Wood Ducks have a new voice this season

Wood Ducks have a new voice this season

Matt Present is the new radio voice of the Down East Wood Ducks. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

When you tune in to listen to the radio broadcast of the Down East Wood Ducks this season, you’ll hear a new voice.

Matt Present is the new broadcast “Voice of the Wood Ducks” this season. He replaces Dominic Cotroneo, who manned the position for the first two years of the DEWD’s existence; Cotroneo has moved on to the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

The Wood Ducks begin their 2019 season tonight at Grainger Stadium; first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Present, whose official title is director of broadcasting and media relations for the Wood Ducks, is a Silver Spring, Md., native and a 2016 graduate of the University of Maryland’s Phillip Merrill College of Journalism.

The game broadcasts will air on WRNS 960-AM “The Bull” radio, 960TheBull.com and on the TuneIn app. Pregame begins 15 minutes before first pitch.

Present was a broadcaster and media relations assistant with the Lynchburg Hillcats last season, so he’s familiar with the Carolina League.

His path to Kinston is certainly unique; when DEWD Vice President Wade Howell found out he needed to replace Cotroneo, he reached out to industry insiders within and outside the Carolina League and Present’s name came up several times.

“I was really interested in getting someone who was a No. 2 or No. 3 that was already working in the Carolina League,” Howell said. “I emailed all the other GMs in the Carolina League …. (The Lynchburg GM) said he’d hire (Present) as his No. 1 guy if he had an opening. He said (Present) was a super-nice guy and he wouldn’t block him from leaving (Lynchburg).

Like Present, Howell also used to work with IMG (a broadcasting network); Howell checked with his connections there.

“Matt was on that list, too, so that was impressive,” Howell said. “I picked up the phone, called (Present) … and told him I wanted him to be our play-by-play guy.”

Present’s love of baseball and sports began early. He started working with the Silver Spring-Tacoma Thunderbolts of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball Summer League as an eighth-grader by becoming the team’s official scorer. He later provided play-by-play and color analysis of their games for online broadcasts.

During his time at the University of Maryland, he estimates he called 10 or 11 different sports for the school. Along with a couple of broadcasting friends, he helped launch the Maryland Baseball Network his junior year.

“That was really rewarding, getting to travel with the team,” he said. “I got a little taste of what being embedded with a team is like, sort of like minor league baseball.”

He also has been a golf caddy; at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., he once caddied for President Barack Obama and Ken Griffey Jr.

“If it wasn’t so bad on my body, maybe I’d made that my career,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s not good on your back and neck after four or five years.”

Since college, he’s worked for the York Revolution, an independent league baseball squad and with IMG College as a studio host for University of Charlotte football and basketball.

Now, though, his focus is on the 2019 Wood Ducks and getting to know Kinston a little bit better.

“I’ve basically been at work or in bed the whole time I’ve been here,” he said with a smile. “But my first impression of Kinston is there is a very loyal fan base here. I’m impressed with how many people have been reaching out to find out who is on the roster and who’s coming back.

“There’s a difference between a crowd at a baseball game and a baseball crowd; to be coming to a place where the fans are so engaged, it’s a positive and something I look forward to being a part of.”

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Woodies open 2019 season tonight at home

Woodies open 2019 season tonight at home

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