Sports

Joe Davis calling the World Series is what he’s always dreamt of doing

LOS ANGELES — Luckily for Joe Davis, there were no budding reporters in his daughter Charlotte’s grade school class. But when her teacher offered congratulations a few weeks before the story broke, he knew the news was out.

Davis is going to call the World Series for Fox.

“I told her, ‘Hey honey, do you know what the World Series is?’ She’d heard of it, but she didn’t know what it was. I explained it to her, then I explained to her, ‘This is what Daddy’s always dreamt of doing,’ and it might happen,” Davis said last weekend. “I didn’t know if it hit home, like she really grasped what I was talking about.

“But when it actually did happen, and I told her this was a big thing for our family, at least my wife and I, I really think that it did hit home. When I knew that it did when it was that first day at school when the teacher says congratulations and I’m like, ‘Wow, the first thing she did was she wanted to tell everybody that her dad got the World Series.’”

Davis still had a wide smile on his face on Saturday, a little more than a week after the official announcement was made that he was the new voice of MLB for Fox Sports. A rising star in broadcasting, Davis is in already in his seventh year of calling Dodgers games but is still just 34 years old.

“As an integral part of our coverage over the last several years, his transition onto baseball’s biggest stage is a natural fit,” said Fox president of production and operations Brad Zager in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to have him as the new voice of MLB on Fox.”

Davis has called college basketball and football for both ESPN and Fox Sports, and with Fox has also added occasional NFL duties to his bag of tricks. Broadcasting is the job he’s always set his compass point to, with one clear North Star.

“Something special about playoff baseball, and I’ve always felt that,” Davis said. “If you had asked me when I was 10 or 11 years old, I probably would have told you at that point that the World Series was what I dreamt of doing.”

The baseball postseason is nothing new to Davis, who’s called a Division Series for Fox Sports annually for five years, including Dodgers-Braves in 2018 and Dodgers-Padres in 2020. He also was on the microphone for Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in 2020which included:

Davis called Game 7 that year, his first NLCS, while filling in for Joe Buck, who was in Tampa to call an NFL game between Aaron Rodgers’ packers and Tom Brady’s Buccaneers for Fox.

The lure of premiere NFL games opened another door for Davis in baseball. After analyst Troy Aikman left Fox to join ‘Monday Night Football’ in March, ESPN quickly made a deal with Buck to rejoin his longtime Fox football partner.

Buck calling football games helped prepare Davis for his new MLB assignment with Fox, because of all the exposure he’s had working with the No. 1 crew, including analyst John Smoltz, reporters Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci, lead producer Pete Macheska, and lead director Matt Gangl. Davis has called five Division Series games with that crew, plus NLCS Game 7 in 2020, and several regular season games when Buck was calling NFL games.

“It’s a huge thing in this job — or in any job, right? — being comfortable who you’re with and knowing that you can trust them knowing they trust you,” Davis said. “That’s a really big deal going into, obviously, a big spot.”

That big spot for Davis will include maybe a few more assignments for Fox than before, like the Field of Dreams game on Thursday, August 11 between the Cubs and Reds. But for the most part, his schedule will be the same as it has been the last few years, calling Dodgers games on SportsNet LA except when away for national telecasts. Davis’ first game this season for Fox is Saturday, May 28, when he’ll call the Phillies and Mets from Citi Field.

Being in the top chair at Fox also means Davis will call the MLB All-Star Gamewhich this year happens to be from his own booth at Dodger Stadium, on July 19.

“The World Series, of course, is the thing. But pretty quickly after that I started to think about the All-Star Game, being able to introduce the players, when your voice goes to the stadium for introductions, and I’m introducing the best baseball players in the world,” he said. “And the fact that it’s at Dodger Stadium is kind of the cherry on top.”

But as Davis said, the World Series is the thing, and its amplified when the last time somebody else but Buck called play-by-play of a Fall Classic game on television was 1999. Buck called 24 World Series, tying his former analyst partner Tim McCarver for most World Series in a TV booth, including each of the last 22 years.

Davis has big shoes to fill, but he’s used to that.

His first year with the Dodgers was in 2016, calling road games while Vin Scully called only home games (plus the final series in San Francisco) in his final season. Davis right away had the proper perspective.

“You have to recognize that nobody will ever replace Vin, nobody that’s living or nobody who has been born yet,” Davis said six years ago. “I can’t do anything other than try to be the best me that I can be. I can’t try to be Vin, or try to be what people want to hear.”

Being the best Joe Davis has worked well for him, and helps him appreciate his jobs even more.

“Part of what made the Dodger job so special was who I was following. Vin was on that chair for 67 years,” Davis said Saturday. “A big part of what makes the World Series job so special for me is that Joe is the guy that I kind of grew up listening to. I think he’s the best of his generation of him and capturing those big moments, and he’s become a mentor for me. ”

Buck was among the first to congratulate Davis on getting to call the World Series for Fox. They text regularly.

One recent message from Buck to Davis said, “Just enjoy it. Be a good guy. Don’t try to be like anybody not named Joe Davis.”

Davis has already mastered that last part.

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