The line between professional and fan
Admittedly, I exist within a weird gray area of baseball writing.
Am I a fan? Am I a writer? Am I too much? The answer to those first two questions is usually yes, and sadly sometimes the third as well. Point of order if I start belting the Heat Miser song at the ballpark, that act is a sure sign that I am in need of urgent medical attention.
I have been at this gig for almost a year and a half now, which I still cannot wrap my head around. On the eve of my first adventure of the year, which is both slowly creeping up on me and simultaneously rushing at me, a single solitary truth has emerged, quite unexpectedly: I have become known, which is the complete opposite of the reaction from my original trip outside of this site.
While job hunting, I have had job interviews get derailed because potential employers kept asking me about the Dodgers rather than my skills as a lawyer. There have been more than a few comparisons to “Brockmire,” which I did not understand, so I watched the show, and I am still perplexed.
The story of my original trip is well known, but there is one aspect of it that I do not talk about much. Partly, because it is a little silly, and partly because I worry that I do not come off as well as I would hope. But here we go.
One of the things that I hoped would happen on that trip or any of the subsequent trips was that I would have a random happening with Joe Davis and/or Orel Hershisher.
In 2021, once play resumed, famously none of the Dodgers’ broadcast team traveled with the team. This fact was a disappointment because that absence made said any potential impromptu meet-up impossible. In fact, announcers of the Dodgers’ broadcast team did not return to the road until the 2022 regular season.
Honestly, life carried on and I almost forgot about this little dream. I noticed signs that the Dodgers announcing core was traveling with the team here and there. Also, I spotted Kirsten Watson occasionally on the road, most notably at Game 2 of the NLDS in San Francisco. She’s actually not that tall in person, but when you are my size, you tend to define short as shorter than you and tall as taller than you.
The main difference from then to now is that I have branched out to other social media apps. At their best, you get to have a parasocial relationship with regular people and folks in the public eye. At their worst, these sites are quite toxic to one’s mental health and can destabilize institutions. But this piece is supposed to be light, so you can tell where this piece is going.
As such, a new goal arose: have a fun interaction with the Dodgers’ announcing core on Twitter. My rules were simple: the interaction must be public (no DMs here!), the exchange must be organic, and the exchange must be fun.
Also, if possible, the exchange should not involve baseball. We are all just people after all.
For want of a sandwich: Tim Neverett
As you should know, I write the MLB Stadium Guide series: On the Road with Eli(zondo) and Adric. I rave justifiably about PNC Park. Accordingly, I am a fan of Primanti Brothers, a chain of sandwich stops in the Eastern U.S., and Prantl’s Bakery, makers of arguably the best cake in the country.
The Guide goes into details about Primanti’s and not Prantl’s because you need to make a special trip to get Prantl’s, which you absolutely should. Last time, I had my rideshare driver circle the block of the bakery on my way to the airport and I got him a cake too. Be nice to support staff, people; it’s a good rule to live by.
Needless to say on April 22, I happened to notice that Tim Neverett was going to be in Pittsburgh for the upcoming Dodgers/Pirates series. As such, we had the following interaction.
And before anyone gets any funny ideas, the Strip District is a neighborhood along the Alleghany River to the northeast of PNC Park filled with restaurants. I prefer the Primanti’s in Market Square due to its proximity to PNC Park.
In want of a nickname: Stephen Nelson and Dontrelle Willis
Personally, the duo of Stephen Nelson and Dontrelle Willis gives me some serious vibes akin to the film Stepbrothers. Dodger Twitter user @nerdydodger asked if anyone had created a nickname for these announcers on May 9 while the team was playing in Milwaukee.
As that particular game was a bit of a laugher until it wasn’t, turned into an odd debate between myself and David Young. To be fair, occasionally I forget to untag people in follow-up discussions, which is on me. Imagine my absolute shock when the topic was actually discussed on the air of the actual broadcast.
Nothing came of it that day, because the Brewers made an actual game of it. The actual commenter's ideas were actually discussed the following day on air by both Nelson and Willis, which was just fun to see.
Damn it. The game got too close, so we had to stay on the rails but D-Train and I loved this thread and hopefully can revisit tomorrow!— Stephen Nelson (@StephenNelson) May 10, 2023
Honestly, of all the ideas mentioned, David Young’s “The Highwaymen” in honor of the country music supergroup made by mixing the last name of the pair is probably the best nickname to me. It is quite the deep cut for the modern audience. Frankly, just about any excuse to listen to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash is a good one.
The White Whales: Joe Davis and Orel Hershisher
The main broadcasting duo of the Dodgers has publicly said on different occasions that they do not actively use the Bird App frequently anymore. I get it, but it is a shame because they would occasionally namedrop Eric or insights from True Blue LA on broadcasts.
But I did hold out hope recently when the pair were discussing boy bands on May 14th as baseball is just odd sometimes. I had hoped that the pair would eventually segue into one of the greatest cold opens of a sitcom ever. I even supplied the cue to no avail.
So imagine my shock when on Instagram later that night, a video emerged of Orel Hershisher singing NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye,” which I now share below.
Did you need to see that video? Probably not. Is your day made worse by seeing this video? Most likely not. Is this entire essay just an excuse to discuss Orel Hershisher singing in the car? Well...
If anything, these anecdotes are a fun diversion to serve as a lede for the following sentence: Wednesday in Atlanta was my first game of the year. And let me say, it is about time.