Public address announcer makes the right call for Skeeters
Shane Brown has been announcing games since day one –
By Joe Southern
Shane Brown talks to everyone at each Sugar Land Skeeters game at Constellation Field but very few fans recognize him in person.
That’s because it’s his voice they hear as the public address announcer at the 5-year-old ballpark.
“I’ve been here since day one as the PA announcer,” he said.
Whether he’s introducing players, teasing the mascot Swatson or plugging a sponsor, Brown’s steady voice rings with enthusiasm as he keeps guests at the ballpark informed about all the happenings there. His voice is as much a staple at Constellation Field as the Texas-shaped scoreboard or Manager Gary Gaetti in the dugout.
“A Skeeters game without Shane Brown at the helm is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter; it’s just not the same,” said Tyler Stamm, who directs the production at each home game.
Originally from Kentucky, Brown, 47, makes his living as an English teacher and basketball coach at Dobie High School in Pasadena and does the announcing part-time for the Skeeters.
“It’s a pretty cool summer gig for a teacher,” he said.
As a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds, his fandom began on the tail end of the Big Red Machine era. That naturally begs the question about his opinion about Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball and the Hall of Fame. Brown said he cannot condone Rose’s betting on baseball, however, “it’s hard for me to deny him the right to be in the Hall of Fame based on what he did on the field.”
Brown’s journey to Sugar Land began when he was dating his wife Stacy at Harding University while they were graduate students. They decided they would go wherever one of them got the best job offer after graduation. She got a teaching job at Westbury Christian School so they came here in 1993.
“I got a teaching and coaching job there as well,” he said.
He has been a basketball coach for 21 years, 10 of that at the college level. He was an assistant coach at Rice University and at Houston Baptist. Today he teaches and coaches at Dobie High and his wife is an assistant principal at Lexington Creek Elementary. They will be married 22 years this month and have two children, Rachel, 20, and Caleb, 15.
While he was at Westbury Christian School, he did some public address announcing at games, which was all the experience he had when the Skeeters held their hiring fair before the inaugural season in 2012.
“My wife signed me up for this,” he said.
Brown said he had no plans to apply for the job. He came home one day and Stacy informed him that she filled out the application for him. He got the call to audition and he went, never expecting it to go anywhere.
“I stood behind a curtain doing these reads off a script,” he said. “When I was done I thought that was fun.”
The surprise came when they called him back for a second audition. This time it was in the press box at Fort Bend Christian Academy. Again, he was reading from a script when a guy came up behind him, slapped a piece of paper down and said that a baby is lost and an announcement needed to be made. A few minutes later it happened again, only this time it was a car that needed to be moved quickly.
The stranger turned out to be General Manager Matt O’Brien who was testing him under fire. Once again Brown left feeling like he had blown it. Once again the Skeeters called. They wanted to hire him as the backup announcer. Two weeks before the first game the one they hired first left for another job and they promoted Brown to the lead position behind the mic.
When Opening Day arrived, Brown was stressed out and nervous.
“It was the most miserable experience I’ve ever had,” he said.
The Skeeters were playing the York Revolution. He managed to mispronounce the visiting manager’s name, called the Revolution the Rebellion and even called the Skeeters the Skeezers.
“If you could name it I screwed it up,” he said.
He went home just knowing he would be fired. They didn’t fire him. The organization helped him through it. Now it’s second nature to him.
“While Shane denies it every time, he has the highest job security of any of our employees,” Stamm said.
Brown enjoys coming out to the games and working with the production crew under the direction of Stamm.
“I absolutely love it,” Brown said. “It’s an opportunity to be at the ballpark … There is something special about being at the ballpark.”
Brown has a lot of memories at Constellation Field. Among them are the excitement of the first time the team clinched the playoffs and another came when he embarrassed his daughter and her new boyfriend when she brought him to his first game. He arranged to have them appear on the big screen while he gave a special welcome.
He enjoys doing fun things with and for the fans. This season he has begun picking on opposing players while playing a clip from “Titanic.” Sometimes the production crew tries to prank him by playing it without telling him.
“They like to see if they can trip me up,” he said.
“He knows every single word of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ and regularly shows off his rapping abilities during slower games,” Stamm said.
Although the crew jokes around a lot when the mic is off, they do take their work seriously.
“I want to help create a memorable fan experience,” Brown said. “I take a lot of pride and ownership in that I get to do that.”
“While I could go on and on about how Shane is already one of the best in the business when it comes to PA announcing, the thing I love about Shane the most is how hard he works in order to support his family,” Stamm said. “A typical day for Shane during April and May consists of working at school and then ballpark from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. … then he wakes up the next morning and does it all again. He is a true role model and example as to what any family man should strive to be.”