Detroit Tigers play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba acknowledged he didn’t immediately land his dream job of voicing the Detroit Tigers. But by “building the ladder,” he eventually reached his goal.
That was just one of the many things Impemba touched on Wednesday afternoon as he spoke in front of a small group of MSU students in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building.
Impemba, who graduated from MSU in 1985, said as a college student, he listened to speakers who would give presentations on campus, and he wanted to do the same.
“I think it’s important sharing your experiences with kids and helping them in their path, helping them reach their goals,” he said. “That’s really important to me.”
Impemba worked as a sports director at the campus radio station when he was in college, then called the Michigan State Radio Network, now known as Impact 89FM. Covering sports such as hockey, basketball and baseball allowed him to gain valuable experience.
“Coming out of college, I had tapes, which I think is critical for kids now,” he said. “I lived in the campus radio station because I just wanted to get as much experience as I could.”
After graduating, Impemba took a lower-profile job in a small town in west Texas, doing play by play for basketball, baseball and football. Although it wasn’t his dream job, he said that it was something he had to do.
“I started at the bottom, that’s for sure,” he said. “Looking back, I wanted to leave Michigan State and be the voice of the Tigers. But it doesn’t work that way. You need to find experience; you need to build your resume, the basic building blocks of a career.”
In addition to his personal path, Impemba talked about the Tigers, specifically about Cabrera winning the MVP and the first Triple Crown since 1967. There was debate during the season about whether Cabrera deserved MVP over Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, who statistically had a better season .
Impemba said the media tends to get too sidetracked by the advanced metrics that are dominating baseball today.
“I think sometimes, we get a little bit too buried into statistics and into the importance of statistics where we ignore what we see on the field,” he said. “If you ask the players on the field, they will tell you that last year, it was Miguel Cabrera.”
Journalism sophomore Spencer Ray, who admitted he isn’t really into baseball, saw the speech as an opportunity to network.
“If you know someone and get in touch with them, maybe they can help you in the future,” Ray said.
Journalism senior Jason Dovitz, who is a baseball fan, said he appreciated the opportunity to meet and greet Mario Impemba.
“It’s great, it was really cool,” Dovitz said. “It was my first time seeing him, so it’s good hearing his voice, the voice you hear on TV. And hearing everything he had to say. He’s a former Spartan and I’m a senior now, so he gave great advice.”