Hudson Valley Renegades Vice President Rick Zolzer has been entertaining crowds from the PA booth at Dutchess Stadium for 22 of the New York Penn League team’s 25 years. He brings a unique perspective on minor league baseball—not only because of his poking-fun, party-first approach to the game—but also because he doubles as a team executive and public-address announcer.
A Bronx native who moved to the Hudson Valley as a child, Zolzer is a household name in the region, where he has worked as a sports-talk radio host, served as the public-address announcer for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Army West Point’s football team, and runs his own party entertainment company. However, he says, his first and true love is baseball, in particular the Renegades. That’s what led him to be an early advocate for the team before it relocated from Erie, Pa., in 1994 and why he continues to strive to find new ways to entertain fans who come to the ballpark.
What follows is my conversation with Zolzer about his career in minor league baseball and advice for others in the gameday entertainment side of the business. The transcript has been edited in spots for length and clarity.