The Coast News Group
Pictured from left: Mark Boyle, Mel Proctor and Kelly Jean Dammeyer. Each is one of 30 candidates vying for the new public address announcer position at Petco Park. Courtesy photos
Pictured from left: Mark Boyle, Mel Proctor and Kelly Jean Dammeyer. Each is one of 30 candidates vying for the new public address announcer position at Petco Park. Courtesy photos
Rancho Santa Fe Lead StorySports

Padres, fans hearing new voices

North County residents part of the remaining 30 candidates

REGION — Their voices are as distinct as their backgrounds.

A personal trainer, a California Highway Patrol officer and a former sportscaster — either one of them could be the next voice you hear announcing which player is stepping up to the plate at Petco Park this season.

Kelly Jean Dammeyer, Mark Boyle and Mel Proctor are three of the remaining 30 candidates to become the next public address announcer.

From the nearly 800 people that have taken part in the auditions since February, fans, beginning April 4 through April 7, will be able to vote online or on social media, to whittle down the now 30 candidates to just 10.

Dammeyer, an Oceanside resident has been taking her auditions seriously since a friend told her about it.

The fitness professional and athlete began preparing for auditions by studying the players’ names and other parts of the game, including learning how to fill out the scorecards.

With her family history (her father was an athlete where football and baseball were a mainstay in their home, and her mother an opera singer where singing and projecting their voices was common) both of those facets seemed to come together for her perfectly, and it just made sense to audition, she said.

For her to get the job would just be so incredible, she explained. “To be connected to a city, feel that oneness with all of the city and the whole community…I look at it as casting a spotlight with my voice onto these amazing athletes,” Dammeyer said.

For Mark Boyle, a more than 25-year veteran with the CHP, he said the job would be a start to a second career.

Usually a motorcycle officer, his voice has definitely been a tool for him. Though whether his “authoritative voice” comes through or not, he can’t say.

“I don’t know about the ‘authority voice,’” he said. “I have that voice that stops people in their tracks. I think it’s helped me in my job, whether that’s what they’re looking for, for the Padres, I don’t know. I know that it catches people’s ears,” he said.

During one of his auditions, he said someone from the stands had turned around and told him his voice could set off car alarms.

“I know my voice is unique when I crank it up and get it going,” he said.

“Everybody’s told me I’ve got a great voice,” the Oceanside resident said, which has also led him to start taking voiceover classes.

In baseball the announcers have always been straight with their delivery, he explained, as opposed to some announcers at basketball games, who can be pretty lively.

Boyle said he considered trying something like that during his initial audition, but ultimately chose to go the more traditional route, he said, because baseball is about tradition.

Encinitas resident Mel Proctor has been around baseball since he was 5 years old.

He’s played the game, written about it and was a sportscaster for the Padres.

Though Proctor said he doesn’t fear the sportscaster in him coming out, if selected for the job. “I don’t think so. I think I’ll be restrained enough to do the job,” he added.

What role does he see the public address announcer playing for the fans in the stadium?

“Just keep them informed of the basics,” he said. “Who’s hitting; what changes are made…it’s much different than being on the air and broadcasting a game. Some personality seeps through, but not as much as when you’re broadcasting a game.”

As for the style of voice that works best for a public address announcer, Proctor said they’re all different and they’re all just being themselves.

“I think back over the great PA announcers I’ve heard — Bob Sheppard in Yankee Stadium for years. He was a speech professor at St. John’s University and had this cultured voice,” he said.

Proctor also highlighted the styling of Boston Red Sox announcer Sherm Feller. For 26 years, Feller welcomed fans to Fenway Park.

“Boys and girls welcome to Fenway Park,” Proctor mimicked in a barking manner. “He was kind of intimidating,” he said.

“I could not go out there and emulate any of those people,” Proctor said.

Since the auditions, he’s been asked why he’d want to become the new public address announcer after being a sportscaster.

“But I’ve been around baseball since I was a kid,” he said. “My father was a high school coach, so I was a batboy by the time I was 5 years old, played baseball in high school and college, and I’ve been involved in professional baseball for 27 years — I miss going to the ballpark.

“It’s a way to get back in,” he added.

The Padres will announce who the new public address announcer will be during the San Francisco Giants series April 18 through April 20.