Los Angeles Angels Play-By-Play Announcer Wayne Randazzo Chats With AngelsWin.com
Interview conducted by David Saltzer and Geoff Stoddart
April 25, 2023
Geoff Stoddart and I recently sat down with Angels Play-By-Play Announcer Wayne Randazzo to find out more about him, his background, and how he came to be with the Angels. Along the way, we learned quite a bit about him, and how he came to be an Angels announcer.
Wayne grew up near Chicago and attended St. Charles East High School. He loved watching the Chicago teams and modeled his broadcasting after many of the great Chicago announcers. From a young age, Wayne decided to be an announcer, and as he said, “being a bit stubborn”, that’s what he pursued. He said he possibly could have played baseball in a D3 school, but he chose to focus on his broadcasting career instead.
As parents, Geoff and I wanted to know how hard it was for him to have that conversation with his parents (imagining our own children telling us that they wanted to be play-by-play announcers and realizing how hard a career that would be). Wayne said it wasn’t that hard for him to have that conversation because he had a college degree from North Central College (yes, we had to look it up, it’s in Naperville, Illinois) and that he could always fall back on that.
For those who don’t know, Wayne’s cousin is Tony Randazzo, a Major League umpire. Wayne has in fact called games in which his cousin was the umpire when he was with the Mets. Wayne said that he didn’t hide the fact during the broadcast that his cousin was the umpire (even saying that during the broadcast he referred to the umpire as “his cousin Tony”), and the Mets fans at times let him know on social media about some of the calls that Tony made (especially if it affected any player’s stats).
We asked if that led to some awkward conversations around the dinner table or during the holidays, and Wayne laughed and said “not yet”. Wayne was very proud of his cousin, telling us about all the important games that Tony had called, including being a part of the 2016 World Series umpiring crew and officiating two All-Star Games (2001 and 2012). Wayne said that he looked forward to calling more games when his cousin is the umpire, and, as with the Mets fans, won’t hide his connection with his cousin when he’s calling games for the Angels.
Speaking of social media, Wayne does enjoy hearing what the fans like to say and to get out sentiments. You can find and follow him on Twitter at @WayneRandazzo. He said that he’s still getting to know Angels fans, and what we are like, and enjoys hearing from them online.
One of the things that really stood out for us was when we asked him about how he felt as an announcer to be calling and narrating history at times. For example, Wayne called Albert Pujols’ 700th homerun when he was an announcer for the Apple TV. We asked him specifically about what it’s like as an announcer to tell the story and what it’s like to be forever tied to a specific moment and event. Wayne focused heavily on the “responsibility” of telling the story and getting out of the way of the event and letting it happen. That really impressed us because as fans, we want to both watch and revel in the moment without it being overly narrated.
When it came to Pujols’ 700th homerun call, he told us that he didn’t know if it would happen, and actually wasn’t sure it would happen when the Cardinals came to town for the series against the Dodgers. He recalled that Aaron Judge had been stuck at 61 homeruns for a long time, and Pujols hadn’t been getting that many at-bats at the time going into the series. Wayne thought that maybe he might get a chance at 699, but again, wasn’t sure if it would happen.
Early in the game, Albert quickly took care of business hitting number 699. That still didn’t mean he would get to 700. But, later in the game, he did, and again, Wayne said he just let the moment happen and then let the fans celebrate the moment. You can watch his calls for 699 and 700 by clicking here. It’s a great call, and a great moment for Pujols and Randazzo.
Listening to Wayne talk about the Pujols milestones, Geoff and I imagined what it would be like to have Wayne calling major milestones for Trout and Ohtani. Wayne said “if [he] is lucky enough to call Trout’s 500th homerun, [he] would take that responsibility seriously and do a similar job [on the calls].” And, of course, Wayne would love to call an Ohtani no-hitter.
We asked Wayne what it was like to see Trout and Ohtani up close and in person as opposed to watching them from afar with the Mets. He talked a lot about watching how much work Trout puts in (and that the fans don’t see) to do the things that he does (going to so far as to call Trout “probably the best hitter in all of baseball” and “one of the hardest workers in baseball”). He talked about all of Trout’s work on running, exploding out of the box and hustling down the line, taking corners, and keeping up his speed, especially at his age. He really focused on the little things that truly separates Trout as such an elite player.
Regarding Ohtani, he raved about his pitching saying that he is probably a slightly better pitcher than hitter right now (and he said “to put that in perspective, we’re talking about a guy who hits .270+, 30+ HRs, and 100+ RBIs” and then added “how many guys do that in a season?”. He told us that he had only 2 chances to see the Angels while with the Mets (recalling one series in NY and one series here, and that in 2020 we lost a series against the Mets due to the Covid-shortened season), and that he didn’t get to see Ohtani pitch. However, he said that now that he’s seen him pitch in person that Ohtani “is one of the best, if not the best pitcher in baseball”. And of course, he talked about how Ohtani is doing things that no one else has done or is doing in all of baseball, being both a hitter and pitcher.
As far as coming into the Angels broadcast booth, we asked what Wayne did to prepare for all the 1970s and 1980s references from Gubi. He laughed quite a bit and said that luckily he worked with Howie Rose with the Mets who has a “similar set of cultural references and time frame as [Gubi], so it wasn’t that hard of a transition” for him and that he was well versed in that time period. Wayne enjoys working with Gubi and the two are developing their relationship for the broadcast booth (Wayne said that it’s still “early in the season” and that they’ve only called about 25 official games together and that developing a deep and good relationship in the booth can take a season or more). He said that over the years, that Gubi has learned to work with a lot of different announcers, especially over the last few years, and that Gubi does an incredible job working with him and all the other play-by-play announcers as well as making it easy for them all to step right into the broadcast booth.
When talking about his experiences in the broadcasting booth, we of course had to ask about the possum at the Oakland A’s stadium. He laughed and recalled the “pungent smell” and the “funk” that was in the booth, even making note of it during the broadcast! On top of that, he said there was a “toxic smell” from chemicals used to clean up the scat left by the possum in the booth. Wayne let his friends with the Mets broadcasting team know about it (they came in over a week later (after the A’s played Cleveland and then had a road trip), who talked about it on air as well. You can hear their take on the possum droppings here.
One area that Wayne talked about with a lot of pride and humor is his Italian heritage and culture. George Randazzo, the father of Tony the umpire, founded the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago to cover the many great contributions to American sports throughout the years. You can find out more about the NIASHOF by clicking here.
Away from the ballpark, Wayne loves spending time with his two daughters. A perfect day for him when he’s not broadcasting would be spending time with them doing anything, such as going to a park or doing anything that they want. As he said “I’m on the road so much, any chance I have to spend with them is a good day.”
We concluded with a lightning round of questions, and here are his responses:
Coke or Pepsi: Whatever the Angels have in their stadium is what I like best (very diplomatic answer).
In ‘n Out or Shake Shack: Shake Shack, but will have to eat more In ‘n Out (we will give him some time to do that before asking him about the fries).
A book or an audio book: I haven’t listened to many audio books, so I will have to try them more. A book for now.
Do the laundry or the dishes: I put the dishes in the dishwasher, so that’s a lot easier than doing the laundry.
Live in 1969 or 2069: Can I be my age at either time? (yes we said) Then 1969.
Rachel or Monica: Laughs. All around, I’m a Rachel guy. (we then translated that for Gubi as Mary Ann or Ginger which got lots of laughs from Wayne).
High-five or fist bump: Thinks about it. I prefer the high-five.
Bon Jovi or Def Leopard: Bon Jovi. He’s Italian and I’ll always go for the Italians.
Overall, we learned quite a bit about our new play-by-play announcer, and we have been enjoying his game calling. The time flew by quickly, and we had many more questions for him than we had time for (one in particular we didn’t get to is how the new pitch clock is affecting announcing the game). He is truly a genuine, relaxed, and fun person with whom to talk, and Geoff and I really appreciated our time with him.
Before leaving the interview, Wayne agreed to come back again later in the season to give us his take on the team. We can hardly wait for that and look forward to hearing him continue to do a great job in the booth!