Garner resident Hayes Permar made a pretty good switch this season.
He swapped paying to watch 15 to 20 professional baseball games to being paid to watch 80. He traded paying for his ball park food to getting it for free.
And instead of entertaining the people sitting around him with his unsolicited commentary, he now entertains the entire stadium as the public address announcer for the Carolina Mudcats.
“Pretty good deal, huh?” Permar said. “I don’t know how you beat it.”
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Permar, 36, is in his first season as the stadium voice of the Mudcats, but he got his start on the P.A. as a high school student at Broughton High.
He did the public announcing for the Caps’ girls soccer games during an era when Coach Izzy Hernandez’s clubs were annual state contenders.
He stayed at the microphone for a couple of years after he graduated and even did some of the state championship games during the period. He later went to radio station 850 The Buzz and quickly learned to produce local radio.
Permar is best known as the producer of the syndicated “The David Glenn Show.” In recent years, his role has expanded from running the sound board to include lining up guests and going on air. During the summer months when there are guest hosts, he helps fill the three-hour show with his insights and opinions.
The move to Five County Stadium was a surprise.
The Mudcats were making some changes to their game day operations for this season and gave him a call.
The fit has been good, said Joe Kremer, the Mudcats’ vice president and general manager.
“I don’t think Hayes has ever has a bad day,” Kremer said. “He brings a lot of energy to anything that he does. He has energy and his excitement shows. He comes in and it brightens everyone’s day.”
But Permar is more than the voice of a cheerleader.
“He is a professional,” Kremer said. “He wants the job done the right way. He has been a great addition to our team. And he is very much a part of a group of guys in the booth that want to make the game as enjoyable as possible for our fans.”
A summer filled with watching 80 Carolina League baseball games is not drudgery to Permar. In fact, it is exciting.
“The way the schedule works, it isn’t like you go to the stadium 80 straight days,” he said. “There may be a seven or eight-day home stand and then the team goes on the road. When they leave town, I’m off. It is like going on vacation every other week.
“What it does mean, though, is that I have to plan better. I can go to the beach this weekend, but not next weekend or the next weekend.”
He enjoys the games, regardless of the score.
“I love the game. I love baseball,” he said. “And there is great drama some nights. I really enjoy watching the strategy.
“In the minor leagues, the top priority is to prepare the players to play at the next level so you watch the individual players progress, but they try to win every game.”
And in the booth, there are games within the games.
“We are together in the booth so much that there are inside jokes,” he said. “We know the official scorer is going to want a reply on close plays to determine if it was a hit or an error. He lets us know he wants a reply by banging on the wall.
“So whenever there is a close play, we all bang the wall.“
The P.A. job is a great fit for his lifestyle, Permar said. He gets off his David Glenn job soon after the show wraps up at 3 p.m., and has a little down time before heading to Zebulon’s Five County Stadium.
The next morning he scans the internet to stay current with the sports world and works on lining up guests for upcoming shows.
Literally, he can do that job in bed.
He has to get dressed, though, to go to the radio station before heading to the ball park again to become the anonymous voice from high above the stadium.
“For a single guy who loves sports, it is pretty good work,” he said.