As I mentioned, I covered the Astros Winter Caravan stop last Saturday in College Station. One of the voices of the Astros, Brett Dolan, was kind enough to give me a few minutes to talk about the upcoming season. Below is the transcript of the interview, where he discusses his offseason, the Winter Caravan and not being the "new guy" anymore.
The Crawfish Boxes: So, when are we going to see one of those "best shape of your life" articles about you? Are you ready for spring training?
Brett Dolan: (laughs) I know I'm not one of the players, right?
TCB: Right, right. Are you getting ready for the season to start?
BD: I'm excited. I think everyone's excited this time of year. That's the beauty of spring training. You've got about a month of meaningless games, trying to get everyone ready to go. Time does fly from the first of the year to spring training and then from spring training to Opening Day.
TCB: Have you been vacationing some with the family this offseason?
BD: I've tried to, yeah. Baseball is such a demanding job. We're with the players every day for seven months. I try to spend as much time with my kid. I'm missing his basketball game today and am trying to find out the score. I actually got to come up here [to College Station], and do a football game at A&M against Nebraska on a national radio broadcast. So, I did a few of those, which was a lot of fun. No touchdowns...
TCB: But a lot of penalties.
BD: Yeah, that was the name of the game right there. So, I did a few basketball games and a few football games. Before you know it, we're ready to go [with the start of the season].
TCB: What's it like to be at these kinds of events and interact with the fans?
BD: We do a pretty good job. Different years, I'll do different events. Some years, we'll go down to NASA and the astronauts will give the players and us a tour. We'll go to hospitals and meet with young kids who've had a tough go. I guess [Friday] they were at an adult center with some disadvantanged individuals. You really do get anything from meet-and-greet with the public to some really fun stuff too. It's always cool. Our people do a pretty good job of seeing a bunch of different factions and different cities too. They go all around Houston, but they also go up here, to Austin, Corpus Christi, they go to Oklahoma. Before, they've gone to New Orleans. They'll go up to Temple and Killeen.
TCB: It's nice to see Astros fans all over, too.
BD: I think they are. Obviously, there's a little bit of competition with the Rangers have had a good degree of success. But, our people have been doing this for a number of years. You kind of look at where our radio map goes with affiliates and especially our TV market. It encompasses a lot of this area, from Austin all the way over to Louisiana and down towards the border of Texas. It's good to go visit the people because you want them to come visit you during the summer too.
TCB: You've been doing radio for the Astros for a while now. But, I'm sure there are some people that still view you as "the new guy." Have you found people that identify you as one of the voices of the Astros.
BD: I think it's a process. New is different. Different is I'm not sure if I like it. It takes a while to go through that. You know, Dave and I will be entering our sixth year and people still refer to us as "the new guys." So, at some point, when you get to six, seven, eight, nine ten...
TCB: You're not necessarily the new guys, you're just the guys.
BD: Especially because we do all the spring training games, which is unusual for a lot of teams. So, you start adding up those games, and it's like 196 games a year. It's a pretty significant number of games.