(Audacy) “Read a Dostoevsky novel in a scented candle kiosk!”
The Venn diagram in which minor league baseball overlaps with references to 19th-century Russian literature is where you’ll find Joey Zanaboni, the lead announcer for the Single-A Fredericksburg Nationals. The subject of a recent Washington Post profile, Zanaboni is quickly making a name for himself as a unique voice in sports broadcasting.
Working the second game of a doubleheader Monday that looked considerably emptier than the announced attendance (3,704), Zanaboni dialed up the energy to an 11 on his call of Viandel Pena’s go-ahead homer to deep right, which broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning. Pena’s solo blast would be the difference in the game with the Fredericksburg holding on for a 6-5 win, sweeping its doubleheader against Lynchburg. That ran Fredericksburg’s season record to 17-9, good for first in the division and 1.5 games back of Myrtle Beach for the league lead.
Zanaboni, who spent last season calling independent league games in Sioux Falls, has made a habit of going viral with quips like “yanked out of there like a shirtless passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight,” “dancing like a Spice Girls cover band inside an earthquake simulation” and his catchphrase “lock it, cock it, rock it, restock it.”
The 30-year-old Zanaboni knows his blustery, in-your-face aesthetic isn’t for everyone (imagine John Sterling screaming “cleaner than a Lysol brand OnlyFans account” into the microphone during a Yankees broadcast on FAN), but credit Zanaboni for distinguishing himself with a fun and inventive style, which is hard to do in the relative anonymity of the Carolina League.