A “pinch me moment,” as described by Liz Habbib of Fox 11 Sports, came for Joe Davis, calling the action Sunday night in a fierce battle that ultimately would send the Dodgers to the World Series.
Davis, a South Pasadena resident, not only is the Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer for Spectrum SportNet LA, but he also does national games for FOX Sports, both in baseball and college football. With Joe Buck off covering an NFL game for the network Sunday, Davis got the call to be in the broadcast booth for the Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, sitting alongside color commentator John Smoltz.
It was another in a long list of accomplishments for the young, talented Davis, who grew up in Pottersville, Michigan and graduated with a degree in communications from Beloit College in 2010. “I’ve said many times, ‘I’ve grown up listening to Joe and it was a dream come true for me,’” Davis told Habib in a Zoom call Wednesday night following the Dodgers Game 2 World Series loss to MLB American League champion Tampa Bay as part of a post-game show on FOX. “I grew up listening to Joe and admiring all that he was doing on all the biggest games when I was a kid, all the World Series, all the game sevens, dreaming of doing something like that someday. Sitting in his chair, doing a game 7, and the fact that it was the Dodgers was just kind of the icing on top of it all to come from behind and win it all. It was definitely a pinch me moment. I’m still kind of floating to be honest with you.”
There was plenty of excitement once the Dodger bats got going. Cody Bellinger belted a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning and the Dodgers held on to win 4-3, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to become National League champions.
Yet, that wasn’t the moment that stood out the most for Davis, instead picking a sixth inning blast by Kiké Hernandez, who came off the bench as a pinch hitter to hit the game-tying home run off Braves’ reliever A.J. Minter in an eight pitch at bat like Bellinger.
“The Dodgers down a run at that point and he comes up and homers it off the facing of the upper deck,” recalled Davis. “At that point you kind of started to feel like maybe everything was going to be okay. With all the scary moments that came during the week, I think that would be the one I would circle.”
Defensive gems continued for the Dodgers the narrow victory, not one better than Mookie Bett’s remarkable catch in right field in the fifth, robbing Freddie Freeman of a home run that would have given the Braves a 4-3 advantage.
“The moments are so amazing,” said Davis, reliving the game. “It was so amazing to experience and be there.”
Wednesday night Davis was back in South Pasadena watching the World Series as a fan of the game, like always marveling over the work of Buck. “I would prefer to be covering the game, obviously,” he told Habib. “We love what we do professionally, but if you can’t do that, it’s nice to sit at home and take it in casually.”
Davis enjoys life in South Pasadena with his wife Libby, daughter Charlotte, and son Blake.
Habib pointed out, “I know you’re a good cook because it’s all over Instagram.” Davis hosts a “Cooking with Joe” segment on social media. In one he holds a giant tomahawk rib-eye steak.
“I don’t do a whole lot well, Liz,” he told Habib. “I’ve got my job, family and food. I’m a pretty boring guy, so plenty of times I’m cooking a pretty ugly piece of meat like that and eating way too much.”
Davis took over for legendary broadcaster Vin Scully in 2016, telling Habib the experience has exceeded his expectations. “I thought I would like the job and figured we would be happy here,” he said. “It has blown me away on how people have accepted me. It hasn’t hurt that I’m delivering really good news. The team is winning 100 games a year. It has been fantastic.”
How many games does Davis expect the 2020 World Series to go as the Dodgers and Tampa Bay continue to battle it out? “I’m going to say six,” he said, Habib adding, “and we know who you think is going to win, too.”
That, of course, would be the Dodgers.