Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Episode 14: From Hollywood to the Big Leagues

How does a successful sitcom writer become a major league baseball announcer?   In this episode Ken shares his “Walter Mitty” story of how a midlife crisis turned into a second career. Also, you’ll hear a sample of Ken’s play-by-play.  

Listen to the Hollywood & Levine podcast!


Jahn Ghalt said...

Loved this podcast, Ken (I like all of them, actually). I would tune in, with notice, if you could do a guest spot for an M's at Angels game with the M's announcers - radio, TV, streaming, whatever.

Would it be gauche to sic your agent on this?

You left out a good minute on this one (maybe three) - how did you get the Mariner's job?

Andy Rose said...

I'm sure the Snapple folks appreciated the free endorsement at the end of that drop-in. I think that's one reason live reads are so popular... not only is it less disruptive than a normal commercial, but the ad folks know that a broadcaster (especially one who used to be a DJ) is going to be naturally inclined to segue out of it with something personal.

One thing I've been curious about that didn't get mentioned in the broadcast... why'd you stop doing baseball? Maybe that's a good Friday Question?

Paul G said...

The clip of you doing the Angel broadcast is fantastic. As good as you are as a writer, every minute you are not in a ML broadcast booth is a disservice to how great you are as a baseball announcer. I can hear influences from Vin, from Jon Miller, two of the best, but you have your own style that I really enjoy. Plus you take care of business: you tell us the score, who is on base and how they got there, who is pitching, what inning we are in, who is in the field, etc. It is amazing how rarely many major league announcers share this info with listeners. You remain my favorite Dodger Talk host by far and now I understand why you did such a good job at that.

Perhaps in the future, when you start to run short of podcast topics, you can share with us how in the world baseball announcers can score a game, keep track of what is happening on the bases, remember the names of all the fielders, and know that so and so is 0 for 11 against the White Sox. What did you keep track of on your score card? What info did you take into the booth with you? Did you have separate sheets with the fielders on it (For most of us it would be "a long fly to right, uh...Smith, no Jones, no Crawford settles under it...")? And so forth...Heck when I score my kids' games, it takes me a while to figure out how many hits and runs were given up that half inning, much less earned runs. But announcers do it automatically without pause. It's amazing -- what are the actual mechanics of this -- and how in the world did an 89 year old do this better than anyone else? Tx Ken

Saburo said...

Kudos Ken! That was a FANTASTIC half inning of action! You can watch games on teevee from all over the place and experience a whole lotta boring-ass announcing. Maybe the glass teat has softened the skills of broadcasters.

But damn, there's some real energy in your radio persona/tone that's quite distinct from how you present yourself on the podcast (I felt a Dan Patrick sorta cadence). There's virtually no dead air and, despite being the substitute teacher in the room, totally engaged with the home team and all that's been happening at the end of a long marathon of a season. You earned that Snapple, sir!

The clip also illustrates how a sports broadcast doesn't need to be saddled with the obligatory presence of an ex-player to talk down to us inexperienced listeners about hustle, heart, and playing baseball "the right way." The great Vin did this for generations without help and I think a single person in the booth is just fine.

Viva la Nineties!

bruce said...

Salmon and Snow go back to back in the 4th. Amazingly, the White Sox win 16-10, scoring 6 unanswered runs in the top of the 10th. The game lasted 4 1/2 hours. Ken, is this especially difficult on the play-by-play announcers?

Doug said...

I enjoyed the podcast, though I did have a moment of confusion. Due to a glitch on my end, a tab with a story from the UT started playing a video of Leitner calling a game just as your Angels play by play started. It took me a couple of beats before I figured out what was wrong.

cnybrian said...

Discovered your podcast from the several Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs podcast you did with Kevin Smith and Matt Mira.

Being from Syracuse are, I can understand why your wife didn't like it, especially coming from sunny Southern California! In order for us natives to survive living here, we have to embrace winter by partaking in downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating and snowmobiling.

Please keep up the great work. You have a great voice.