Salt Lake Bees: Reeves a hit as longtime stadium announcer
Countless times during the last two decades, a stranger has approached Jeff Reeves and asked the same question.
"Haven't I heard you somewhere before?"
The inquiries make sense, when you consider Reeves became the Salt Lake Bees' public address announcer one week into the 1994 season.
Fifteen hundred games later give or take a handful Reeves has likely communicated with more Utah baseball fans than anyone except Steve Klauke, the team's longtime TV and radio voice.
Sitting in his cozy press box perch at Smith's Ballpark last week, Reeves explained his ongoing love affair with the Bees, their players, the sport and his job.
"I look forward to it every day," he said. "It's a privilege to be here. Just wonderful. The smell of the grass. Just the ambiance around the ballpark. The crack of the bat. It sounds very clichÃ©-ish, but it really is wonderful. ... The environment cannot be duplicated."
Reeves, of course, also has the pipes for the job. His silky smooth voice was made for public consumption.
Once, a major league scout stopping in Salt Lake was so impressed he asked Reeves to do the greeting for his answering machine.
"I thought his wife would hear [my] voice on there and say, 'What the heck?' " Reeves laughed.
Reeves was born in Brigham City, where he played high school baseball and basketball.
He started in the radio business when he was 12 years old. An older brother was a weekend disc jockey at a station in Logan while attending Utah State and asked Reeves to tape introductions to this show.
When he was even younger, Reeves would make playing cards with team logos on them. Then, he would play imaginary games with the cards and announce the action into an old reel-to-reel recorder.
"I knew I wanted to be in sports from the beginning," he said. "My parents knew I was going to do this, too."
Reeves did play-by-play for hundreds of high school games in northern Utah during his career. He'll always remember one state tournament basketball game between Box Elder and Logan.
"Box Elder was very hot from the field," he said. "They hit five shots in a row all from at least 15 feet and I got caught up in it, I guess. The first one I said, 'He shoots, he hits.' The second one I said, 'He shoots, he hits.' The third one I said, 'He hoots, he [bleeps].' "
Reeves shakes his head.
"I tell you, that's one you don't forget," he said. "And neither did the whole community."
Reeves got his job as the Bees' public address announcer after an open tryout. He did not win the original competition but, a week after thinking he'd missed out, he got a call from then-general manager Rob White, offering him the job.
"I wasn't here for the first series in '94," Reeves said, "but I was here for the second."
During the next 20 years, he has experienced enough memories to fill the Salt Lake Valley.
"We had Albert Pujols here with Memphis, when he was in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization," Reeves said. "Coming up, we played them in the PCL championship series and he hit this mammoth home run. I mean, he crushed it. Those are things you just don't forget."
Reeves also remembers Jered Weaver throwing a two-hitter for the Bees before being called up by the Los Angeles Angels. Weaver is currently in his ninth season in the major leagues.
"There's just the immense satisfaction seeing a guy you knew would go on to bigger and better things," Reeves said. "That's why we're here get them ready to go up there and that part of it is a lot of fun. ... It's interesting to watch them grow."
Along with his work with the Bees, Reeves is known as the announcer for most Utah High School Activities Association championship games and events. In June, he will also work the Utah Special Olympics in St. George.
"We've been around and done a lot of things," said Reeves, who is married with five children. "But the most satisfying thing, I think, is the chance we've had to be around so many great people."
Jeff Reeves file
• Jeff Reeves has been the Salt Lake Bees' public address announcer since 1994.
• He's worked about 1,500 Pacific Coast League baseball games at Smith's Ballpark.
• Reeves was born in Brigham City and has lived in Utah all his life.
Fresno beats Salt Lake 10-6 in their series finale, and the Bees go 3-5 on their homestand.
Fresno beats Salt Lake 10-6 in their series finale, and the Bees go 3-5 on their homestand. âº C5
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