HAGERSTOWN —Matt Leite has a story to tell.
He isn’t pushy, but he will regale anyone who wants to take the time to listen and, in the process, he hopes they will want to come back for more.
Leite isn’t Hans Christian Andersen, though. He’s the new radio voice of the Hagerstown Suns.
“I want to be a Major League baseball radio broadcaster,” Leite said. “I think my talents are that I am entertaining and a storyteller. I try to think of the season like it’s a book with many chapters.”
Chapter one, page one begins in April when Leite gets behind the microphone for the opening of the Suns’ 32nd season at Municipal Stadium. He spent the 2011 season as the media relations manager for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Toronto’s Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League.
“I worked in the press box, setting up things for other broadcasters,” Leite said. “It was torture. It was the first time in many years that I wasn’t on the air.”
Leite, 26, will also serve as the Suns’ media relations director, coordinating contact with the South Atlantic League and the Washington Nationals, Hagerstown’s parent club. He also will help with the Suns’ group and corporate sales efforts.
To Leite, the story of a baseball season is more than just the games. There are also background stories and insights to the players that make the season all the more complex. In some cases, baseball is more of a summer soap opera than a best-seller.
“I try to do more than just tell the numbers,” he said. “I want to tell stories about the players because they are interesting and keep you listening. I want to make it fun. I want to keep things in perspective. I don’t want to get overly excited about page 27 of the 250-page book because there is so much more ahead.”
Even at his young age, Leite has a decade of broadcast experience under his belt.
The New England native did some play-by-play for the Fisher Cats but has also broadcast games in the Can-Am League — a professional independent league — and on the college level in the Cape Cod Baseball League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
In the process, Leite graduated with honors from Franklin Pierce University in 2007 with a mass communications degree and was awarded the Marlin Fitzwater Medallion as the major’s top student in public discourse.
Through it all, Leite said he remains a student because he tries to learn as much about the game of baseball to improve his storytelling abilities.
“I read and follow the careers of (Boston Red Sox announcer) Joe Castiglione and Vin Scully,” Leite said. “I learned to try to extend my vocabulary, read a lot of things that have nothing to do with baseball and to be personable. As I see more games, I get to talk to more players and people in the game and I get much more knowledge. You start to figure it out what the game is and how to get better as a broadcaster.”
One conclusion Leite has drawn is that it’s important to talk about the game as it unfolds, but it is equally important to be able to fill in lulls.
“It’s about what you say between pitches,” Leite said. “All the description is great, but what you say between pitches makes the broadcast fun. It’s the stories about the players. I need to get the story and tell it so everyone can understand, enjoy it and want to come back to hear the next chapter.”