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Curve broadcaster Zangrilli quits

August 26, 2010
By Cory Giger, cgiger@altoonamirror.com

Curve play-by-play broadcaster Dan Zangrilli quit his job as the franchise's director of broadcasting and communications Tuesday night, citing "philosophical differences" with management.

"It came to a point where I realized that there were some compromises that weren't going to be made, and I had to move on," Zangrilli said.

Asked to clarify if he meant compromises he expected the franchise to make, Zangrilli said, "Correct."

Article Photos

Dan Zangrilli

Curve general manager Rob Egan would not disclose any specifics about what led to Zangrilli's decision.

"We're not going to get into what happened and all that," Egan said Wednesday afternoon. "We just have philosophical differences, and he left the team effective immediately."

Zangrilli said the differences were not an isolated or recent occurrence.

"It became apparent over an extended period of time that there wasn't going to be any movement by either party," he said.

The only topic Zangrilli would discuss in any detail centered on the hours and workload demands of being a minor league broadcaster. The job requires the employee to put in the same hours as any other front office staff member, but it also includes additional time traveling to and working road games.

"I don't want to sound like I'm whining and complaining," Zangrilli said. "I know what I signed up for."

Still, when asked if that played a part in his decision, he replied, "I'd say just about everything to do with it, the give-and-take relationship that there is."

Asked if he hoped the franchise would make some concessions given his unique situation on the staff, he noted, "That would be accurate."

"It just came to a head," Zangrilli said. "They have their philosophy, and I don't necessarily agree with them."

Zangrilli called the first three innings of Tuesday's game against Erie at Blair County Ballpark, then went off the air, as usual, for the middle innings. His assistant, Mike Passanisi, always handles the middle innings of home broadcasts, and occasionally he stays on for the remainder of the contest when Zangrilli would be handling other duties.

Passanisi stayed on the air for the remainder of the game, and nothing was mentioned about Zangrilli.

"I started the game, and then I wound up -- it became apparent that we weren't going to be able to move forward any longer," Zangrilli said.

Neither Zangrilli nor Egan would discuss what happened specifically to reach that point Tuesday night.

Passanisi will take over as the lead play-by-play announcer for the rest of the season.

"He's very capable," said Egan, the Curve's original play-by-play man from 1999-2004. "He's done a full season of broadcasting and media relations before in Savannah (Ga.). He understands the ins and outs of it, the fact that he's going to have to do media relations and transactions for the club and correspond with the league.

"He's really well-equipped to take us the rest of the way," Egan added.

The timing of these events -- with just two weeks left in the regular season -- is peculiar, to say the least.

"Certainly you don't ever anticipate, expect or want something to happen like that in the middle of the season," Egan said. "But at the same time, we have a capable staff here, including Mike."

Zangrilli joined the Curve in 2008 and was in his first season as the lead play-by-play man. He previously worked for the State College Spikes and also has extensive experience working in the Pittsburgh radio market.

He chose not to criticize his former bosses.

"They're great people, and I certainly wish them the best," Zangrilli said. "Unfortunately, there was just, you know, differences in philosophy.

"I'm sad and very disappointed, but at the same time grateful to listeners [and] to both ownership groups for a fun three years. I foresaw myself being in Altoona for much longer."

Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. He can be reached at 949-7031 or cgsports12@aol.com.

 
 
 

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