Brandon Gaudin lands dream job as Braves play-by-play voice for Bally Sports

Former Georgia Tech broadcaster Brandon Gaudin. (Photo by Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Former Georgia Tech broadcaster Brandon Gaudin. (Photo by Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Last week, Brandon Gaudin’s phone rang with a call from his agent, Maury Gostfrand.

“This is probably it, one way or the other,” Gaudin thought, fully knowing a decision from Bally Sports South and Southeast loomed.

Gostfrand delivered the news that came from Jeff Genthner, the senior vice president and general manager at Bally Sports South/Southeast: The network had chosen Gaudin as the next play-by-play announcer for Braves games, which is one of the country’s premier broadcasting jobs.


“Are you going to say anything?” Gostfrand asked Gaudin.

“Yeah, yeah, I got it. I heard you,” Gaudin told him. “I can’t believe this. I just need a second to kind of soak this all in.”

After years and years of dreaming, Gaudin had landed his dream job.

“I was just kind of speechless,” Gaudin said. “There was five seconds there where I just kind of sat back in my chair, and I just said, ‘Wow.’ But I didn’t even voice, ‘Wow’ – I just kind of mouthed, ‘Wow.’”

Gaudin is the new play-by-play broadcaster for Braves games on Bally Sports South/Southeast, replacing Chip Caray, who departed to call St. Louis Cardinals games.

Gaudin, 39, has worked as the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network for the past seven years, broadcasting MLB and NFL and college football and basketball games.

You may also know Gaudin’s voice from the “Madden NFL” video game, made by EA Sports. He has been the video game’s play-by-play voice since “Madden NFL 17.

From 2013-16, Gaudin worked as the voice of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, calling football, men’s basketball and baseball games before moving to network television. He has lived in Atlanta since taking that job.

Along with calling Braves games, Gaudin will continue working for Fox Sports and EA Sports. But in a phone interview, he made something clear (which he also told the Braves and Bally Sports): The Braves will be his top priority, and he will work in everything else around that.

At each stop in his broadcasting career, Gaudin remained where his feet were. He truly loves broadcasting and all it entails. But his love of broadcasting began with his affinity for the Braves.

This is everything he’s ever wanted.

“You’re hit with a wave of emotions, and first and foremost is just the realization of that childhood dream,” Gaudin said. “That’s the first thing that popped in my mind when I got the call that they were going to select me to be the guy. And then today, when the news officially hit, that wave kind of rushes over you again.”

‘This is what you wanted’

Asked to recall the moments when he called his family members after finding out he would be the new voice of the Braves, Gaudin says, “Yeah, that’s what’s special.”

Then he pauses, appearing to become a bit emotional.

“Ah, man,” he said. “Emotional.”

This means so much to him – not only the journey, but the people who have supported him along the way.

At age 7, when he began to truly understand sports and their importance to him, Gaudin and his family traveled from their Evansville, Indiana, home to attend Game 5 of the 1991 World Series in Atlanta, a Braves win. At age 13, he wrote Skip Caray – the legendary Braves broadcaster, and father of Chip – a letter, then checked the mailbox every day until Skip’s reply arrived a couple of months later.

Growing up, Gaudin watched the Braves each night they played. His family loved them as well, but he adored them and would even sneak downstairs late at night – when he should’ve been in bed – to watch the games when the team played on the West Coast.

All of his close supporters know what this opportunity means to him.

“Everybody’s reaction that knows me, that has known my childhood story,” Gaudin said, “everyone said the same thing: ‘Oh my gosh, this is it. This is what you wanted.’ To hear their joy for me was something that is incredibly special.”

Newly hired Braves play-by-play announcer Brandon Gaudin, right, shown here in 1998 with former Braves broadcaster Skip Caray. (Contributed photo)

Credit: Photo prov

icon to expand image

Credit: Photo prov

Brandon is the youngest of Robert and Linda Gaudin’s four children – he has an older sister (Tamara) and two older brothers (Bryan and Brett). In the ‘90s, the siblings converted their father, who is from New York, to a Braves fan.

When news broke that Chip Caray would be leaving his broadcasting chair in Atlanta, Gaudin knew he wanted the job. He reached out to Bally Sports South/Southeast. On Feb. 6, he met with the network – and also met with Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller, and president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos.

“For the president and GM to sit down for an hour with you and tell you how important this job is and tell you what this position means to the franchise, you don’t get that everywhere,” said Gaudin, who later added it’s not standard for a team’s general manager to talk to candidates. “That just kind of, to me, solidified what I have seen from afar, the leadership and the direction that this organization is going, and obviously the recent success that they’ve had, and that just made me feel really good about the position, even more than I already did.”

Days after that meeting, the network offered Gaudin the job.

‘This is truly an honor’

On the final day of the season during his first post-graduate job as the play-by-play man for the minor-league Orem Owlz of the Los Angeles Angels organization, Gaudin journeyed from outside Salt Lake City (where the team played) to Fort Worth, Texas, where his parents now live.

As soon as he pulled into town, his father, Robert, suffered a heart attack. He flatlined twice. Doctors didn’t know if he would make it through.

“It wasn’t a situation that made me question my career, I knew what I wanted to do,” Gaudin said. “But it was just kind of one of those pause moments where you realize kind of how fragile life is and try to figure out what the next step is. That, more than anything, really kind of changed the course of the next five years of my life, and I wasn’t sure what it was going to mean.”

Instead of jumping back into the job, Gaudin stayed in Fort Worth for seven months, helping his mother take care of his father as he recovered. (Though he has had health complications since then, including a stroke in 2017, when the family almost lost him again, Robert is still alive).

Growing up in Evansville, Brandon grew to love broadcasting because he wanted to imitate Skip Caray. Gaudin eventually attended Butler University, where he graduated as the “Most Outstanding Communications Student” in the university’s class of 2006.

Now, he was 22 years old and didn’t know what might be next. He wondered how staying home might affect his career path, but didn’t have the answers back then.

Two years later, he landed a job as the play-by-play voice of the University of Evansville (the school in his hometown for which he rooted as a kid). Then he worked as the voice of Butler, his alma mater.

Those two jobs carried extra significance. The Braves gig is just as special, and Gaudin feels grateful to reach this point in his career.

“To think that I’ve kind of already had three dream jobs that have just kind of come along organically at the right times in my life, I realize that not many people have one of those opportunities – and I’ve been blessed with three of them,” he said. “I view this job as the mecca, and I always have. I know the people that have sat in that chair before me, obviously namely Skip and Chip, and I don’t take that lightly. This is truly an honor.”

‘Candy store job’

Shortly after Bally Sports made the news official internally – before announcing it externally – Gaudin saw a “678″ number pop up on his phone. He answered, but the voice on the other end didn’t introduce himself.

He just talked.

“Man, we’re going to be talking a lot and hopefully having a lot of fun,” the voice said.

It was Jeff Francoeur, who will be Gaudin’s partner in the Braves booth. The two had never met, but Gaudin talked with Francoeur for 10 minutes and felt like he’d known him for 10 years. Their relationship in the booth will develop over time, but Gaudin is excited to get going.

Baseball, he said, is different than basketball or football for broadcasters. He loves them all, but baseball offers something special. To hear him tell it is to witness someone with a deep appreciation for his craft.

“Baseball, to me, is the most conversational,” Gaudin said. “All sports, to me as a play-by-play announcer, you should look to make it a conversation to where somebody’s sitting next to you on the couch. But I think what is unique about baseball is it really lets you have those more in-depth fun conversations, and just kind of be casual, but yet fun and excited at the right times.

“I fell in love with baseball because it gives you the art to be a storyteller. It gives you the time to be fun and just enjoy it. But it also gives you those moments of jubilation on a huge game-winning hit or a home run.”

Gaudin paid his dues, most notably in Orem, where he made $500 a month, ate clubhouse peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and took 13-hour bus rides – and on them, sat next to the next day’s pitcher so he could stretch out beside the smaller Gaudin. But those moments taught Gaudin something: If he made it through that long season, with the unglamorous lifestyle, and still loved baseball, then, well, he really loved baseball and this was his calling.

Plus, Gaudin views his gig as a “candy store job.” Many times, people tell him, “Man, it must be awesome to get to do that.” And it is, he says.

“Whatever the job is, whatever the job has been along the way, I’ve always tried to view it like that,” Gaudin said. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and this is something that is truly an honor and a privilege, and I’m just going to enjoy it today and see where it leads.”

Gaudin also doesn’t take himself too seriously. He loves self-deprecating humor.

“If I say something funny in the course of a baseball game that didn’t come out right, I’m not afraid to just poke fun at myself like, ‘Ope, that didn’t come out right,’” Gaudin said. “I think that that’s just the best way to approach it. I like to have fun on air.”

At age 7, Gaudin began taking the cardboard insert of a paper towel roll and would duct tape the handle – this was his bat. He found a deflated balloon, and put scotch tape around it to use as his ball. He lined up pillows to use as the outfield fence.

Each day as he watched Braves games, Gaudin would throw up the balloon and hit it with his makeshift bat, then would run the bases, sliding around the floor in his socks. He would play whoever the Braves were playing, and would hit with whoever was hitting at the time.

Most kids would do this because they wanted to be like their favorite players.

“But what I was interested in doing is I was trying to mimic Skip Caray,” Gaudin said. “I was playing that game as a vehicle to try to be a broadcaster.”

And now, that memory is one of many that come to mind for Gaudin – “with a smile on my face and chills up and down my body,” he says – as he prepares to step into his dream job. He is pinching himself.

“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It really is.”