Originally Posted Online: July 14, 2013, 10:30 am
Last Updated: July 15, 2013, 12:48 am

River Bandits broadcaster's career has meandered along the Mississippi

Comment on this story

By Todd Welvaert, twelvaert@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
River Bandits director of media relations Marco LaNave might just have the best views in the Quad-Cities, at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport.

DAVENPORT -- Marco LaNave's job can be hectic, but as the 24-year-old Minnesota native will be the first to say, the view from his office window can't be beat.

Mr. LaNave, Davenport, is the Quad Cities River Bandits' director of media relations, a job that has him overseeing the team's publications, news releases and website, as well as being the lead broadcaster for Mediacom's live streaming online broadcast of the team's 140 games.

"When I was coming out of high school, I wanted to stay as close to baseball and sports as I could, so I committed to sports journalism and worked at the student radio station and summer internships with the (St. Cloud minor league baseball team). Then in college and after graduating, I focused on getting into the Minnesota Twins organization as a production assistant with their radio broadcasts and was lucky to do that."

He joined the River Bandits in 2012, with this being his second baseball season.

"I joke that in following the baseball path, as doors open, the route down here has been like a trip down the Mississippi River," he said. "From St. Cloud to the Twin Cities, and then further down here to Modern Woodmen Park."

Mr. LaNave likes doing the live broadcasts and is proud of the work he and fellow announcer Matt Bierl put into them.

"I like it because I get to sit back and watch baseball and tell people about it," he said. "I hope it's like hearing me, sitting next to me in the stands. I like it because it gets me close to the game. I have a lot of contact with the players and following what they do on a day-to-day basis and what's going on in the game."

A good broadcast requires good preparation, which requires time -- which isn't always easy to find.

"Having time to prepare information on both teams, what's happening around the league, connecting with the players. I make sure they see my face on a daily basis in low-pressure situations," Mr. LaNave said. "I like seeing them interact with the coaches, with their teammates, what they say on the field -- it all helps to add color to the play-by-play. It's always fun to put a good show together."

One of the things he had to learn was to build up his endurance.

"I noticed, listening to some of the broadcasts I did last year, that the broadcast was suffering a little bit at the end of the day, I was stumbling over things, and I had to realize that just like the players, I had to be physically ready and mentally ready for the broadcast."

Mr. LaNave said stumbling over names can be a problem, and it can be hard to accurately describe plays that happen quickly. Also, baseball is a game of repetition, and describing actions that happen over and over in different terms can be difficult.

"I have a book of baseball terms, a broadcaster's thesaurus that has different descriptions of similar actions. Looking through that is helpful to find new ways to call a pitch or a ball," he said. "It can be tough to find a variety of storylines to the play-by-play, but you need to. I'm a chemistry major, so I love numbers and statistics, but numbers and statistics make for boring play-by-play. Visiting the players, talking to coaches, just talking to people around the game will give you the color you need."

Mr. LaNave listens to the games during the offseason to critique his play-by-play.

"Every now and then I'll be listening to a game and think, 'I don't like the way I said that,' or 'I say that a lot,'" he said.

Mr. LaNave said doing the play-by-play has been a lot of fun, but what has really touched him is some of the feedback he's received.

"It's been a lot of fun doing all the games, meeting the players and talking with their families," he said. "I've gotten some special thank-you notes from some of the families, being able to listen to the games."