Two hemispheres, one passion.
Dan Vaughan’s paychecks come from as nearby as the Gary SouthShore RailCats during the American baseball season and as far away as the Perth Heat during the Australian diamond schedule.
But that's just a technicality. He says he actually works for baseball fans.
He is the eyes and ears of folks who can't make it to all the games at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary or Barbagallo Ballpark in Perth, West Australia and for those who can't go on the road with the professional clubs.
While working in both the northern and southern hemispheres, Vaughan does his best to weave behind-the-scenes stories into the flow of game action.
"I'm the person responsible for bringing them all the news and all the emotions — good, bad and otherwise," Vaughan said. "Part of the job is painting the picture."
Vaughan, a Texas native, is in his second season with Gary — the first as the lead voice of the RailCats, a member of the independent American Association. He calls all 100 games on WEFM 95.9.
Working in the Midwest allows Vaughan to be closer to family. His mother, Celesta, and brother Sam, a Concord High School football and track coach, are in Elkhart. His sister, Celesta Michelle, is a Concord and Purdue University graduate living in Denver. His father, Dan Sr., and another brother, Chris, reside in Texas.
Vaughan has worked the mike for one season Down Under for the Perth and intends to return when the Australian Baseball League opens the 2014-15 season in late October. He is co-owner of the "Talking Baseball Australia" podcasts which has new episodes available in and out of the ABL season.
The ABL, which is partially funded by Major League Baseball, has six teams. Besides Perth, there's Adelaide Bite in South Australia, Brisbane Bandits in Queensland, Canberra Cavalry in Australian Capital Territory, Melbourne Aces in Victoria and Sydney Blue Sox in New South Wales. Because of distance, teams travel by plane.
Most contests in the 46-game schedule are played Thursday through Sunday with play wrapping up in January.
"Australia is America with better beaches," said Vaughan. "Baseball is growing over there. It's a great experience. The people are phenomenal."
Vaughan was out of baseball for about a decade while working the nightclub and radio scene in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He reached out to the baseball clubs in Australia and got back in the game.
He is ecstatic to be back and carries a new outlook on his career.
"I'm very happy I get to come to the ballpark everyday," said Vaughan, who has had baseball broadcasting stops in Charleston, W.Va., Jacksonville, Fla., and Burlington, Iowa. "As you get older you realize how fortunate you are to, A, have and job and B, do something you like for a living."
In Gary, Vaughan enjoys working for an independent team that has a different philosophy from those affiliated with Major League Baseball.
RailCats fans, which come from across the Calumet Region, expect a contender. Gary has made the playoffs more years than not with Northern League championships in 2005, 2007 and an AA title 2013.
"We control our roster," says Vaughan. "Things are happening everyday that help you team win or lose. With affiliated ball, you have no control. You work with the cards that are dealt to you. We're trying to get better all the time by adding a piece here or a piece there just like big league clubs. Wins and losses matter here."
Overcoming the negative reputation of Gary is also a challenge for the whole organization.
"We're not in the best part of town and we know that," says Vaughan. "But we have people that come from all around the area. They realize that we're putting on the best quality show."
The RailCats work hard to turn a negative into a positive.
"It's a neat community," says Vaughan. "They are really proud here."