We fondly refer to the Washington Nationals radio team with a joint nickname of “C&D”. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler are fixtures and rarely ever have missed a regular season game in their 12+ seasons together. The duo has Jack Hicks, who is there sound engineer and referred to as “The Jack of all Things” and also their hard-working interns. They all form the popular radio team calling every one of the 162 Nationals regular season games along with Spring Training games and the post-season games.
This season would be different as Charlie knew late last year that his son Alex was graduating from High School while the Nationals were playing the Pittsburgh, and he would take two days off.
Like a true call-up of a minor leaguer, C&D decided that Kevin Brown who is in his 7th season with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs should make his MLB debut for the two games in the Pittsburgh series while Charlie stayed back in Maryland.
“Dave [Jageler] called me in February and said this might be a possibility,” Kevin Brown explained. “It wasn’t confirmed until the end of April — he sent me an email to let me know when it was official.”
Dave Jageler actually graduated from Syracuse University and began his professional career broadcasting Syracuse Chiefs baseball on Time Warner Cable and the Empire Sports Network, and knew Kevin Brown already. Eric Gallanty and Kevin Brown have been the radio team for the Syracuse Chiefs for the past three years.
Let's play some baseball… pic.twitter.com/DnLcxTagt2
— Kevin Brown (@kevinnbrown) May 16, 2017
“I had a few butterflies in my stomach,” Brown said about stepping up to the microphone. “But it was never overly nerve-wracking. I was more in awe. Dave [Jageler] and Jack [Hicks] are absolute professionals. They were as welcoming as I could have hoped.”
Brown’s first home run call would be a player he was familiar with as a Syracuse farmhand — Wilmer Difo. The Nationals have moved top prospect Difo back and forth the past two seasons between Syracuse and Washington.
“It was rather amusing that Wilmer Difo was my first home-run call,” Brown said. “Over the last three years, we’ve constantly thought we’d see Difo, only for him to bounce back and forth between Double-A and the majors. I had seen one Wilmer Difo game before Tuesday — the final game of 2016. Go figure.”
Kevin Brown also got to call the Bryce Harper laser beam home run to rightfield that Devin DeCaro from the Syracuse area retrieved the baseball. DeCaro was wearing a Syracuse Chiefs cap and Brown noticed him on his way into the stadium. We wondered if DeCaro was there to see Brown, but he said it was a total coincidence. DeCaro told us that Brown invited him up to the booth for a future Chiefs game. On the broadcast the next night, Brown got to talk about that home run, and mentioned our article in which we interviewed DeCaro.
The Nationals television crew of Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo made a thoughtful on-air shout-out to Kevin Brown on the MASN broadcast. Part of the discussion was on how young Brown looked and if he shaved. That led us to ask who has more facial hair, Kevin or Trea Turner, and also if he knew he was shown on MASN:
“I was aware of that — F.P. came into our booth before the bottom of the fourth and told us. I tried to play it cool, although I thought about winking to the camera. And anyone has more facial hair than me. The bearded lady at the fair, Trea Turner, whoever.”
As for any errors, there weren’t any. Kevin Brown was flawless. We enjoyed him describing Pirates’ pitcher Chad Kuhl batting and not fully running out a grounder that Brown described as getting 35% of the way down the line. Brown had many great moments on-air.
“As for tidbits…nothing much I can think of, honestly,” Brown recalled. “I will say it was a bit odd to be on the other end of the player moves. Usually I’m the first to know down in Syracuse when a player is going up – so imagine my surprise when I walked into our clubhouse and the first person I saw was Matt Grace. We exchanged ‘what are you doing here?’ comments to each other.”
Major League dreams don’t come often. Kevin Brown got his call-up and made the most of it. For now, Brown is back to the Chiefs radio booth, and also continuing his work as the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Syracuse Chiefs. For the future, who knows what the next opportunity will be for Kevin Brown.