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10-20-2006, 11:21 AM #1
Dickerson's call emanates from the heart
Dickerson's call emanates from the heart
Dickerson wasn't prepared for a walk-off homer, so Tigers broadcaster spoke from his heart.
Joanne C. Gerstner / The Detroit News
"Swing and a fly ball, left field it's deep, it's way back ... the Tigers are going to the World Series! Three-run, walk-off home run! Ohhh, man! Ordonez around third, he's into a mob scene at home! The Tigers have beaten the A's, 6-3, completing a four-game sweep in one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history! The Tigers, three years after losing 119 games, are going to the World Series! Magglio Ordonez with his second home run of the game. What a sight at home plate!"
It was a moment for the ages when Magglio Ordonez smacked a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning last Saturday, sending the Tigers to the World Series.
Somewhere in the packed stands of Comerica Park, Lori Anne Dickerson celebrated.
After a few seconds of unbridled happiness, a panicked thought entered her brain.
"How is Dan? I hope he's not going too crazy and can still do his job oh man ," she remembers thinking.
Her husband of 18 years, Tigers radio play-by-play broadcaster Dan Dickerson, was doing quite well, thank you.
His call of the dramatic Ordonez home run has spread over the planet, thanks to the Internet and repeated showing on ESPN.
"It's been pretty incredible, I can't believe how many people have gotten in touch with me to say they heard it," Dan said with a disbelieving laugh. "Our answering machine is flooded, the messages have been non-stop. People I haven't heard from in years are getting in touch with me, telling me how much they loved the call. Which is great.
"It's good I didn't screw it up."
Far from it.
His call was the perfect mix of clarity and spontaneous emotion. It's made its way into Dan's Wikipedia entry, a few submissions to YouTube, and seemingly non-stop airplay on WXYT 1270.
Making his mark
Every broadcaster mentally rehearses something clever or poignant to say to mark a significant moment, say, reaching the World Series for the first time in 22 years.
Dickerson admits he had a few scenarios in his head. He didn't, however, have a contingency plan for a walk-off homer to reach the World Series.
"I was really excited, you have the surge of adrenaline from the crowd and the moment go through you, but I knew I had to keep it together," Dickerson, 47, said. "It wouldn't have been good radio to just hug Jim Price and yell along with the crowd. I knew I wanted to work something in about losses, something about the turnaround. The rest just came from my heart.
"Oh, trust me, I was excited as Lori and everybody else in Comerica Park. I just knew that right then wasn't the right time to go nuts."
Dickerson realizes the gravity of the time he's living in, both as a baseball fan and professional broadcaster. He's a kid who grew up in Metro Detroit, listening to Ernie Harwell broadcast the games of his favorite baseball team -- the Tigers.
Now, he's the broadcaster, getting his chance to be part of his first World Series with the Tigers. Dickerson took over Harwell's lead play-by-play gig in 2003.
Preparation is key
Veteran radio broadcaster Jon Miller offered some quick advice, from his similar experience doing his first World Series with the Orioles in 1983.
"I wanted to be the most prepared broadcaster ever. I was cramming and studying like I was going to take an oral Master's thesis," Miller said. "I holed up for three days in a hotel in New York, up until 2, 3 in the morning, just reading and synthesizing everything I could get my hands on. And then I came to the realization: Getting some sleep would probably make me a good broadcaster, too.
"The World Series is special, but it's still baseball, and you will do the games like you did all season long. Tell the stories, deliver the scene, bring the game to life for the listeners. But your first time is definitely an emotional experience, both from nerves and excitement."
Dickerson chuckled that Miller's advice was related to him, since he's already started his cram sessions. He wants to read everything he can -- on the Cardinals and Mets -- and also revisit clips from the Tigers' season.
He admits he probably will over prepare for the World Series, but having too much provides more comfort than not having enough.
"I'm a pack rat, so I have piles of clips from the season to go through, that's just how I operate," Dickerson said.
Family shares joy
The entire Dickerson family, Lori and children Rachel (11) and Justin (8), feels like it is on this ride with Dan. The kids have hung out at the ballpark all summer, developing friendships with players. Dickerson realizes the kids probably don't fully realize the history that's being made around them at the moment.
Once things had calmed down a bit after reaching the World Series, Dan asked Rachel what she thought about the Ordonez homer. She's a new softball player, and has taken a keener interest in watching baseball.
Rachel confidently told her dad: "I knew it was gone from the moment he hit it. You can just tell."
Dan said he smiled, telling Rachel she was indeed correct.
"It was pretty cool," Rachel said.
Yep, pretty cool for her dad, too.
You can reach Joanne C. Gerstner at (313) 223-4644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10-20-2006, 11:30 AM #2
Ladies love Dickerson.AAT: Ian Kinsler
10-20-2006, 12:39 PM #3
Dickerson is insane.