While Stuccio says that the Hershey job is a dream come true, he also is fully aware of the huge challenge of replacing Walton, who enjoyed amazing popularity while doing the Bears’ games. Though Stuccio gained experience when he replaced Grace, and prior to that by replacing popular meteorologists Berry Bird and Barry Finn in the Scranton area, he said that experience never makes the task of replacing popular personalities any less daunting.
“It doesn’t get an easier, to be quite honest, and it’s no fun at all. You have a target on your back, and you’re under the microscope or whatever cliché you want to use. I realize that’s what it’s going to be like for me in the beginning in Hershey, especially for a guy like me who tries to please as many people as possible and who tries to listen to people’s suggestions about things that I should or shouldn’t do. I love to meet the fans and come to know them on a name basis. With my demanding schedule that can be tough to do, but that’s just the kind of person that I am.”
“John’s been the only broadcaster the team has had since they’ve been in Giant Center, but I consider it an unbelievable honor to be in the long line of famed Bears’ broadcasters. Although I fully anticipate getting some negative press right off the bat because that’s just human nature, I can’t and won’t let that cloud my plans of the way I do games and bring the excitement to the fans with the broadcast.”
So, what should fans expect from Stuccio’s broadcast? Will it be similar to Walton’s, or will it be different? Will he have a signature call like Walton’s familiar, “Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight!”, or will he wing it on his goal calls?
“I’m just going to come in and broadcast the games to the best of my ability,” said Stuccio. “I’m not going to be a guy who comes in and says ‘I want this going here and that going there.’ John had a format that was very successful and I’m going to stick to that formula. Now as far as the social media aspect, John had no peers in this league and that is even more incredible since he did it by himself. However, I’m going to give it my best effort to try to maintain a high standard of excellence in that category.”
“As far as goal calls, I’ve never really had a signature one, but I have had one or two players that Wilkes-Barre had that when they scored a goal, something came out off the top of my head. As far as John’s calls and what he said, that stuff was awesome; but as far as if I’m going into this with a preconceived call? No, it will be a totally on the fly thing because my philosophy is that’s the way to do play-by-play, adlib and fresh.”
“I try to bring every detail of the game to the listener, and sometimes I go into such great detail that I tire myself out doing so. I’ve learned to dial back on doing that a little so that I can have enough energy to finish the game with the same enthusiasm that I started with. I get very excited calling the action, particularly when it’s a good moment for my team, but I can also get as equally excited when the opposition makes a good play.”