On cool summer evenings at Everett Memorial Stadium, Mark Aucutt tugs his warm-up jacket around himself and feels at home behind the hot microphone.
The pale gray jacket bears the name "Giants" across the front, and the Federal Way native loves wearing it as much as he loves calling baseball games.
Aucutt was hired to be the Everett Giants' play-by-play announcer after a search that prompted baseball broadcast luminaries such as Ernie Harwell and Dave Niehaus to call the Northwest League club's offices with words of recommendation.
"We must have had more than 100 tapes to listen to," Giants owner Bob Bavasi said. "We worked our way through them, eliminating more and more.
"I talked to my father (Buzzie Bavasi, former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger and California Angel general manager), and he gave us a few things to look for. He has a pretty good track record - he hired Vin Scully."
One of the things Bavasi encouraged was finding someone who knows the game and has a friendly manner. Aucutt filled the bill.
"The more we listened to Mark, the more we liked him," Bob Bavasi said. "With the other finalists, the more we listened to them, the less we liked them.
"You could tell by listening to him that he's a nice guy, and that's the way he's worked out."
Once Everett made its decision, Aucutt negotiated a contract with Everett radio station KRKO (1380) and left his job at a South End bank for the Northwest League season.
Aucutt is pleased with the situation.
"I couldn't be happier here with the Giants," Aucutt said. "I'm home, so my family and my girlfriend can all come out to see the games, and I'm with the organization that I loved growing up - the Giants."
Aucutt took a long-distance route to Everett, working for two seasons in the Carolina League, doing play-by-play for Cleveland's Class A farm team in Kinston, N.C., while league rival Durham was gaining fame as the setting for the hit movie "Bull Durham."
"It's funny, we were in Durham for a game the night the movie opened, so we all went to see it," Aucutt said. "A lot of the movie was really what it was like down there. The parks, the bus rides - it was fun to watch."
The road trips, living out of a suitcase, dodging the major summer thunderstorms that plague the Southeast, were fun, Aucutt said.
"Durham always seemed to have the worst storms, and the press box in that stadium is on ground level right behind home plate, which makes for a great view of the pitcher," he said. "But when the rain comes blowing in, you have to keep grabbing your equipment to keep out of the way of the rising water. It's a wonder I wasn't electrocuted."
After working the 1988 and '89 seasons in Kinston, Aucutt decided to stay home and pursue an option that didn't require moving across country to broadcast baseball. That move took two seasons, but finally landed him in Everett.
Aucutt says he never planned to go into sports while majoring in business and communications at Washington State University.
"I wanted to be a rock 'n' roll jock," he said. "But there's something special about radio play-by-play. I had to give it a try."
Aucutt, 33, went back to his love of baseball and wound up in North Carolina, but his roots remained on the West Coast.
"I grew up listening to the Seattle Pilots and the Seattle Rainiers and all those local teams," said the Tyee High School graduate. "But what really got me going was listening to the San Francisco Giants at night when I could pull in the signal. My grandparents lived in the Bay Area and my grandfather used to take me to games every summer.
"I loved the Giants. I loved Willie Mays and Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and all those players - they were the greatest. That's what makes working here so great."
Aucutt settled into the Giants booth quickly, he said.
"That first home game I felt at home, especially when I coaxed Ken Griffey Jr.'s mom into the booth to talk with me on the air," he said. "From then on, things seem to have clicked."