Sam Ravech is the youngest play-by-play voice in all of Double-A baseball. For those who latch onto the last name, Ravech is the 23-year-old son of ESPN’s Karl Ravech, who most recognize as part of the network’s MLB and College Basketball coverage, as well as his work on ‘Baseball Tonight.’
A 2017 graduate from Pepperdine University in Broadcast Journalism, the younger Ravech became the lead voice and radio play-by-play announcer of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A Affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
Below is a snippet of our conversation with the entire interview available at the bottom of this page. Sam talks about his career to this point, notable ESPN personalities he looks up to, and much more.
William: Sam, talk about growing up, what were your passions and interests, what ultimately led you to wanting to being a broadcaster?
Sam: I grew up in a family where sports was very important. And I grew up playing every single sport. I played soccer, basketball, always outside. I wanted to be a professional athlete. As time went on and I started to realize my athletic abilities were not up to snuff, I started to write. I started to broadcast games college at Pepperdine University where I went and I started to fall in love with that.
I started traveling with teams, going around broadcasting for Pepperdine. Basketball, baseball. I started to realize this could really work out, as far as broadcasting goes.
William: Obviously your father, Karl Ravech, is a notable personality with ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball and college basketball. Did you always know you wanted to be like him and follow in his footsteps?
Sam: My relationship with my dad is something that I cherish, and not only in going to him about advice in my career but I go to him about anything. Relationship advice or anything that’s going on in life. But sports really hasn’t been a focal point in our conversations. Growing up and when I started to get into this, I don’t think he knew this was what I wanted to do until senior year of high school.
I will go to him and ask for advice. “Hey maybe you want to do this differently.” But absolutely for games now and a couple games I have coming up with ESPN I can guarantee he and my entire family that has been entirely supportive of this journey will be watching and no doubt I’ll get constructive criticism because I live off that. That’s only what makes me better. His relationship with me as far as work goes is something I need in my life and I’m ever thankful for that.
When I am asked what it’s like to follow in his footsteps I always give the response of ‘yea, I’m following in his footsteps but I’m also trying to make my own footprint in this industry.’
William: At 23 years old you are the youngest play-by-play voice in Double-A baseball. Explain your thoughts as you headed into your first season last year, and as you progress into year two with the Flying Squirrels.
Sam: I was completely nervous going on for the first broadcast and I’m sure if I went back and listened to it, it was not the best broadcast, by any means, but I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable especially with a pre and post game show. It’s an incredible blessing that I’ve been able to do this for one year and now heading into the second year and we’re getting better every single day. I think doing the Squirrels games has given me a platform and given me opportunities to create an even bigger reel. And now you have 140 games a season, and now we’re entering a second season, and doing these ESPN games coming up has prepared me so much more. The experience that I’ve gained here will always come with me wherever I go next in this industry.
William: This week, you will be covering college baseball for ESPN: Texas vs Texas A&M on Tuesday, April 10 on the SEC Network. Sam gives his thoughts on the first matchup. He will also be covering Coastal Carolina vs the University of North Carolina on Tuesday April, 24 on ESPNU.
Sam: With the Texas-Texas A&M game coming up, it doesn’t really get much better than that for college baseball fans or anyone that lives in the state of Texas because there’s that in-state rivalry you have going on. And that will be the same for Coastal-UNC too. Texas is one of the best and longest successful programs in college baseball. They’re second in all-time wins behind Fordham.
Ever since Texas A&M left the Big 12 to move to the SEC their competition has gotten greatly better and because of that they have gotten better recruits and they are one of the top-ranked teams in the country right now.
This is going to be a very good matchup, great pitching on both sides. It should make for an exciting game and it’s an in-state rivalry. This is a meaningful game for these players.
William: Two games into the season, the Flying Squirrels, so far, are 1-1 as they play the Trenton Thunder in New Jersey. As we get into the bulk of the season ahead, the home opener is Friday, April 13 at the Diamond against the Reading Fightin Phils, first pitch 7:05, can you preview the 2018 season ahead?
Sam: I’m incredibly excited for opening day. We’re all getting ready and preparing best we can for Friday. It looks like it’s going to be great weather. The Squirrels are a better team. There are younger prospects that have come up from San Jose. Jonah Arenado is a player on this Squirrels team, you recognize the last name, he’s Nolan Arenado’s brother, third baseman of the Colorado Rockies. There’s guys like Aramis Garcia, top five prospect in the Giants organization. Garrett Williams is kind of touted as the next Madison Bumgarner for the San Francisco Giants. I think you’re going to see a lot more home runs. Dylan Davis is a guy that can bring some power. You can go up and down the lineup, there’s some veteran players in there, too. It’s a team that has youth, it has veteranship. I think with the pitching they have and the offense, they’re a team that can make a push for the playoffs.
You can catch every single Flying Squirrels game on Fox Sports 910 and catch games on MiLB.tv.
Also published on Medium.