Tennessee Alumnus

No Minor Matter

Adrienne Roberson is PA voice of pro baseball team

By David Driver

“Now pitching for the Bowie Baysox, No. 6, Dylan Bundy,” exclaims Adrienne Roberson as the top minor league pitching prospect takes the field with his teammates.

Roberson settles into her seat in the press box on a warm evening last August at Prince George’s County Stadium in Maryland, where she is the public address announcer for the Bowie Baysox, a Class AA team and a minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Her night doesn’t end until nearly six hours later, following a doubleheader with the Erie (Pa.) Seawolves. During games, Roberson (Knoxville ’97) informs fans of the hitters stepping in the batter’s box, pitching changes and, in between innings, paid advertisements.

Roberson was a sports reporter for a California radio station and did traffic reports for a station in Pennsylvania before she and her husband, Clay (Knoxville ’97), who is now in the U.S. Navy, and two children moved to Maryland.

She had been a PA announcer for the minor league Tennessee Smokies while majoring in broadcasting at UT and quickly learned the Baysox were near her Maryland home. She did on-field camera work for the Baysox during the 2004 season and filled in for PA announcer Thom Jones. She was the logical choice for the job when Jones left in 2005.

To the best of her knowledge, Roberson was one of just three women in affiliated pro baseball who were PA announcers during the 2012 season. “I was the first woman in Bowie. They had a little hesitation. You’re not going to make everyone happy,” Roberson says.

Prior to the 2012 season, she applied for the vacant position as PA announcer for the Baltimore Orioles and was one of seven finalists out of 672 applicants. While she didn’t get the job, Roberson was asked to fill in for regular announcer Ryan Wagner for the Mother’s Day game.

“On the Saturday night before, I followed the current announcer. I got there two hours early and walked through everything he did,” she says.

Roberson says her time as PA announcer for several teams at UT Knoxville, including women’s soccer and softball, along with covering football for Knoxville radio station WIVK, helped pave the way for her work in pro sports.

“I liked football (in high school), but once I got to UT, I loved football. You prepped for the game all week,” she says. “I went down there as a theater major, but I fell in love with communications.”