Chris Caray Q&A: Get to know new A's play-by-play announcer

Chris Caray Q&A: Get to know new A's play-by-play announcer originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Chris Caray continued his family's MLB broadcasting tradition when he was named NBC Sports California's new A's play-by-play announcer Tuesday, beginning during the upcoming 2024 season.

Just 24 years old, Caray follows in the footsteps of his father Chip [currently broadcasting for the St. Louis Cardinals], his grandfather Skip [former Atlanta Braves broadcaster] and his great grandfather Harry, who spent the 1970 season calling games for the A's before spending 11 seasons with the Chicago White Sox and 16 seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

Caray joins Jenny Cavnar and Dallas Braden in the A's TV booth after spending the last two years broadcasting games for the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles [Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate] with his identical twin brother Stefan.

Get to know more about Caray in this Q&A interview with NBC Sports California:

NBCSCA: You come from a family with a rich baseball background, but when did you fall in love with baseball? And when did you realize you wanted to follow in the footsteps of your father, your grandfather and your great grandfather?

Caray: "I think I always knew in the back of my mind this is something that I wanted to do. I mean, from the very young age of four or five years old, people jokingly said 'Do you wanna follow in the family business?' It just seemed like something that was so beyond my reach at the time because you try to stand on the shoulders of champions and phenomenal broadcasters and in my family, the legacy they've set forth for me is something that I've tried to chase for a really long time.

"I can't pinpoint an actual age. I think by the time I had been able to conceptualize what the job actually was and how cool it was, I was probably 11 or 12 years old. And then every kid wants to be an athlete. So I tried to pursue that route and realized that I couldn't run this fast or hit the ball hard or pitch well or any of that stuff. And I decided to stay in the game, in the broadcasting variety and it supported me such a wonderful life and such great opportunities. And 24 years old, here I am."

NBCSCA: Do you feel any pressure living up to the standards that your family has set?

Caray: "I think the only pressure that I put on is on myself. I think that I want to be the best Chris Caray that I can be day in and day out. And going from a place like Amarillo for the last two years working with my identical twin brother [Stefan], we policed each other. We kept ourselves accountable because we know that there is a standard to meet here and there is some talent in the Caray family, whether it's in Atlanta or Chicago or St. Louis, we have some incredibly talented people ahead of us and we're just trying to be the best that we can be. So that one day we are mentioned in the same breath as them.

"And for me individually right now with Oakland, to get to a place where my great grandfather was in the booth in 1970 is something that comes all full circle and I'm gonna try and serve the fans as best that I can as a broadcaster, as a member of the community and everything in between."

NBCSCA: What does it mean for you to call games for the same team that your great grandfather did?

Caray: "Well, it's a different era completely. I mean, Charlie Finley hired him in 1970. Charlie Finley was the man there in Oakland where everybody knew his name and Harry Caray was still in some ways trying to get established. You know, me, I'm kind of in the same boat. I'm in an exciting new area, a place that I've never been before in the Bay Area with a lot of passionate fans and I really wanna try and prove myself and show that a 24-year-old broadcaster, male, female, regardless of name whatsoever, can be at this big stage and do some really good games and some really good things in the community.

"And I think that Harry, my grandfather Skip and my father Chip, who broke into the major leagues at all pretty young ages have done that and I wanna be the next one to do it."

NBCSCA: Tell A's fans a little bit about your journey to this point.

Caray: "I started broadcasting baseball a little bit later than most people. I was in high school when I started doing public address announcing for my brother's lacrosse games and then my freshman year I did baseball games for Valdosta State University on the radio. It was so funny. They wanted to use my name and say, oh, you know, going into and out of break, 'This is Chris Carey, son of Chip Carey' because of Braves country and everything. I just didn't want to do it.

"And then I transferred to Georgia along with my brother and we really did a lot of great work there. Not that much at the University of Georgia, more at Georgia Gwinnett College, which was a school about an hour away in NAIA school and Matt Mahony there gave us both a chance and we spring-boarded that to the prestigious Cape Cod League.

"And then both of us got to Amarillo before our senior year even ended. And we were Double-A lead broadcasters at 22 years old, which was something unheard of. And now here I am after two years in the minors, which is a lot quicker than a lot of other people. But I don't take that time for granted and I have a lot of respect for people that go through the minors because it's amazing grind. You learn a lot. And now I'm in the major leagues and I'm pinching myself every day."

NBCSCA: Talk about your excitement to work with Jenny Cavnar and Dallas Braden.

Caray: "I'm elated. I'm kind of at a loss for words. Witnessing history is something that I never thought that I would be able to do at this age. And for Jenny, who's just such an incredible talent and a really, really respected person in the industry, to show her kindness immediately to me, on a day where it was a lot of celebrating her, she actually reached out to me and that just shows how selfless she is. And I'm really excited to get to work with her and learn from her.

"And Dallas, he's a completely fun guy. He loves Oakland, he bleeds Oakland A's baseball and I think that he's going to be a great guy to work alongside and maybe my youthful exuberance will come out next to him. And Jenny and I, I love being a part of a team clearly because I did it for the last what, five years with my brother. Now, it's a little bit different, but at the same time, I'm going to support them in everything that they do and, and hopefully I can help them in any way to be this broadcaster that helps the Oakland A's and can learn a thing or two for both of them in a very roundabout way."

NBCSCA: How did your family react when you told them about your new role with the A's?

Caray: "They were incredibly surprised. We had waited for a while to figure out what was going down with the holidays and everything like that. But on January 9th, I got a call, my agent told me on January 10th, I would be getting a call, but it was actually January 9th. So it completely blindsided me and there were a lot of emotions. Not every person makes it to the major leagues and we knew that going into this profession, and for one of the two of us to get in at 24 is amazing.

"You know, I mean, the job's not finished for my brother. I know he's now buckling up his bootstraps and getting ready to go and try to join us there. And I have no doubt that he will. But right now for this moment, for my moment, it was everything I ever dreamed of and to have a really supportive family, my grandparents and my parents around me and to be able to keep this secret as long as we have is great.

"And I can't thank the A's enough for taking a chance on me and being as kind as they've been because you don't get that everywhere else and and they've been very communicative and very helpful with everything that I've needed getting out there. And I just expect to make more memories with them and hopefully pay them and kind, pay them back for what they've done for me and my family."

NBCSCA: As the A's look to rebound from a tough 2023 season, what do you hope to see from them this season?

Caray: "I hope to see the same sort of thing. I think that I don't, not in terms of the record department, but just embracing what they are, right? You don't want to be a club that's saying, 'Hey, we're gonna win 100 games,' but this club has a lot of young, exciting talent and down the road this season, they could really show themselves. There's some guys that I got to see in minor league baseball that might break camp this year.

"[Third baseman] Brett Harris, [shortstop] Darell Hernaiz, you know, down the road, maybe you see [shortstop] Logan Davidson, [catcher] Kyle McCann, all of these guys have a chance to play this A's roster at some point in the season and make an impact and they were no joke in the minor leagues, and I get the major leagues are a different animal, but once you get that young core together and this team starts building with the veteran presence they have with [Alex] Wood and [Ross] Stripling and hopefully others to join this club. They might be more competitive than people think. And I think that's going to be a fun story to tell in 2024 and moving forward."

NBCSCA: Is there anything else you want A's fans to know about you?

Caray: "I'm a hard worker. I really enjoy what I do and I enjoy interacting with people that love the game, regardless of what you do. I love saying hi to the stadium ushers and the elevator attendance and other broadcasters and I'm going to be out there. It's going to be new for me. It's going to be a different experience from the minor leagues. Obviously, I would say just be patient with me, but I'm going to try and do my best from Day 1 because you guys deserve nothing less.

"And the city of Oakland loves their Oakland A's baseball and I'm going to try and capture every moment the best that I can and show that the Caray broadcasting brand can survive in Oakland longer than a year in 1970, now, here in 2024."