Alumni Profile

Stealing Home

In 1997, the Seattle Mariners pummeled the Milwaukee Brewers for nine runs in one inning. During the onslaught, first-year MilwaukeeTV announcer Matt Vasgersian ’90 did an on-air interview with classic rock guitarist Peter Frampton, who was in town touring with Ringo Starr. “I don’t think I identified two pitches that inning,” Vasgersian recalls sheepishly.

After the interview, the Brewers office fielded some angry calls about “the young announcer who was too busy kissing Peter Frampton’s butt to call the game,” Vasgersian says. The next day Ringo Starr’s manager called the Brewers to thank them for pairing Frampton with someone who knew so much about music. “In my mind, I was totally vindicated.”

On another occasion, as Brewers slugger Jeromy Burnitz homered, Vasgersian sang a lyric from a Pearl Jam song, “Jeremy spoke in class today.” And there was the call in Montreal on a Fernando Vina home run: “Let them eat cake!”

Similar interjections highlighted Vasgersian’s five years in Milwaukee, and will undoubtedly continue in his new job as TV play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres. “I use movie lines and rock ’n roll a lot, because that’s who I am,” says Vasgersian, 34. “I’m a consumer and a classic-rock fossil. I’ve never fashioned myself as the ‘MTV baseball guy’ but, unfortunately, if you connect to young people, you get typecast.”

His frequent references to pop culture, Vasgersian says, “made it important in Milwaukee, and will make it important in San Diego, to establish that I know baseball, especially baseball that came before me. You have to establish yourself to older viewers.”

Matt Vasgersian interviews San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy during spring training in Peoria, Ariz. in March.

Vasgersian gained early on-camera experience as a child actor, appearing in the movie The Candidate and the TV series “The Streets of San Francisco.” Graduating from USC with a major in communication arts, he honed his broadcasting skills in the minor leagues for six years before joining the Brewers at the relatively young age of 29. “It was the right opportunity at the right time,” Vasgersian says. “The Brewers were – and still are – a small market team and needed to reach out beyond impassioned Wisconsin sports fans.”

While in Milwaukee he also handled national baseball cable games for FX and Fox Sports Net, teamed with Jesse Ventura doing play-by-play for the short-lived XFL football league, and hosted a nightly trivia show, “Sports Geniuses.” But as much as he enjoyed Milwaukee, when the Padres called, he couldn’t resist the chance to return to his home state.

“I was getting a little tired of spending six months in Milwaukee and coming home for six months,” says Vasgersian, who grew up in Moraga, east of Oakland. “This is a chance to lay down semi-permanent roots.”

– Gary Libman

Alumni by Year




Alumni Profiles

Joe Crow '39

Alice Gast '80

Mark Monro '83

Matt Vasgersian ’90

In Memoriam

Julie Kohl

Edward Zapanta