Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and, learning from Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers should get as many players whose names start with "Co" as they can. Cole Hamels, anyone?
Joe Davis answers your questions
You sent in hundreds of questions, and Dodgers announcer Joe Davis is here to answer some of them. I picked the most representative questions and sent them to Joe. He sent back his answers before the Dodgers’ series last week against the Cleveland Indians. If questions were similar I went with the person who emailed in the question first.
And thanks to Joe for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions.
Tony Piscitelli: Have you had the opportunity to consult with Vin Scully?
Davis: Hi Tony — Vin called me and welcomed me to the team the night before my hiring was announced a couple falls ago. Funny story about that — not recognizing his number, I twice ignored his calls! You should’ve seen the look on my face when I listened to the voicemail and realized what I’d done.
We talked again just before this season began. His biggest advice was the same as Hall of Famer Red Barber gave him when he got started in 1950: “Be yourself. You bring one thing to the booth nobody else can, and that is you.”
Joe Meehan: Does your experience playing college football — with the prep time outweighing the execution time — help you in your work as a broadcaster? What is your day like preparing for a game?
Davis: I think my experience as an athlete helps in a number of ways. It was important when I was just starting out calling minor league baseball to have an understanding of how to act around the team and where I belonged in the clubhouse and on the buses and so on. I think it’s important now in the big moments of a game. I always prided myself on being cool and calm as a quarterback, and the same idea of controlling and channeling the adrenaline and slowing the heart rate when things got crazy as a player definitely applies when the game is on the line and, as a broadcaster, you’ve gotta keep your cool and capture the moment.
See below for a little detail on prep.
Michael D. Green: I’d guess that many fans have fantasized about being a sports announcer, partly because you guys make it look so easy. For one so young you have a pretty full résumé, but when did you know that you wanted to go pro?
Davis: For as long as I can remember considering what I wanted to do. As early as fourth or fifth grade, I paid as much attention to the guys calling the games as I did the actual game. There’s nothing wrong with not finding your career passion until later in life, but it definitely helped set me ahead of the curve knowing early on what I wanted to do. In a way, it helped guide my decisions. The football coach where I wound up going to college knew the way to my heart. His main recruiting pitch was that I could announce the school’s basketball games as a freshman.
Reed Rosien: Do you have any pregame routine as a broadcaster?
Davis: I’m usually at the park four hours before first pitch, but most of my work is done at that point. For example, I spent something like 10 hours reading up on the Cleveland Indians yesterday (on my flight home from doing a national game in Boston, with a few extra hours of work time thanks to a long delay). I research each player individually. I’m looking for the basics of what they’ve done in their careers. I’m looking for what their season has been like. And I’m looking for as many stories as I can dig up on each player to be able to share. Then there’s the reading to get caught up on the narratives surrounding the Indians as a team throughout the year and entering the Dodgers’ series with them.
Keeping with the Indians series as the example — now that I’m on the charter to Cleveland, I’m doing my last prep work on the series — who’s hot/not in the preceding days, etc. In the morning before the first game of the series, I’ll update my notes on Clayton Kershaw, and I’ll study up on the Indians starter, Trevor Bauer. I’ll read all the stories on the Indians in their local publications/websites from that day. I’ll do the same for the Dodgers.
Up next will be the Mets, so throughout this week I’ll be starting this whole same process learning about their team and the players’ stories.
Once at the park, I read through team-supplied game notes, fill out my scorecard, hang by the cage during batting practice to visit with the players (and hopefully pick up a nugget or two to pass along to the viewers that night), review all the notes I’ve gathered leading up, eat some dinner, throw on some war paint (makeup), and then off we go.
Joan Kobori: Where did you gain your baseball knowledge, and do you have staff help collect info on player history?
Davis: I think one of the great things about baseball is that you can learn something new every day. There’s a funny little saying in our business: You spend a week preparing to call a football or basketball game. You spend a lifetime preparing to call a baseball game (insert joke here about how I haven’t prepared for that long).
We have an incredible behind-the-scenes crew that supports us, led by our producer Mike Levy and our director Dustin Denti. Those two guys are as good as anyone in the business, and the production crew in L.A. under them is second to none. In the booth with us, we have Mr. Do Everything Boyd Robertson, statistician Brian Hagan, audio extraordinaire Dave Wolcott, and several others.
As far as the stories, though — no, we’ve gotta find those ourselves. I mentioned above the work I do to find stories on the players; I also try to be curious about things from the game’s long history that I think you at home might find enjoyable or interesting.