Keeley said his love of baseball began at an early age in his native Penticton.
“I loved the game but didn’t have any scouts following my career so by the age of 13 I decided to go into broadcasting,” he said. “I learned how to keep score and eventually they let me start doing PA work when I was about 13 or 14.”
He remained involved in the game after moving to Abbotsford, taking on a number of roles with Abbotsford Minor Baseball when his children began playing. Keeley coached, umpired and did field prep work during those years, and eventually returned to the booth to announce Abbotsford Angels games.
It’s not only minor baseball that Keeley has lent his golden voice, as he has also announced both the 2004 and 2016 BC Summer Games in Abbotsford, several provincial tournaments and a national women’s tournament in Whalley.
He’s witnessed some of the best young talent in the province at the BCPBL level, and has seen the first step for a number of players that have gone on to success in the MLB.
“Some of the skills these kids have are just off the charts,” he said.
“Probably one of the most memorable would have been Justin Morneau. I actually umpired a game for him too when he was a catcher – he was a great player. More recently, Micheal Saunders was a spectacular player for Victoria.”
Morneau went on to have a memorable career in the big leagues, and earned the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 while playing for the Minnesota Twins.
Saunders, who has played for the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, was an MLB all-star in 2016.
Keeley has also introduced big league players like Adam Loewen, Jeff Francis, Brett Lawrie and James Paxton to local baseball fans.
Last year was a milestone for the Cardinals organization, as the senior team won its first ever championship and Keeley was there to announce the club as champions at DeLair Park. The emotions he felt were apparent to anyone in attendance.
“I was just a little choked up,” he joked. “The Cards have always been kind of a middle-of-the-pack team, but last year was one of those teams that just decided they weren’t going to lose. They got hot at the right time.”
Keeley said he couldn’t do the job without the support of his wife Doreen and son Mike, who are often helping him with the scoreboard and other details.
He said it’s an honour to officially be the voice of the BCPBL, and wants to continue calling Cardinals games and the championship series for as long as possible.
“As long as I’m helping out the team and as long as they’ll have me, I’ll keep doing it,” he said. “I think the kids seem to enjoy it, and my main goal is to lend a little professionalism and atmosphere to the game.”
Keeley heads to the BCPBL finals in Coquitlam starting on July 20, and then to the BCJBL finals in Victoria on July 27.
For more on the league, visit bcpbl.com.