You know that voice you hear on the loudspeaker at Alexandria Aces home games? Calm, smooth and richly baritone?
Sounds like a pro, right?
Well, that voice belongs to 14-year-old Matt Krause, the soon-to-be 15-year-old Bishop Ireton sophomore who was calling collegiate summer league baseball games before he took his first high school speech class.
Its all part of the road to the top for Krause, who decided at an early age that his professional future probably had more prospects off the field than on it.
When I realized that I had limited athletic talent in the third grade or so, I decided that I would try and focus on getting behind the scenes, he said, adding that most of his friends summer jobs dont hold a candle to his.
When the Aces set out for their inaugural season last year, the aspiring sports broadcaster started out as one of the ticket-takers.
But game by game, Krause showed that he was more of a utility player with a preternatural voice for someone his age than the typical 13-year-old heading into high school, Aces President Pat Malone said.
By the end of the 2008 summer campaign, a hope that started with an email to Aces management asking about becoming the teams voice, had come to fruition as Krause got the chance to step up to the mic for the last few games of the season at Frank Mann Field.
Krause even did one of those games without the script announcers use to stay on track with spots for sponsors and teams. Instead, options severely limited, he recited all of the plugs from memory.
He did the entire game dead-on, saying all the sponsorships dead-on, Malone said. Its just incredible.
Because of that game and his ability to master names and facts, Aces staff members joke that Krause has a memory like Dustin Hoffmans title character in the movie Rainman. However, that sort of retention does not come out of left field.
Between what he learned at a sports broadcasting camp four years ago in Rockville where Krause got to work with regional sportscasters like Chick Hernandez and Johnny Holiday, and picking the brain of Aces official Ryan Fannon, Krause said he quickly learned the importance of preparation.
Fannon, who broadcasts Villanova football and basketball games for ESPN radio in Philadelphia, emphasized the importance of any broadcaster familiarizing himself with all of the names, faces and storylines that could come into play. As such, Krause does just about everything he can.
I probably put in at least a half an hour a day on the Aces website and league website, and then Im usually the first person here after the players, Krause said. Then he has to study the game script for the day.
Krause, whose favorite announcer is Bob Costas, said he would eventually like to do play-by-play on a national level for a variety of sports, from NASCAR to baseball.
I definitely want to try and be a play-by-play guy, Krause said. Although I really like Costas, I dont just want to be at a desk talking. Id rather be there at the game more.
Three years ago, Krause got a taste of getting into the big time, announcing the first three batters of a Nationals game after winning a contest.
In the meantime, he said he practices at home something his mother confirmed by muting the TV and calling the action for live games and video games, much to the chagrin of his younger brother.
It drives my brother crazy, Krause said. Even when Im playing [the football video game] Madden, I turn the sound down and launch right into doing commentary.
Since his Aces debut, Krauses experience has only continued to grow. During the school term he became the voice of Bishop Iretons football and baseball teams and has taken on about half of the announcing load with the Aces.
I have friends who are athletes, so I get to be around the teams and know the players at B.I. and theyve kind of adopted me like a teammate, Krause said. They definitely get a kick out of it.
With the Aces in the latter stages of their second season in the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, Malone called it pure luck to have Krause on board and hopes to hold onto him for as long as he can.
We all want to see baseball players who come here and get drafted by Major League Baseball, but one of the biggest kicks Id ever have is to see Matt Krause calling Major League Baseball, Malone said. That would be the ultimate.
And, although Krause has already gotten a brief taste of what its like to be behind the mic in the big leagues, theres still college and plenty of high school ahead of him.