Arizona Diamondbacks public address announcer Chuck Drago has been called “The Voice of God.”
His enthusiastic delivery emanates throughout Chase Field each time he introduces a Diamondbacks player. After 10 years with the ball team, he still gets butterflies with every game.
“It’s from excitement,” says Drago, during an interview in the Diamondbacks’ dugout before batting practice was set to begin. “When the team takes the field, it’s just a lovely moment. The game’s starting and the fans are getting crazy at that point.”
Between D-backs and ASU games, Drago figures he’s approaching 900 games announced. Not bad for a guy who merely answered an ad in the newspaper for the MLB team’s position.
“I had zero experience,” he says fashioning his hand into the shape of a circle. “People always said I had a good voice. I always wanted to do something in broadcasting.”
His dream was temporarily postponed when his father, with whom he ran a family business, fell ill. Everything turned out fine, but Drago pursued a business management degree instead.
“After that, I saw an ad in the paper for the D-backs,” he says. “Jeff Munn was moving to the broadcast booth. I had one semester of broadcasting in college. I sent in a resume and audio of my voice. There were a few hundred other people who did the same thing.”
The pool of candidates went from 50 to two, one of whom was Drago. He and the other applicant were chosen to announce a Spring Training game in the baseball team’s former pre-season home in Tucson. The D-backs then chose Drago.
“The season before, I was sitting in the left-field bleachers with a beer and a hot dog,” he says. “Next game, I’m announcing. I went from the stands to the booth.”
During his 10 years with the Diamondbacks, Drago, a Chandler resident, has learned not to take himself too seriously.
“I tend to be a perfectionist and I get really upset when I make mistakes,” Drago says matter-of-factly “My boss says it’s OK. I’ve learned to move on from my mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes.”
He notes that one of his flubs was when he called Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates by the incorrect first name for two innings. He had flip-flopped his first name with the next player in the lineup.
“I’ve never done that before,” he says. “I was jabbed and razzed for that.”
Some of the D-backs’ names just beg to be exaggerated by Drago. There’s All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and former relief pitcher-turned-baseball executive J.J. Putz.
“J.J. Putz was one of my favorites,” he says. “When I was in the front office, I’d get to see him. I would announce him as he’s walking down the halls. He was just a fun name to say.
“I used to like Gerardo Parra. Now we have the longest name in baseball—Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That’s the coolest name to say. I could drag that name if I wanted to for a minute and a half. All the players are fun guys. I think they appreciate the way I pronounce their names. I haven’t gotten any complaints from the team.”
Drago has fun with the names because he’s a fan. He his cue from boxing announcers in Las Vegas, where he grew up.
“We don’t have pro sports there,” he says. “The pro sport we have is boxing. I guess I pattern myself after the over-the-top boxing announcers. You hear that a lot. Luckily sometimes when you interview for this job, when people are looking for a voice—commercial or movie—they have something in their head that they want. I guess I had it.”