COVID19 has changed many things, including sports. I caught up with Andrew Murphy, Voice of the Lexington Legends to talk baseball, sports and Lexington.
I wanted to know a little bit about your background.
I graduated from UK last year. This past year actually. I’ve always had a goal of working in baseball in some capacity. And one thing that really interested me was baseball operations. So, becoming the next big General Manager was my dream and I came to realize eventually that I wasn’t really fit for that. So after sophomore year ended, I got an internship here (with the Legends). I was a media relations assistant. And I was still kind of hazy as to where exactly I wanted to go. I wasn’t getting a whole lot of opportunities to do scouting related things or player development because that’s all taken care of at the Major League club. I talked to Emma and we became friends with another broadcaster in South Atlantic league at the time Sean Vernon, who is now my like one of my best friends in the industry and become, by and large, my mentor for all this. And so, what I started doing on my off days, I would come to the suite and I would literally just record games on my iPhone. And I would just start saying whatever came to mind and Emma was really good at giving me feedback and sort of working on little nitpicky things that made a huge difference. And so, after the first month or so of doing that I discovered hey this, this might work out this could be a career. Fast forward to one February morning, I was walking from class to class and I got a call from the owner and CEO of the Legends , and he said, ” hey Emma’s leaving and I want to put your name in the hat to take her place,” and I just I remember getting chills all throughout my body. In a couple weeks time I interviewed, got the job and, of course, you know, a week later, the world came crashing down. So, there was a lot of uncertainty. I had to move out of the house I was living in on campus and I had to go back home to St. Louis and I moved back there for four months and then I got word that they’re doing this battle of the bourbon trail thing. And so, about two weeks into the Battle of the Bourbon Trail season I started doing games here.
Now when the Battle of the Bourbon Trail is done, do you have another role here?
That’s up in the air. It’s interesting because I mean that’s always up in the air. To begin with, as a broadcaster, never know who’s gonna move where,
and you never know what sort of upward mobility next season is going to bring and that has brought increased uncertainty and then COVID has increased everything tenfold. But I plan to be in Lexington for as long as I can. In addition to broadcasting, I do have Media Relations duties that I carry out. I keep the database of media contacts updated so we can send press releases and recently started a project organizing photos. Again, just pretty much whatever else is needed from the front office. But minor league baseball team front office is very all hands on deck.
It is a team effort and while everybody has you know their specific job title. It’s not uncommon for somebody to go out of their way and protect themselves on to some other project that needs a couple extra hands. So whether that’s marketing or ticket sales or corporate sponsorships, I’m here for whatever. I’m on deck and I’m ready to step up
Has baseball always been a favorite sport? Is it your favorite?
Yes, baseball, has always been my favorite sport.
You said you’re from St Louis I’m assuming a cards fan.
Yes, big cards fan but being a broadcaster has expanded my horizons and given me the ability to appreciate the game at any level. I find myself just as enthusiastic about, you know, for instance the Padres and their recent moves with Mike Clevenger and Mitch Moreland, just as much as I’m excited about the Cardinals and hoping they they make the playoffs this year. It absolutely is my favorite sport, it’s always been a part of my life. My
greatest childhood memories are sitting in Busch Stadium and watching Albert Pools just knock homeruns.
So, in the realm of sports broadcasters specifically baseball, who have been your biggest influences?
Oh man, I’m thinking of so many people. I grew up listening to Mike Shannon and John Rooney in St Louis. John Rooney is probably one of my biggest influences. In terms of TV, I would always watch games with Dan McLaughlin who’s been with the Cardinals upwards of 20 years. Harry Carey was a huge influence on me. I absolutely love just YouTubing a random cubs game from the 80s or 90s. Not only listening to Harry Carey but his chemistry with Steve Stone In my opinion, I think that you can put two people together but the real test is how well they can bounce off each other and how well they can read each other’s mannerisms. The list
of people I like to listen to is a mile long.
If you could sit next to anybody in the broadcast box for a game who would it be?
Harry Carey. He’s definitely at the top of the list. He was a fan in the booth. He represented something that broadcasters before him, I don’t think had.
He opened up sort of a casual nature of broadcasting again and while still retaining that thorough knowledge and execution of the calls.
So when you’re not at the ball field. What are you doing, what do you do for fun and in your off time?
I am big into rock music. I love playing musical instruments. I’ve played anything from drums to guitar, bass piano, since I was about second grade. And I never really took any lessons or anything. I think I’ve got the gift of rhythm, so I can put things together pretty well but I love playing guitar. I love watching baseball and I love reading about baseball. I like the history of the game, the folklore, the traditions, the mascots.
Favorite ballpark that you’ve seen a game at and the ballpark that’s at the top of your list that you haven’t been to?
My dad and I like to go on ballpark trips where we like to knock out two or three of them in a weekend, and we’ve hit 11 of them total so far. I mean, I’ve been to 12 if you count the old Busch Stadium. In third grade we did a Red Sox Yankees weekend. So we went to Fenway on August 2nd of 2007, and August 4 2007 we went to the Yankee Stadium and I remember the date specifically because “Arod” hit 500th home run and we weren’t even planning on that. We just happen to be at the game which was pretty cool. But it was cool to see the old Yankee Stadium, but it was even cooler to first go and see Fenway Park, because when you’re in third grade, and you walk
through that old concourse to a ballpark that was built in 1912 and the first thing that catches your eyes is that green monster in left field….
I’m getting chills talking about it right now. It was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had at a ballpark.
As for a ballpark I haven’t been to, I would probably want to
go to Dodger Stadium, just because it’s the the oldest one on the list.
Why should people come see a Legends game?
To me this is the best minor league experience that you can get. There’s a place to hang out here before the game and that’s right below us in the Kentucky Ale Tap Room. It’s only one of two in the city. The other one is at the Bluegrass airport. So that’s very special that we have that here. The beauty of minor league baseball, is that yes there are promotions and
yes there are on field activities in between innings, but minor league baseball is a game in a very pure form. We make the game experience as fun and engaging and entertaining for the fans. The fans are super dedicated too during the normal season rooting for these guys
coming up for instance for the Kansas City Royals. You know they know and appreciate their backstories and they want to see these guys succeed, they want to see these guys move up to the next level.
You went to UK and obviously know the city well. Where do you take out of town guests?
One of the best holes in the wall ever in my opinion, is place called Bourbon n’ Toulouse, it’s in Chevy Chase, some of the best Cajun food you’ll ever have. Then there’s local places like The Parkette Drive In that specializes in diner food like burgers, fries and shakes – the whole nine yards in that category.
Obviously in terms of entertainment, college basketball doesn’t get better than the University of Kentucky. Rupp Arena is electric from November to hopefully March. Keeneland, of course, is always a fun time.
Let’s get back to baseball. So, for you, where, where do you want to be in 5 – 10 years?
I mean, honestly, the dream job would be calling 162 games on for the Cardinals. That’s where I started, and it would be beyond the dream to end
up there but again, you know, I’ll go anywhere. The goal is to make the major leagues, but I think I’d be just as happy calling double A or even triple A ball for for my whole life. I’ve always been a firm believer that you should pursue what makes you happy. I come to this ballpark every day, and I look out in this broadcast booth and think, “this is a great shot.”
I feel extremely lucky to be here and I’m in for the long haul. I’m going to do it until I can’t do it anymore.