CRAWFORD | Andrews signs off as radio voice of the Bats, and Lou - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Andrews signs off as radio voice of the Bats, and Louisville women's basketball

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Matt Andrews chats before his final game in Louisville Slugger Field (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Matt Andrews chats before his final game in Louisville Slugger Field (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — With play-by-play duties for the Louisville Bats and the University of Louisville women’s basketball team since 2010, Matt Andrews has been a part of the sports soundtrack in Louisville for a while.

On Wednesday night, he called his final game in the city, with mixed emotions, he admitted.

Andrews has taken a job with The Ohio State University IMG Sports Network, where he will head back home to cover his alma mater as sideline reporter for Buckeyes’ football games and play-by-play voice for the women’s basketball and baseball teams.

But looking out over a still-empty Louisville Slugger Field before Wednesday’s game against the Buffalo Bisons, Andrews admitted it wasn’t easy leaving in the middle of a baseball season, or leaving a city where he established himself professionally.

He said he worried, given all his training, that he might be seen as turning his back on the game a little — even though he’ll still call baseball at Ohio State. But the rhythm of a season, getting on the bus with the players, getting to the ballpark, preparing for the call, it’s a life cycle itself. And the rhythm of a baseball broadcast is not an easy thing to learn. You don’t just sit in the chair and have it happen. It takes time. And you just don't walk away without missing it, either.

“I’ve gotten better in a baseball respect at allowing the game to breathe,” Andrews said. “That’s the biggest challenge for a baseball game. People always think baseball is easier to call than the up-tempo sports, but in actuality it’s reversed. Because you need to be able to paint the picture with an art, to where you’re not cluttering the air. And, I’ve still got work to do on that, but that’s the biggest thing that I’ve figured out in terms of the last four or five years, since I’ve been in there every day.”

Of course, being in there every day isn’t always easy — especially during a season like 2012, when the Bats lost 93 games. That tests your ability to engage listeners, remain upbeat, and hold the interest of a fan base.

“That was a long season, to do every pitch every game,” he said.

But there have been many more happy times. A Division title for the Bats in 2010. A no-hitter in Toledo last season.

And there has been his work with the U of L women’s program.

“Honestly, professionally, the best thing to happen to me here was probably getting to be a part of Jeff (Walz’s) team that went to the Final Four and championship game in New Orleans in 2013. That was a remarkable run, as I reflect on the city and the time, and just was glad to have been able to be here for that.”

Andrews was on the call of perhaps the biggest upset in women’s basketball history, when U of L knocked off top-ranked Baylor and center Britney Griner in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

“I’m still not sure it happened,” he said, “but it did. Somehow.”

Nick Curran, a broadcast journalism graduate of Western Kentucky University who has been the voice of Bellarmine University basketball for the past seven seasons and in the booth assisting Andrews with the Bats for the past three, will take over play-by-play duties for the Bats beginning Thursday.

“He’ll do a great job,” Andrews said.

Andrews has a big job ahead. He’ll begin training for his football duties later this month in Columbus. Ohio State football is a big-time stage. He knows that better than anyone.

“I grew up going to the Horseshoe with my great uncle, who has passed away,” Andrews said. “And I’d sit there every game and listen to the radio broadcast. . . . So it’s exciting for me. It’s emotional, and it’s something that I look forward to a new challenge with.”

As for his own emotions with his final game at Louisville Slugger Field approaching, Andrews leaned on the railing outside the upper-deck press box and acknowledged feeling nostalgic.

“I don’t regret anything about my decision, I am just feeling a lot of emotion after 14 years with the people here, and the memories, and you know, learning from Jim Kelch (former Bats announcer, now with the Cincinnati Reds) has been the greatest thing professionally that’s happened to me,” Andrews said. “. . . The Bats have been great to me, every year, every day. It’s tough to leave, but it’s going home and back to where my roots are. Still, I’m sure I’m going to be lost on summer evenings next year.”

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