Dodgers’ Joe Davis Becomes ‘The Voice of Baseball’ on Fox

As Brad Zager recalls, the decision was made within hours.

On Friday in March, the news broke that Fox Sports was the premier broadcaster for MLB and the NFL. Joe Buck leaving the network for ESPN.

By the next afternoon, Zager, Fox Sports’ president of production and operations, was flying to Las Vegas, wasting no time looking for Buck’s baseball replacement.

“It was a very, very short turn,” Zager said. “We knew we had the guy in the house that we wanted.”

This guy was Joe Davis. And he was going to get the job of a lifetime.

“We met at the hotel,” recalled Davis, who was in Las Vegas that week working on the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament, “and he said, ‘I’m here to give you the chance to be the voice of baseball.’ ”

Four months later, the 34-year-old TV presenter still seems somewhat surreal.

Davis has already established himself as one of baseball’s top commentators. taking over from Vin Scully like a TV voice Dodgers in 2017 and held the previous position. 2 in the Fox MLB package.

However, Davis is now the most prominent figure on baseball broadcasts.

On Tuesday evening, he will play his first ever All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

In October, he will become the first person other than Buck since 1999 to be the main voice of the World Series.

“Defining the biggest games is a huge responsibility,” Davis said in a recent interview. “One of the exciting things about step-by-step announcement is the thought that at the moment you only have one chance to take on the challenge and capture the moment. And it will forever be a part of this moment.

“This challenge has always been my favorite part of the job. And now to get that call at the most important moments is quite an exciting thought.”

Davis has already made his mark on many important occasions. As Buck’s understudy — and Fox’s heir in baseball — he’s been a regular fill-in for regular-season and playoff national games over the past few years. In 2020, he called Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves.

“We realized that there is something special here,” Zager said.

But it wasn’t until this spring that rumors surfaced that Buck and his longtime Fox football broadcast partner Troy Aikman might be heading to ESPN, that Davis’ promotion to the big job seemed inevitable.

“Joe is my friend and mentor, but this is not the situation where you reach out and ask: “What do you have? Is this happening?” Davis recalled with a laugh. “I was just sitting on pins and needles, waiting for everything to shake out.”

Once Buck did leave, Davis’ offer was quickly accepted.

He said his new contract with Fox, where he also called football and college basketball, was set by the time he took to the air for the Pac-12 title game that Saturday night.

However, it took more time to realize the scale of the work.

“To be honest, I don’t consider myself the voice of baseball,” Davis said. “I just keep thinking of myself as someone who loves baseball and is lucky enough to call games every day. I dont know. It’s just an all-consuming feeling of gratitude more than feeling like I’ve been elevated in any way.”

During the first half of the season, Davis did not change his routine while traveling with the Dodgers except on weekends when Fox did a nationwide Saturday broadcast (which Davis had already done in recent seasons).

Davis also had a lot of experience in organizing games with Fox’s lead baseball color commentator, Hall of Famer pitcher John Smolz.

“In terms of his transition, it went pretty smoothly,” Smolz said, noting that Davis had already faced the toughest part of the job, convening nationally televised post-season games with his first team.

“He did a great job,” Smoltz said. “It is not simple”.

The All-Star Game will be the first of several upcoming big events for the new No. 1 Fox. 1 duet. In August, they will be working on the MLB Field of Dreams game in Iowa. In October, they will head to their first full postseason and World Series together.

The latter is something that, according to Davis, three months later, he cannot help but think about every day.

“It’s always there, but in a good way,” he said. “Every day I think about it. It’s still at the point where people are asking if I’ve thought it over and if I’ve calmed down, sort of. But every day I wake up and think, “Wow, this is real.” It’s not a dream”.

Naming Dodger games, of course, was another Davis dream come true over the past half century.

He first joined the team to run road games in 2016, and went full-time the following year after Scully’s retirement.

He formed a close bond with his SportsNet LA primary color commentator, Eagle Hershizer, which was well received by the fans.

And even after his promotion at Fox, Davis is adamant about his desire to balance the roles, describing the Dodgers’ work as “something that’s hard to imagine completely without anything.”

Davis did acknowledge the new challenges that accompanied the Dodgers’ run this year, in which he worked with a rotating cast of analysts including Eric Carros, Dontrell Willis and Jessica Mendoza after Hershiser switched to a home-only schedule.

“It’s not perfect,” Davis said. “But thankfully the three people who made the away games are such simple, wonderful people to be around and on the air with. They took a far from ideal situation and made it normal.”

However, he views the opportunity to work both nationally and locally as a privilege.

“They knew from the beginning that my dream was to continue working on national television and eventually, hopefully, do something similar, and they did nothing but help me achieve this,” Davis said of the Dodgers.

“I enjoyed this role more than I ever expected. I thought I would like it. I didn’t know for sure. But there’s something special about being with a team and having a connection with a fan base that you don’t get when you’re doing a national cause.”

Someone who can tell: Buck, who spent the early years of his nearly 30-year job at Fox calling St. Louis. The Louis Cardinals played at the same time before finally withdrawing from the gig in 2007.

Buck, who has called 24 World Series and 22 All-Star Games, still lives in St. Louis. Louis. And when the Dodgers visited last week, he met with Davis for lunch to hand over the very large scorebook he used during the All-Star Game broadcasts.

“For this literal, physical book to be passed down and now he can continue his little tradition of using this result book is a really special thing,” Davis said.

Think of it as Davis’ new franchise, another by-product of being the new voice of baseball.