A Voice in Major League Baseball

A smiling young woman sits on a bench in front of a green wall that has "Rooted in Oakland" painted in yellow letters.
Amelia Schimmel ’08

Growing up, Amelia Schimmel ’08 hated speaking in front of large groups and dreaded giving presentations.

This spring, she was officially named the Oakland Athletics’ public-address announcer. “It’s never lost on me how great it is to have a job like this,” she says, “when maybe 10 years ago a woman may not have been accepted in this role.”

Schimmel graduated from Brandeis at the height of a recession, when job prospects were few and competition was high. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in sports, but how?

The Oakland, California, native networked and applied for jobs. Eventually, she interviewed at Major League Baseball Productions and took a mandatory baseball quiz. The next day, she started working as a logger, painstakingly recording every action that happened during baseball games.

Schimmel soon took a more prominent job within MLB Network, where men outnumbered women 100 to 8. By the time she left eight years later, she had risen to associate producer — making her the highest-ranked female among those who produced daily shows — and had won six Emmys.

When you work with former major leaguers every day, Schimmel explains, you have to earn their trust with professionalism and technical excellence. “Except for the time Hank Aaron walked past my editing room,” she says, “we were not allowed to be star-struck on the job.”

Schimmel left MLB Network to return home, becoming executive producer in the Oakland A’s organization, in charge of ballpark entertainment, including pregame ceremonies, the mascot program and video content.

When the pandemic made it risky for A’s public-address announcer Dick Callahan to continue working due to health concerns, Schimmel volunteered to do the job. She didn’t have announcing experience, but she had worked with Callahan in helped me understand the strength that comes from banding together as a team in the the control room the previous season and knew what he did. (Sadly, Callahan died in January.)

During the 2020 Major League Baseball season, Schimmel announced the team’s 33 home games, introducing team lineups at the beginning of games and individual players as they came to bat, clarifying umpiring decisions, and reporting player substitutions.

Although the stands were empty, Schimmel’s announcements were heard by millions of baseball fans listening to the live television and radio broadcasts. “You can’t affect the game or distract the players when announcing,” she says. “You have to be very precise.”

This season, Schimmel will serve as the team’s public-address announcer for all home games at the Oakland Coliseum.

Amelia isn’t the only woman in the Schimmel family who’s made a name for herself in a traditionally male sphere. Gertrude Schimmel — Amelia’s grandmother and biggest role model — was the first female deputy chief of police in the New York City Police Department.

At Brandeis, Schimmel double-majored in economics and American studies, and minored in journalism. The time she spent playing softball was key, too, she says: “It prepared me for what I do now. And it helped me understand the strength that comes from banding together as a team in the face of uncertainty.”

— Naomi Blumberg David