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Dodgers: Joe Davis Discusses the Challenges of Calling Games in 2020



Joe Davis is no stranger to calling games without fans. Any commentator who has spent time in the minor leagues will be able to tell you that. In his time spent with the Montgomery Biscuits, the Dodgers’ play-by-play man certainly covered a few games that at best had 50 people there. 

In a world where social distance is the theme of the year, we had a phone call to discuss current events with Davis on Thursday afternoon. Like many of us, Joe is just ready to finally have some baseball back in our lives. The difference is that we get to also have Joe on the tv when we tune into Dodgers games. 

But this year will be unlike any that Joe has experienced in his highlight reel of a career. He still gets to call live home games, but road games will come with a catch. Davis and Orel Hershiser will call road games from Dodger Stadium using television monitors, not traveling on the road with their team. For a guy who has one of the most emphatic calls in all of baseball, that might make things a little difficult. 

I think that what I’m interested to see is can I with conviction because in order to have what you said to punch a call and to call it emphatically, in order for that to be the case, you’ve gotta be pretty sure of what you’re seeing. I can’t start cutting into a call if I’m unsure if a ball is gonna go out or if it has a chance to go out. So how much conviction am I gonna have for these road games where I’m watching the monitor? Am I going to be able to really let it rip the way I like to?  

Aside from the glorious hoemrun calls that we get to hear almost weekly, Joe will also be missing out on interactions this year. Normally very close with players on the field before games or just during the season, Joe and Orel will be stuck up the booth. While he’s certainly done his best to stay in touch with Dodgers players, he won’t always get the chance to keep up with everyone. 

I think that probably the most significant dropoff in interactions is that we’re not going to talk to the players or the staff. We’re not going to be allowed down on the field and that’s a big chunk of our day. So I think that is probably going to be the biggest off-air adjustment would be not having the interactions with as many people, and most impactful not having the interactions with the players and folks in uniform. 

While it’s going to be very strange, we’re also all in agreement that we’re just thankful to have baseball back. And lucky for Dodgers fans, we get to hear Joe Davis work his magic alongside Orel Hershiser all year long. What a life we live. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. ‘And lucky for Dodgers fans, we get to hear Joe Davis work his magic alongside Orel Hershiser all year long.” He is in short pants compared to Scully.

  2. Joe could learn a lot from listening to radio play calls..vivid descriptions of positioning, the count, the physical conditions of the field…rather than moments of silence…and the great good fortune that the Dodgers happen to hit a lot of home runs…not difficult to make those calls

    • TV is not radio. There are many instances where silence is the proper call. Joe Davis is as well-prepared as anyone in the business. He calls a wonderful game, is intelligent, and give his color commentator(s) enough room to interject meaningful commentary. We don’t need suped-up home run calls that make the game all about the broadcaster.

  3. Speaking of calling homeruns…..Who gets to keep those souvener dingers and all those foul balls? Can we player sign them and raise money for charity?

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