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Baseball | April 25, 2011

Behind the ‘Mike’: Entertainment Galore

mikeComing to a Canyon Lake baseball game is better than going to the movies. It is entertainment galore, in the Press Box you will get more than just a player’s name.

Mike Nelson is finishing another year behind the ‘mike’ and the job is not just someone telling you who is coming to the plate.

Nelson puts hours of work into his craft. The foul ball hitting glass? Mike has a certain time frame on when the button is punched and the audience is hearing the glass breaking.

The in between inning, dances and music games? Nelson knows what songs have worked and not worked through the years wanting to maximize the audience participation.

“I started doing this in little league,” Mike Nelson said. “The coach needed someone to announce the games.”

The game and what is said comes by no accident. Mike knows what he is going to do or say well in advance of the event happening. The music that is played between the innings, to what he uses when a Hawk pitcher strikes out a batter.

“I come at least an hour before the game,” Nelson continued. “I’m going to learn the names (of the opposing team), to make sure they are pronounced correctly.”

Nelson can’t do his act alone, as he relies on Rich Graham to take care of the scoreboard and also go into the stands for the prize give a-ways. Those concession bucks come out of his pockets, so the time and money helps with every facet of his craft.

After games it is not uncommon for opposing fans to come up to the press box and compliment or even try to get Mike to come to their games and announce for them.

“I want the game to be more than just music,” Nelson said. “I want it to be more fun.”

Mike has a reason for everything that he does in the booth.

“I don’t play music for students….I base the music on my generation and play for the the fans in the stands. The music for the games is picked based on what they would be familiar with,” the craft man said artfully.

Not everything is set in stone and that will sometimes lead to more fun moments.

“I can change on a fly,” Nelson said reflectively. “Today we had a couple who wanted to dance….so we danced.”

Thanks Mr. Nelson, even though your son graduated last year, your continued dedication to the fans makes coming to the games worthwhile.

In baseball terms, the fans know the man behind the ‘mike’ will hit a homerun….you can count on it.