If there’s one person who knows how to please baseball fans and roll with the punches, it’s Jon Snow—er, rather, Tyler Zickel.
“Zick” is the energetic emcee for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Last Friday, Zick and the Fisher Cats’ staff donned fun costumes for Comic Con Night. Zick was decked out in an amazing Jon Snow costume, looking just like the character from Game of Thrones.
Comic Con Night is easily one of Zick’s favorites, as he grew up in San Diego, home of the original Comic Con.
However, just because the night was full of baseball and costumes, Zick still had to do his job: putting smiles on the faces of the home fans. That’s not a tough task, though, as Zickel has clearly made an impact on the Fisher Cats faithful during his few years with the team. As he would make his rounds throughout the stadium, he would stop and talk with the season-ticket holders with whom he has built relationships.
Zickel is the driving force of the fan experience. It was truly amazing walking with Zick and having fans stop to chat or take a picture with him every few feet.
When asked how he fosters this connection, Zickel cited his caring attitude, positive tone, and authenticity—while also mentioning that he radiates energy.
Zickel began his baseball career with the Lake Elsinore Storm, a San Diego Padres’ Single A team, in their media relations department and, later on, as their on-field emcee.
When a Fisher Cats radio position opened up a few offseasons ago, Zickel jumped at the opportunity. But soon, he ditched the headset and mic for, well, a different mic—one that he uses on the field rather than in the booth. (Zickel still announces their away games on the radio.)
In addition to building bonds with fans, Zickel has also built relationships with the players; in the first inning of Friday’s game, Josh Palacios hit a run-scoring single and Zickel shouted, “Thattaboy, Josh. Yeah!” Later, in the dugout after an on-field presentation, a player joked with him about his signature remark—“Back to you, Johnny Vegas”— which he makes when he is done with his segment.
Beyond what fans see, there are many costume and prop changes that need to be made to get an activity ready in just three outs. While some innings last a while, leaving lots of time for such changes, there are also those quick 1-2-3 innings that leave little preparation time. Nevertheless, Zickel is quick on his feet, whether it be sprinting through a dugout to get a game set up, or frantically calling up to the booth to see if they can play a video on the jumbotron and postpone the activity to a later inning break.
Zickel loves what he does, and while he says it would be amazing to do this at the major-league level with the Padres, he appreciates the day-to-day of working with his Fisher Cats staff, whether it be the offseason work with social media and fun graphics, emceeing at home games, or being the voice of the Fisher Cats radio during road trips.
In addition to Comic Con Night, Zickel enjoys Star Wars Night and Harry Potter Night. But his favorite games were the 2017 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby (which he emceed live), and the Fisher Cats’ appearance in the 2018 Eastern League championship.
So whether it’s leading a birthday party, organizing the first pitch, or providing on-field entertainment between innings, Zickel has proven he is top in the industry. The fans are certainly lucky to have him.