BOWIE, Md. — Adrienne Roberson is one of two women who announce professional baseball games for fans at the stadiums. She calls it the perfect combination of her two loves: Sports and broadcasting.
Roberson, 42, is the only female announcer in Minor League Baseball, while Rene Brooks-Moon has held the position with MLB’s San Francisco Giants since 2000.
Roberson begins her workday reading over the visiting team’s roster. She pronounces the names out loud, circling ones she needs pronunciation help with from the opposing team’s broadcaster .
“The unusual ones I’ll remember for years,” Roberson said.
Roberson said she has the most fun announcing names of Hispanic players because she likes rolling her “Rs.” She finds the right syllable to stress just like in phonetics class.
For example, when the Baysox’s second baseman approaches the plate, she leans into the mic saying, “Garabez Rosaaaa,” dragging out the last letter for emphasis.
Her passion for acting inspired her to enter college as a theater major, but at the urging of her parents, she changed her major to broadcasting and minored in theatre. That’s when she began working for a radio station on campus.
“I realized I love sports and I love being on the radio, so I combined the two,” Roberson said. “You’re still performing.”
Roberson uses her theater background in every game.
She credits her college courses in speech and applied phonetics for helping her bring excitement as an announcer, especially when she adds her spiel to ads being displayed on the video board. She thinks engaging the audience is the most important part of her job.
“You have everyone hearing you,” Roberson said. “Half the time they’re eating a hot dog and drinking beer. Are they really listening to you? But if you catch them once, they might go buy that product.”
Roberson’s love for announcing has taken her far in her career. She got her first call up in the minors with the Knoxville Smokies as a junior in college. Roberson worked at the ballpark as a box-seat hostess server, and the team asked her to fill in one day when the announcer had to leave the ballpark early.
She worked as the full-time announcer for the following two years.
After that, Roberson moved to Joshua Tree, California, and covered local events and sports as an on-air music announcer and assistant music programmer at KCDZ 107.7.
In 2001, she moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and worked as a traffic reporter for seven stations in the area.
She started working for the Baysox in 2005 when her husband was assigned to Maryland for his job in the Navy. Roberson spent her first year with the team as a camera operator until the announcing position became open.
Her big break came in 2011 when she applied to be the Baltimore Orioles’ full-time announcer. Although she was a finalist among the 670 applicants, Roberson didn’t get the job. But the team asked her to be available as a fill-in the future.
She announced her first game at Camden Yards on Mother’s Day in 2012.
This year she announced her fourth Mother’s Day game and has worked 12 games for the Orioles. Number 13 will be on Friday.
“I have fun, but it’s nerve-wracking,” Roberson said. “There’s a lot more going on in the booth at that level. Once I adjust, it starts getting fun in the third inning.”
Roberson also works the mic for games at Georgetown University, often announcing six or seven sports per year.
She admits that working in sports takes up a lot of her time on the nights and weekends, which cuts into family time with her two kids, but she finds it is worth it.
“If work ever gets to not being fun, I wouldn’t be here,” Roberson said. “You have to love what you do. This is what I love the most.”