Charley Steiner has been a fixture in the Dodgers’ radio booth for over 15 years now. He started calling games for the team after Ross Porter was let go, and he’s been the go-to guy ever since. But this year, things are much different for Charley. He doesn’t sit in the booth, he doesn’t get to call games with his partner, and he doesn’t get to feed off of the energy from the fans.
Instead, Steiner sits at home in a studio put together by the Dodgers organization in his living room. Steiner let a reporter from USA Today watch him call a game from his house for the first time this week. Among the many things discussed was the fact that Charley almost thought he wasn’t going to get to call games in 2020.
I was prepared to say this is the end of the line. And if it was the end of the line, it was the pandemic that took me. I could have walked away. I was prepared to walk away into the sunset. Then, I get this reprieve from the governor.
Dodgers executive vice president Lon Rosen decided that the ratio booth could instead come to Charley this year, given that he is at a higher risk with COVID-19. Steiner was obviously all for the idea and now sits in his living room surrounded by monitors. The biggest difference this year though? The energy he often gets from the fans is no more.
When you have a crowd screaming, you have that excitement. But for me to go crazy and try to scream over canned noise? Now, all of a sudden, I’m in my living room as opposed to being on the stage. It sounds disingenuous to go crazy. How do you modulate your voice? How many times can you say, ‘The cardboard cutouts are at the edge of their seats.’ So, coming out of my mouth now is admiration as opposed to exhilaration.
Ultimately, the Dodgers’ radio broadcaster is just happy he gets to call games. But he is also ready to wave goodbye to 2020 and never look back on it again.
I’ve covered a lot of different things in a lot of different arenas, but nothing like this. This is by far the most unique year on the planet in the last century. Every day is another footnote in history that just happens to be a ballgame. When it’s over, all I’ll say is, ‘2020, please go away.’
The Dodgers have been going to Rick Monday, Nomar Garciaparra, and Tim Neverett to fill in gaps while Charley is away from the stadium.