When LA Angels announcer/jack of all trades Trent Rush was growing up just a stones throw from Angel Stadium where his favorite team, the Angels played, he had visions of one day working as an announcer for the team.
Trent Rush’s earliest Angels baseball memory was back in the mid-1990’s when the now 27-year old Rush was only three years old. For his third birthday his parents took him and a group of 20 friends and family members to Angel Stadium for a game and ironically LA Angels radio analyst Mark Langston, who Rush would work alongside 20 years later, was on the mound that day for the Halos. Rush said that’s when his love affair with Angels baseball started and it has grown every day since. While Rush has only been working on various parts of the Angels broadcast for five seasons he is already a fixture at Angel Stadium.
“This is my fifth year working for the Angels. I’m telling this has been a dream come true to be a part of this organization,” said Rush with his patented smile that is dripping with the enthusiasm that he always seems to exude. “Angels baseball is the best being from Southern California all my life, I ‘ve always rooted for the Angels. It’s fun to be somewhere that has been home to me for so long. Angel Stadium continues to be that home and there are a lot of good people within this place that makes it a lot of fun.”
Rush never went through all the tough times that older Angels fans did such as the disappointments of 1979, 1982, and 1986 playoff losses. When Rush really started to follow Angels baseball was at the beginning of the Mike Scioscia era in 2000 and he said he could see the team was coming of age, even though he was just in elementary school.
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“I’m just a baby in my fandom. I don’t remember the struggles of the early years of the franchise, or how close the Angels came in the 80’s,” Rush said. “I remember the teams in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s struggling, but I could see this organization growing and getting better which led to the magical run in 2002.”
“Those were my formative years of sports and seeing the Angels when the championship in 2002 and the Ducks make their playoff run in 2003 had quite an affect on me.”
Rush started high school at Orange Lutheran High School loving sports and trying to be a part of it in any waypossible. He started playing football for the Lancers as a linebacker, but Rush said that didn’t go so well.
“I was the worst football player you have ever seen in your life. I was the only linebacker who couldn’t tackle. So I knew that broadcasting was something I had to get into if I wanted to be involved in sports,” said Rush of his time on the Orange Lutheran football team.
“Broadcasting was something I really started doing when i was 5 or 6 years old. I would go to my grandparents’ house and use their karaoke machine and pretend I was Regis Philbin, hosting talk shows interview my relatives. However, by the time I was 15 years old that’s when I starting doing games. It has grown every year since then and it’s been a blast.”
Rush continued his education at nearby Chapman University where he continued to hone his skills in hopes of being a professional broadcaster. Rush started calling games for Chapman and he also got a chance to do some internships including the ABC affiliate in Palm Desert where he even was able to do the nightly sportscast occasionally due to the station being short-staffed.
“Chapman was tremendous for understanding what I wanted to do and they gave me a lot of opportunities to get hands-on experience,” Rush said. “There were times I would call games and my analyst would ask me to go out and have a beer after the game, and I would have to tell him I can’t because I was only 18 at the time.”
Rush got his first big break right after college as Bob Agnew the program director at KLAA AM 830 at the time, called Rush’s professor looking for someone to do morning updates for the station. Rush’s professor asked him if he knew of anyone that could fill this role and Rush said “Me, I want to do it.” And the rest is history.
“It wasn’t a lot of pay starting out, but I was able to get in the door and my role has grown tremendously since them. I am very blessed,” Rush said. “I am very blessed. I love who I get to work with and I love what I’m doing every day and now here I am five years later.”
Rush has worked for the Angels both for the radio station KLAA and the television network Fox Sports West. You will see his interviews that he does with some of the players, he also host the post-game Angel Talk after every Angels’ home game on the radio side. He has also filled in on both the radio and TV broadcasts when on of the announcers is out for a game or even a series.
For Rush having the opportunity to work for his hometown team, the Angels has been a dream come true.
“It’s really cool. It feels like home. I’m able to stay connected to a lot of the people I have grown up and maintain friendships with people which can be pretty hard at times after high school.,” Rush said. “I just got really lucky to be able to work here for the Angels. I also announce other games like UCI basketball and have also worked with ESPN. It just been very cool to carve something out here in Southern California which I have been very lucky to get to do that.”
Rush role keeps evolving with the Angels and their broadcast partners as he has been given more and more opportunities as time goes on.
"“I am sort of like a utility man, a David Fletcher if you will. I don’t care where they put me in the line-up I just try to contribute wherever i can,” said Rush of his role with the Fox Sports and KLAA. “I have gotten a couple of opportunities to fill-in and do play-by-play or as an analyst which has been pretty cool. I still do morning updates and I do player reports for the team on the radio as well. I do whatever I can for them. Hosting Angels recap is a lot of fun as we have a great community there that I get to work with. That allows me to be the bridge between the fans and the team which is very important. All of this is a lot of fun, I love it.”"
Rush says he is living his dream every day he works for the Angels. His dream is about to get sweeter as Rush is about to get married to the love of his life Emily during the off-season and he couldn’t be happier about that.
“I’m getting hitched after the season, can’t wait for that day,” Rush said.
When asked about his favorite moment so far that he has had a chance to be a part of and Rush said it was a tough choice.
“Seeing Albert Pujols hit his 600th home run was the best moment to be a part of for me. It is a moment I will never forget. I got a chance to interview him after the game on the radio. Albert was great at it was special to see him do it in front of the home fans,” Rush said. “I have yet to work a playoff game, hopefully it happens soon. Individual accomplishments are great, but there is nothing like seeing the team have success.”
However Rush brought another special memory for him that most people would not even notice which is when the Angels called up Cesar Puello earlier this season and he had such great success after being a career minor leaguer.
“Cesar (Puello) had spent 10 years in pro baseball and finally gets called up and has an amazing first couple of days hitting a home run stealing some bases. It was great to see,” Rush said. “Those are the kind of guys you really root for those guys who show great perseverance.”
The biggest thing you will notice about Trent Rush is his endless enthusiasm for the game of baseball and the Angels. He always seems to be upbeat and has been sort of a goodwill ambassador for the Angels the way that Tommy Lasorda has been for the Dodgers throughout the years.
Rush reminds me of another goodwill ambassador that the Angels used to have in the broadcast booth which is current Royals broadcaster Rex “The Wonderdog” Hudler. Hudler always had the type of enthusiasm for the Angels and baseball as well. When I mentioned this to Rush he smiled and said it was amazing to be compared to the “Wonderdog”.
“That is an unbelievable humbling thing to say. (Comparing Rush to Hudler). I have the utmost respect for Rex Hudler and what he did for the Angels. He is the best guy, he is a whirlwind when we walks into a room he just lights it up,” Rush said. “I am so envious of the charisma and personality that Rex Hudler has, because he’s great, he’s cooky, and he is nuts. But you can’t help but love him.”
What Rush said has helped him the most is all the members of the Angels broadcast team who have looked out for him since he joined the Angels family.
“It’s very rare to have a broadcast group like we have here that is made up of all good dudes,” Rush said. “Victor Rojas has been a mentor to me since day one. Terry Smith has been an unbelievable mentor. What he has taught me about broadcasting and being a professional has been amazing. Mark Langston, Tim Salmon have given me a great player perspective. Jose Mota was a great help this Spring when I did some play-by-play for some Spring Training games helped me so much. There is a special thing going here with this Angels organization. It’s been a true pleasure to be a part of for the last five years.”
As for what Rush tries to exude himself when he is on the air, or even when he is going around the stadium or around town, he says he wants to always try to be positive.
"“Here’s the thing. I love the Angels, I love baseball, and I love Southern California, and I love our fans. I hope that I can express this love to everyone I contact with. I know how fortunate I am to have the position that I do and be able to be on the air and be able to talk about the team. I am an optimist. I hope to create a positive vibe for people when they come to the ball park so they can enjoy a great night and watch some baseball,” Rush said. “I hope that the fans can sink their teeth into this wonderful game of baseball and forget about their problems for awhile. If we can have fun chat after the game over a good meal or some drinks, that’s the type of experience I would want to have as a fan. That’s what I try to bring to the fans too. I think that connection is so important it means the world to me.”"
In the future Rush knows it is possible that he may have to move elsewhere in order to achieve his ultimate goal of being a full-time play-by-play announcer, but he hopes that he can be an Angel for life.
“The broadcasting business is crazy and I know that I may have to go somewhere else sometime in the future, but I hope that day never comes. I want to be here for life,” Rush said. “I want to be here for 50 years and retire as Angel. That is my goal.”
In getting to know Trent Rush through a mutual friend of ours and working side-by-side with him whenever I cover Angel games, I can tell you that you will be hard-pressed to find a better person who loves the game of baseball like Trent Rush. He is definitely a genuine article and the Angels are lucky to have him in the fold and hopefully they will keep him there for many years to come.