PHOENIX – There will be a palpable absence at Arizona Rattlers games when the 2022 season gets underway in March. The team announced recently that Brian Beazer, affectionately known to fans as “Fang,” has died at the age of 65.
Pregame festivities are often a nuisance for players who would rather go about their pregame preparation with quiet focus. For Rattlers players, however, the spectacle provided by Fang fired up the squad for the game, and left a lasting impression on the athletes.
Former Rattlers quarterback Sherdrick Bonner, one of the franchise’s most accomplished players, was floored by Fang’s persona from Day One.
“The first time I saw Fang roll out on the Harley my rookie season, I thought who in the hell is this badass dude!?” Bonner told Cronkite News. “As I got older and spent time chatting it up with him before games, he was interested in what I was doing off the field.
“We should remember Brian as a great person with a tough exterior but massive heart.”
A mainstay at Rattlers home games since the inception of the team in 1992. His presence was integral to pregame introduction ceremonies, where he literally took the spotlight. Most teams are led out of the tunnel by a head coach, star player or a flag-bearing acrobatic team.
The Rattlers and Beazer offered something unique.
With Metallica’s ”Enter Sandman” serenading the raucous crowd, Fang would gun the throttle on his signature Harley-Davidson motorcycle and thunder out of the tunnel ahead of the team.
Flanked on either side by pyrotechnics and cheerleaders, Beazer circled the field before bringing his shiny chrome bike to a stop near midfield and gunning the engine a couple of more times as the crowd roared.
Fang’s high energy, rough-and-tough persona set the stage for what was often a Rattlers victory.
And Beazer’s impact was felt at every level of the organization, from executives and coaches to the fans.
Anthony Aguilera has experienced Rattler games from the perspective of a long-time fan, but also from within the organization. He briefly worked for the team in 2015 as an equipment manager. His experience with Fang, like the experience of so many others, was exclusively positive.
“Fang was a staple at games. His presence was always such an important aspect of the pregame experience,” Aguilera said. “The fans always loved it when he’d come rumbling out of the tunnel to the sound of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” He was the real Ninth Man of the team.”
Everyone involved with the Rattlers seems to have a favorite Fang story, and team photographer Matt Hinshaw had a front row seat to the Fang Show for years. However, Hinshaw will remember Beazer more for the man he was away from the arena.
“My first year with the team, I was covering the ring ceremony from the championship the previous season,” Hinshaw said. “This guy in jeans and a T-shirt gets his ring and he’s almost in tears. He was as happy as any player to be getting his ring.”
Although Beazer excelled in the role of team hype man, it wasn’t the only hat he wore with the Rattlers. He also served as the team’s goodwill ambassador in the community. In this position, Beazer used his public standing to advocate for charitable causes on behalf of the Rattlers.
A team news release called Beazer a team icon who had a “special bond with Rattlers Nation.”
“Our organization thanks him for his long-time, unwavering support,” Rattlers coach and President Kevin Guy said in the release. “He holds a special place in Rattlers history.”
Beazer came to Arizona from Boise, AZCentral.com reported. He worked as a disc jockey for KOOL 94.5 FM and KOOL Gold AM 960.
The Rattlers gave Beazer his 15 minutes of fame, and it lasted for nearly 30 years. While he will always be remembered for his spectacular entrances and undying Rattlers fandom, people who knew him personally will cherish the man he was away from the arena.
“He was a great all around guy,” Hinshaw said. “As soon as he put on his garb he was Fang. Outside of that he was a normal good dude, people should know that.”