It's spring, which means baseball: Cracker Jacks, pop flies and strikes. For the 2016 San Diego Padres, it also means a new addition -- an official DJ.
He's 30-year-old Art Romero, who's meshed a lifelong devotion to baseball with his enthusiasm for music and is now "responsible for the energy of 20,000 to 40,000 people," as he puts it.
It's a dream job, says Romero, who goes by DJ Artform, "two passions of mine fused into one." He grew up a Padre fan, and as a kid was neighbors with Friar pitcher Ed Whitson. Romero went on to pitch himself, playing baseball in high school and college. After earning his degree in 2009, he started spinning records, and now, almost 10 years later, it's come full circle.
It seems easy enough -- playing Top 40 hits, selecting songs for batting practice, taking player requests -- but Romero says it's more than that. And even on his days off, when there isn't a home game, he gets to the office (Petco Park) between 8:30 and 9 a.m. because "the level of prep is higher." It's 10 hours of homework for a three-hour game. There's a daily script he goes over, playlists to edit and player PR reps to contact. "Pressure is a privilege," he says. "I'm testing my limits."
He's focused, staying on top of his responsibilities and taking advantage of the downtime outside of his new gig. "I've never slept so good. I've been exhausted," he says. "The best thing is being able to show up to the ballpark for 'work.'"