January 27, 2020
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- If you're a Rochester sports fan and have attended event over the past two or three decades, you are probably familiar with his voice.
At one time or another, Rocky Perrotta has been the public address announcer for every professional sports team in this city.
Let's see, that includes:
Rochester Red Wings (baseball)
Rochester Americans (hockey)
Rochester Rhinos (outdoor soccer)
Rochester Knighthawks (lacrosse)
Rochester Rattlers (lacrosse)
Western New York Flash (women's soccer)
And oh yes, the Rochester Lancers.
Perrotta has performed the PA duties for the Major Arena Soccer League team since the club's inception in 2011.
"There was a couple of years in a row where I opened the microphone for every team in Rochester," he said.
Not surprisingly, Perrotta will be among the 20 individuals who will be inducted into the Lancers indoor Wall of Fame at halftime of Friday night's 7 p.m. game against the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y.
"I was absolutely shocked when I got the text from Sam," said Perrotta said about Lancers owner Salvatore "SoccerSam" Fantauzzo. "I was getting ready with my wife to fly to California -- my brother-in-law had passed away. I just reached in my pocket to put my phone over to airplane mode because we were started to push back and I saw the text from Sam. So I read it and I clicked on the link and looked at it. I was just floored. I handed the phone to my wife and said, 'This is amazing.' She read the article
"I was shocked and very proud because I understand this is the indoor Lancers, but this is the Lancers, the Lancers that go back to the heyday to the late sixties, early seventies, when I was a little kid and the names that are associated with that logo. Not so much indoor vs. outdoor or outdoor vs. indoor, but the names associated with the past in that logo and the great names associated with it through the indoor of today, just blew me away, just blew me away."
The most important part of a PA announcer? Getting the names right -- whether it is for the home or visiting side.
"That's always an important thing for me," Perrotta said. "I would get my last name mispronounced over the years. I always try to make sure. I had a situation doing high school sports. A woman came up to the window and went up one side and came down the other because i mispronounced the last name. I received the pronunciation from the coach. I had to tell her, 'I'm sorry, Mam, your coach doesn't know your kid because he gave me the pronunciation.' "
And when you're dealing with soccer, names can be intimidating to look at, let alone trying to pronounce because players come from all four corners of the world. So, Perrotta does his homework and then some.
"What I usually do with the Lancers because if the website of some of the teams don't have that kind of information, I'll reach out to their PR folks or even if the coach has an email on their site, I will reach out to them," he said. "If I don't hear back, I'll go to Joe Giuliano [long-time Lancers radio, TV and streaming announcers], who also going into the Wall of Fame. Joe and I will compare notes. Sometimes Joe will have that information or he's familiar with the players from past experience. We'll make sure we're on the same page. If push comes to shove and if they're [the players] out there warming up, I'll ask them. If they say 'I don't care,' I would say, 'How does your grandmother want it want it pronounced?' If the player doesn't care, maybe mom or grandmother are watching on streaming or are in the stands. They want to hear the name correctly."
Perrotta's most memorable Lancers' matches just happened to be at the team's first home games at the Blue Cross Arena in 2011 and the Dome Arena when the team returned to MASL2 for the 2018-19 season.
His wife is native of Buffalo and she grew up as a Buffalo Stallions fan. The Stallions, who competed in the first Major Indoor Soccer League, had many former Lancers during its tenure from 1979-84.
"Doing the first indoor game, she was really happy about it," he said. "The outdoor game, so-so. The first game I did at the Dome because I'm a game production guy and lights, the way they're formed on the ceiling in the arcs and the way they change colors, I was taken aback by that because I have seen some arenas and they use the LED lights and don't use them to their full capacity. I thought that was so cool. That part of me, went wow! This is really neat. doing the games. Just the energy of the indoor game is so intense. I just love it. Big fan."
Outside of the Lancers, Perrotta remembered when Freddy Adu and the U.S. national team visited Rochester. Penfield, N.Y. native Abby Wambach is high on his list, whenever the U.S. women's national side or when the Flash played here.
"Those are pretty high on my list," he said.
Oh, there's more, too
As a back-up Buffalo Sabres announcer, Perrotta's first game was when the NHL team played the Montreal Canadiens, "which was pretty cool," he said.
"But tying my real life and sports announcing and my other life together, 2020 will be my fourth year of being one of the emcees of the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge," said Perrotta, whose day job is with J.P. Morgan.
He also co-emcees three upstate races for J.P. Morgan, in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo.
"That brings both my lives together," he said. "It's just a thrill, just a thrill to have that."
Perrotta's PA resume is seemingly endless. He also is the PA and play-by-play broadcaster for Rochester Institute of Technology's Division I men's and women's hockey teams, for men's and women's lacrosse, basketball, baseball soccer and volleyball.
"I do as much announcing as I can fit in. That's my passion," he said.
And that’s why is he going to be inducted into the Lancers Wall of Fame.
Tickets for Friday’s game can be purchased at RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena box office on game day.