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Astros broadcaster Francisco Romero showcases versatility

From Mexico to Houston, Francisco Romero has thrived

Francisco Romero grew up on a hill in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. His family had a big house with a patio, palm trees and plenty of room to play baseball. The young Dodgers fans hit so many home runs and lost so many balls that he and his younger brother resorted to using the heads of his sister’s dolls as baseballs.

When Romero was 12, his family moved to Tucson, Ariz. He didn’t know how to find Dodgers’ Spanish broadcaster Jaime Jarrin on the radio in Tucson. As he and his brother scanned through stations one day, they recognized the Dodgers’ names on an English station. They didn’t speak English at the time, but they knew their Dodgers.

The voice they heard was Vin Scully, and the brothers tuned in daily to keep up with their favorite Dodgers, especially Fernando Valenzuela. Romero learned English listening to Scully. He also realized his own dream.

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“I told myself, ‘I’m going to broadcast in Spanish one of these days, so no one goes to bed without listening to those games,’” Romero said. “It inspired me. It was exciting to listen and to think one day I could be doing the same thing.”

Now, Romero is in his 14th season as the Spanish broadcaster for the Astros. In the offseason, he broadcasts football and basketball games for the Arizona Wildcats. 

Romero earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona in 1994 and began to work in public health and politics. He had a good job with the county, so he kept sports at the back of his mind.

However, when he was offered a sports reporting job at Telemundo he jumped at the chance in 1998.

Francisco Romero paid dues in minors

At the same time, the Class AAA team of the Diamondbacks hired Romero as their director of Hispanic marketing and broadcast. 

“That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, this could happen someday,’” Romero said.

He fell in love with sports reporting and broadcasting. He found success in both areas quickly. In 2004, he produced a story about a Cuban triple jumper that garnered him an Emmy in sports reporting from the Rocky Mountain Chapter.

While reporting full-time, Romero continued earning more and more opportunities to broadcast sports — primarily baseball. He worked with the Diamondbacks before also broadcasting a number of games for the Twins and Brewers. He even did some work in the NBA and with the Arizona Cardinals. 

The opportunity he had dreamed of since he was a kid came in 2008. Romero was offered the full-time position as the Astros Spanish broadcaster.

“I have broadcast for other teams in other sports, but my goal was to broadcast with one team,” Romero said. “And lucky enough, it was the Astros.”

Romero is the only Spanish broadcaster to have broadcast games for six different Major League Baseball teams (Diamondbacks, Brewers, Twins, Reds, Royals and Astros). He was part of three teams’ Spanish broadcast debuts (Brewers, Reds and Royals).

The journey has taken him across the country, but it has not always been easy. 

“It’s very hard for teams to believe they need a Spanish broadcaster or that they need to broadcast in Spanish,” he said. “You have to convince the teams or organizations.You have to work twice as much as the English broadcaster so you can create credibility. Even though you do the same job, you have to do twice as much.”

Romero still has other dreams to fulfill

Even in his 14th year with the Astros, Francisco Romero is hardly slowing down. He wants to continue to broadcast for the Astros, while also earning a master’s degree or a PHD. He wants to own his own broadcasting business, teach college classes and perhaps write a couple of books.

When Romero received the Astros’ offer in 2008, he was unsure what to do at first. He had a good job with Telemundo and was able to still broadcast on the side. Ultimately it was his wife, who encouraged him to chase the dream that began when he was just 12 years old and listening to Vin Scully.

“The journey has been very, very nice,” Romero said. “It’s been very exciting to go through this to get to where I am now, which is the voice of the Astros.

“It’s been a treat on this journey.”

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