A few of you will be watching the Washington Commanders football game against the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN tonight, and you will be struck by feeling.
I know that voice, a few hardcores will mutter to themself.
That in-stadium announcer, I know that voice…
It turns out I truly do know “that voice,” that it belongs to my friend Mark Fratto, who is to me a boxing guy, before anything else.
“Marky,” I call him, started the Facebook Fightnight Live series in 2017, a few years after he started showing up tuxedoed and ready to rumble decibel-wise, as in ring emcee on Golden Boy Promotions shows.
I met him, and we hit it off, it’s not hard, he’s well liked…
I’ve watched and admired his work, which included helming TV production for the FNL series, and doing PA labor-of-love work for the Brooklyn Cyclones, then the NBA Washington team, the Wizards.
Mark Fratto, who calls Edgewood, MD home with his wife and two boy Frattos, will be starting his fifth NBA season soon.
Tonight, he debuts on a big ole stage, the 8 PM ESPN Monday Night Football showing.
It’s “just” preseason, OK, but that doesn’t mean Fratto isn’t feeling butterflies kicking in his gut as he counts down to duties at Fed Ex Field in the first home pre season contest for a re-birthed Commanders ex Redskins franchise.
I joked, mostly, as I chatted with Fratto around lunch time, he wasn’t going to ditch boxing all told now, is he?
Because there might be one other person doing this such double duty, PA for the local NBA AND NFL organizations…
“I just put a crib together, for a friend of my wife, I’m gonna shower, then head to the stadium,” he shared. “And I just boxed.”
Correct; Mark Fratto wanted to dispel some butterflies, so he booked some time with world class trainer Troy Fox, pop to world class pugilists Mykal and Alantez Fox.
“Mykal probably should be a world champ right now, being that he beat Gabriel Maestre, and I called Alantez versus Demetrius Andrade, on HBO,” Fratto said over the phone.
“We did in ring “spider” work, and pad work. Got a good sweat, it’s hot in DC, and yeah, got some nerves out.” In other words, Woods, I’m still a boxing guy…
We chatted about the stakes tonight.
Ravens, Baltimore, the beltway rival, yep, preseason games don’t mean much as much, but the Ravens have won 24 straight, so they aren’t eager to clip that streak.
I put it to him, is this his “biggest” test, his grandest stage to this point? “I’ve been fortunate to work on a lot of big stages,” Fratto said. “I appreciate them all, but yes, there is a different gravity as an NFL stadium announcer.”
Part of why I like him is he’s not one for BS.
Mark Fratto is role-modeling upbeat, invariably. But he’ll not sugar coat. “Butterflies are real, it’s our geographic rival, National TV, on ESPN,” he said. That boxing session really hit the spot, he re-affirmed.
Mark Fratto Upbeat For Commander Kickoff
Fratto shared some of his mindset as he waited for his stint to truly kick off, hard. “There’s a renewed sense of optimism, positivity, it’s the beginning of a new era, and I’m excited to be a small part of it. It’s one of the NFL’s most storied franchises…But I’m still a boxing guy!”
Mark Fratto switched hats with not a hint of friction: “Linacre Media has a great series going on at Caribe Resort in Orlando, Florida, I do ring announcer and tv producer duty. We’re seeing title fights, good stuff on these shows!”
Fratto touched on the multiple hats, then.
“I’m happy, had a great run calling football at West Point, we still be running the scoreboard show at Michie Stadium, but this means I have ten more weekends home with the family,” Fratto said.
“It’s a humbling thing, Woodsy, and you know what.. I’m glad I could rely on boxing to get some nerves out. Boxing always delivers.”
My Three Cents: Mark Fratto is a good citizen. Sometimes it’s hard to be happy for someone else enjoying a bounty of some sort, because people are imperfect. It’s not difficult at all to be legit happy for this guy, because he’s a good one, is Gleason’s No 853 rated cruiserweight.