Tom Heath: Good morning. It’s a beautiful Sunday in the Old Pueblo. You’re listening to Katy DT Tucson. Thank you for spending part of your brunch shower with us on your downtown Tucson Community sponsored rock and roll radio station this week. We feature Francisco Romero is a University of Arizona grad, and he is a sports broadcaster with a broad. agree It’s Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day Mom.
Tom Heath: My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to Life along the streetcar each and every Sunday. Our focus is on social cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban core. We shed light on hidden gems. Everyone should know about from a mountain to you Arizona and all stops in between you get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM streaming on Downtown Radio dot or And now available anywhere you go on your iPhone or Android by getting our very own Downtown Radio app in your app store.
Tom Heath: If you want to check out any of our past episodes our website addresses Life along the streetcar dot-org. You can reach us by email contact at Life along the streetcar dot-org find us on Facebook find us on Twitter interact with us. However, you would like we just enjoy the company.
Tom Heath: We’re Start Today’s Show with a mountain makeover. And not just a mountain makeover but a mountain makeover. That’s right. If you’ve looked up on the Sentinel Peak sometime this weekend, you may have seen it painted blue instead of its normal white. That’s not uncommon for the a to be painted different colors and celebration of different events or different activities or sometimes by some mischievous Sun Devils coming down from the north, but this effort was done as a collaboration between the city and Public officials wanting to thank those on the front lines fighting this covid pandemic and showing some appreciation to our local health care workers.
Tom Heath: Mayor Romero was joined by Lena Santa Cruz both with the City of Tucson as well as Sharon Bronson Betty Vegas of Pima County to lead this effort to get the blue on that that Arizona a on top of Sentinel Peak and it is seen from many places across Tucson. So for those of you out there, Doing what you do every day. We appreciate you greatly.
Tom Heath: Our feature today is with a gentleman named Francisco Romero graduate of Pueblo High graduate of the University of Arizona Francesca Romero, spent 10 years as the sports. Anchor for the Telemundo affiliate here in Tucson. Now Francisco’s been behind the microphone for Spanish play-by-play of Wildcat baseball softball both men’s and women’s basketball and football in 2008. He took on that role. The Houston Astros after working with several major league teams across the country.
Tom Heath: Well in 2005 Francisco has inducted into his high school media Hall of Fame Pueblo high was very appreciative of his efforts in our community. Well, mr. Francisco Romero is appreciative that he gets to do what he does for a living because it’s something he has always dreamed of and he makes it a point each day, too. Keep that promise to himself as a young man to touch the grass for Major League ball field and he gets to do that every day that he goes to work. There’s a lot of uncertainty and sports these days.
Tom Heath: We thought Francisco might be able to shed some light on those plans. But our conversation it was clear that there’s still too many variables to nail down any specific options that the University of Arizona or major league or any other sports have so we talked a little bit more about Francisco his path to success and it was a very Interesting and fun story to hear this the success story of a warrior a wildcat and a broadcaster.
Tom Heath: Can we just start with a little bit of your background here or are you a Tucson native?
Francisco Romero: Well, I was born in Nogales Mexico and I moved to China when I was 12 years old.
Tom Heath: Okay, and then I saw that you went to Pueblo High.
Francisco Romero: I have a PhD a problem high diploma, but that’s like and you currently now you have a pretty broad career last couple of decades in sports broadcasting and sports information.
Tom Heath: What current roles do you have?
Francisco Romero: Well, I’m currently the Houston Astros Spanish play-by-play broadcaster alongside former major Leaguer Alex Trevino. So that’s my full-time job, but during the winter and the out season at come back to Tucson in a broadcast Arizona football and basketball.
Tom Heath: How did you how did you get into broadcasting as you’ve been doing this for a couple of decades now?
Francisco Romero: Yeah, the main reason I think it’s doing it in the Spanish language. In Tucson, I have a degree from University of Arizona. And when I finish you of a I did a fellowship in environmental health and environmental racism and the TC problem in Tucson. I was recruited to work for a nonprofit called The arizona-mexico Border Health Foundation. Then I was recruited to work for Pima County Department of Environmental Quality in my college Years. I work for the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Visors as a receptionist. So that’s why I went into Political Science having said all that. I always had a bug for sports and when I was working for DEQ, that’s when the D-backs came into the picture and the two Center has became the Sidewinders and so I was recruited by my failure because I had already gotten a gig at Telemundo doing sports twice a week.
Francisco Romero: This is a little hobby of mine while working at the clinic. The Department of Environmental Quality in the project there. So I opted to go to work for the Sidewinders and so I left the county and all the things that I had done the political Arena to work for for baseball in after that. I was working for the Sidewinders and to the moon the same time and then I got the chance to broadcast that the Arizona Diamondbacks. I applied for a d-bag job, but I in get it had no experience.
Francisco Romero: But then the second year one of the broadcaster’s was didn’t work for them anymore and they hired Oscar Sadia from Mexico, but in have is working Visa yet. So they asked me to fill in for him until he got there. So that’s what I did. So when the broadcaster came back came to work went to production. So what producing the TV games in 99 and 2000 at the same time doing Telemundo working for sidewinders and then we started broadcasting Arizona basketball games and then they ask us to because of football games in 99. So ever since then we’ve been brought up in broadcasting Arizona Sports at one time.
Francisco Romero: We did a football basketball women’s basketball baseball and softball but in Spanish for the Wildcats, but right now we’re just going to put one basket. But while after that I left the Sidewinders went to Telemundo full-time as a sports. Director ABC bar Telemundo, so they became pretty big and then at the same time I was recruited to work with a I was broadcasting the Milwaukee Brewers game. It was broadcasting every home we can game in Milwaukee for the Brewers about 25 games this season then 2004 the twins called so I went to broadcast about 15 20 games for the twins 2005.
Francisco Romero: The Reds Cincinnati Reds had me do a few games will kill her. Idea about these things were trying to Spanish market and I was working and then I got hired by the Arizona Cardinals to do the halftime report stuck at one point in time in my life. I was like, I had my full time gig with Telemundo 5 and 10 News. I was doing the Arizona Wildcats football basketball. I was broadcasting Brewers Twins and Cincinnati Reds. And so that and in 2007 I Got the words of the Asters. We’re looking for a broadcaster full time. So I applied and I got the job in 2008 and kept that are going to walk as broadcast.
Tom Heath: Wow. I I knew you’d had a broad career. I didn’t realize that you’d have been all over now, when broadcasting there’s there’s two roles. There’s a play-by-play and and then a color commentary and you typically do the play-by-play, correct, correct?
Francisco Romero: I do the first three Innings play by play and Alex for being with us. Taller than Alex goes for five weeks six Innings. And then I finish the last three Innings of play by play. So he gets to do the three middle Innings his play-by-play in the the wrist is he’s my color commentator.
Tom Heath: I would imagine it’s that’s you’ve got to love sports. If you’re doing football basketball and baseball and softball if you’re doing play-by-play or any type of broadcasting. You’ve got really understand the how that sport Works.
Francisco Romero: Yes. Yes. It’s more baseball heart. I mean pretty much the same but it’s still different than when there’s rules. There’s you don’t you dump all the rules and stuff like that. You have to keep up. We have broadcasts of sulphur in a while, but we did it for a few years and it was pretty fun. And especially with the Wildcats sending such a great team.
Francisco Romero: So what’s the hardest sport? Is it basketball No, actually, that’s the Bulls. I love it because it’s so big you got ten players on the court and saw and now it’s knowledge you the stats are right in front of you. You hardly have to write anything during the game, of course before you have to do your homework, but at football took me a while because I didn’t play football. I played a lot of basketball and played a lot of baseball. I didn’t play football. So it took me a while to understand that the plays and to understand the you know, the Playbook is stuff like that. Not that I have it but it became fun because one to the first quarter you could probably you can see you know that the Is that the patterns and the coaches use and the plays and you could kind of tell what’s going on so that became a lot of fun once I really understood a little bit more football.
Tom Heath: I’ll be right back to the second half of our interview with Francisco Romero University of Arizona graduate Pueblo
Tom Heath: Pueblo High graduate, broadcaster for many University of Arizona Sports and currently working full time with the Houston Astros. The first I do want to Remind you that you’re listening to Life along the streetcar. My name is Tom Heath and you are listening on downtown radio 98.1 FM available for streaming on Downtown Radio dot-org.
Tom Heath: We’re going to finish up our interview with Francisco. Romero talked a lot about his path to success. You know, we originally brought him on the show hoping we can get some insight about you of a sports when they might be heading back still too early to tell but we got some really good Insight from Francisco about keys to success. And being appreciative of where you are in life.
Francisco Romero: A lot of people are trying to figure out what’s going to happen with Arizona Sports and just Collegiate Sports in general over the next year to have you and the media. Have you guys been given any insight or any thoughts about what could happen with with football and basketball the NFL to got there?
Francisco Romero: They’re going to schedule a bright lot, but but now with college get in. In baseball’s and some are full-time employee of the Astros. We have weekly meetings. So all I can say is that there is a plan for re-entry and that in baseball, but that plan has many options and it’s changing every day, you know, the Ripple effects of sports attending sometimes people lose sight of the the economic impact to a community of a sports program. It’s going to be challenging. For everyone involved with an organization and those that support that organization exactly and then in Major League Baseball, you have the Players Association, which is very strong in the main thing.
Francisco Romero: The main thing is for everyone keeping the families the players healthy and safe. So that comes about everything else. I know there’s Revenue last in college and pro sports and that also hurts but the main thing is to keep people alive healthy and Say you think we’ll see in some way shape or form baseball being able to have portion of their season or chunk of their season completed this year. I think we will I think we will but how where when that’s the tough one, but I think we’ll still see some kind of baseball and re-entering them, you know in the sports arena.
Tom Heath: The U of A side of things have there been any any talks that you’ve heard of or do they keep you up to date on what’s Happening.
Francisco Romero: Our broadcast rights are with with ing Sports Talk and that end. I don’t I’m not inside the loop of what’s being planned in there. Well, let’s let’s have a little bit of good news. Do you have a couple of fun stories from from from your broadcasting days in been a fun ride to be honest with you? I mean I started with the action. Thousand eight in I lived through the three 100 last season’s but I also have lived through the three 100 win season. So it’s been fun lot of fun. These guys are our young. I mean, it’s hard to believe the whole self to which is turn 30 couple days ago when I saw him when he was 21 years old because we’ve grown with them.
Francisco Romero: My duaghter was one year old and now she’s she’s 13 when you know when we got there she was one so it’s kind of like a family and you know we go to work with this guy’s And in my daughter has grown up grown with them and my wife and it’s been a lot of fun being around them from where they were losing a lot too when they won the World Series and even last year. We went to the World Series against the against the Washington Nationals
Tom Heath: That is so when you’re calling these games what regardless of the sport do you start to get emotional or or do those nerves come into play or are you able to separate that out just remain objective broadcasting?
Francisco Romero: Playoff games that start another type of adrenaline it’s different. It is emotional not the regular games are not like with basketballers in the basketball. I mean, I went to U of A. I was a freshman when when in the 1988 final four was shown the audience Steve Kerr Tom Torrance and he cook I would see those guys walking around campus that’s exciting to broadcast to your school’s out of matter thing that I said to myself when I was a kid before I die. I want to touch it. The grass of baseball field and I get to do that every more every day every kind of go to work first thing I do when I get to the ballpark this touch the grass because as as a kid, I wanted to touch that green grass that I was watching TV, so I get to do that every day so that it’s been a fun ride and it’s it’s amazing.
Francisco Romero: My first game that I broadcaster was Dodgers against the Diamondbacks and I grew up a Dodger fan then God that it has gave me the opportunity to live on. My dream and to me, you know, great people and to be able to provide with my family to my family for my family with what I love to do. Now. This is this is running your family does your does your daughter have aspirations of sports or sports broadcasting? Oh, my daughter has her own YouTube channel already. He had she actually is a hose for a kids program in Spanish and in Tucson, so she was beautiful walks only 13, but I’ve been a host since she was Years old so she edits and she shoots and she does stand ups and she talks about different things. And so she becomes very natural to her because she’s seen me do it all the time. I do some freelance work sometimes and I take her with me.
Francisco Romero: So for her is all-natural and so she she wants to get into sports. She wants to get into entertainment but a 13 she’s already has a good basic knowledge of what the what producing is and my son also, He’s a senior at the U of A and he he’s also producing some music she drew some of the songs and stuff like that and I can get a video for him for one of his song but that but yeah, there they they they’ve been around it’s funny because one time I was doing a voice over at Telemundo and so my son was I think five years old and I took him with me and it’s the camera was pointing at him and it didn’t know the camera was rolling so I was doing my voice. Over his mimicking me.
Francisco Romero: So we found that video like maybe six months ago. He’s already in his 20s. And and so we’re like, wow, he’s mimicking what I’m saying in Spanish and as if he was the the anchor when I was in my voiceover, so those are the kind of things that these kids grow up with the I mean, they don’t have fear of the camera or the microphone. So so it’s pretty cool. But now one thing that they have to understand is that not everybody gets It’s to to have this opportunity and appreciated. So if they appreciated then I think they will make something out of it and they just take it as if something is that happens just everyday to everybody. I maybe they won’t go as far so, I hope they get to appreciated the how lucky we are to be around producing and TV and radio and and doing this stuff for one. I didn’t have a chance to do that when I was a kid.
Tom Heath: Couple of so last question here in this is a kind of a loaded question. You mentioned you’ve gone through the Astros the 300 lost seasons and now you’ve been to the Pinnacle of success the U of A’s football and basketball teams have been performing at levels lately that are below typical standards for the University. Do you see do you see that continuing? Do you see a potential for for growth and development, especially with the U of A teams?
Francisco Romero: You don’t want it has that the new recruiting kind of Charles Miller is coming together with it’s pretty exciting. It’s a little bit not numb not so much alone the one-and-done players. So it has me excited. So in regards to football, you know, even the last couple years you think it happened that the players are there to make an impact in the Pac-12 and then it hasn’t happened but I think his it. Truly what happens we have a great head coach coach something. And so I think once he puts out think the parts together, we could have very special season. So there is of course group to roll everywhere. So if you have to be excited about Arizona football and are going to basketball, especially with this new recruiting class and another top 10 class that shamela has recruited.
Francisco Romero: He’s a great coach now, you know when you think about the players at That could come in unless so soon is like wow, you know what what is come to mind a lot? Is there anything that that you want to do address or anything coming up in on your end that we didn’t get a chance to talk on and I want to thank people like that. When I started my career my college days and times, you know, what you for the Board of Supervisors with with that extra room and Raul Grijalva and more like what I was guys taught me a lot and then my favorite came into my life and the picture so he he was really instrumental in. The end in guiding me in the sports career. This Doctor Who Won’t Telemundo that time was also one of the people who for for me, but again the UVA Jim Livengood hand the vision to look to include us in his anal at the U of A is broadcasters. They’ve he cannot days has been very open to us and and dr. Robbins.
Francisco Romero: And so I appreciate all this local people. So who can form a young man with aspirations where I was young man back then and my crazy ideas when that crazy after all but one thing I like to stress is if anybody wants to do something just go after and I knocked on the door of mr. Livengood. So overall this elected official who I asked for help and they did so don’t be afraid just just nothing’s going to happen. You already have a no. so look for the years in an answer and I go by the moral failure is not an option even though we fail a lot of time but at the end of the day if you search for what you want you you know you work hard enough you you can get that salt and I really appreciate my parents Union School and keeping the Spanish language because that’s what my career has been about in Spanish and had I not kept it and he denounced to have a minor in Spanish and I wouldn’t be able to do what I what I do so you know be part of your culture wherever you come from and and so you know it’s just it’s just work hard and enjoy life.
Tom Heath: That’s Francisco Romero. He is the Spanish broadcaster for the Houston Astros as well as the University of Arizona men’s basketball and football. He’s had quite the career and we were appreciative of his time coming on the show and sharing with us kind of his path to success and some of his tips for staying there and keeping nice balanced happy life. Well, my name is Tom Heath.
Tom Heath: You’re listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM and for streaming on Downtown Radio dot-org Well, thanks for listening today. If you want to catch this on the rebroadcast at over to our website Life along the streetcar dot-org all of our past episodes are there did have some technical difficulties with the previous two weeks with Mike Peel and Michael Guymon. Those should both be up there this week as well as our interview with Francisco Romero, but we started the show today with talk of a a painted blue on a mountain.
Tom Heath: So we’re going to leave you with music from Five the song is called Mountain girl in the band is Blue Mountain.
Tom Heath: Why name is Tom Heath even listening to Life along the streetcar and Downtown Radio. Hope you have a great week and to the next Sunday more information from our Urban core.