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  • Writer's pictureGrant McAuley

MDJ: Brandon Gaudin reflects on first year behind mic for Atlanta Braves

Brandon Gaudin and Jeff Francoeur
Brandon Gaudin alongside broadcast partner Jeff Francoeur (Bally Sports South)

For Brandon Gaudin, calling games for the Atlanta Braves was the realization of a dream.

That dream came true last February, when Gaudin was selected as the new television voice and lead play-by-play broadcaster for the Braves for Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast.

While 2023 may not have produced the storybook ending many hoped for the Braves, the season was still the ride of a lifetime for Gaudin.

“I’ve used the word ‘spoiled’ a lot, and I think it’s the right word,” Gaudin said. “To step into this role for me, a lifelong fan, was going to be a dream no matter what. If this team was 20 games below .500 and out of playoff contention, I still promise you I would be enjoying this gig.”

Gaudin, 39, was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, and began following the Braves by virtue of TBS. Ted Turner’s SuperStation broadcast the team’s games from coast to coast for nearly three decades, giving rise to an entire generation of fans that grew up with Ernie Johnson Sr., Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Don Sutton and Joe Simpson as the voices of their childhood.

Their backgrounds were varied but created a booth that was a veritable melting pot of styles. The warmth of Johnson, the quick wit of Caray and the perfectly calculated delivery of Van Wieren were together for decades, only to be strengthened when Sutton and Simpson joined the fray in the 1990s and brought with them the insights and experiences of their playing careers.

Those styles also influenced a generation of aspiring baseball broadcasters, including Gaudin.

By the time the Braves began their ascension in their 1990s heyday, Gaudin was hooked on the team. He even wrote a letter to Caray, to which he received a written response that included some sage industry advice, explaining the importance of studying the game and training his voice.

With that advice both in hand and in mind, Gaudin graduated from Butler University and embarked on a professional career which has included calling multiple sports, including a few years as the radio voice for Georgia Tech football, and even a run as the current voice of the Madden Football video game franchise for EA Sports.

That same kid who once celebrated the great Braves teams of his youth now finds himself in position to be the narrator for those moments and memories for the fans of today’s teams.

Having learned from the best, telling the story of each game is less a task and more a labor of love for Gaudin.

“Before I got this job, whether I was doing baseball or football or basketball, any time you step into a booth and you get to be a part of a sporting event, I always tell myself, ‘Even if you’re having a bad day, remember that there are people watching that are trying to release from being a lawyer, digging a ditch. Whatever it is, they want to have fun,’ and I want to try and be a part of that fun with them,” Gaudin said.

Gaudin, who took the headset after Chip Caray’s departure for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals, is also part of a broadcast team that he feels is as special as any in the game.

Alongside former Braves outfielder-turned-broadcaster Jeff Francoeur for most of the season, Gaudin formed a duo that is around the same age, which lends itself to a kinship that is rooted in Braves baseball.

“Certainly, the team made it easy, but the team that we get to work with every night, those guys are awesome,” Gaudin said. “Nobody has more fun in this world than Jeff Francoeur. You saw that from him as a player, but he’s just that way. He’s so positive. He’s so energetic. He’s hilarious, so having him next to me for most of these games has really been a thrill.”

Francoeur, who, like Gaudin, is also 39, spent parts of six seasons with Atlanta, exploding onto the scene as a rookie in 2005. Upon retiring as a player in 2016, Francoeur quickly found his way in front of the camera and behind the mic.

“I think it’s also helped (that) Jeff and I are born two weeks apart, so we just have a lot of things that come (naturally),” Gaudin said. “Now, he has four kids and I don’t have any, so that’s different. But the things that make us laugh, the silly humor, the way that we see the game is very similar, and that’s been a joy.”

Their humor and energy showed up big in their first season together, all while calling games during an incredible regular season for the Braves.

But it was not just a two-man show in the booth.

Gaudin also worked with Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, as well as former Braves pitcher Peter Moylan and infielder Nick Green. That wide range of ages, styles and experiences in the game created a unique synergy that varied from game to game.

“Getting to work with Tom and Smoltzie, for me, I had to pinch myself a little bit,” Gaudin admitted of calling games with two Braves legends. “Stepping into the booth for the first time with those guys was like, ‘Holy cow, these are the guys I grew up idolizing on the field throughout the ’90s.’ To get to call this game with them while we watch our beloved Braves was incredibly special.”


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