PNC Park Host - Joe Klimchak

December 2009

 

Joe Klimchak getting ready to introduce two of the Radio City Rockettes at PNC Park.
This month the Bucco Zone had the pleasure of talking with Joe Klimchak, the host of PNC Park. You may not have known him by name, but anyone who has visited PNC Park has seen him. You will find Joe on the field before every Pirate's home game making announcements and introducing many different fans and celebs of the day. Joe is also in charge of running the various games between innings such as Bucco, Run the Bases, Trivia Contest, and of course my favorite, Press your Buc.

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Question: Joe, how long have you been the PNC Park Host?
Answer: Since 2005.

Question: How did you get started as the PNC Park Host?
Answer: I was hired as the team's back-up public address announcer in 1994 (and continue to serve as Tim DeBacco's back-up today). In 2004, our director of in-game entertainment, Eric Wolff, had the idea of using me to host our "Baseball Quiz" feature out on the Riverwalk. That season I was one of the scoreboard operators so someone would have to cover my job when I left during the third and fourth innings. Eric decided to make me the full-fledged ballpark host in 2005 with duties that included hosting pre-game ceremonies and multiple features between innings.

Question: Did you go to school for broadcasting/communications?
Answer: Yes, I graduated from Grove City College in 1991 with a degree in Communications. I spent a lot of time working for the campus radio station, WSAJ, hosting a morning show and working as sports director. I also served as public address announcer for the home football and basketball games. I tried to make every game, even making the 70 minute drive from my home in Aliquippa through the snow over Christmas breaks.

Question: What was your first job (before PNC Park)?
Answer: I was the sports information director at Grove City College, as well as informtation director of the Presidents' Athletic Conference for 12 years.

Question: Did you play any sports when you were growing up?
Answer: I was a left-handed pitcher on the varsity baseball team at Center High School. I loved to golf and play roller hockey, too.

Question: Who were your heroes growing up?
Answer: I had a bunch of favorite Pirates. At the top of the list were Willie Stargell, of course, and Rod Scurry. Being a southpaw, I just loved watching Scurry throw his curve ball -- biggest breaker I have ever seen. Those were my on-field heroes. I was also a big fan of the Pirates announcers, namely Lanny Frattare and Greg Brown on radio/TV and Art McKennan and Tim DeBacco in the P.A. booth. I was privileged to meet Art on several occasions at Three Rivers Stadium before he passed away. He was such a kind man and had a one-of-a-kind professional delivery. I'm fortunate to now call Tim one of my best friends. He is one of the game's finest and someone who has helped me improve as an announcer.

Question" As PNC Park host, What is the best part of your job? the most satisfaction?
Answer: Interacting with the fans is clearly the best part. It's so great to be able to meet so many interesting and passionate fans of all ages every year.

Question: As Pnc Park Host, What is the worst part of your job? the least satisfaction?
Answer: Honestly, nothing. When you have your dream job, "worst" never enters your mind. I am so blessed to be able to work for my favorite team and doing what I love the most.

Question: What do you remember about your first day as PNC Park host?
Answer:The excitement of being on the field for the first time to host the pre-game ceremonies.

Question: What was your most embarrassing moment for you as the "PNC Park Host"?
Answer:Luckily none too embarrassing yet.

Question: What do you do during the Off-Season?
Answer: I do web design and marketing work for several clients. I'm also a certified spinning (indoor cycling) instructor, leading a class twice a week.

Question: As the Pnc Park host, do you choose the players of games such as 'Bucco' and 'Press your Buc'? And if so, how do you choose the players of the games, and can they increase their chances of being picked by what they wear or how they act?
Answer: I don't usually choose the contestant, but someone on our staff that roams the ballpark does, and yes, wearing black and gold and looking fun and enthusiastic would definitely help your chances.

Question: Do you get to meet and talk with the Pirate Players?
Answer: Yes, but mainly at special events. Occasionally I get to share a quick word with some players on game days. At the ballpark they are in "game mode" so I really don't want to break their routines.

Question: Care to make a prediction on how the Buccos will do this year?
Answer: I have a lot of Chuck Tanner in me . . . a new start with a great group of young, hungry Bucs should again make for some exciting days and nights at PNC Park.

Question: Lastly, will we be seeing you at the Pirate's Winter Caravan or the Pirate's FanFest?
Answer: I will be emceeing some of the events at PirateFest this year. There's no better way to break up the winter than to eat, sleep and breathe Bucco baseball for three days. Once PirateFest hits, opening day isn't too far away!

Question: Last Thought?
Answer: Best Wishes for a blessed Christmas, and look forward to seeing everyone at Piratefest!