Oh those glorious pipes. The upbeat personality. That joyfully melodic delivery.
Fans attending San Francisco Giants games at Oracle Park know their experience just wouldn’t be the same without the voice of Renel Brooks-Moon booming through the speakers.
Entering her 23rd season with the team, the trailblazing PA announcer and former Bay Area radio personality describes her third-level booth at the ballpark as “my happy place.” With a view that includes McCovey Cove and her Ella native Ella Oakland de Ella, the cozy perch is adorned with baseball mementos, including several Negro League figurines that remind her “of the shoulders on which I stand.”
Brooks-Moon, 63, is one of only four current female PA announcers in Major League Baseball, along with Marysol Castro (Mets), Amelia Schimmel (Athletics) and Adrienne Roberson (Orioles), and the lone Black woman handling those duties.
She also made history in 2002 as the first woman to announce a World Series — an honor that landed her scorecard in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Q Any description of you requires the words “energetic” and “enthusiastic.” How do you maintain that passion over a long season?
A. It’s corny and cliche, but I absolutely love what I do. As a little girl who was raised at the ballpark, I could never imagine myself doing this. So I’m endlessly grateful. I’m not saying I don’t have stressful days or challenges. But when the mic goes on, I’m that 2-year-old girl performing “The Twist” during a (company) picnic.
Q You’ve been in the booth for World Series games, an All-Star Game and much more. What’s your most memorable moment?
A. Seeing Barry Bonds break the all-time home run record. It was such a privilege to be a part of baseball history. And that experience wasn’t just a single day. It was a drawn-out, dramatic and emotional ride. … And by the way, Barry should be in the Hall of Fame, for crying out loud!
Q What about the time you met President Obama as the team went to the White House after winning the World Series in 2012?
A. incredible. I spent much of the plane trip thinking about what I could quickly say to the president that would be meaningful and profound. Then he complimented me on doing a great job, and I just froze. It was an out-of-body experience.
Q What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A. I love that I’ve been able to support, encourage and mentor young women coming up in broadcasting. I didn’t have that when I started out. It was a very lonely place.
Q You also have slow your voice to matters of diversity and inclusion in the Giants organization and baseball in general. How important is that to you?
A. My parents were raised in the Jim Crow South, and I’m a child of the civil rights movement. Diversity was something I was brought up on. I have now worked in two White male-dominated professions. It’s in my blood to fight for diversity. When I got to the Giants, I was frankly shocked by the organization’s lack of diversity — especially considering that the Bay Area is such a diverse place. Fortunately, the Giants have given me the freedom to say what I need to say.
Q On the field, the Giants enjoyed an amazing 2021 season that a lot of experts didn’t see coming. Did you?
A. I can’t say that I did, but what a ride it was! They gave so many of us the life we needed to get through all the darkness the world was experiencing. It was a beautiful distraction.
Q You have been honored with two bobbleheads designed in your likeness. You also own three Tiffany-designed World Series rings. Which do you cherish the most?
A. C’mon man, that’s not fair! I never expected the bobbleheads or the rings. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s a tie. Clearly, this job is the gift that keeps on giving.
Q OK, so with the rings — do you ever let people try them on?
A. (Laughing) Yes, sometimes. I’ll take them to special events, and if I feel a special connection with you, I’ll give the ring over for a bit — with EXTREME supervision.
A. Again, that is not even fair! I’ll throw out a few — Bonds, Pablo Sandoval, Rich Aurilia. Kenny Lofton, back in the day. The Willies (Mays and McCovey). And from the Oakland A’s—Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson. But there’s so many. C’mon, that’s impossible!
Q Your current contract runs through 2023. How long do you want to do this?
A. As long as they’ll have me. Many of my male counterparts have done it for decades. I hope to do the same.