Thursday, April 27, 2017

Public Address

A crowd of 5,545 came to Jadwin Gym for a men's basketball game on the night of Dec. 9, 1999.

They were drawn, no doubt, as much by the promise of the new public address announcer, Bill Bromberg, as they were by the opponent, TCU. Princeton, by the way, would win in OT, 77-72, with double figure performances by three Tigers - TB will give you a few paragraphs to consider who they might have been.

As for Bromberg, that was Game No. 1 at Princeton. The men's lacrosse game against Harvard last weekend was Game No. 475 for Bromberg as a Princeton PA announcer.

He has at least one more this season to do, the women's lacrosse game Saturday against Columbia, which will take him to 476 for his Princeton career.

TigerBlog wishes he knew if this was some sort of record. He does know that next year, at some point during basketball season, Bromberg will reach 500 games as a PA announcer. That's a lot.

Bromberg came to Princeton from the Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team, and he was also doing Seton Hall basketball as well. The three Princeton players in double figures in his first game, by the way, were pretty good ones - Chris Young, Mason Rocca and Spencer Gloger. Interestingly, for wildly varied reasons, none of those three ever reached 1,000 career points at Princeton.

Meanwhile, back at Bromberg, he has done almost every men's basketball game since that first one more than 17 years ago. He added women's basketball and men's lacrosse in 2003 and women's lacrosse a year later.

He has been behind the mic for some of the coldest, most miserable nights you'd ever imagine for early-season lacrosse games. He has done doubleheaders in lacrosse and basketball, and he's done both sports on the same day in crossover seasons.

In fact, he's done at least one tripleheader, with men's lacrosse at noon, women's lacrosse at 3 and men's basketball at 6. That was back in 2014.

He's been the PA announcer for four men's basketball coaches, three men's lacrosse coaches, two women's basketball coaches and one women's lacrosse coach, not to mention several hundred athletes and even a few random football and hockey games.

Bromberg is not TigerBlog's favorite PA announcer of all time. Nope. TB is.

That game against TCU was the second home game of the 1999 season. The first was against Monmouth. TB is pretty sure he was the PA announcer for that game.

TigerBlog, in his time here, has been the PA announcer to various extents for men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's basketball, both soccers and both hockeys. Mostly, he has spent the last 12 seasons as the football PA announcer here.

TB likes to do the PA at games. He likes doing radio also. Hey, maybe he just likes the sound of his own voice. You should hear him sing.

That, of course, is not the point.

TB's point is that he knows he's been the PA announcer for a lot of Princeton games. If he adds them all up, though, the total number probably doesn't come to 200. It probably doesn't even come to 150.

So what's the record for most games done as a PA announcer here? TB wishes there was a way to look it up.

He doesn't really know the history of PA announcers around here, other than that Jeb Stuart's father was the football voice at Palmer Stadium for a long time. Still, TB can't imagine anyone has come close to the number of games that Bromberg has done.

For one thing, there were no women's sports for a long time. He's done games of men and women.

Maybe he has a little too much, uh, personality for TB, who likes to be an unobtrusive complement to the games. Bromberg's whole "by rule" thing after the first media timeout of the second half isn't quite TB's taste, but hey, it works for him.

And, as TB has said before, Bromberg is great at improvising during the promotions during the game, especially the ones at basketball that involve kids.

What Bromberg is as a PA announcer is "welcoming." Everything he does says "hey, thanks for coming, have fun, enjoy the game, come back again." That's just his personality. He's just at his core a good guy, a friendly guy, a loyal guy.

At some point, Bill will hang up his mic. Replacing him will not be easy, when the time comes.

Do you know how hard is would be to find someone to do all four of those sports? TigerBlog doesn't even have to send Bill the schedule each year. He just goes to the webpage and then lets TB know if there is a game or two he can't make.

And then he shows up. Time changes? Bad weather? Odd start times? Doesn't matter.

He's always there, no need to remind him.

TB spoke to Bill the other day. He thanked TB again for the opportunity to work here, as he always does.

He also mentioned the announcement he'd made during the men's lacrosse game the other day, when Michael Sowers broke the Ivy League freshman scoring record. Bill was really happy with it - not because of anything to do with him but instead because of the loud ovation the crowd gave to Sowers.

Then he mentioned that Sowers seems like such a nice kid. He says that all the time about Princeton's athletes. If you asked him who his favorite Princeton athlete of all time is, he'd probably give you 100 names and still be going strong.

Mention his name to most of those athletes and they probably won't be able to tell you who he is, but that's okay. He has no ego problem. The games aren't about him.

He just happens to be a big part of them, and has been for nearly 20 years, and closing in on a remarkable 500 games.

The game against TCU in 1999?

It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

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