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Osegueda makes most of Miracle opportunity04/17/2009 10:00 AM ET
By Benjamin Hill / Special to MLB.com
On April 10 in Fort Myers, Julio Osegueda took a major step forward in his evolution from burger-flipper to broadcaster.
Osegueda, a 19-year-old McDonald's employee and college student, provided color commentary for the Fort Myers Miracle in their Opening Night victory over the Charlotte Stone Crabs. His appearance in the broadcast booth was the result of an unlikely chain of events that began with President Obama's town hall meeting in Fort Myers on Feb. 10.
During the audience participation portion of the meeting, Obama picked out a wildly gesticulating Osegueda from among the hordes of individuals who wanted to ask a question. Osegueda animatedly asked the president if he planned to help workers receive better benefits and, in response to Obama's subsequent query, explained that his future plans were to be a "broadcaster or disc jockey."
A video clip of Osegueda's over-the-top enthusiasm was featured that evening on news outlets all over the country and was widely circulated on YouTube. In a bid to generate some publicity of their own while helping out a local resident, the Miracle quickly offered Osegueda a gig as color commentator during their April 10 home opener.
Osegueda couldn't have asked for a much better game to broadcast, as the Miracle played before a franchise-record 8,310 fans. Many of them were in the ballpark at the request of Osegueda himself.
"The local Wendy's was giving out free tickets to the game," he explained. "So I went in there and got a stack and gave them out to a lot of people at my school and in the neighborhood."
Feeding off the atmosphere in the ballpark, Osegueda went on to deliver an impressive performance in the broadcast booth.
"It was a really awesome experience, just to get that opportunity," he said. "It felt good to be there and I think I gave [the Miracle] what they wanted, which was energy and enthusiasm."
Miracle promotions director Gary Sharp agreed with Osegueda's self-assessment.
"From our standpoint, it went great," Sharp said. "[Osegueda] readily admitted to not being much of a baseball fan, but he really did his homework when it came to the Miracle. Hopefully, this is something that will open doors for him."
Osegueda's partner for the evening was the Miracle's new play-by-play man, Zach Spear.
"I was impressed with how prepared he was; he came into the booth with a stack of newspapers and game notes with a bunch of different things circled," Spear said. "I was very happy to know that my color man was ready to go."
But, of course, there were plenty of unscripted moments.
"At one point, [Julio] started thanking Wendy's for being a sponsor and I told him, 'I hope you're employers aren't listening or you may be out of a job,'" recalled Spear. "He gave me a mortified look before he realized I was kidding."
While Osegueda is open to all possibilities when it comes to his broadcasting career, what's certain is that he will stay positive and focused, no matter what happens.
"There have been negatives that have come from this," he admitted. "Because I got a lot of attention for talking to the President, people were comparing me to Joe the Plumber, saying I was Joe No. 2. But I just brush it off and keep going. Things like that are not going to block me from being a success."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.