EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to “Off Camera with. . .,” a Front Row series that introduces you to some of the studio anchors who have recently joined ESPN. Today we meet Brendan Fitzgerald @BrendanFitzESPN, who joined ESPN in August 2014 as a studio host for ESPNU and other college sports programming.
How did you choose your profession? When I was about 6 years old, I found out from my dad that the guys on TV that get to call the games and talk about sports actually got paid to do it. I was hooked. I based my whole life around being a sports anchor on TV someday.
Memorable thoughts about your ESPN audition: I did my audition with [SportsCenter] Randy Scott, and we have a mutual friend so I already knew him a little bit and it made me a lot more comfortable, but we were basically wearing the exact same outfit: navy suit, blue shirt, yellow tie.
I just remember we looked like twins up there. Also, working at local stations for my whole career until then, I had never had professional makeup, so I’m sitting in the chair while somebody puts on the makeup while someone else is trimming my sideburns, and I was thinking, “How did I get here?”
Favorite team/sports moments: My favorite team is the Boston Bruins and their Stanley Cup run in 2011 was awesome, but the Red Sox ending the curse in ’04 was unlike anything else. I was also lucky enough to cover the Sox throughout their 2013 run and went to every ALCS and World Series game at Fenway Park and in Detroit and St. Louis. Great memories.
Favorite mentor: Sports anchor Ross Shimabuku is a friend who taught me that sports on TV was supposed to be fun back when I was all serious about every game and highlight. He also connected me with [SportsCenter anchor] Neil Everett, with whom I’ve emailed, but never met. He has been great to me over the years.
Funniest thing that has ever happened to you: When I was a sports anchor in Casper, Wyo., I won a hot dog eating contest at a July 4 Casper Ghosts minor league baseball game. My prize: a gift pack from Weight Watchers. For those interested, I ate seven hot dogs in a half-inning.