(Photo by Jonas Walzberg/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Dominic Cotroneo is your live, sleep, breathe sports type. When talking to him and specifically hearing his passion for baseball and golf, it’s not surprising that he set himself on a career path in sports from a young age.
“I wasn’t talented enough to play baseball for twenty years,” said Cotroneo. “Once I finished playing my JV year—by playing, I use that term loosely—I started thinking, how do I stay involved with baseball, what do I want to do?”
After a high school baseball teammate heard Cotroneo call a round of batting practice as if it were a live game, he suggested Cotroneo dabble in broadcasting. And Cotroneo dove in headfirst. He used money saved from caddying at a golf course to purchase a laptop and hot spot, and worked with his high school’s booster club to set up a feed to call their football games.
Given his bloodlines, the route Cotroneo chose might seem obvious on the surface, as his father, Vince, has spent the last 30 years calling big league baseball and is currently the voice of the Oakland A’s. However, the elder Cotroneo didn’t force a life in the booth on his son—it was quite the opposite.
“He never said, ‘You should do this’ ever, honestly, and I appreciate that because he was always very real with me about it,” said Cotroneo. “He said, ‘Hey, this is a hard business, this is subjective, you’re going to subject yourself to a lot of things you don’t want to hear.’”
The younger Cotroneo decided that life on the mic was what he wanted to do, and he got to work sharpening his craft. He enrolled at Arizona State in the fall of 2013, calling sports early and often.
“I was on the air, 7 a.m., day one of classes,” said Cotroneo. “I was always taught through my dad and people in the industry, get reps, do it—get better. You only get better by being on the microphone and self-analyzing.”
Being on the microphone was something Cotroneo prioritized, calling not just ASU baseball, but also softball, hockey, all the way to water polo and pickleball. If it had uniforms or a ball, Cotroneo was there to call the action and hone his craft. While baseball was the dream, any work behind the mic was productive.
“That experience, being in other sports, obviously helps the baseball. There’s so much action in those other sports that when the action finally happens in baseball,…