Sports

Voice of the Cyclones Credits His Catholic School Past

Brooklyn Cyclones play-by-play broadcaster Keith Raad grew up on Long Island and attended Chaminade H.S. in Mineola. (Photo: Courtesy keithraad.com)

When Keith Raad reports to work every day, it’s not the typical work experience.

He’s not punching in at an office building or putting on a uniform, and he’s certainly not mindful of how many hours are left in his work shift.

Instead, Raad enjoys his expansive view of Coney Island perched atop Maimonides Park on warm summer nights. That’s because Raad is the play-by-play broadcaster for our very own Brooklyn Cyclones, the High-A affiliate of the New York Mets.

It’s no secret that Raad’s view from his work “window” is way better than yours. He’s been broadcasting Cyclones games since 2018 and has enjoyed every minute of this unique experience in one of professional baseball’s most unique ballparks.

Raad is a native of Valley Stream, L.I. He spent seventh and eighth grade going to his family’s parish school, Holy Name of Mary, before spending four years at Chaminade H.S., Mineola, L.I.

Chaminade is known for its college preparatory, writing-intensive curriculum. Raad loved sports and loved writing, so he joined Chaminade’s school newspaper, Tarmac. By his senior year, he was the paper’s editor-in-chief.

After graduating in 2011, Raad knew he wanted to build a career around sports but just wasn’t sure yet which direction that would take him. He went to the University of Dayton, Ohio, where he immediately joined the college’s radio station on the sports beat.

He first served as a board operator before getting his turn to do color commentary for a men’s soccer game against the University of Richmond, Va. Following the match, he called his parents for any feedback from his introduction to sports broadcasting.

“My parents were always supportive, but even they said, ‘Maybe you should try something else,’” Raad said.

However, one game would not define Raad’s career. He viewed this as a challenge and worked tirelessly to get better. He knew this was a competitive field, but the competition was more so him against himself. If he put in the time, his delivery and conversational tone would improve, and that’s exactly what happened.

After college, his first stop on his broadcasting journey was in 2015 with the Dayton Dragons, the High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. From there, he spent 2016 with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League. It was then on to Texas, where he called games for the Frisco Rough Riders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Coney Island though has been a much different beast.

“It’s certainly the most unique,” Raad said. “Sometimes it’s chaos with everything that’s going on and the distractions. In Brooklyn, you’re in the middle of this living organism that is New York City’s beach during the summer. It’s just crazy town.”

The beauty of the game of baseball is that on any given night, fans can be treated to something that’s never been seen or done before. Sure, that is also possible in other sports, but there’s something different about baseball. There’s an engrained romanticism at play, and Raad captures that nicely with his creative verbiage and lexicon.

“How many different ways can you describe a ball hit off the bat or a ground ball to shortstop?” he said. “That’s my challenge every day, and I like that challenge.”

Before each of the 132 games he’ll broadcast this season, Raad fills out his scorebook, which is a lineup card that includes plenty of space for copious notes on each player. He also hangs around the batting cage and in the tunnel pregame to gather some additional tidbits about the starters for that evening’s game.

He’s also in charge of putting together the game notes for each contest. These are especially helpful for him to have pertinent information on hand during his broadcast. It’s even more helpful when the visiting team provides these too.

Through it all, the work ethic Raad developed at Chaminade has surely come in handy. Just like preparing for tests and papers, preparation is essential in the field of sports broadcasting.

“It’s about having the mental fortitude and stamina to come in every single day ready to go,” he said. “Chaminade teaches you that because you have three tests and four papers in a single week.

“If the workload is dumped on your desk, you have to get through it. If you can get through it in the years at Chaminade, you can get through it anywhere.”

Catch Raad in action on Minor League Baseball’s live-streaming platform, MiLB.tv. The radio feed is also available for free on the Cyclones’ website, brooklyncyclones.com.


Contact Jim Mancari via email at jmmanc@gmail.com.

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