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Episode 17: Joe Davis

LIFE ON TOUR  

“There are definitely those moments—the pinch myself moments,” relates Joe Davis, play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. “The opening day at Dodgers Stadium my first year as the fulltime guy in 2017…it was overwhelming. There was a moment when I cried,” he admitted to us as we traveled with him to Spring Training in Arizona.

Don’t worry Joe, if sportscasting legend and long-time voice of the Dodgers Vin Scully had introduced us to a sold-out crowd of 53,000, we would get a little emotional too.

As one of the youngest sports announcers in history, at 32 years-old, Joe Davis is living his dream.

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do, probably in fifth or sixth grade,” Joe laughs. “My parents would see me in the backyard playing these imaginary games, but I was also announcing them. I had on the full gear and I’d tackle myself and crash to the ground, but while I was doing that, I was pretending to announce the game too… I was just training for the job.”

The night before Joe Davis discovered he would be joining the LA Dodgers announcing team alongside Orel Hershiser, he received two calls from the same unknown number, ignoring it each time. The second time, there was voicemail: “Hi Joe, Vin Scully with the Dodgers. I tried to get you earlier in the day, and so I guess I begin the year 0 for 2…”

“I sent Vin Scully to voicemail! Twice!” Joe screams, still incredulous. “My wife took that voicemail and put it in a teddy bear. Maybe a little creepy, but…” Joe shrugs with a laugh.

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Now, three years later, Joe Davis, the LA Dodgers, and Major League Baseball together face a new, unprecedented challenge: COVID-19, the pandemic that has sent shockwaves around the world, grinding everyday life to a halt. In March 2020, MLB suspended all operations indefinitely, canceling Spring Training and delaying Opening Day until the end of July.

“The situation is awful, but if you’re finding the silver lining…it’s been four months where I don’t have work, four months where I get to be [home] every day.” Joe relates to us alongside his wife Libby, the voices of their two small children squealing and giggling nearby.

Despite an increase in his favorite activities—backyard grilling and family time—work is far from slow for Joe. An enormous amount of research and preparation goes into announcing a game. This year, it just looks a little different.

“We can’t go on the field before the game to talk to coaches and players. We go to the parking lot from our car, to the booth and back, and that’s it,” Joe states.

With a detailed system and scrupulous, color-coded notes, Joe has worked around the physical limitations coronavirus has imposed on the 2020 season.

“It’s tough in terms of balancing all the prep, but really quickly I remind myself when I feel bogged down, this isn’t rocket science. I’m doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing,” Joe says with his signature smile and optimism. “It’s just great to get back to hearing the sounds of baseball. I’m kind of romantic when it comes to those simple things—the crack of the bat, the pop of the mitt… With my job, the next moment could be THE moment.”

Life is full of moments—big and small. For Joe Davis, he’s lived his chasing opportunities in order to catch his dream. And so far, it’s been an unbelievably cool journey.

“I don’t know if I’ve ‘made it’, but I’m very thankful for having gotten to this point. There’s always more out there, there’s always ways to get better,” Joe ruminates. “I’m just trying to be myself and hope that it works…so far it has.”

We couldn’t agree more, Joe.

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