ICYMI: Thomaston's Jack Petrucci is an up and coming broadcast star.From the LCS Magazine.
It’s an early September Saturday afternoon, one of those slow-moving kind of days with an overcast sky and a hint of autumn in the air. High above the field hockey field on the roof of the press box at Eastern Connecticut State University’s Mansfield Outdoor Athletic Complex, Jack Petrucci is doing his thing.
Head set on, the junior from Thomaston, is doing play-by-play on line for the Warriors. There is a smattering of parents in the small crowd and the atmosphere is a bit muted but to Petrucci it is the seventh game of the World Series, a high school state title game, the Super Bowl. He is where he wants to be.
It is one of the never-ending venues Petrucci handles at Eastern and if you don’t hear his voice rest assured he is involved somewhere in the production end of it all. It is a labor of love. Strike that, it is just a love. This isn’t work it is fun, passion.
Don’t be surprised down the road if you hear Petrucci on the air, in front of the camera or behind the camera for some big-time sporting event. He seems destined to be there in a big way. There is a powerful passion here for his work that has brought notice and accolades both at Eastern and around the Waterbury area.
“Ever since I was little I always wanted to do play-by-play,” said the Kaynor Tech graduate with announcer-like good looks. “(My brother) Will and I would do the Red Sox games. I really like doing this.”
What Petrucci won’t tell you but those who have seen him work will is that along with his appetite for the vocation, he is good at it. Outstanding sports columnist Joe Palladino of the Waterbury Republican has been around more than a few young and veteran announcers and he knows good when he hears it. He’ll tell you Petrucci is a very good listen.
“He doesn’t mimic professionals,” said Palladino who has often witnessed Petrucci work at the Mickey Mantle World Series. “He’s just professional flat out. You always hear young kids try to mimic what ESPN is doing. Not Jack, and you can’t teach natural. He brings enthusiasm with him. Other kids tend to feel self-conscious if other people are listening to them. With Jack that’s no problem.”
Petrucci also has a no-fear, take the bull by the horns attitude that has served him well as he has gotten involved with his passion and honed his skills. Despite his Kaynor Tech blood lines, he started off with Woodland High School using the Cube (an app used to stream things for free) and helping them stream a lot of their athletic contests. Woodland led to Sacred Heart.
Jack’s dad, John, is a Sacred Heart graduate and was a connection. It also didn’t hurt that there was a pretty good player in the mix by the name of Mustapha Heron.
“When we started to get good at basketball, Jack offered to stream a couple of games for us,” said Sacred Heart Athletic Director Mike Madden. “Once we got ranked in the USA Today poll an alumnus in California e-mailed us and we sent him a link to WATR. Once Jack started doing the games he said he would listen to Jack because he was so good. It took off from there.”
Petrucci was the young man standing against the wall in often raucous Alumni Hall as Heron led the Hearts to victory after victory and state title after state title with the likes of Charles Fisher and Tyrn Flowers.
“It was cool, seeing Mustapha who is maybe the top player ever in the city,” said Petrucci. “And seeing a team that was nationally ranked and will live on in the history of Waterbury. Getting to announce the playoff runs was awesome.”
Petrucci also did some swim meets and soccer adding a diversity to his repertoire that is serving him well in college.
A college fair peaked Petrucci’s interest in Eastern Connecticut and his resume peaked the school’s interest in him.
“I got an e-mail from Brian Dostler their Director of Sports Broadcasting and he said he would love to meet me,’ said Petrucci. “I was so excited that I ran to Rite Aid at 7 p.m. and put together a high school portfolio right away. The next day I gave it to (Eastern) and he was impressed. ‘
Dostler is now at ESPN but he took Petrucci under his wing right away.
“He always wanted me to get better and what he did to make sure I got better was unbelievable,” said a grateful Petrucci.
Petrucci is all over the communications lot at Eastern. You may find him on that roof at the field hockey field. You might find him at the Geissler Gymnasium doing basketball or covering the baseball team. Or you might have to do a little searching behind the scenes working the switchboard, editing programs.
Or maybe you won’t need your eyes, just your ears. You can listen to him doing his radio show on WECS (90.1) every Monday from 2-4 p.m.
“I do a little of every job here,” said Petrucci. “I work every game. It’s challenging. I spend about 30 hours a week doing this but it’s worth every second. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ll ever do. “
Nothing was more rewarding than seeing former UConn coach Jim Calhoun watching Eastern in the NCAA basketball regionals. Petrucci knew it was an opportunity not to be missed. Microphone and nerves in hand he made a bee-line towards the iconic coach.
“I just figure if he said no, he says no,” said Petrucci. “I just went up to him and introduced myself and he said ok. For a moment I was frozen, but he did a nice interview with me.”
During the summer, Petrucci has made the Mickey Mantle World Series in Waterbury his home. The connection came through Madden and it has been a mutually beneficial situation for both.
“We got a professional,” says Madden. Jack’s a little OCD at times, he’s a perfectionist. He’ll do the games and post-game interviews and he knows what to ask the coaches and players. He is a great interviewer. And he does his homework.
He knows the background of all the teams. He had done through the program and knew the players and the teams and what they had done previous years. He is thorough and meticulous. He busts his chops and If and when me makes a mistake he apologizes. That’s the way he is.”
Petrucci knows the value of being prepared.
“This year (tournament director Tony Santoro) sent out the rosters with the coaches’ names and I called them all,” said Petrucci. “I asked them all about who is coming through the program. When you want to fill dead space on the air and you have information for the family that is watching, that’s important. The game is unbelievable but throwing information out is important on live air.”
Petrucci’s dream would be to do play-play for the Red Sox. You listening Joe Castiglione, and Dave O’Brien? But he knows air space is scarce so at this point he is leaning more into the production field noting there are more opportunities.
Along with his Eastern Connecticut and Mickey Mantle duties, Petrucci has also interned with the New Britain Bees as a video production intern. Every opportunity he has pounced at and it is not enough to do it is about being good while doing it.
“After every game I go back and watch,” said Petrucci. “I critique mistakes. In this business you have to be willing to get better. I was always taught never to fall in love with your work.”
But others are starting to. And you just get the idea that down the road you going to hear more from and more about Jack Petrucci, a star on the rise.