CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s about half an hour before game time, and Andrew Belleson is starting his pregame routine.

“Ladies and gentlemen, direct your attention…,” he says.

He thanks the day’s sponsors and reads various announcements off a small iPad; the batting lineups are listed on a small piece of paper to the right.

Long before Belleson was the voice of Wrigley Field, he was a kid who loved baseball, Harry Caray and the Chicago Cubs.

“I grew up playing baseball, big sports fan, grew up in the Chicago area, was a Cub fan from the time I was five years old,” Belleson said.

Five years ago, he was one of nearly 3,000 people who auditioned for an open call to be the new public address announcer.

“I didn’t really think I had any chance to get hired when I submitted an application,” the Lombard native recalled. “It was just a long shot.”

The 28-year-old Belleson says his sister encouraged him to apply.

“They narrowed it down to 25 people, we came to the park and did a live audition,” he said. “Then they narrowed it down to four people and we did another live audition, and they made their final choice after that.”

Belleson says there's been a new feeling around the ballpark, something he says energizes him. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Belleson says there’s been a new feeling around the ballpark, something he says energizes him. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

And like Wayne Messmer and Paul Friedman before him, he knew he had big shoes to fill.

“I grew up listening to those guys,” Belleson said. “I have a huge amount of respect for them, so taking over for them I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly.”

He says the first time he sat behind the microphone on opening day was a bit surreal.

“To experience it from this point of view for the very first time is really cool,” he said.

Belleson says he keeps things simple, but admits some of the players' names can be tricky. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Belleson says he keeps things simple, but admits some of the players’ names can be tricky.
(Credit: Lisa Fielding)

But now, game day is routine. He sits in a small corner booth he shares with longtime organist Gary Pressy. This year, he coordinates his announcements with the operator of the new video board.

“This year things are a lot different with the new video board,” he said. “Matt, who is in charge of all of that, will cue me depending on what’s going on pregame on the field. It is scripted, but any changes they can come through on the headsets or call if need be.”

Belleson says he keeps things simple but admits some of the players’ names can be tricky.

“My favorites are the Latin players, they are just fun names,” he said. “The Cardinals have a relief pitcher that’s fun. Sam Tuivailala, that’s a good one. Adeiny Hechavarria, that’s a good one. MLB has a list of names and their pronunciations, so that helps tremendously.”

Five years ago, he was one of nearly 3,000 people who auditioned for an open call to be the new public address announcer. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Five years ago, he was one of nearly 3,000 people who auditioned for an open call to be the new public address announcer. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Belleson announces more than 80 games a season, and he’s seen some good days and plenty of bad years but this season. He says there’s been a new feeling around the ballpark, something he says energizes him.

“Watching baseball is great period, but this year has been unbelievable compared to the last several,” Belleson said. “Yesterday for example, 40,000 people, Cardinals are in town, it’s relevant baseball in September. It’s an unbelievable feeling when this place gets going.”

Belleson knows he’s still a rookie compared to the rest of the veterans who work around the ballpark but hopes to be part of the Wrigley Field experience as long as they have.

“I’m very lucky to be here,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of doing something like this and to be able to do this for the Cubs in Chicago is really neat for me. If I’m sitting here 50 years from now, I’m more than OK with that.”

Belleson worked as the announcer for the minor league Rockford Riverhawks in the Frontier League from 2007-2011.