When you go to Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs' public address announcer provides a constant presence. The man behind the mic is Andrew Belleson, who began his career in the Rockford community. His baseball journey has taken him from the Riverhawks to the world champion Cubs.
Summer in Chicago brings the joy of baseball. When you're at the ballpark, the sights and sounds fill the Wrigley Field air.
Master of ceremonies? Andrew Belleson, public address announcer. He introduces the first pitch and the lineups. Where did it all begin? Rockford, Illinois.
"When I started with the Riverhawks, they were playing at Marinelli Field, it was probably 2002 or 2003. When the Riverhawks came, a lot of hoopla. It was a big thing and winning the Frontier League championship obviously was huge," says Belleson.
He dreamed of being behind the microphone.
"I would sit as a kid and call games in my living room but it's a different story when you're doing it for real."
The young intern immediately got his uniform dirty.
"To say, hey, come on in, to a 15-year old kid, it really meant the world to me and gave me a heck of a lot of experience," says Belleson.
Then the Cubs opened their P.A. announcer position.
"There was almost 3,000 people that applied. I didn't really feel I had a great chance," Belleson recalls. "I wasn't even going to apply, my sister said you have to at least submit a tape."
He made the initial cut.
"They narrowed it down to 25, that's when we came down to Wrigley for a live audition. I worked with Gary Pressy, the organist, and I did a mock pregame ceremony."
Gary and Andrew now share a booth.
"A lot of people maybe don't realize we have time to sit back during the game and actually talk like we would if we sat in the stands.
They had a front row seat to history.
"It was a blur, but it was incredible," Belleson say of the Cubs' 2016 postseason run to a World Series.
A Cubs fan from day one, Belleson fully appreciates the magnitude of the 2016 title.
"The guy that sits down there in Section 508 for the game will have his own personal stories. The guy in Section 132 has the same. You hear them everyday," says Belleson. "It's so cool because everyone is so deeply rooted."
Belleson is now in his seventh season handling public address announcer duties for the Chicago Cubs, a year after they won the World Series. He's grateful to be a part of the summer soundtrack on the North side of Chicago.
"To have people come up and say when they hear my voice, it's time for Spring in Chicago, it's very humbling, it really is," says Belleson.
So when you're taken out to the ballgame, you'll hear Andrew Belleson, who sharpened his announcing tools in Rockford, and now commands the Wrigley Field microphone.