When the Trash Pandas minor league baseball team is finally able to hit the field and play their first game, those tuning in may recognize a few iconic phrases uttered by the broadcaster, Josh Caray. That’s because Caray knows a thing or two about iconic sports broadcasters: he was raised by them.
Caray, the Director of Broadcasting and Public Relations for the Trash Pandas, comes to Madison with a lifetime of personal and professional experiences in the broadcasting realm. Caray, who was born and raised in Atlanta, is the son of Skip Caray, a long-time broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. His father was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame in 2004.
His grandfather is the legendary Harry Caray, who served more than 50 years as a television and radio sportscaster for the White Sox, Cardinals, Oakland A’s, and most notably the Chicago Cubs. He is in multiple halls of fame, has a star in Hollywood, and has seven restaurants that bear his name.
“I grew up around the game,” says Caray. “But I started late with broadcasting.”
Though Caray grew up watching his father and grandfather excel in their fields, he didn’t choose to pursue the field himself until he was 25.
Since then, Caray has traveled and worked all over the nation, from Georgia to Texas to Maryland and beyond. He’s even worked as a radio and television reporter in Atlanta.
After a brief stint pursuing full-time television in Texas in 2015, Caray decided that the sports realm was his true passion once and for all. He moved to Long Island, New York, and worked as a broadcaster for football and basketball for the Stony Brook Seawolves and then as a baseball broadcaster for the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league team.
Though he loved his time in these roles, he realized a couple of years ago that his itch to get back to the south was growing stronger.
“Fortunately, I heard about this team, the Trash Pandas, that was setting all kinds of records before they even played a game!” (Caray is referring to the worldwide record-setting merchandise sales with the Trash Pandas name and logo that happened shortly after the team name and logo were released.)
Caray was thrilled when he received the position and couldn’t wait for opening day in mid-April.
“We were so close,” Caray says. “28 days out.”
Caray says that losing this season due to the global pandemic has been frustrating for everyone but that the staff brainstormed early on about how to somewhat salvage the year.
“We sat down together and said ‘Here are the things we can do according to the CDC guidelines, etc.'”
Caray shared that community members were anxious to see the stadium and that “everyone needed something to do.”
“Once we opened our doors,” shared Caray, “people told us that we gave them a little bit of happiness.”
Though Caray and his fellow staff members have enjoyed hosting various events at the stadium the last few months, he personally cannot wait to hear the crack of a bat hopefully next spring.
“I was never a great athlete,” says Caray. “But broadcasting has always allowed me to be a part of the team. I get to go on the road with them, which is really cool.”
When asked how being a Caray family member has affected his own personal career, he shared that it’s been a blessing and a curse.
“When I was young, I didn’t know how to handle it. People expected me to meet the standards of my granddad and my dad, but you’re going to fail.”
Caray says now that he has experience in the field, he can more fully appreciate what his father and grandfather accomplished.
“I pull from my grandfather’s attitude of just having fun. This is baseball, so we just have fun.”
Though Caray wants to chart his own course and create his own identity in this career, he very much enjoys pulling a few phrases that his father or grandfather would say during their broadcasts, such as how they both ended their segments the same way: “So long, everybody.”
“I’ve come to really appreciate what they did and what they accomplished because now I’m doing it too.”
From the author: Josh Caray is an incredibly nice guy. My husband and I met him during an event at the stadium and enjoyed talking with him for a good length of time before we knew anything about his family lineage. (My husband is a die-hard sports fan and put the pieces together after our conversation.) Caray says that he’s enjoying settling into north Alabama and looks forward to a full baseball season again one day.
Caray can be reached via email at email@example.com
Photography by Whitney Briscoe Photography for All Things Madison