Friday's season opener wasn't the first rodeo for new Cubs public address announcer Andrew Belleson, but it was certainly the biggest.
The 24-year-old Lombard native and Arlington Heights resident previously served in the same capacity for the minor-league Rockford RiverHawks in 2007, but that hardly compares to sold-out Wrigley Field on Opening Day.
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"I'm sure it will be different," Belleson said before the game, "but I'm trying not to pay attention to that. It's still the same job, just with a bigger audience."
Constantly communicating information to 40,000 or so fans -- starting hours before the first pitch -- might be considered intimidating to some, but it's the perfect setting for Belleson.
"I've always had a passion for this, and having the opportunity to do it at Wrigley Field is the ultimate honor," he said. "I'm just extremely excited. It's almost easier for me than talking to a group of 15 people. It's not one-on-one. Nobody really sees you."
Unless you look way up behind home plate, just underneath the Wrigley Field roof a few yards toward the third base-side.
Belleson learned that's where his work space would be a week ago, after being chosen the best of nearly 3,000 applicants who applied via YouTube to succeed longtime P.A. announcer Paul Friedman.
While it's certainly a high-profile job, Belleson considers the job more about providing information than entertainment.
"Simplicity is extremely important," he said. "You don't want to dominate the game. Just stay in the back seat and direct it. People come to Wrigley Field to see the ballpark and the team. You're not the show. But just to be a small piece of that is really an honor to me."
Belleson got his start in the business working for the RiverHawks on their radio broadcasts while still a 15-year-old student at Glenbard East High School and later helping with the P.A. duties while studying at Concordia University in River Forest.
Belleson is about a month away from earning his MBA degree, but as a lifelong Cubs fan who played baseball in high school and college he's a lot more excited about his new job at Wrigley Field.
"I'm working around it," he said of his studies. "I'm just ecstatic to be with the Cubs, and I'd like to be here for as long as possible."