The Philadelphia Phillies World Series run provided Philadelphians and baseball fans alike with an exciting stretch of heart-pounding games and surreal moments. Scott Franzke, the radio play-by-play voice of the Phillies, joined “Pizza With the Pros” on Monday, Nov. 14, to talk about his front-row view behind home plate and his journey to the booth.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Franzke was a young fan who “lived and died by the [Texas] Rangers’ season.” Franzke became the full-time play-by-play commentator for the Phillies in 2007. The year prior, he hosted Phillies pregame and postgame shows as well as called the fifth and sixth innings of games.
Franzke witnessed a World Series victory in 2008, a World Series defeat in 2009, and a total of five playoff appearances in his first five seasons as a play-by-play commentator. A decade devoid of Phillies playoff baseball followed until this past season. To Franzke, it was an incredibly special campaign.
“This year was so unexpected. I think that it provided something very different,” Franzke said. “We obviously knew that they were in position for a playoff spot and then when they got in, it was still very much that, ‘we’re the underdog in every sense of the word our guys have not been there, we have not done this.’ Whereas in ‘08 they had a different kind of confidence.”
The underdog mindset that the team carried with them galvanized Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park. The playoff slogan “#RedOctober” erupted into a palpable movement. Franzke had to harness the spirit of the crowd as fuel for his broadcasts.
“You want to ride with that energy,” he said. “It’s hard to do for nine innings in a baseball game and I think that’s what made the crowd so amazing, the way they just kept going and going… That definitely is a part of why I like doing what I do.”
Franzke, a “pseudo Radio/Television/Film major”, began his broadcasting career at Southern Methodist University calling football and basketball games. On the side, he sparingly picked up high school baseball games to call. His first play-by-play role in the minor leagues was with the Kane County Cougars, a former affiliate of the Miami Marlins located in Geneva, Illinois.
From there, Franzke became the pre-game and post-game voice of his hometown Rangers alongside his mentor and long-time radio commentator Eric Nadel.
“Twenty years ago, I would’ve done anything to be a lifelong Texas Rangers announcer,” Franzke said. “It was the first team I ever did a big-league broadcast for, and I sat next to the guy that I grew up listening to. I would’ve done anything to stay there, but the opportunity didn’t work.”
Sports radio and sports television are both very saturated industries. For as few broadcasting positions as there are, there’s a countless number of people jockeying for a single opening.
Now entering his 17th season as the announcer of the Phillies, Franzke provided a piece of honest advice to those in search of a professional broadcasting role.
“Find a way to get reps,” he said. “You have to find a way to generate some reps for yourself. This is just flat-out one of those businesses where — whether it’s play-by-play, you’re an analyst, you’re a reporter, whatever — it’s really hard to learn without doing it. I would encourage you to do it as much as possible.”
Next Monday, Nov. 21, Executive Director of Team Logistics for the Philadelphia 76ers Allen Lumpkin will headline the third to last “Pizza With the Pros” of the fall semester.
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