May 22, 2014
NEW YORK - In his 50-year broadcast career, there isn't much in New York City sports history that Spencer Ross hasn't been a part of. This weekend, he'll add calling the BIG EAST Baseball Championship presented by New York Life at MCU Park in Coney Island to his long lifetime tally of sportscasting gigs.
Ross will call all five opening round games of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship on www.bigeast.com before FOX Sports 1 takes over for the Sunday's title game at 1 p.m.
Ross has called games for nearly every New York-based team and can count Phil Rizzuto, John Wooden, Jim Valvano, Dick Vitale and Bob Cousy all as former broadcast partners. He won an Emmy working Yankees games in the 1980s, called the first season in Nets history, and covered the last Knicks championship team. Now he'll etch his name into another corner of New York sports history as the play-by-play voice for all five opening round live streams of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship.
"I've done everything from Yankee games to high school games throughout my career," said Ross. "I've always treated every game I do like it's a Yankees or Knicks game. [This tournament] may be a different level than the big leaguers but it's going to have all the intensity of a major league game."
As the BIG EAST Conference enters into a new era of live digital coverage, Ross's experiences provide an unusually perfect fit.
"In 1973 my mentor, the legendary Marty Glickman, talked me into working with a company that reached about 800 homes in Allentown, Pennsylvania at the time," Ross reflected. "I was calling everything from Yankee and Rangers games to rodeos and roller derbies."
That humble outfit was the early beginnings of HBO Sports. Ross immediately parlayed that into work with the New York Jets and CBS Radio Nework and HBO is now an industry leader for dynamic sports coverage.
Perhaps most importantly, the BIG EAST Baseball Championship at Coney Island will allow the sports announcing veteran to return to his roots. A Brooklyn-raised kid, Ross spent many childhood afternoons in the bleachers at Ebbets Field taking in Dodger games for the admission price of 60 cents. The prices may have increased just a bit since those days, but Ross's connection to Brooklyn baseball has endured.
"I remember watching greats such as Snider, Robinson and Hodges at Ebbets Field, so it's an honor to be part of another chapter in Brooklyn baseball history," said Ross. "I'm excited about being a part of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship; this to me is fun. I love college sports and the passion these kids plays with."
When the top four teams take the field to decide the BIG EAST Baseball Championship, Ross will serve as a New York City institution in the booth just like Nathan's hot dogs off the boardwalk, the Cyclone towering over the outfield walls and the sound of a bat hitting the ball in Brooklyn. For a broadcaster who has seen it all, this weekend may just provide a few special moments that the veteran has yet to see.