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July 8, 2005 at 2:33 PM

Dave Jageler - PawSox radio play-by-play, interview by David Laurila

Continuing a tradition of major-league quality at the Triple-A level, Dave Jageler is in his first year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Along with broadcast partner Steve Hyder, Jageler brings PawSox baseball to Southern New England via flagship station WSKO-AM 790 and online at PawSox.com. A native of Windsor, Connecticut and graduate of Syracuse University, Jageler co-hosted the “Eddie & Jags” talk show on Boston’s AM 1510 before replacing Andy Freed in the PawSox booth. We talked to Dave about the business of sports radio, doing play-by-play for the PawSox, and his on-air Seinfeld routine.

DL: Prior to joining the PawSox radio team, you worked in the Boston sports-talk radio market with Eddie Andelman on AM 1510. What was that experience like?

DJ: Every day with Eddie was interesting. He has a very unique take on sports, which I disagreed with most of the time. That made it an entertaining show because you could agree with me or agree with him and choose sides. Whether I agreed or disagreed with him, I do give him credit for one thing. He is truly a passionate Boston sports fan who cares about all the local teams.

DL: What were some of the more memorable exchanges you had with Andelman, including the more entertaining on-air faux pas?

DJ: I can't give all the details about his most entertaining on-air faux pas, but it started when he was doing a live commercial read and he drooled all over himself. Then a few seconds later he mispronounced the name of a local restaurant: "Fuddruckers." Let's just say he put the "uckers" in the wrong part of the word, like right after the letter F. He didn't even know he did it and kept right on going. I didn't stop laughing for an hour.

The most memorable exchanges came during football season. He and I disagreed about Peyton Manning vigorously. He felt Manning was a stat-hog and not a good quarterback because he couldn't beat the Pats. My point was that nobody is beating the Patriots, so that doesn't make him a bad player when the Pats are clearly a better "team" than the Colts. Those debates got pretty heated.

DL: How would you describe the relationships and camaraderie that exist within the broadcast industry, both on talk radio and among play-by-play announcers?

DJ: I think the relationships are exactly the opposite. I've found many talk-show hosts to be jealous of each other's success, even when they work at the same station. There is no teamwork in talk radio. If the morning drive show is number one, and afternoon drive is number 10, at the same station, the afternoon host will probably be bitter even though the morning show's success is good overall for the station. That is not true of all hosts obviously, only certain ones.

I have found a real camaraderie among the broadcasters in the International League. The reason is because we all go through the same things...long bus rides, early wake-up calls, etc. Even though we are all competing for the same thing when it comes to the next big league opening, I think we all root for each other. For example, when Andy Freed got the Devil Rays job, I think many guys in the IL were happy for him because someone from the league got a big break.

DL: Prior to Pawtucket, what was your experience doing play-by-play, and why did you decide to get back into it?

DJ: In terms of baseball, I was the number two announcer for the Charlotte Knights (Marlins AAA affiliate back then) in 1995 and ‘96. I also filled in on some games in 2001. Most of my experience was in basketball. I was the radio voice of the Charlotte 49ers of Conference USA and now the Atlantic-10 for seven years. When I moved to Boston I also got to fill in as the play-by-play man for the Boston Celtics on about 10 games, which was a dream come true: to call NBA games.

I really wanted to get back into play-by-play full time because it is what I truly love to do. It is so much fun to be in the atmosphere of the game with the crowd noise and the sounds of the game. Talk-radio is so sterile, going into a studio every day. I love going onto the field and hanging out at the batting cage and then doing the pre-game show as the crowd is filing in. Then the high-point is when the crowd builds after the crack of the bat and the ball leaves the yard, and you are describing it as it happens. It is quite a rush.

DL: What goes into preparing for a game, and does most of your information come from media guides or online?

DJ: A big part of preparing for a game for me is helping to put together the media notes for the PawSox. I prepare the player bios that are given out to all the media. That way I am always up to speed on the numbers of our team. I try to look for interesting facts and tidbits about PawSox players, like if a player is 9 for his last 15 or 1 for his last 23. Any kind of information that other broadcasters or reporters would find interesting I try to include.

As far as the opponents, it is usually split between the media guide and online. For some teams there is plenty of useful information right in the media guide. But for some teams, the media guide is limited and I have to do more research on my own.

RSN: Your partner in the booth is Steve Hyder. What is it like working with him, and did you know Steve prior to getting the job?

DJ: Steve is great to work with. I think we really have a good chemistry and enjoy working with each other. We both try to entertain as well as inform the listener, so we aren't afraid to make fun of each other and try to make each other laugh. It seems to happen a couple times a game.

Funny thing is Steve actually got me started in this business. When I was a student at Syracuse University back in 1992, Steve hired me as an intern at WSYR in Syracuse. I used to fetch him lunch and his drycleaning. Just kidding. Steve used to call me "Jaromir" after the hockey player Jaromir Jagr, with the similar last names. He even had a Jagr poster in the sports department office in my honor. We don't know what happened to that poster. So it is cool to be working with him again 13 years later.

DL: Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano often talk about music during Red Sox broadcasts. What do you and Steve talk about when there’s a lull in the action?

DJ: We will talk about anything and everything and nothing. We share a love of sitcoms and will often break into Seinfeld routine if the action calls for it. We have talked about Gilligan's Island, 16th-Century explorers, French Open tennis, the NBA Draft and Tim Kester's acting career. I may be biased but I think we are fun to listen to because we do branch off into different directions that in some way are related to the game. That is the key . . . every time we break off onto a tangent it is because of something related to the game at hand.

DL: Have you ever worked as a disc jockey, and what music would you want to play if you did?

DJ: I have never been a DJ. If I did, I would play the contents of my IPod over and over. As for the contents of my IPod, they shall remain a mystery.

DL: Do you and Steve travel on the PawSox team bus, and how do you pass the time on the long road trips?

DJ: We do travel with the team whether by bus or plane. We fly to all the non-division opponents and bus within the division, so there are some long trips to Buffalo and Ottawa. I bought a portable DVD player, so I watch movies on the bus. Kelly Shoppach runs the DVD system on the bus but usually Ron Johnson has a large say in the movie that plays. To say that Ron and I have different movie tastes would be an understatement. So I bring my own to pass the time, since I can't sleep crammed into a bus seat at 6'2".

DL: The PawSox job is among the most coveted in minor league baseball. Tell us about the process you went through in getting it, and your reaction to learning you had been hired.

DJ: I sent my tape and resume in like the other candidates. I had a prior relationship with PR Director Bill Wanless. Eddie Andelman and I had Bill as a guest two or three times when we would do a show devoted to minor league baseball in the area. So Bill knew of my work and love of play-by-play, and he was helpful to me during the process. I interviewed with President Mike Tamburro and met the front office staff early in March and was offered the job soon after. I was very excited to get the job but I didn't really have time to savor it because it was right before the season. It was a whirlwind, getting hired, leaving 1510, heading to spring training, and then, bang, I was in Indianapolis calling Curt Schilling's start. It seemed like all that took three days. I still haven't moved to Rhode Island yet but plan to do so in July. I am still commuting from New Hampshire, about an hour-20-minute drive each way.

DL: Who have been your role models in the radio business, and why?

DJ: I followed those that I listened to when I was growing up. My basketball role model was Johnny Most, since I was a Celtics fan. Sometimes I would sound like Johnny when I would get on a referee when I was doing college hoops. For baseball, it has to be Sean McDonough, who I had the pleasure of working with at 1510. When I made the decision to go into the business he was someone I paid a lot of attention to and listened to carefully. His versatility and ability to do several sports well is outstanding.

DL: Where did you grow up, and which teams did you follow as a kid?

DJ: I grew up in Windsor, Connecticut which is just one town north of Hartford, so I was on the Red Sox side of the dividing line between Sox and Yankees fans. As mentioned before, I was a Celtics fan for basketball. In hockey, I was Hartford Whalers fan (Brass Bonanza RIP), so now I don't have a hockey team except I root against the Carolina Hurricanes. I am a passionate Dallas Cowboys fan to this day, being a child of Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Tom Landry and America's Team.

DL: Tell us about your decision to work in sports radio. Was it made in college, or much earlier?

DJ: Much earlier. I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster back before high school. I was smart enough to know I wasn't going to be a major leaguer so it seemed like a good way to get into sports. When I played baseball in high school I was an outfielder and I used to practice my announcing in left field. That was great until the broadcast was interrupted by a double down the line. I also worked at a local cable access television station in Windsor while in high school. I used to broadcast the school's high-school hoops games, so I got some great experience doing that.

DL: You spend a lot of time with the players. Which PawSox players have been the best interviews, and who are the most colorful personalities?

DJ: There is no question the most colorful personality on the team is pitcher Jeremi Gonzalez. Since we want to keep this interview clean, I can't tell you why, but let us just say that he makes everyone on the team laugh all the time. He is a very funny guy.

I have a great relationship with guys on the team and enjoy interviewing all of them. The best interview on the team is probably the manager Ron Johnson. When Bob Montgomery and I do the games on Cox Sports Television, RJ wears a wire during the bottom of the second inning and Monty and I interview him. That is my favorite time of the broadcast. He usually has us laughing the whole time.

DL: What has the whole PawSox experience been like for you -- from working for the organization to calling the action on the field?

DJ: It has been tremendous. The PawSox organization is made up of very good people from the top on down. It starts with owner Ben Mondor along with Mike Tamburro and Lou Schwechheimer. There are many fine people there who have put in over 10 years, and in some cases over 20 years, who deserve a great deal of credit for making the PawSox a great franchise. Everyone has treated me very well.

DL: Last one: In Dave Jageler’s perfect world, where are you in five years, and what’s going on in the world of sports?

DJ: I would love to be calling baseball games (here or in the bigs) and having just as much fun as I had opening day this year. I have enjoyed every one of our games so far this season and I look for that to continue. I would love to see the Red Sox have a few more world championships to their credit with home-grown talent and plenty of ex-PawSox being right in the middle of it. I would love to see Bill Parcells hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy with the Cowboys to catch Bill Belichick in the number of Super Bowl wins. Lastly, I would love to see the Triple-A All-Star Game back at McCoy Stadium. If all that happens it would be a pretty perfect world for me.