Stubble: So you’ve already had your official try-out for the position of the Timberwolves PA announcer – what was it like?
CRZ: Well, there wasn’t a whole bunch to it. We walked in to check-in, filled out our name, our release form, and this and that. One of the questions was “Why do you want to do it?” and I said “I want to share my love for the Timberwolves and I want a really kick ass seat.” Then they handed us a script to look at with a few different PA announcements. Having been to as many games as I have, it was all stuff I’d heard before so I’d had it down cold. What you really had to figure out is where to breath in these long sentences. You don’t want to say “uh,” you don’t want to stutter, you don’t want to stop in the middle and gasp for air.
Stubble: You really have been to a lot of games, haven’t you. How did you get to be such a superfan of the Wolves?
CRZ: I grew up as a Sacramento Kings fans being from California, and I haaaated the Wolves especially because of what they did to the Kings in the playoffs – though now neither of us have been to the playoffs in a while. What happened was around 7-8 seasons ago, in ‘09-‘10 my wife won season tickets at the state fair. They were nosebleed seats, but it was enough to give us a taste of it and get us really interested in it and like these guys. We paid for better seats next year and then better seats next year, and they were so bad that prices were pretty reasonable. We didn’t want to waste money, so we went to every game too.
You don’t mean to become a super fan that way, sometimes it just happens. You can probably count on one hand the number of home games I’ve missed in the last nine years. No matter how much snow falls or whatever the weather is like, you can usually get a good skyway most of the way anyway. I kind of know where to park for free when the meters are off. So other than the ungodly price I pay for tickets, it’s pretty cheap. Now I have a stack of hats and shirts, that now happen to be obsolete since we changed our logo recently. This happens to be the ugliest hat that I own, but I love it. I hope everything Timberwolves is this lime color.
Stubble: Not to dig up old stuff, how does this project compare to your run for mayor of Minneapolis?
CRZ: They’re kind of the same. It’s just one of those things that people can try out for, so why the heck not do it. I don’t know if I ever expected to become mayor, obviously, but it’s a lot of fun to have that experience and to try it. It cost $20 to run for mayor, though it’s $500 now which is too much. I may still file as a write-in but I have to get down and fill out some forms. The PA audition was just anyone off the street, and who doesn’t want that experience? At least for 5 minutes to hear their voice over the Xcel Energy PA system. Honestly, you couldn’t spend too much time listening to yourself because of your focus on the script, but it was pretty cool with the judges sitting out there kind of taking it all in from seats in the arena. I felt like I was being taken seriously and I tried to at least sound as professional as I could. I think I have what you could call a unique and interesting voice and I don’t know if it’s one people would want to hear for 41 games a season, but why not try it.
Stubble: What would you think if the Timberwolves selected you to be their announcer?
CRZ: They’d be out of their god-dang minds, Tom. I think it’d be great. It’s a professional league, though. It would seem so weird to have a white 40-something, slightly overweight stereotype announcing. You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see them hire a woman. Let’s break some ground that way if we’re not going to hire CRZ.
That’s the other thing, it’s a pretty anonymous gig. If you saw [current PA announcer] Rod Johnson walking down the street you probably wouldn’t recognize him. I would recognize him depending on whether he had the beard or not – he looks good either way, by the way. He’s done it for more than 20 years, it’s kind of unbelievable. I think he could have done it forever, but he’s retiring, so it’s an opportunity.
Stubble: So kind of hesitant confidence?
CRZ: It’s kind of like buying the Powerball ticket. You don’t really expect that you’ll win the millions, but wouldn’t it be cool if you did? You can’t let yourself think about that too much because it seems so far removed from reality. You’re taking me juuuust seriously enough to get a story, maybe more than I am, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t go in there thinking well I’m just going to do what the heck I want and not care about it. I did try, and I think I do have some stuff going for me between public access and radio, and I can read without flubbing too much. I think I was competent, but unremarkable and maybe that’s what they’re going for. I’m sure they’re going to pick someone great who gets the crowd excited who will hopefully not even be necessary because the team will be so good the crowd will get going on their own without the help of the PA announcer.
CRZ is a former candidate for Minneapolis mayor.
Update: CRZ unfortunately was not selected to be the new Timberwolves PA announcer.