Almost any sports fan would envy West Seattle raised Glenn Capeloto, a sports statistician and play-by-play announcer for 37 years. He just released a book, "You're in the Front Row" to help others like him who are not athletes, but wish to find a sports-related career that could offer them access to coveted seats and access to iconic sports stars, including, pictured top left, Lenny Wilkens, Babe Ruth's daughter, and Lou Piniella.
Local author's new book helps non-athletes pursue sports-related careers- & see the games close up
Glenn Capeloto believes he has been blessed with what he calls a "paid hobby". Raised in West Seattle and a WSHS Class of '75 grad, his primary job is a radio advertising consultant, sales/creative copywriter. But he also freelances as a sports statistician and play-by-play announcer, his ticket to the best seats and press boxes at many a collegiate and professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey game.
Another perk comes with 37 years in the business, he is on a first-name basis with such luminaries as Lenny Wilkens, Spencer Haywood, Vin Scully, Ann Meyers Drysdale, and Jerry Colangelo, President, U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in Beijing, and former owner of the Phoenix Suns, WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Diamondbacks and others.
Capeloto just released a self-published book, "You're in the Front Row, How to Kick Off Your Career in Sports Even if You're Not a Star Athlete". He is pictured on his cover with colleague Bob Rondeau, the "voice of the Huskies".
"A lot of people wish they could get to do what I get to do," he said. "The book explains what I get to do, how I got here, how they can prepare."
Capeloto was the play-by-play announcer for the first football game in the Seattle Kingdome in 1976. He began as a UW student on their "10 watt blow torch" he said. He kept stats during the 2001 World Series, working courtside for the 2010 NBA Finals in Boston, and working alongside Vin Scully while keeping stats for the NFC Championship Philadelphia and Arizona game.
The 300-page soft-cover is filled with sports team contacts, sports knowledge, a sprinkling of trivia, and interviews with an impressive cadre of positive role models in sports. They include A-list celebrity athletes, team owners, announcers and others who share their personal stories, their ticket, to their sports-related careers, including those mentioned above. Also featured is Rick Welts, once a Seattle SuperSonics ball boy, then a director of public relations when they won their NBA Championship in 1979. He became President and Chief of Operations for the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
Said Capeloto, "In my book, Jerry Colangelo says, 'No position is too small to get into the industry'. Jerry is a self-made millionaire, and we both believe that everybody you meet can be a valuable networking contact in any field.
"This book is targeted for all sports fans as a general statement," said Capeloto. "Any sports fan would enjoy stories with a bulls-eye on young people with ambitions and desires who have a dream to be a part of the sports world."
He pointed out that women are increasingly interested in entering the field, and that many positions are not gender-specific. A role model mentioned prominently in his book is Ann Meyers Drysdale, who played basketball in the Olympic Games, was the first player on a U.S. national team while still in high school, and serves as the president and general manager for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and Vice President, NBA's Phoenix Suns.
"What kid doesn't grow up with the dream to become that star baseball, football, or basketball player," Capeloto suggested. "The reality is that there is a microscopic percentage of those with that God-given talent to be able to do this but that doesn't stop them from being a part of the action and that's what I've been very fortunate to do and will continue to do.
"It could be marketing, administration, public relations, media sales, radio, TV, sports medicine, the whole gamut. It could be legal," he said. "Half the sports pages these days talk about arrests, litigation and labor lockouts."
He devotes nearly 10 pages to basketball star, and a hero of his, Spencer Haywood, who Capeloto said, "Spent as much time in court as on the court in his first season as a Sonic. What a thrill to interview him!" In 1970, despite the NBA's eligibility rules, Haywood joined the Seattle SuperSonics. He and then owner Sam Schulman launched an anti-trust suit against the league (Haywood v. National Basketball Association). The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court before the NBA agreed to a settlement. Haywood broke ground for other athletes to turn pro before completing their college eligibility. Capeloto said that even Husky star running back Chris Polk, a UW junior, will gain early entry into the NFL thanks, in part, to that Supreme Court ruling.
On page 94 and 95 he lists numerous career positions held on a typical major league baseball team. Included are ticket sales, TV graphics, community affairs, clubhouse assistants, accounting, and team photographer.
He writes, "According to my calculator, this MLB team alone employs 289 people. By multiplying that by 30 MLB teams, that's another 9,000 or so positions."
While each position requires a specific skill set, Capeloto said that for a statistician you really have to keep your eye on the ball, especially when keeping records the old school way, by hand, his method. He said that while harder than just using a computer that keeps track of scoring, keeping records by hand is the best way to look for disparity of statistics, key in his field.
2001 Yankees vs. Diamondbacks
"Computer stats add nothing to the broadcast," he said, proudly recalling, "The 2001 World Series, right off 9/11, Diamond Backs against Yankees. I'm doing stats for Fox-TV at Bank One Ball Park in Phoenix, now Chase Field, above home plate, Game-2. The Diamondbacks creamed Yankees in Game-1 (9 to 1).
"Now, 5th inning. In my headset I relayed to the producer and director in the control truck who relayed to announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver that the Yankees have not had a lead-off runner hit in a game and a half, which means the last 14 straight innings. That's a trend. The D-Backs are shutting them down again. As a result, Buck and McCarver do a 5-minute analysis of why the Yankees are getting shut down.
There are hidden storylines throughout a game," he said. "That's my job, to find them, and that's what the announcers appreciate. The announcer cannot remember everything going on while it's happening."
You can purchase "You're in the Front Row" directly from the author at: www.yourcareerinsports.com