A melodic summer-like autumn weekend in L.A. won’t inspire Dan Shulman to audition for “The Voice.”
Because, well, it’s about his voice: It’s been a bit dicey at best the last couple of days, even before calling 18 innings of World Series Game 3 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium for ESPN Radio.
Hot tea refills came as the innings replicated to help Shulman tame his sore throat, the likely result of traveling and hotel AC settings.
Even so, Shulman said he was “all in on the adventure” of the marathon contest.
“Even if my throat wasn’t right, it didn’t bother me, I just worried how long I could keep going,” Shulman said early Saturday morning. “If there were 53,000 in the stadium, I’d bet there were 30,000 still there seven-plus hours later and that crowd was fanatic in terms of energy. We embraced the craziness.”
That included the realization that, after the 14th inning, he had to excuse himself to find the press box restroom. All those cups of hot tea …
“Maybe it’s the kind of things people don’t think about, but it had been six hours at that point, and … sometimes, you just gotta go,” Shulman said.
The 51-year-old Toronto-born broadcaster whose primary duties these days are aligned with Canada’s Sportsnet for the Blue Jays had been in this territory before. He did an 18-inning, 6-hour and 5-minute Yankees-Cubs game at Wrigley Field for “Sunday Night Baseball” in May 2017, his final season on the ESPN national package.
What helped keep Shulman engaged was his Twitter feed (@DShulman_ESPN) asking followers if they were enjoying the process.
The call he scratched out for Max Muncy’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 18th inning: “Swing and a high fly ball to left-center … Did he get enough? … It’s over!”
“It’s so great to hear from bartenders, or truckers, or fans who can’t sleep, sending me GIFs and all kinds of comments,” said Shulman, who tweeted out a relatively clean Game 3 scorecard Saturday afternoon.
With all the numbers regurgitated during Friday’s Game 3, they kept adding up during Saturday’s Game 4 Fox broadcast.
John Smoltz: “When the score is 0-0, you really need to take the lead.”
As the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead on Yasiel Puig’s home run, reporter Ken Rosenthal said “it must be asked” why the Red Sox allowed Eduardo Rodriguez, who threw only 78 pitches total in the postseason, was allowed to go 93 pitches Saturday. That included staying in to face Puig, whose splits against left-handers were not as good as against right-handers.
“It’s strictly by the numbers,” Smoltz said.
As Boston’s No. 3 hitter Steve Pearce came up in the top of the seventh, Joe Buck explained that the Red Sox’s 1-through-4 hitters were 0 for 28 on Friday and 0 for 13 in this game. Then Pearce homered.
Buck also recited a screen graphic that noted the Dodgers were 54-0 in games this year when leading by four runs. No need to remind the audience when the Red Sox took a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth.
One last number: Smoltz noted there has been “25 innings of tremendous stress in the last 36 hours.”
That’s 18 innings Friday and seven more Saturday. But when he said that at 8 p.m. Saturday, only 27 hours had elapsed from the first pitch Friday to that point. Strictly by the numbers, of course.
What more do you want?
There was a thought, albeit brief, that Buck might be covering two live major sporting events for Fox during what we’re calling this “Los Angeles Sports Equinox” on Sunday.
The network has its top NFL team on the Rams’ Coliseum game against the Packers with a 1:25 p.m. kickoff. That should wrap up with about a half hour to spare – and six miles in traffic -- before first pitch of Game 5 of the Dodgers-Red Sox World Series continues at Dodger Stadium.
Even if a helicopter were made available, Buck said, “They floated it and I shot it down. I don’t know if they were serious.”
Buck has already done this kind of thing before. Six years ago in San Francisco, he called a New York Giants-49ers NFL game at Candlestick Park, then got over to AT&T Park for a Cardinals-Giants NL Championships Series call by 5 p.m.
Buck will give way to Tom Brennaman to do the Rams-Packers game with Troy Aikman and watch it play out from the Dodger Stadium press box monitor.