to me from the beginning of this process, and I’m so fortunate to be able to work with Howie Rose and Josh Lewin.

What experience should Mets fans expect when they hear you? What kind of environment will you provide?

Like any play-by-play guy, I enjoy describing the game. Pointing things out to put the listener right into the ballpark with us. I’m excited to have conversations with Howie and Josh on the air and just have fun with those two, who bring such a wealth of experience to the broadcast. I give a solid, straightforward call, and I hope Mets fans can appreciate hearing that. I’ll be fully prepared every day, and I hope all the work that I put into the broadcast will help our listeners learn and be entertained by what they hear.

Who’d you grow up rooting for? What were your thoughts on the Mets?

I’m from Chicago and like New Yorkers, I was lucky to have two teams, one from each league to watch every day. It was the best getting to watch the Cubs play all their day games and see the White Sox at night. When I was a kid, it was the tail end of the Mets days on WOR-TV being a superstation, and I do remember watching Ralph Kiner and Tim McCarver call Mets games from time to time.

I’m too young to remember the 1986 and 1988 playoff teams, but it was always a joy to watch my fellow Italian American, Mike Piazza, play as well he did in helping the Mets to the World Series in 2000. Mike and I actually emcee the induction ceremony at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame every year so I can’t wait to see him at Citi Field.

What do you make of the Mets as currently constituted? Are you confident in their chances this year?

The Mets are in a great position to start succeeding. When you have young pitching, you’re the team of envy around baseball, and the Mets have a bunch of young arms with a ton of promise. I fully expect them to be very competitive this year for a playoff spot, and it’s exciting to jump on board at a time like this.

What’s a fun talent that you have that fans may not know about?

I don’t know about me, but I come from a pretty talented family. My cousin, Tony, is actually an umpire in the big leagues. I have a cousin that used to box professionally. My grandfather played the trumpet and was a traveling jazz musician. I guess we all have our own talents. I like to cook if that counts. Italian food, of course!

Wayne Randazzo's cousin Tony is an MLB umpire. Here, he rings up Ike Davis for looking at strike three.

Wayne Randazzo’s cousin Tony is an MLB umpire. Here, he rings up Ike Davis for looking at strike three.

What are your thoughts on the Yankees? Do you understand why Mets fans have so much animosity towards them?

You can’t deny the success the Yankees have had for generations and the amazing ballplayers that have put on that uniform, but I do understand why Mets fans might feel a certain way toward the Yankees and vice versa. That’s what happens when you have two teams in the same city! It would be great if everyone could get along, but if you have to pick a side, then the Mets’ side looks pretty good right now. The arrow is strongly pointing up.

Who’s been your mentor? Who did you learn from?

There have been so many people in my corner over the years. I’d hate to leave someone out. Pat Hughes and Len Kasper from the Cubs have been hugely supportive over the years. Mike Ferrin (now with MLB Network Radio), Andy Masur, Cory Provus (now with the Twins) and Dave Eanet from WGN Radio where I started my career. Jeff Joniak from the Chicago Bears. Joe Davis and Adam Amin who are a couple years younger than me and yet are wildly successful national TV broadcasters and two of my best friends in the world.

One thing as a young broadcaster was to reach out to as many as people as possible to get critiqued and to work on getting better, and I did that a lot. Way more times than not, broadcasters from around the country stepped up to send a message or give me some advice along the way. It’s all helped, and it’s all made me the broadcaster I am now. I will no doubt rely on Howie and Josh’s expertise this season and hopefully for many years to come.

Based on what you know about the Mets, finish this sentence. At the end of the season, the Mets will…

Be playing meaningful baseball.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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