Joe Davis Isn't Trying to be the Next Vin Scully

 

Denver -- 29 year-old Joe Davis is considered among the best young broadcasters in America. Still, filling the spot vacated by the man widely considered the greatest baseball broadcaster ever, can't be an easy task. That Vin Scully called Dodgers games for 67 years only adds to the near impossible job Davis has.

Through the first few games of the season, the new Dodgers play-by-play man is saying all the right things.

"If you get too caught up in the pressure of it, you're not doing yourself any favors," Davis said. "The tendency then becomes to try to be somebody that you're not, or to try to be Vin. To steer away from being yourself is a disservice to yourself, and a disservice to everybody at home listening."

Davis caught his first big break in the summer of 2012. After two-and-a-half seasons of calling games for the Montgomery Biscuits, ESPN hired Davis to his first national broadcasting gig. Two years later, Davis left ESPN to broadcast college football & basketball and MLB's Game of the Week for Fox Sports.

To the uninitiated, that's a rapid ascension for any broadcaster. Perhaps that speaks to why the Dodgers reached out to him, not the other way around.

Davis transitioned in to his current role, broadcasting 53 road games in 2016, and watching home games from the booth.

"It's a class in broadcasting every time you turn it on," Davis said. "I think he's the greatest storyteller that ever lived. Listening to him tell stories and make the players people, I think there is something to be learned from that. I don't think anybody can try to be a storyteller like Vin, but I think you can learn about humanizing the players the way he did, and how good it feels to the listeners at home."

Perhaps it's his relative youth that makes Davis the perfect fit for a broadcast booth so closely tied to the history of the franchise. When Scully began broadcasting Dodgers baseball, it couldn't have sounded normal for fans used to the southern colloquialisms of Red Barber, who held the job before Scully.

The L.A. Times has already allowed for some faint praise of Davis, noting his preparedness, quality sound and ability to work with his broadcast partners. For now, that's good enough for Davis.

"I don't expect everyone to love me right away," Davis said. "I think there will be a fair share of people who say, 'Who is this guy, where's Vin?' I totally get that. He's the greatest ever to do it, the greatest there ever will be. I just hope they can tolerate me, and hopefully respect that I'm doing the job as solidly as it can be done. I'm not getting stuff wrong, I'm not getting in the way of the game, I'm not making it about me. Hopefully over time, that endears me to people."

Davis is playing the long game. It's the only game he can play. Perhaps decades from now, Davis will be synonymous with the Dodgers, as Scully is now. Maybe one day, Davis will pass the microphone to a talented young successor who wonders how they'll fill the shoes left by Joe Davis.

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