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Talking Baseball with the Radio Voice of the Detroit Tigers

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Russ White | MSU Today
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Dan Dickerson ready to teach in the Spartan Newsroom in 2019

I caught up with the radio play-by-play voice of the Detroit Tigers, Dan Dickerson, before his appearance at Spartan Baseball’s First Pitch dinner on February 5, 2022.

Dickerson made his debut in the Tigers booth in 2000 and has been the lead play-by-play announcer for them since 2002. He is a three-time Michigan Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, earning the accolade in 2005, 2006 and 2014. Dickerson is a native of Clarkston, Michigan, and his wife, L.A., is also a professor at MSU.

Conversation Highlights:

On the labor issues in the Major League Baseball lockout: “These are complicated issues, but I firmly believe in my heart there are solutions out there. We just got fans back in the stands in full force towards the end of last season. We need to build on that momentum and not lose any games.”

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Russ White | MSU Today
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Steve Courtney, Jason Strayhorn, Dan Dickerson, Tom Izzo, George Blaha at a 2015 WJR Tailgate Show

On the Hall of Fame status of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens: “This is a museum that’s supposed to reflect the history of the game. Were Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens a big part of the history of the game? Yes! Clearly, they deserve to be in; they’re two of the greatest of all time. And then you just make sure you tell the whole story. That’s the whole point of a museum.”

On the pace of play in baseball: He’s not opposed to a pitch clock. “I do think it could pick up the pace of play.” He’s not in favor of moving the mound back. “The extra inning runner is probably here to stay, and I’m in favor of having the designated hitter in both leagues.”

On the prospects for the 2022 Tigers: “Greene and Torkelson are the headliners, but this is a pretty deep farm system. I’ve been a Tigers fan since 1967, and I don’t ever remember two prospects with this level of national acclaim. Both are considered top ten if not top five hitting prospects in all of baseball. A.J. Hinch knows you win with pitching and defense, and they’ve got the makings of a team that can do that. Last year, Hinch really wanted to get to 500. I guarantee you they’ll go into spring training with the goal of winning the division. Winning a world championship will be the goal from here on out.”

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Ann Thomas | WJR Radio
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Dan Dickerson, Russ White in 2016

On radio and how fans consume play-by-play: “As long as people are outside in the summer, driving cars, having family get togethers, fishing, walking, or whatever it might be, there will be a place for baseball on the radio. And there are just more ways to listen now. I don’t worry about it at all. I know people aren’t carrying around transistor radios anymore and putting them under their pillows, but they have phones. And for $2.99 a month you can listen not just to Tigers baseball but all broadcasts from around baseball. You can listen on your phone. You can listen on your laptop. There are so many ways to listen, and people are taking advantage of them.”

On teaching play-by-play at MSU: “It’s fun. I enjoy interacting with the students. I enjoy it because I know how I do what I do, but how do I teach what I do? Where do you start with someone who’s never done it before? You need to come up with a vocabulary and be able to say the same thing five or six different ways. We practice a lot with college basketball because it’s so fast paced. Don’t have the crowd roaring and you’re still trying to get the ball down the court. As long as you can keep up with the play, think of all things you can describe and describe them well. That takes time. The kids are great, and I love being in the classroom. They energize me.”

Find Dan on Cameo with all proceeds going to benefit students in need in sports journalism at MSU and follow Dan Dickerson on Twitter @Dan_Dickerson.

(Audio courtesy of Major League Baseball)

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