Positive Baseball News

More Than Just “The Voice of the Pirates”

As a fan and someone who really wants to be a part of the Pittsburgh Pirates, something happened in my life and, yes, it would never be the same!

In the summer of 2006, I was living in Florida and was able to catch a three-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Florida Marlins, in Miami. I had no idea what was to come!  As I walked to my seats, I noticed the Pirates announcers standing outside the media entrance.  I hesitated but decided to say hello.  Really – I am in Miami, Florida and know who announces games for the Pirates?  Yes, I am a big fan! 

They were gracious.  After I met them all, I walked away and then stopped, dead in my tracks; I wanted a picture.  They obliged and I became the proud owner of a picture of me with Greg Brown, Lanny Frattare, and Bob Walk. How could this get better for a Pirates fan?  That picture is the greatest of my life!

Later that summer, I was listening to a Pirates broadcast on my XM Radio and the game was in a rain delay. At that point, Greg Brown gave out his email address. I emailed him.  I told him my dreams of working for the Pirates and informed him about my degree in broadcasting.  I didn’t expect an email back, but he replied. When I opened it, I was shocked, to say the least!  He gave me his cell phone number and said he wanted to talk to me.  Excited as anyone could be (I was like a kid in the candy store!), one day I picked up the phone and dialed the number.  Yes, Greg Brown answered.  I wasn’t sure what to say, but I did my best!  At that point, I didn’t care what happened, I was talking to Greg Brown!  

After the conversation, I took what he had to say to heart; I was talking to Greg Brown and that meant a lot to me!  A few months later, I was in Pittsburgh during my annual trip (with some family members), so I emailed him hoping he would remember me.  Not only did he remember me, we met up and he brought Steve Blass with him to meet us!

There I was, at PNC Park with my dad, uncle and brother (my dad and uncle are old enough to remember Steve Blass getting the win in 1971 to make the Pirates the World Champions!).  I asked Steve Blass for a picture with my dad and uncle and he said ok! At that point I thought, “Am I living a dream?”  I was speechless and proud!  My dad and uncle asked how I made this happen!! All I said was, “I met Greg Brown.”

If I am correct, that was four years ago.  Since then, I email Greg every time we are in Pittsburgh – it’s not easy, as I am there with my dad and uncle from Illinois, and my brother from Idaho! Yes, Idaho!  He travels all that way to see the Pirates! Not only does Greg respond, but he brings us up to the radio and tv booth!  He also poses for pictures!  

In all sincerity, Greg Brown has become my friend.  A few months ago, I texted Greg and told him we were in Pittsburgh again and wished to see him.  He replied “call me, I should be available on Saturday night.”  So, I called him when we arrived at the park (he said “hi Sam”), and he, along with Steve Blass, made it to our seats and talked to us for about ten minutes.  It was amazing; people were walking by and saying “that’s Greg Brown and Steve Blass!” I didn’t think anything of it, because Greg Brown is my friend and he made time to visit us.  How many MLB Announcers would take the time that Mr. Brown does and make people from all over the country feel welcome?  All I can say is he cares and that is as good as it gets in my book! 

Greg is a gem. He is one in a million!  I must say, I emailed Mr. Brown and asked if I could write this and he said yes.  He told me he was honored.  For what’s it worth, he replied in less than an hour.  Mr. Brown – you might be honored, but truly I AM HONORED!  You are a great person and great for the Pirates.  You have had a great impact on my life and I could never thank you enough!  Thank you!  As Greg would say, “Raise the Jolly Roger!”



3 thoughts on “More Than Just “The Voice of the Pirates”

  1. That’s a great story. Greg Brown is truly a gem. I remember when he was first hired from Buffalo, and a friend from there told me we’d love to hear Greg calling a game. His passion is evident in every game, even when he’s very disappointed in the performance. He truly cares about the team (just like us “regular” fans), and makes you feel like he’s sitting beside you at the game.

    The truly great announcers work in baseball, and work on the radio. They can paint a picture in your mind that actually brings you to the ballpark. Greg Brown is one of those great announcers, and we’re blessed as Pirate fans to have him. And to hear that he’s as great person (as described in your story), means even more. Go Buccos! Raise the Jolly Roger!

    Scott in Morgantown

    Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2011, 2:56 pm
  2. I was at the annual Pirates Caravan in Altoona, PA a few years ago while I was still in high school. A history teacher I had in school had just retired, and a month later he was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was a life-long Pirates fan, went to Forbes field with his father a few times every summer when he was a kid, and was genuinely a great guy (also, my favorite teacher before he retired).
    I took an extra ball along with me to get signed for him, I knew he had a pretty amazing collection of autographs and baseballs and bats already, but it was just something I could do for him at the time.
    At the end of the autograph line, Greg Brown and Steve Blass were signing autographs and Greg asked me why I had so many balls with me. I told him about my teacher, and he asked what his name was. He then took one of the autograph photos they all have and wrote “Keep the faith Phil, we’re all rooting for you! – Greg Brown”

    I’ll never forget the look on Phil’s face when I gave him that photo. Greg Brown is a hell of a guy, and I very much enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by Jordan Hall | August 3, 2011, 1:37 pm
  3. Scott – I appreciate the comment. You are right, as Pirates fans we are blessed to have him as our announcer. My story is very genuine and Greg is exactly the person I described. What I left out is during my last trip to Pittsburgh there was a gathering of Pirates fans at the hotel I stayed at (arranged by a Pittsburgh Newspaper) and Greg showed up there too. I did not invite him, someone else did (not the newspaper). It was a Saturday morning and I am sure he had other things to do. He chose to meet with us for a while. This was before we met with him and Steve Blass that night and he remembered me and my family. Greg is just as great as I described.

    Jordan – Love your story. I emailed Greg once I read it and directed him to it. My guess is he will read it. He’s that nice.

    Once the story was published I sent Greg an email letting him know. Here is an excerpt from the email I received back from him…

    “Thank you so much for such a glowing story, Sam!
    You are way too kind but I want you to know how deeply I appreciate your words.

    Hope the Buccos can RTJR for you tomorrow and get on a role again.”

    Those are Greg’s words, not mine. There are great people in sports and we find them. How did I find Greg? I was persistent. Truly, it was that easy. Steve Blass and Bob Walk are just the same. Nice guys who love the Pirates and enjoy what they do. Many will say the Pirates will never win again under Mr. Nutting but I disagree. I have met him as well. Stay tuned because there may just be a story about him too. He’s a good guy.

    Thanks all…


    Posted by Sam Sankovich | August 4, 2011, 1:51 am

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