Steve Klauke Signing Off After 30 Years With Salt Lake Bees
Sep 22, 2023, 12:29 PM | Updated: Sep 25, 2023, 2:25 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – A fixture in the Smith’s Ballpark press box for three decades; always quick to help with a scoring decision or leave half the room guessing at his latest dad joke.
After 30 years and 29 seasons, legendary play-by-play man Steve Klauke will ride off into the sunset with ‘handshakes and high fives’ when the MiLB regular season concludes on Sunday afternoon.
The only voice the Salt Lake Bees/Stingers/Buzz have ever known, Klauke announced in March he will be leaving the Bees broadcast booth following the 2023 season. The Bees will honor the longtime broadcaster’s career on Saturday, September 23, before he calls his final game the following day.
Join the Salt Lake Bees in celebrating the career and legacy of Broadcaster of 29 seasons, Steve Klauke, on Saturday, September 23rd! The first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a Steve Klauke Bobblehead! Get your tickets now at https://t.co/kQPx4mVc4z. pic.twitter.com/ix7R9xPRQB
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) September 16, 2023
The three-time Utah Sportscaster of the year is trying to approach this homestand like any other, despite the fanfare from well-wishers.
“I can’t take a shortcut,” Klauke said, “I have to approach each game like I normally do. Just getting ready to call tonight’s game. I did all my notes this morning. I did some research this morning.”
You could call Klauke’s approach to preparation businesslike but his style on the air is anything but. Known for his humble, self-deprecating humor, Klauke’s dry sarcasm and what some might say ‘dad jokes’ were always good for an eye-roll and usually a laugh. My personal favorite?
Earlier this season, then-Mets hurler Max Sherzer was ejected from a game for using a foreign substance to aid his pitching. Sherzer argued the only substance he used was rosin, a sticky powder designed to aid with grip. Steve quipped, “Rosin is made in America, therefore it can’t be a foreign substance…”
With his focus always on the next pitch, the Ballpark Digest 2014 Broadcaster of the Year was able to bring a game alive on the radio while never making any one game bigger than the next. Whether it was a Bees game, Weber State football or basketball, or one of the eight big league contests he called, Klauke’s preparation never varied.
Telling A New Story Every Night
Spending 3-4 hours or more, six days a week, for six months out of the year takes a special gift for story-telling. It’s a gift that the Chicago native has shared with Bees fans since the franchise began play in 1994.
“That’s the beauty of broadcasting baseball, you have that time in between pitches… to tell stories. Just to show people that these guys are more than just batting averages, earned run averages, and uniform numbers. They’re people too.”
From day one with the Bees, Steve Klauke sought to give listeners a professional experience along with that personal touch. Beyond his encyclopedic knowledge of the Bees franchise, he prepared a 4×6 index card with stats and interesting notes for every player that the Bees faced. The average listener will never understand the work that goes into one of his broadcasts.
“I wanted to give the people here as close to a Major League broadcast as possible… I told my kids a long time ago that I do more homework now than when I was in school. The last thing you want is to be sitting here doing a game and then realize you have nothing to say.”
“Some 40 years in the business testifies to his greatness, on display in many forms, most notably night after night behind the microphone calling baseball.”
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) September 22, 2023
Part of what he’ll miss is the way baseball gives people something they’ve never seen before.
“Just last night I saw two things I had never seen before after over 4,000 games,” Klauke recalled. “That was Sacramento scoring four runs in an inning without the benefit of a hit base hit. And the fact that Salt Lake pitchers combined to walk the first six batters of an inning. You can never come to the ballpark and know what you’re going to see.”
Three Decades of Relationships
“When you’re talking to fans, ushers, security people,” Klauke fondly remembers. “Or media, players, and coaches, the thing I’ll take away from this more than anything else is the friendships. The personal relationships. The opportunity to talk to people on a regular basis is what I’ll take with me after 29 seasons.”
Around the ballpark, speaking from experience, you felt like somebody if Steve knew your name and said hello.
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) September 21, 2023
Bees general manager Marc Amicone told Patrick Kinahan of KSL Sports Zone, “In my opinion, Steve is as good of a play-by-play announcer as there is in any sport. We ask them to tell the game story, but I think more importantly is for the listener to know what’s happening on the field, and Steve is the absolute best at that. It’s been a privilege for me to listen to him, to learn from him, to work with him, but most importantly, to count him as a friend.”
Follow The Salt Lake Bees On KSL Sports Zone
Salt Lake has three games remaining this season September 22-24 against the Sacramento River Cats (San Francisco Giants affiliate). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The first 1,500 fans in attendance on Saturday will receive a commemorative Steve Klauke bobblehead.
The Bees wrap up the 2023 campaign with a 1:05 p.m. matinee against Sacramento on Sunday, September 24.