It’s still hard for Reed Saunders to believe. Of 261 applicants, the 2003 CSU graduate was picked to be the new “Voice of the Rockies.”
“I was a giggly mess,” Saunders said of the moment he learned he had been chosen.
But before he landed his new Colorado Rockies job with radio station KOA (850 AM), he scraped and clawed for work.
Saunders, 25, wanted to be a sports columnist and tried that out while working for The Collegian. He also interned with the athletics media relations at CSU.
“He was close to the department and got to know the coaches and staff of volleyball,” said volleyball Head Coach Tom Hilbert.
Saunders was recruited to announce CSU softball games in the spring of 2000. And soon after, he announced CSU volleyball games.
“It was so much fun,” Saunders said. “I thought ‘maybe I can make something of it.'”
Saunders announced volleyball games for three years.
He graduated with a journalism degree in 2003 and began his “real life” out of college.
But real life still had announcing in it.
Soon after graduating, the Colorado Eagles hockey team employed Saunders to be its public address announcer, a job Saunders still holds.
“(The best part is) feeling like I’m a part of a team and a community, hearing the crowd get so loud after a goal and when I’m in the middle of my goal call,” Saunders said. “It still gets me going.”
When Saunders heard that Alan Roach, the voice of the Rockies for the 14 years that the team has been in existence, and a very big influence in Saunders’ life, was going to be stepping down, a door seemed to open.
Saunders, along with 260 other applicants, decided to send in a demo CD. He was one of 20 called back to do a live audition.
The pressure and stakes were high the night Saunders had to audition in front of family, friends, fans and judges at the Sports Column in downtown Denver.
The first task facing Saunders was to tell the audience about himself in 30 seconds.
“I blanked out. There were TV cameras, lights.it was pressure packed,” Saunders said.
But he was able to pull it together and talked about his role as the announcer for the Eagles and his beliefs about the role of a good announcer.
“Never be part of the show,” Saunders told the judges. “Just contribute to the atmosphere.”
The auditioning group was then cut to 10 contestants and Saunders continued on through.
Saunders’ next assignment was to read through a packet of different scenarios that might happen during a baseball game.
Judges then cut seven people out of the contest to get down to the final three.
“I was freaking out, trying to keep it together. I started to well up,” Saunders said.
He made the cut.
The three finalists waited a week while fans voted for their favorite announcer online. At the end of the week, 850 KOA was going to broadcast the winners on live radio. There was a hitch, though.
All three finalists would be live and would have to say “Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to Coors Field.” The hitch – only the winner’s voice would be broadcasted.
As Saunders sat in his cubicle at Coors in Golden, co-workers around him yelled and screamed as they heard his voice broadcasted on the radio. Saunders had just become the second voice of the Colorado Rockies and one of the youngest public address announcers in professional sports.
Now, Saunders is settling into his new job, one that pays him to watch baseball.
On Saturday, Saunders came full circle back to his humble beginnings and announced the spring football scrimmage as the Green squad beat the Gold squad.
“I wanted to help them because they helped me,” Saunders said of CSU.
Staff writer Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.