Sep 19, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays play-by-play commentator Dewayne Staats throws out the first pitch before a game against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Dewayne Staats experienced every announcer’s worst nightmare on Thursday, losing his voice innings into the Tampa Bay Rays’ series finale at Arizona.

“[Zack] Littel’s not going to be the only opener,” warned Staats, foreshadowing his early departure. “I’m leaving after this inning.”

Fans knew Staats’ voice was giving out before he did, begging the play-by-play veteran to drink tea.

Thankfully, the Rays had reinforcements ready, with the trio of Andrew Freed, Doug Waechter, and sideline reporter Tricia Whitaker spelling Staats in the Bally Sports booth.

Considering the vocal burden placed on broadcasters, it’s surprising this doesn’t occur more often, an occupational hazard of talking for a living. Scott Van Pelt found himself in a similar bind earlier this year, barely able to get through SportsCenter while battling severe allergies.

Whitaker attributed Staats’ disappearing voice to Arizona’s dry climate, which isn’t the most conducive to calling a three-hour baseball game.

Fortunately, the Rays—owners of the majors’ best record at 55-28 (.663-win percentage)­—won’t be in the desert much longer, heading to the Pacific Northwest for a three-game series in Seattle this weekend.

[Tricia Whitaker]

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.