Josh Christian | Photography Editor
Radio personality Todd Graffagnini, better known simply as “Graff,” has been calling Tulane sporting events for more than 20 years. Known for his energetic commentary, sassy quips, his phrase “hang them, bang them baby” and enthusiastic play-by-play, Graffagnini has become a Tulane staple.
A New Orleans native, Loyola graduate and former baseball pitcher, Graffagnini dreamed of a career in sports and began practicing to be a sportscaster when he was just a boy.
“My grandmother had tapes of me looking at the television when I was five or six years old talking into a tape recorder,” Graffagnini said. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Starting in 1992, his audience grew beyond the confines of his living room.
“I was very lucky in 1992. Ken Berthelot was the voice for the Green Wave, and I introduced myself to him, and my younger brother Kyle [was a freshman on the] baseball team,” Graffagnini said. “[And he] said ‘look we’re doing a game on Wednesday how would you like to sit in?’ I said ‘absolutely,’ and that was 25 years ago.”
Since the fateful day in 1992, Graffagnini has worked with professional teams such as the New Orleans Hornets, now known as the Pelicans, as a studio host; the Zephyrs, now known as the Baby Cakes and participated in New Orleans’ sports talk radio. Despite these other engagements, Tulane remains his main job.
Graffagnini does not wing anything and puts in hours of preparation before going on air.
“I go to scouting meetings, I prepare what I’m expecting from our opponents, I go to our meetings to see how coaches are talking to our players, and I go to practice,” Graffagnini said. “I’m pretty prepared in all three sports, not just baseball, over the course of the academic year. I have a pretty good idea of what’s happening.”
In the 20+ years Graffagnini has dedicated to the Wave, he has seen the players on various athletic teams grow and develop. From seeing them at practice every day to going on road games, Graffagnini is an essential part of the Tulane athletic experience.
Graffagnini also witnessed some of the greatest moments in Tulane sports history over the years.
“The third out of the 2001 super regional at Zephyr field when we went to the College World Series for the first time, we beat LSU,” Graffagnini said. “The third out call was probably my best moment as a broadcaster.”
While that moment stands out to Graffagnini, many know him for his thrilling reaction to a Jake Rodgers home run back in 2016. Media outlets everywhere covered his commentary, and Fox Sports deemed it “the best home run call of the year.” For Graffagnini, “[the homerun reaction] was fun, but it didn’t get us to Omaha.”
Once the headphones are removed and the microphone is turned off, Graffagnini lets out laughter that immediately fills the room. When he isn’t providing sports commentary, coming up with sassy comebacks or hanging out with his daughter, he pursues his other passions.
“I am the greatest air musician of all time,” Graffagnini said. “I also worked at Cat’s Meow back in 1995. I was an emcee, so I can sing too.”
Amid the jokes and laughter, Graffagnini is appreciative every day that those childhood dreams became his reality.
“I’m pretty lucky in the sense that I literally am living the dream,” Graffagnini said. “A lot of people I know would love to do what I do and again just being someone who always wanted to get into this and am actually doing it, not a lot of people in life can say that, so it’s pretty awesome.”