John Maedel has been the public-address announcer at AT&T Field since 2001, and he has introduced the hitters and pitchers for the Chattanooga Lookouts and their opponents in more than 900 games.
In his 13 years at the microphone, Maedel has missed just three games. The first absence was for a friend’s wedding in 2003, and the second was for the birth of son Mitchell on Aug. 11, 2009, which was the final game of a Lookouts homestand.
The third was for the Black Crows concert earlier this year at Track 29.
“They’re one of my favorite bands,” Maedel said, “and I really wanted to see them.”
Maedel will work his final five-game series starting Thursday, when the Lookouts conclude their 2013 season against the visiting Tennessee Smokies. He is leaving to become the director of sales for The Athletic Shop in Red Bank, which is co-owned by Nathan Brooks and Trevor Reeves, a duo who once handled scoreboard and video-board responsibilities at Lookouts games.
Before serving as P.A. announcer, Maedel provided a lot of sound effects during the 2000 season, so he has been with the Lookouts for their 14-year existence at AT&T. A devout fan of Georgia Bulldogs football, Maedel also is the Class AA baseball club’s assistant general manager.
“John has done a lot of great work,” Lookouts owner Frank Burke said. “My favorite thing he did was when we had rain delays or extra-inning games and it was midnight, and he would announce ‘Attention, Lookouts fan’ to the poor guy who had stayed until the bitter end.
“I also liked on the Fourth of July, when other people had their fireworks going off, he would say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the real fireworks will start in just a few minutes.’”
Maedel’s most memorable gaffe as the announcer occurred in 2001, when Lookouts first baseman Eric Welsh was up to bat. When someone opened the door behind him, which is a rarity during a game, Maedel turned to see what was going on and accidentally clicked his computer mouse, which happened to be on a laugh track as Welsh was taking strike three.
“Naturally, he turned around and looked at the press box with a less-than-friendly look,” Maedel said. “Immediately after the game, I went down to the clubhouse and apologized for what happened. He could not have been more gracious about it.
“I fumbled my words from time to time, but any announcer is going to do that. Frank likes to laugh at the time I accidentally sneezed into the microphone one night, but nothing really egregious has happened.”
Maedel never has tired of getting a rise out of fans with a sound effect or an appropriate music clip after the Lookouts have rallied to take the lead.
“You can enhance the experience for them if you play the right thing,” he said. “I will miss that, and I will miss the interaction with the guys up here. We have a lot of fun during games — cracking jokes and watching baseball.”
When a foul ball leaves AT&T Field, Maedel often will play the sound of glass shattering. If an opposing manager or player argues a call, he will hit a track that shouts, “Sit down in your seat!”
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, Maedel will play a growling Chewbacca sound effect.
“I like to throw Chewbacca in there when people are least expecting it,” he said. “That one just makes me laugh. After doing almost a thousand games up here, you’ve got to amuse yourself at some point, too.”
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...