Eric Collins came clean — since 1981, he’s only missed 11 episodes of “General Hospital.”
Maybe that’s what makes him a good candidate to be the next play-by-play man for the Dodgers.
“That’s what I love about baseball, it’s a daily soap opera, with a great rhythm, the smell of the cut grass, the sounds, where something that happens on April 15 can be brought up on September 15 to put things into context,” the 39-year-old said during a recent conversation at Dodger Stadium, where he’s been doing some practice games in the booth with new partner Steve Lyons as they prepare for their first series together next week in Houston (for Prime Ticket and KCAL Channel 9).
“That’s the beauty of the long season.”
profile of Collins will be in Sunday’s paper.
One of the new cool things the Dodgers have done in their broadcast booth is put up a row of photographs of every broadcaster in team history, starting with Red Barber … and now with Collins on the end. Here’s a list they’ve also posted with the photos…
Collins, who has done college sports for ESPN the last six years as well as Olympic baseball for NBC in the last Olympics, right away knows the company he keeps.
“There are some expectations,” he says. “I’m not stupid.”
Brad Zager, the Dodgers’ game producer for Prime Ticket and KCAL-Channel 9, admits that Collins and Lyons are in a more difficult spot having to sound like a cohesive unit with a start-and-stop schedule rather than jumping in from the beginning and seeing each other every day. After the three-game series in Houston (a trip that continues with Scully in Colorado and San Francisco), the two don’t work together until May 12-17 on a trip to Philadelphia and Miami.
“But from all the people I know who’ve worked with him, the feedback has been all positive,” Zager said of Collins. “I think it will be very energizing. It’s always fun to have a new voice, to get a new perspective and new angle. He’s from the same era of baseball experience as Steve, so I think they’ll mesh well as a team. He may be new to the Dodger audience, but he’s not new to TV play-by-play.”
Part of the new approach to the Collins-Lyons team will also to be more interactive with blogging as well as with texts, emails or Twitters during the telecast.
A quick bio:
Age: 39 (turns 40 on June 16)
Hometown: Born and raised in Cleveland; living in Chicago with wife Keri, 3-year-old daughter Beatrice and newborn daughter, Harriet.
Education: Earned BA in philosophy from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.; a Master’s degree in broadcasting from Syracuse University.
Baseball experience: Lead play-by-play for NBC on 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. ESPN’s College Baseball Super Regionals the last five years. Radio and television play by play for the Chicago White Sox on occasions in 2004 and 2008. Four seasons with the Schaumburg Flyers and Rochester Red Wings minor-league teams. Pregame and postgame host for the White Sox and Cubs.
Other broadcasting jobs: College softball, basketball and football for ESPN. Sideline reporter for the Chicago Bulls from 1997-2002.
Quote: “I had a nice job doing news reporting in Rochester, N.Y., covering city hall, homicides … But I felt I was dying a slow death. I called a friend who told me I needed to follow my bliss. I called around and wanted to do baseball. My first baseball job paid $25 a game, and $37.50 for doubleheaders with the Rochester Red Wings. I was so broke I had to give up my apartment and sleep on the floor for a summer in my friend’s parents’ house. Eventually, working for Schaumburg near Chicago, where there were plenty of six hour bus rides and $15 per diems … I knew what I wanted to do. To be in a major-league press box now… It’s incredible.”