April showers and May flowers normally mean baseball season. That’s no different this year, with the BlueClaws having already played 18 of their 70 home games. But one ballpark fixture has had somewhat of a lighter schedule thus far this season – PA announcer Kevin Clark, for whom April showers and May flowers have meant additional time at the ice-level.
Clark, as he has been since the Devils moved into the Prudential Center five years ago, is the Devils PA-announcer, and with their run into the Eastern Conference Finals, he’s been at fewer BlueClaws games so far.
“People at work with and a few season ticket holders have asked about me, want to know if I’m OK,” Clark said. “They haven’t heard me. They’ve been asking if I quit or if I’m done. But with the hockey going on, that’s my focus now and the schedule hasn’t fallen the right way. And I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
This is the first time the Devils have won a playoff round since Clark started – and they’ve won two, beating the Panthers and Flyers in the first two rounds. Last night, they lost game one of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Rangers, 3-0, but don’t ask Clark how the game went.
“When they’re on the road, I can’t watch – I’m a nervous wreck. Whatever my wife wants to watch we’ll have on,” he said. “It’s like watching a scary movie under a blanket. Every so often you poke your head out.”
At home, as they will be this weekend, it’s far less stressful, even though he’s working. It’s also a lot different than a BlueClaws game.
“It’s night and day,” he said. “I’m down on the ice for the hockey games and you feel more removed in a baseball game. It’s so loud (hockey) and it’s crazier down there.” (Clark is in the top left in the photo with the off-ice officials)
One thing that makes baseball a bit easier – you don’t have too many of these: “If you get a Kovalchuck, Zubrus, Ponikarovsky goal announcement, I probably need a little oxygen.”
Clark will be back to FirstEnergy Park on a regular basis soon, and he’ll still do a handful of games as his schedule permits, but that’s up to the Devils (and the Rangers) right now.
“I want to be there but I hope this goes all the way into June,” he said. “It’s been an incredible ride.”