Hudson Valley Parent

HVP July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 43 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 he's at the stadium, the line between his work and his life blurs. "My oldest daughter Taylor, who's 16, used to work here during games," he says. "My wife works in the beer garden and my youngest daughter Jordan, who's 14, is one of the mascot handlers. It's great that they get to be a part of what I do. They don't usually like baseball, but when they're a part of it, it's differ- ent." His professional journey from a self-described part-time wise guy to a vice president has mirrored his personal journey from single guy to family guy. Before he had kids, Zolzer could be counted to always speak his mind, without a filter. That led to a lot of job changes. "The wise guy usually doesn't get to keep his job," he says. "Before I was married and started a family, I was on that 3-year rotational job basis because eventually I'd say something that pissed the wrong person off." Becoming a father meant thinking before he spoke, for the first time ever, but there was an upside to that. "The drive that I've always had, now it has a purpose," he says. I am a Hudson Valley Parent Rick Zolzer: Tales of a 'Renegade' dad By BRIAN PJ CRONIN G enerally, good things don't usually happen at restaurants at 3 a.m. Rick Zolzer's life is the exception to the rule. The year was 1994, and Dutchess County was about to vote on wheth- er or not to approve the construction of a minor league baseball stadium in Fishkill as the home of a new Class A baseball team called The Hudson Valley Renegades. Zolzer had been one of the most passionate supporters of the project, talking it up during his on-air shifts at WPDH 101.5 and even attend- ing the public vote to speak on its behalf. The vote passed in the wee hours of the night, so Zolzer and his wife, Mary, went to celebrate at the only place around that was open: Denny's. They weren't the only ones there celebrating. The Renegades staff was in attendance as well, and it was at Denny's that they first approached Zolzer to ask him if he had ever considered being a public address announcer for a baseball team. "I told them 'Absolutely not, but I'll give it a shot.'" he recalls. "Then, as now, I was also DJing weddings on the side, so I figured I'd just treat the games like a wedding with 4,500 guests." 22 years later, Zolzer is now the team's vice president. But he still calls all the Renegades games, still works as a DJ, and now teaches classes at Marist on journalism and public relations for sports. Despite the full workload, he doesn't con- sider it a challenge to maintain a bal- ance between work and life. When "Everything I do now is to try and make my daughters' lives better and to give them the things I never had. I heard that stupid cliche my whole life and never believed it until I had kids." One thing that he didn't have growing up in the Bronx was regular vacations to Orlando. But besides the ballpark, the Zolzer family's favorite destination is Disney World, which they have visited every year since their kids were little. "The only thing that's really changed, and I thank God for this, is that they're out of the princess phase," says Zolzer. "When they were little, I gladly stood on every stupid line so that they could meet all the princesses multiple times. But now there's more time to actually do other things!" Once they get back to Pough- keepsie however, that teenage guard goes back up. "One minute they're my loving little babies and the next minute it's like that scene in The Exorcist with the pea soup shooting out of their mouths," he says with a laugh. "If you have teenage daughters, you know exactly what I mean and you're laughing along with me right now. But when that happens, I don't throw gas on the fire. I just keep my mouth shut." Considering he spends his day bouncing from the DJ booth to the PA booth to the professor's lecturn, his daughter's outbursts are probably the only time that Zolzer gets to rest his voice. Brian PJ Cronin is a freelance writer. His work appears throughout the Hudson Valley. Everything I do now is to try and make my daughters' lives better and to give them the things I never had.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hudson Valley Parent - HVP July 2016