“Read a Dostoevsky novel in a scented candle kiosk!” The Venn diagram where minor-league baseball overlaps with references to 19th-century Russian literature is where you’ll find Joey Zanaboni, 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 one of the most unique voices in sports broadcasting.
Working the second game of a doubleheader that looked considerably emptier than Monday's 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 Nats holding on for a 6-5 win, sweeping their doubleheader with Lynchburg. That ran Frederickburg’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, of course, his catchphrase “lock it, cock it, rock it, restock it.”
The 30-year-old 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.