By Joel Ray
Times Sports Editor
He’s funny. He’s knowledgeable. But most of all, he’s friendly. He’s Ron Swoboda, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
Swoboda, a former major league baseball player, is the analyst and color commentator for New Orleans Baby Cakes broadcasts. Baseball fans get the benefit of Swoboda’s in-depth knowledge of the sport as he analyzes action on the field.
Swoboda’s analysis of a game isn’t dry and academic. He is truly the very definition of a color commentator, adding lots of color to Baby Cakes broadcasts.
Along with broadcast partner Tim Grubbs, the voice of the Baby Cakes, Swoboda does a great job of both informing fans and entertaining them. Swoboda and Grubbs are a great team and, as longtime listeners can attest, are often laugh-out-loud funny.
In fact, it is during slow-moving games where Swoboda and Grubbs do some of their best work, giving facts and telling interesting baseball anecdotes.
In this part of the country Swoboda is known for his years as a sportscaster with WVUE-TV in New Orleans and his work with the Zephyrs/Baby Cakes and Cox Sports Television. Nationally, he is known to knowledgeable baseball fans as a member of the 1969 “Miracle Mets,” the World Series Champions that year. Specifically, Swoboda is known for an amazing catch he made in the ninth inning of game four to stop a comeback by the Baltimore Orioles. The Mets went on to win that game 2-1 in ten innings and the World Series in five games.
Swoboda’s acclaimed World Series catch can be seen online at YouTube.com.
Swoboda hit .400 in the World Series. And, interestingly, his only RBI was the game winner in the last game of the Series.
Being nationally known, Swoboda has made a number of baseball related appearances over the years. One of the most memorable was in 1999 when he appeared as himself on an episode of the hit comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond” along with a few other members of the 1969 Mets.
Despite his celebrity, Swoboda is friendly, approachable and just plain nice. On many occasions Swoboda has taken the time to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan. His kindness and generosity are admirable.
Longtime Swoboda fan Mark Womack was thrilled to get an autographed baseball from him. On a separate occasion weeks later Swoboda was nice enough to take a picture with Womack.
On yet another occasion, Swoboda autographed a baseball for Eric Vicknair, a CPA from Baton Rouge and another longtime fan of his. Swoboda is also gracious to groups of baseball fans given a tour of the press box at the Shrine on Airline by Baby Cakes staff members. As part of the tour, fans get to meet Swoboda and Grubbs during a break in the action between innings.
If you see Ron Swoboda at a baseball game, say hello to one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and a great goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball.
By Joel Ray