Chris King, Tri-Cities Dust Devils’s broadcaster, runs through his scheduled announcements Sunday afternoon at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. The Dust Devils won 12-9. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Chris King, Tri-Cities Dust Devils’s broadcaster, runs through his scheduled announcements Sunday afternoon at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. The Dust Devils won 12-9. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Q&A: Tri-City broadcaster, Marysville native Chris King

In his eighth season broadcasting the Dust Devils, King still loves returning to Snohomish County

Chris King, the voice of the Tri-City Dust Devils and a Marysville Pilchuck product, joined the Everett Herald Sports Podcast to talk about broadcasting minor-league baseball, college athletics and growing up in Marysville.

Here are some of the questions and his answers:

The Herald: What is it like coming back to Snohomish County? Does it still have the novelty and the special feeling that it did before? Or has it kind of worn off of over the years?

Chris King: Yeah, no doubt every time it’s special. The first professional sporting event I ever went to was at Everett Memorial Stadium. It was to see the (Everett) Giants play. At that point, I remember, you were in the bleachers down the left-field side. They were wood bleachers at that point, I think we may have lasted not very many innings. I grew up going to games there; I went to so many games, we had the mini plan as a kid. A lot of years, we would go to maybe 10 or 12 games. We would go every Fourth of July. I have countless programs, I hunted down autographs as a kid. I have broken bats. From probably about 97 to 2000 was my sweet spot where I’ve got autographs of anyone who played on those teams. … The novelty has not worn off. It’s special. I get a stay at home, you know, instead of sleeping in a hotel room, I get to stay with my family. So that’s great. And my family gets to come up to the games. Every time the schedule comes out every year, that’s the first thing I look to see when when we’re back here in Everett.

TH: You’re obviously a Marysville native and a graduate of MP and everything. When did this whole, broadcasting dream get started for you?

CK: Yeah, so really as long as I can remember. And I was always very fortunate to be around people who really encouraged it and put me in a position throughout my schooling between elementary school, middle school, junior high and high school. It’s always kind of what I wanted to do. I was smart enough early on to realize that I wasn’t going to be good enough to play. That was not going to be my route. So it just always seemed like that’d be the natural thing to do, would be to get into broadcasting. I just always kind of knew that and always tried to put myself in a position to learn as much as I could. And my first opportunity to do games was at Marysville Pilchuck High School. The video production program is now in Marysville Getchell. But Mr. Walsh was our teacher and we had a video production, it was called TV3. … They started doing live games on the public access channel, when I was there, so I got to do my first game when I was 15 and it aired across the public access channel in Marysville. And it was all a student run production. By the time I left high school, just in doing games through that program, I ended up having, I don’t know, maybe 20 or 25 games under my belt. And then I used that to get the next opportunity. And then the next opportunity opened the door to the opportunity after that. So that’s really where I kind of got my start. I knew I wanted to do it. And then once you got to do it for the first time I just was even more in love with doing it than I ever expected. (It was) so much fun.

TH: I think the dust devils are a really interesting franchise to be the the play-by-play guy because of the cycle of amazing players to go through there. I mean, Pat Vailaika, Mike Tauchman, Luis Urias, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Cal Quantril, Joe Luchessi, Eric Lauer, Logan Allen. These are all just a handful of guys that have made it of the big leagues since you’ve taken over the reigns as Tri-City’s play-by-play guy. What has it been like, not only switching organizations and affiliates from the Rockies to the Padres, but just seeing the the waves of talent go through there.

CK: It’s been incredible. I’ve been so fortunate. And you kind of know it at the time that these guys are pretty talented. But you don’t necessarily know. It’s like you’re waiting for these seeds to sprout. They have a good chance to be really impressive players. They have, and they’ve done it so quickly, too. When I first started, I got really lucky my first year, Charlie Blackman was on rehab with the team for almost the first month of the season. So then you see what, and at that point — the thought was maybe he was a fourth or fifth outfielder for a major league team — then here he is, I think he was playing in his fourth All Star game this last year.

… So when the switch happened to the Padres … That 2016 team that you mentioned was really special. You had Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi in the rotation at the same time, they got sent up in August, and then with that same transaction, Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Hudson Potts came in. That’s a real special group of guys to have over multiple years, let alone having them all in one season. And there have been guys who’ve moved up so quick. Andres Munoz was with the Dust Devils last year, and he’s touched 104 on the radar gun this year in double-A … So the Dust Devils had a really good timing switching affiliates because the Padres have what’s considered (one of) the top for farm systems. Many of those guys have come through. I’ve just been so lucky to have a kind of a front row seat to see the start of these guys’s careers.

TH: Who’s the coolest player you’ve seen, whether it’s been with the Dust Devils or another team that’s come through Tri-Cities or on the road that really resonates with you as a guy you enjoyed watching?

CK: Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say some of the guys I’ve seen from other teams that have stood out. Joey Gallo hit a home run out of this stadium in Spokane, that I think still might be in orbit somewhere. He crushed a ball. Dan Vogelbach when he was in Boise and seeing him take batting practice is unlike anyone else I’ve ever seen take batting practice, the way he just annihilated balls in BP. And also Kyle Schwarber ended up playing one series in the Northwest League. He opened the season when the Dust Devils were down in Boise and I think he ended up hitting four home runs in three games against the Dust Devils. He looked every bit as good and as polished of a (hitter) … then they moved him up right after that. But that was kind of a special series because Trevor Story, who was an All-Star this year for the Rockies, he was on rehab with the Dust Devils so they had Kyle Schwarber playing for Boise in that series, Trevor Story was playing for the Dust Devils, and then at that time, Steve Garvey’s son Ryan Garvey was playing for the Dust Devils. And Bill Buckner had just been the hitting coach for the Boise Hawks and lived in that area. So Bill Buckner and Steve Garvey watched at least a couple of those games and they were sitting next to each other down by the Dust Devils dugout. So you look back now and there’s out in the field. There’s Trevor Story out in the field. And then it’s just you know, Bill Buckner and Steve Garvey sitting next to the dugout, watching the games together.

Listen to the full interview by subscribing to the Everett Herald Sports Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever else you listen to podcasts.

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