“I heard through a friend that the team was thinking about bringing back a live organist,” muses Bobby Cressey. “They hadn’t had one since they moved to Petco Park. I’ve always been a big baseball fan and they were going to bring the organ back as a part of ‘Throwback Thursday.’ That really inspired me — I totally hustled my ass off in an effort to get the gig. I tracked down the CEO in the pre-season and gave him my card. After that, I must have called and emailed them a dozen times. I even made a video of me playing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ and sent it to them.
“After a couple of months they finally called me and I went in for an audition. I had to haul in my own stuff. It wasn’t really a structured audition — they kind of stood back while I did a loose, impromptu presentation — it felt uncomfortable and I was sure that I didn’t get the gig but a couple of weeks later they called and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We started out kind of slow back in 2010, just for the Thursday home games, but now I do day games and Sundays, so it ends up being 20 or 30 games a year.”
Cressey likes to mix things up, which can lead to awkward situations. “Sundays are ‘military days’ and the team always tries to honor the troops. A soldier sings the anthem and planes fly overhead. For a while I’d do a medley of the anthems, until a Marine came up and asked me to chill. I didn’t really know that each time I played it, they were required to stand at attention — not very relaxing for them!”
When he’s not wrapped up with the home team, Cressey stays busy with a variety of gigs. “I’ve always been involved in pop music. I play a ton of gigs with the Mighty Untouchables, and I do shows with singer-songwriters like Tiffy Jane, plus I try to squeeze in as many jazz gigs as possible.”
The keyboard man has been in the studio putting together his first album, Cali Native, featuring 20 local musicians, including Zak Najor on drums, Omar Lopez on bass, and Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet.