Sean McCall, Road to Elsinore

Sean McCall, voice of the Lake Elsinore Storm, didn't always have it this easy. He was an out of work basketball administrator who left his gig at UCLA for the suburbia of Boise, Idaho. A job he had lined up there fell through and McCall parlayed his talents, with all his tapes in a storage facility in LA, into a color commentary gig by getting the GM of the Boise Hawks to allow him to do it – for free.

"I am a basketball fan at heart, someone who obviously is a baseball fan. Growing up I played all the sports you'd play as a kid.

How did you come to be a baseball announcer?

"Ultimately, I fell into minor league baseball haphazardly. Working at UCLA, for the basketball program, more in an administrative capacity, and my mom was living in Boise, Idaho.

"She called me about a radio opportunity and I was going to Boise in the summer of '91 for three months." A three month gig as an announcer. That had to be a nice beginning for your broadcasting career.

"That job opportunity that was in Boise never came to fruition even though I left my job at UCLA."

Ouch! You leave your job and there is nothing on the other side?

"Drove my 1,000 miles, got to Boise, and I called this gentleman and asked about what I needed to do. He said basically that the job that I was going to be doing is still his job! His opportunity had fallen through so I was hanging out in Boise without direction.

McCall ended up working for the Boise Hawks; we know that to be a fact. Did he bribe the guys out there? Wash all the executives' cars?

"I don't have a job…and I actually fell into working with the minor league team, their pre-game show. That led to me asking their GM if I could do the color commentary. He asked for a tape, everything was in LA in storage and he gave me a chance.

"He said, ‘I cant pay you, but we can send you on the road. Check that out and see how it works.' I said, ‘that's ok I am just looking for experience' and I went on a five-day road trip to Spokane, Washington, came back and he said, ‘we would like you to do it full time for the rest of the season.'

"So I made $600 in 1991 for my summer job.

"That was an experience that was the start of what has now been minor league baseball every season. It was something that may not have initially been the right direction, but I fell into the game."

Don't confuse this story with someone who does not appreciate the game of baseball. Many of us were on one track, only for it to be derailed before finding yourself on a different track that suddenly looks good if not better than the original path. I admit I wanted to be a hockey player, and here I am writing about the San Diego Padres.

What is it about baseball that propels you to broadcast it?

"I do enjoy it. What is great about baseball is there are a lot of games. It's not your NFL Sunday or college football Saturday where you have 12, 13 18 games to the season. From a competitive standpoint as far as being in the game, but not, on a nightly basis there is baseball and that is a good outlet."

A good outlet for the talking Sean McCall loves to do. His talents are many and calling baseball has become a passion much like the other venues he has called.

How did he make it back out to California from his Idaho days?

"I worked for the Boise Hawks, a former Angels affiliate, currently with the Cubs.

"I worked there for essentially parts of five seasons. The first was in the different capacity, the one that I talked about. Four more seasons where I had roles as a pre-game host. It was an hour-long pre-game show. I did the middle three innings so I was more of the number two per say. That was fine with me. It was never really about having that title or position. It was a good working situation. I really liked my partner and I got the chance to do some college basketball, professional tennis and living in Boise was a change of pace from growing up in Southern California.

"A southern California boy that went to Boise for four and a half years, had a chance to delve into minor league baseball, college basketball for men and women, pro tennis and an assortment of things."

Then McCall finally got his chance to come home, but it wasn't quite what you may expect.

"That led to a chance – actually I had applied for a job in Rancho Cucamonga.

"I thought that was going to pan out and I was one of two (going for the job) and it went the other way.

"Things are meant to be and I had a chance to apply here in Elsinore that same offseason."

Phew! Thought we almost lost our broadcaster for a second there.

"What was nice is this ballpark, Rancho is a nice ballpark and a former Padres affiliate and it is a nice place to work, but I think this is actually the upper echelon of the league. And one of the nicest stadiums in the country. I don't have the background to say I have seen 170 ballparks, but the field at the Diamond – it is a nice ballpark.

"Back then it was an affiliate of the Angels so I kind of went from Angels to Angels. That segway was really nice for me because players – a guy named Todd Greene, who was the Cal League MVP for the Storm in '94 – I wasn't here then, but those types of players passed through Boise. Jared Washburn who is with the Angels. I was with him in Boise in '95 and then in '96 with Lake Elsinore he was here.

"That kind of transition was a positive one for me and an easier one. And I am a southern California guy so rooting for the Angels – that is a good thing. I have my American League affiliation with the Angels and the National League patronage of the Padres."

It wasn't until 2001 that the Padres reached an agreement with the Storm. Ironically, the Padres affiliate before Lake Elsinore was Rancho Cucamonga, the same place he was denied work when he came back out here.

Things have changed and McCall remains upbeat. He may have fell into Minor League baseball, but he loves his job. Heck, he is a southern California boy buy trade, what could be better than spending your afternoons in the sun at the Diamond.


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