Replacing a legend like Vin Scully is certainly not easy, but Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis has made it look that way as the transition since the former retired in 2016 has been seamless.
The Dodgers hired Davis before the 2016 season, so he had a chance to watch Scully up close for a year before taking on full-time duties. He has done all that while also maintaining a national gig with Fox, making him one of the busiest men in sports media.
While Davis is currently viewed as one of the best broadcasters in all of baseball, it took him years of gaining experience to reach that point. In a recent episode of his “Off Air w/ Joe and Orel” podcast which he co-hosts with his broadcast partner and former Dodger great Orel Hershiser, Davis discussed some of his previous jobs that led to him landing with the Dodgers:
“It wasn’t one of things where it’s like you wake up one day, the phone rings and, ‘Joe, you’re the new Dodger announcer.’ It was a long process. I had a lot of fun kind of digging back. I felt like an investigator trying to piece it all together, going through old emails to find the right dates and looking back through old text messages to try and find these landmark dates.
“I did a summer of independent ball before I was out of college, and then three Double-A seasons in Montgomery. At this point, when this story begins, I had done one big league game on ESPN Radio. It was A’s at Rangers, in fall of 2013. I had done two Major League games on TV before the Dodgers called for the first time. I had done Cardinals at Orioles, and I had done Yankees at Rays.”
Davis added he was in L.A. for Fox baseball meetings in February 2015, so he arranged to meet with the Dodgers for the first time. That’s when he was informed of being one of four candidates the job and to check back in a couple of months, which he did in April.
While Davis revealed that the organization was also considering a popular broadcast personality in Matt Vasgersian, he learned that it was him that would get the job in June:
“They at this point have offered the job to Matt Vasgersian. I don’t think I’m speaking out of school saying that. I think the insiders know that. So they had offered the job to Matt Vasgersian; he wasn’t sure, and they were going to give him a month or two to make the decision. Lon said he would be in touch. June 24, so you fast forward another few months, I’m back in Grand Rapids, my agent who had also become one of my great friends, was in town for a golf trip.
“During this round of golf we talked as we drank a few beers. We were talking about how amazing it would be and how could it work if this actually happened, could we make it work? We talked a bunch about it. We finished the round (of golf) and we get in the car to go to downtown Rapids to go have dinner. Josh says, ‘Holy you know what,’ he got an email from the office back in New York, ‘Call Lon Rosen about Joe.’
“So we park at dinner, Libby and I go in to get a table, Josh stays in the parking lot to call Lon and then comes inside. We’re sitting there wide-eyed, like, ‘What’s going on?’ I remember the first thing Josh said was, ‘So how long is the wait?’ I was like, ‘It’s 10 minutes. What happened?’ Basically at this point, [Lon Rosen] said, ‘We want to find a way to hire Joe.’”
It took a few months to sort out how Davis would be hired by the Dodgers and still keep his national job with Fox. His offer from the Dodgers didn’t come until the middle of October, and he actually considered taking another job:
“A lot of people don’t know this part. But at the same time, while we’re kind of limbo with the Dodger thing — not sure that it can work in conjunction with Fox — the White Sox call. So I went to Chicago and met with the White Sox all the way up the ladder. I met with the whole crew. Being midwest people, it was definitely something to consider.”
Luckily, the Dodgers and Davis were able to finalize the job in November 2015, and the rest is history.
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