'Colorado Rrrrrrockies' stadium announcer Roach steps down
DENVER -- The more syllables the better for Coors Field stadium announcer Alan Roach.
That's why he was particularly fond of announcing names like "AN-dresss GAL-a-RRRA-ga."
Names like that just felt like a workout for the mouth.
But after 14 years, the booming bass voice behind "your Colorado Rrrrrrockies" is stepping away from the microphone.
Roach is leaving the Rockies to spend more time with his two kids -- 8-year-old Katjana and 4-year-old D'Artagnan. Roach, a sports personality on KOA radio in Denver, will continue as an announcer at Colorado Avalanche games.
"It (opening day) is going to be surreal, sitting in the seats and listening to what I've done every single day for 14 years," Roach said. "So much will seem wrong. But when I see my kids sitting next to me, so much will seem right."
Ask Roach to name some of his top memories and he doesn't know where to begin.
"I have a lot of them," he said.
Like Eric Young's home run in the Rockies' first home at bat in Mile High Stadium. There's also the Rockies clinching a playoff spot against the San Francisco Giants in 1995, and the subsequent playoffs against the Atlanta Braves.
"I sure wish there were a lot more of those," he said of the playoffs. "That was a very small taste. But it's always going to be with me."
Roach never even knew he wanted to be a public-address announcer. He was working in radio in Colorado Springs in 1990 and was invited to a Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox game. He was in the booth with a Sky Sox official and said if the team ever needed someone to fill in, he'd gladly give it a try. The team took him up on his offer a week later and he was so good the other person never got his job back.
"That's how it all started," he said with a deep laugh.
Roach didn't land the Rockies job until 48 hours before the first pitch at Mile High Stadium. The team had already lost two games in New York, and he'd long given up on the job. But then the call arrived.
Roach never locked himself in a room and practiced names over and over again. He preferred the natural approach. His "DANN-te Bi-CHETTE" call -- one of his favorites -- came out like that on the first try. Same with "LARR-eee WALK-ker."
"I opened the mike and did his name," Roach said of Walker. "I tweaked it a little here and there, but I sat down and that's the way it came out."
The Rockies appreciated his style.
"We will miss his familiar voice at Coors Field," Rockies president Keli McGregor said. "Alan has been one of the classic public address voices in our game and he will continue to be a part of the Rockies family."
Being behind the microphone had one benefit -- no one recognized him. Roach could walk into a grocery store and not be identified. But once he spoke, though, his cover was blown.
"I've had people say, 'Hey, are you the Rockies guy?" Roach said. "It's flattering."
Prior to the 2004 season, Roach missed just one home game, and that was with the blessing of the organization. He covered Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2001, in which the Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils.
Since then, he's missed a handful of games to be at different events for his kids. And that's the reason he's stepping away.
"It's at a point where I want to be with my kids," Roach said.
The Rockies will conduct auditions to find a replacement for Roach. Asked how the Rockies will replace such a deep voice, Roach just laughed.
"They don't have to replace my voice," he said. "Whoever comes in will have their own sound."
No doubt, though, "your Colorado Rrrrrrockies" will sound at least a couple octaves higher.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index