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Mike Terry, Deseret News
Steve Klauke has been calling games since he was a teenager growing up in the Chicago, Illinois area. Klauke will be calling his 2,500th game this week. Here Klauke calls as the Bees host the Tacoma Rainiers at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 24, 2011. Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Steve Klauke reached a milestone Tuesday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark. Shortly after his standard greeting of: "Good evening everybody and welcome to Salt Lake Bees baseball," he delivered his 2,500th radio broadcast for the Triple-A baseball franchise

"That's a lot of baseball. That's a lot of anything," said Bees manager Keith Johnson. "He's always been a consummate professional and it's a pleasure being around him and I'm extremely happy for him."

Johnson caught the ceremonial first pitch that Klauke threw before the series finale between Salt Lake and Tacoma. Klauke also received a framed Bees jersey, signed by the entire team, during a pregame tribute.

Johnson, who has worked with Klauke as a player and now as a manager, appreciates the information and little-known facts that the broadcaster conveys.

"I don't think there's a player that's played here that he doesn't remember in some capacity," Johnson said.

That's a tall order considering 462 players have donned Salt Lake jerseys since Klauke and the team made their debut in 1994. They're now in the midst of their 10th season together.

Bees general manager Marc Amicone acknowledged that's a lot of baseball games and quite an accomplishment for Klauke.

"We feel very fortunate to have had him that long, knowing that he's probably good enough to be in the big leagues," Amicone said. "We're just happy to have him here."

Klauke has enjoyed his tenure with the franchise. He proudly proclaims his office view as the best in baseball. His broadcast booth is stocked with media guides and hand-written notes chronicling his experiences. Klauke estimates having nearly 10,000 index cards with pitcher vs. hitter information and other facts he uses and

or had used in broadcasts. Notebooks have also been meticulously updated through the years.

It's a labor of love, for Klauke who arrives at the stadium around 9 a.m.., for home games and spends his day preparing media notes, updating statistics, conducting interviews and other related matter prior to calling the action.

The long days, however, don't alter his approach on the air. In fact, nothing outside of baseball does. He diligently follows advice given to him years ago by legendary Chicago broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.

"No matter how bad a day you might be having at work, don't take it on the air with you," Klauke was told. "Because the people who are listening want to escape their own problems for a couple of hours or so and listen to a ballgame."

Klauke adheres to old adage that radio is theatre of the mind. As such, he colorfully incorporates the weather and stadium atmosphere into his calls.

"Some guys tend to do a TV broadcasts on radio and don't paint the picture," Klauke said. "Some people call it old school, I call it my job."

Speaking of which, Klauke hasn't spent a lot of time dwelling on his new milestone — even if it makes him sound a bit like former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

"It's a nice round number. I hate to pull a Coach Sloan on people," Klauke said. "It's game No. 2,500 overall, but right now I look at it as No. 19 on the season."

email: dirk@desnews.com