A local voice? Naw.
Someone from Chicago.
Eric Collins, who called baseball during NBC’s Olympics and has worked at ESPN doing college football and basketball, was picked by the Dodgers to do play-by-play on the 40-some TV games this season in place of Vin Scully when the team is playing East of the Rockies.
The 39-year-old Collins has also called College World Series telecasts and USA women’s softball games. Last season, he filled in on Chicago White Sox games.
Collins came to ESPN from ABC where he also worked as a college football play-by-play commentator (2002-03). Prior to ABC, Collins worked for Fox Sports, calling NFL Europe games (2002) and DePaul and Horizon League basketball games (2000-04), while also serving as an anchor and reporter (1996-02). Collins was also the radio voice of the Schaumburg Flyers (Ill.) of the Northern League Baseball (1999-2001).
Collins will work with Steve Lyons and replaces Charley Steiner, who’ll work exclusively on the KABC-AM (790) broadcasts with Rick Monday.
Candidates for the job who were invited to spring training to team up with Lyons on games to see how they fared included both Josh Suchon and Ken Levine, who do the DodgerTalk show for KABC, as well as Ben Wagner, Tom Hart and Joe Block.
Collins’ resume is enough to make him a fine candidate for the position. But, if you’re the Dodgers, would you not have tried to make it someone more familiar to the L.A. audience? Suchon or Levine would have made perfect sense, aside from what we already campaigned for — trying Jeanne Zelasko out for the spot. It’s only 40 games. There are plenty of talented people working in L.A. who know the team, its nuances, don’t have to flip through a media guide to cram for the games, and could add some context to situations that will come up that, frankly, someone consumed in another city with other teams just won’t have.
It’ll come up during the season again. We’re sure Collins again is a fine hire. If you’re ESPN looking for a West Coast guy to call some MLB games. Not so much if you’re the Dodgers trying to connect with a fan base.