The scoop on Voigt: in 8 letters, informed


Need to know who's pitching against the Orioles three weeks from Wednesday? Go ask Jack. He'll tell you.

Wondering which umpiring crew is coming to town for the next series? Go ask Jack. He'll tell you. Not only that, he's probably on a first-name basis with every umpire on the crew.

Need your thirst for trade rumors quenched? Go ask Jack. He'll tell you.

Stumped as to what Rafael Palmeiro is hitting in day games played after night games? Go ask Jack. The man knows his decimal points.

There isn't much you can tell outfielder Jack Voigt that he hasn't already found out on his own.

He uses his natural and considerable gift of gab to cull information and retains every morsel. He has all the qualities of a great reporter. In fact, he was one.

In need of supplementing his minor-league income, Voigt worked as a sportswriter in the winters of 1988 and 1989. He covered freshman football, soccer and basketball for the Venice (Fla.) Gondolier, a thrice-weekly newspaper in his hometown.

Voigt covered the Venice High Indians and, knowing him, must have covered them like snow covers Buffalo, N.Y., in January.

Voigt has been on both ends of the note pad.

The most challenging aspect of writing about sports?

"The toughest thing is when you only had a limited space," he said. "I would find myself asking, 'How do I shorten things up to fit everything in?' "

If for no other reason than space limitations, Voigt might be better suited for a broadcasting job. He said he might pursue that after his playing days are over.

Voigt is an avid viewer of Home Team Sports. He watches tape delays of Orioles games after getting home from the ballpark, partially to see whether he can pick up any pointers on how he is being pitched from broadcasters and former pitchers Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan.

He also listens to Palmer, Flanagan and Mel Proctor for broadcasting tips.

"I look at it from the standpoint of a teaching tool," Voigt said. "What would I say if I were sitting in their chairs? I pay attention to what they say about things other than what's going on on the field."

Voigt was asked how he would describe teammate Palmeiro's swing if he were a broadcaster.

"Pure," Voigt said. "Four letters, one word. Pure."

Voigt didn't stop at four letters, one word. He never does.

"Sweet," Voigt said. "Five letters, one word. Sweet."

He didn't stop at nine letters, two words. He never does. But you get the idea.

And how would Jack Voigt the broadcaster describe Jack Voigt the ballplayer?

"Overachiever," Voigt said.

Overachiever. Let's see, that's one word, 12 letters. But Voigt didn't stop at one word, 12 letters. He never does.

"Not a lot of talent, but gets the most out of it," he continued. "I don't have a lot of talent, but I do use it to the best of my ability. I play hard. I do my best to get the job done and I'm always where I'm supposed to be on the field. I play fundamentally sound baseball. I don't know if you notice or not, but when I'm playing left field and there's a double down the right-field line, I'm not standing out there in left field. I'm backing up third base because the one time I don't do that will be the one time a throw gets away."

A former sportswriter and possibly a future broadcaster, for now, Voigt is a ballplayer.

=1 Ballplayer. One word, 10 letters. Ballplayer.

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