When MASN Sports Orioles reporter Roch Kubatko headed to Ed Smith Stadium one day during spring training in 2014, he couldn’t have anticipated how his life was about to change. Nor could he have imagined who would help affect that change.
Kubatko had arranged to meet with Emily Alt so she could interview him for her writing class at Towson University while she was in Sarasota, Fla. After Kubatko wasn’t able to find her before the game, he headed into the press box to prepare for that day’s game. It didn’t take long, though, for Kubatko to be alerted by Wanda Domoracki that Alt was outside the press box, though Domoracki sensed that Kubatko was particularly busy on this day.
“When I went in the press box, I almost hated to tell him that there was someone out there,” Domoracki said. “I said, ‘Roch, there’s this young lady out there that would love to talk to you, something about an interview.’ And you could tell that he was almost thinking of saying no. He had a lot of work to do. And I said, ‘Roch, she’s cute.’ And with that, he just laughed. He said, ‘OK. I’ll go and talk to her.’ And of course I said, ‘Roch, this is Emily. Emily, of course you know that this is Roch.’ And that was it.”
Alt interviewed Kubatko for her class, and the pair hit it off. They went out to dinner that night and agreed they’d hang out with one another once they got back to Baltimore. They’ve been dating for nearly six years and recently bought a house together. Domoracki loves that she introduced the two.
“She always makes it a point whenever Emily’s visiting in spring training to give us both hugs,” Kubatko said. “She wrote Emily a note for me to pass on to her to say just how happy she was that we’re together. Emily and I agree: If Wanda had just chased her away … or hadn’t passed along the message, we probably never would have met.”
That Domoracki was, in her words, “really a Cupid at one point,” is just one anecdote connected to her job working security outside of the Ed Smith Stadium press box. She’s had the job since the Orioles moved their spring operations to Sarasota in 2010. And that job is merely a small part of what’s been a remarkable journey with her husband, Chester, who works security outside of the Orioles’ clubhouse at Ed Smith.
Wanda, 85, and Chester, 88, will celebrate their 65th anniversary July 2. They have six children — Darcy, Jack, Jim, Gary, Karen and Christine — and 15 grandchildren. Though they’ve never lived in the Baltimore area, they’re familiar with the region since Jim is the former athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Annapolis Area Christian School.
“We are so fortunate,” Wanda said of her family. “We always have a good time. In fact, this past Christmas, four of our six children and their children celebrated Christmas with us. We’re Polish, and we have a very Polish tradition at Christmastime. They want to keep that tradition going.”
Wanda is from Michigan, while Chester — nicknamed “Chet” — is from Massachusetts. They met at now-closed Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pa. Wanda graduated from Alliance in 1955, the same year she married Chester. She majored in English at Alliance, then took extra courses to become a teacher, a job she held before starting a family.
Chester played baseball at Alliance for four years — he was a center fielder — and graduated in 1953. He went to Kent State to pursue a Master’s degree in mathematics but fate got in the way; in 1955, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served until 1957. He was stationed in Panama with a Machine Records Unit at Fort Amador, the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Chester and Wanda’s first daughter, Darcy, was born in Panama.
Chester began working in the software business in 1957 after he got out of the service. He and his wife owned Massachusetts-based software company SOTAS International from 1984-1998. In 2000, they moved to Sarasota, where they’ve lived ever since.
“We’ve done a lot career-wise. We’ve had our own software company, and we’ve had customers literally — not around the globe but Europe, Asia Pacific, Singapore, Australia — and we did a lot with our kids,” Chester said. “They all played sports. We did a lot of skiing, a lot of tennis-playing. I’m still playing golf, and I recently shot my age.”
For the 11th straight year, Wanda is working security outside the press box for the Orioles’ games at Ed Smith Stadium, while Chester is down by the clubhouse. Wanda is tasked with keeping fans from wandering into the press box, and when someone needs to see a media member, she helps facilitate that meeting. She’s also cultivated friendships with the longtime Orioles beat writers, including BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Rich Dubroff, who called her “a most delightful presence.”
“I haven’t met anybody quite like her,” Dubroff said. “It’s just great to see her, her energy and her optimism.”
Wanda enjoys working with the writers just as much as they like working with her.
“I can’t say more about them other than they’ve made my job very, very easy,” Wanda said. “They’re very pleasant, they’re courteous. What can I say? I just love my job.”
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Wanda Domoracki and Roch Kubatko
Originally published Feb. 18, 2020