We have personnel news to report from the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short Season A; Northwest League) and Rocky Mountain Vibes (Rookie; Pioneer League).
In Salem-Keizer, the Volcanoes have named Payne Patchett as their new play-by-play broadcaster. Still weeks away from his High School Graduation at Lake Stevens High School (Washington), Patchett will be the voice of the Volcanoes this summer during all their radio broadcasts, home and away, on 1430 KYKN
Patchett’s involvement with the Lake Stevens Vikings baseball program dates back many years. “We brought him out as an 11-year old kid to kind of belong to something,” said his mother Roxanne Lewis. “This gave him an opportunity to do that and grow and learn.”
It wasn’t long thereafter Patchett started announcing. “I started saying what was happening out loud, and then a couple people suggested that I announce the games,” Patchett said. “My mom and step-dad surprised me with a digital recorder and I’ve used it ever since.”
Payne’s announcing skills have been described as talent far-exceeding his years. “He really has a knack (for) calling a game, and a vocabulary,” former longtime Vikings assistant coach Jim Willie said. “He calls the game, and he can also be color at the same time. He’s got the flair for it too, and the dramatic bit about him. … I think he (could) do it at a World Series game, and I don’t think he’d skip a beat.”
“He’s a fixture in this program,” Vikings coach Josh White said. “He’s a staple for Lake Stevens Vikings baseball. … He has been so special to this program over the last eight years.” “It just sounds really professional,” said Rodger Anderson, who was Lake Stevens’ head coach when Patchett first became involved with the program as an 11-year-old.
Patchett has been described as having an encyclopedic razor-sharp memory. “He’s got years’ worth of information on guys,” White said. “… It’s not just something that he shows up to the game and does. He puts his time and his research in.”
“He’s just been a big part of the family,” Anderson added. “It’s going to be kind of sad to see him gone, because he’s been around so long. But I know he’s on to bigger and better things.”
“I’m looking forward to his next phase — to hear him on the radio or TV, or go to a game and hear him up in the booth,” Willie said, “because I’d bet a million dollars that’s going to happen.”
Patchett reached out to Volcanoes’ owner Jerry Walker in March saying, “I’m confident that I’m ready to broadcast in the next level and I think that your team and the city of Keizer is the perfect place to be. Considering that the Volcanoes have produced a number of major league talent over the years and has a dedicated fan base, I would be proud to be a part of and contribute to such a successful organization and team in any way I can.”
“The Volcanoes are proud to give Payne this opportunity,” said Walker. “His passion for the game and broadcasting is obvious and his story is heart-warming. One of the Volcanoes’ core philosophies has been to provide opportunities and help our staff members, along with our players, the chance to launch their careers. We are very excited to have Payne join our staff.”
“We are extremely excited and honored to have such a rare talent join the Volcanoes family”, says team President of Business Operations Mitche Graf. “He has a special knack for creating energy with his enthusiasm and he should fit perfectly into our philosophy of putting the fan experience as our top priority.”
Cameron Van Til wrote a feature story on Patchett and was recently posted on The HeraldNet. Van Til made contributions to the press release announcing Patchett’s position with the Volcanoes.
The Colorado Springs-based Vibes have tabbed veteran television anchor Rob Namnoum as their new play-by-play announcer. The anchor of KRDO NewsChannel 13 sports since 1999, Namnoum will be joined on home game broadcasts by Mitch Vareldzis.
The Vibes are planning for Namnoum to be their lead voice for the bulk of their home games, but Vareldzis will broadcast the games alone during road trips so that Namnoum can remain in Colorado Springs to fulfill his role in television broadcasts. More from The Gazette:
Namnoum will handle the majority of the team’s home game, with associate announcer Mitch Vareldzis taking the color commentary. Vareldzis will go solo on the team’s bus trips, as Namnoum will stay behind for his television job.
Namnoum doesn’t know what kind of audience to expect outside the families of the players or fans of the Brewers or their opponents looking to track prospects, but he knows what kind of call he wants.
“I’m hoping that we’ll present, obviously the game, but also an entertainment aspect to is as well,” Namnoum said. “I’m hoping whoever listens, feels like they’re listening to two guys who, A., love baseball, and B., have a good time doing it.”
The Vibes, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, were the Helena Brewers until relocating to Colorado Springs after the 2018 season as part of a series of franchise shifts by team owner Elmore Sports Group. As part of those moves, the Class AA Texas League San Antonio Missions relocated to Amarillo and rebranded as the Amarillo Sod Poodles—opening a new ballpark earlier this month–while the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) shifted to San Antonio and assumed the Missions name and branding.