Renel Brooks-Moon still remembers when she got the call to try out for the big leagues. It came in the form of a voice mail from a member of the San Francisco Giants marketing staff asking if she would be interested in auditioning to become the team's public address announcer. Three auditions later, the longtime radio and TV broadcaster got the gig as the official voice of the Giants, a title she has held for the past 15 years.
Her path to the announcer's booth began while growing up in the Bay Area, where she attended A's and Giants games with her baseball-loving parents. Today, Brooks-Moon, 56, is in the midst of calling her fourth World Series, and she remains the only female PA announcer currently in Major League Baseball. Three women have held the title full-time in MLB history.
Before taking the microphone for Game 4 of the World Series, Brooks-Moon took time to talk with espnW about everything from who her favorite player is to announce to where she keeps her two World Series rings.
By getting the call out of the blue to audition for the Giants, it seems like your job is a dream you didn't know existed.
"You know, I say that all the time. People ask me, 'Did I aspire to do this?' And I say, 'This wasn't possible for me when I was a little girl.' This [job] has exceeded my wildest dreams. One of the most rewarding things now is that it is a possibility. I am thrilled that I am able to open up the door and have young girls and young women see that anything is possible."
When did you know you had a great voice?
"It's really been in the last few years that I've acknowledged it and made the connection that this is my dad's voice. I give all the credit for this voice to my father. And everything that I do as a living now is everything I enjoyed as a little girl and young woman with my dad."
Have you found that voice inflections come into play while announcing a game?
"Definitely. My delivery will change depending on the flow of the game. I'll punch it during [certain] game situations; other situations I'll bring it down a little bit. I just try and feed off the energy of the crowd and the game action on the field."
Has there been a player's name that's left you tongue-tied?
"There was a name last season for the Miami Marlins. I looked at it, and I was like, 'Whoa. I can't even guess on this one.' It was Adeiny Hechavarria. I will now never forget [how to pronounce] Adeiny Hechavarria for as long as I live."
Whose name is your favorite to announce?
"It's the simplest name of all, but it's Buster Posey because he gets the most applause. I love the energy [of the fans]. They're anticipating and waiting for me to say his name, so I can feel the energy in the house. I also love the Latin names because they're beautiful names to pronounce. And Nomar Garciaparra when he played against us. He was fun to announce."
What is it like announcing in the World Series?
"It is beyond thrilling. It's exciting. It's nerve-racking. It's stressful, but it is the absolute most fun."
This is your fourth World Series. Does it ever get old?
"Never. Never. Never. It never gets old. I'm almost embarrassed to say this is my fourth World Series. It sounds like I'm bragging, but there are PA announcers who have been doing this since long before I came along and have not even been to one and I'm in my fourth now, so that is not lost on me. I am blessed and extremely fortunate.
"It's crazy. This little girl who didn't even know this would be possible for her one day is in her fourth World Series as PA announcer for her childhood baseball team. It's another I've-got-to-pinch-myself kind of moment."
The Giants have won two World Series during your tenure. Do you ever wear your World Series rings?
"I do. I've been wearing them in the postseason. I think they bring good mojo. They are otherwise in a safety deposit box."
Being the die-hard Giants fan that you are, is cheering allowed in the announcer's booth?
"It is allowed within reason, and we do a lot of it. When Travis Ishikawa hit that walk-off home run to send us [to the World Series], I threw my headphones off, I jumped up, and I started waving a rally rag. I couldn't help myself. And then all the fans in Section 214, they're coming up and high-fiving me through the window. I think I earned the right to cheer in that moment."
Do opposing players get announced as enthusiastically as the Giants do?
"No, they absolutely do not. They get respect, but they get no enthusiasm. We're in a battle here. I'm not giving them anything."
In that battle, what do you see your role as during the game?
"I call myself the host of the game. It's not my job to be a cheerleader by any means. I have to respect the game, but if the game action calls for more enthusiasm, that's when I'll punch my delivery.
"After I give the final totals for the game, fans are walking by the booth window, they're shaking my hand, they're high-fiving me, and so many of them say, 'Thank you, Renel.' It's like I host a receiving line after the games, so that's what I told my husband. 'I think my role is as their host.'"
What is the view like from the booth?
"Best seat in the house. On the club level right behind home plate. Best seat in the house. It's ridiculous."
What is it like knowing your scorecard from Game 3 of the 2002 World Series is in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
"That just blew my mind. I'm already a nervous wreck [calling the game], I get through the game, and all of sudden here comes a representative from Major League Baseball saying, 'We'd like your scorecard, and we'd like to put it in Cooperstown. You're the first woman to [announce a World Series game].' I almost passed out."
What is most rewarding about your job?
"Opening up possibilities for young girls. I have so many little girls that come tell me they want to do what I do one day, and I always tell them, 'Well, I've got to retire sometime. Start practicing. Get ready.'
"Don't get me wrong. I love all the great perks that come with this gig, but what is most important to me is that what I'm doing matters for generations to come, especially for young women. That's absolutely the most rewarding part of this job."
All right, time for some quick-hit questions. If you had a walk-up song, what would it be?
"It's 'I'm Every Woman.' The Whitney Houston version."
Must-haves in the announcer's booth.
"Water and throat lozenges."
Have you ever worn a panda hat while announcing Pablo Sandoval's name?
"That I haven't done because that would mess up the hair. We all know it's important to have a good hair day, especially during the World Series."
Which player from the past would you have loved to have called up to the plate?
"Jackie Robinson. Without a doubt."
Most prized souvenir from over the years?
"Something other than the rings?"
No, rings can count.
"Rings can count? Well, and this is going to be one of the craziest things I've ever said, I was a bobblehead in 2007."