Braves hype man Mark Owens steps down after 16 seasons
The most common question Owens receives isn’t “Can you get me a free ticket to a game?” » ; rather, it’s “How do I run the Freeze?” He said he had nothing to do with it. Employees search the plaza before the game for volunteer volunteers wearing Braves apparel and appropriate sneakers who look reasonably fit.
Owens, now 44, is a lifelong Braves fan who graduated from Harrison High School in Kennesaw.
When he got the Braves job, he initially saw it as a two-year gig. “It was Braves and Vegas beer and cash,” he said, without revealing the admittedly modest salary. But in the end, he did it eight times longer than that.
Owens said it took fans a few years to really trust him. “They finally figured out that I was not a radio pirate promoting my morning show. I’m a real fan. I love this team.”
He said the job isn’t exactly rocket science, but it can be tough in August when temperatures top 90 degrees and it’s a midweek game against the Marlins. But he said what always keeps him going is enthusiastic fans participating in things like the NAPA cap shuffle, which is old hat for him.
“For them, it’s a to-do list moment and I feed off of that,” Owens said. “If they’re having fun, I’m having fun. I live vicariously through them.
He said he planned to retire last year, but the World Series victory made him decide to do so for one more season.
“It was so I could say, ‘Home of your reigning world champion Atlanta Braves! he said. “How many times do you get to say that?”
The Atlanta Braves, now down two games to one in a five-game playoff series against the Phillies, could lose in Saturday afternoon’s deciding game in Philadelphia. That means his appearance Thursday night when the Braves won Game 2 at Truist Park could have been his last as an employee.
Either way, he will never forget winning the World Series in 2021 and participating in the Victory Parade. “It’s weird but I can’t wait to just be a fan in the stands,” he said.
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