Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas may be college basketball’s household names when it comes to television, and that’s just fine with one of the best and most versatile play-by-play men in the business.
“I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Dan Shulman.
As ESPN’s lead announcer for college hoops, the 47-year-old Canadian will be courtside with Bilas on Saturday night when top-ranked Kentucky meets Florida in Gainesville.
So how did a Canadian become the World Wide Leader’s top play-by-play man on two of its biggest sports?
Shulman worked three years at the University of Western Ontario campus radio station before graduating in 1990 with a degree in actuarial science. Six months as an actuary, however, caused him to try radio full-time.
He started at a station in Barrie, Ontario, 50 miles north of Toronto. A year and a half later, Shulman moved to a Toronto sports station. Five years after that, he transitioned into television where he did the Toronto Blue Jays games for seven years.
It was seeing him work the World Basketball Championships, however, that caused ESPN to hire Shulman in 1995 for college basketball. He began working exclusively for ESPN in 2002. He became Sunday Night Baseball’s lead announcer in 2011.
Major League Baseball ends just as college basketball begins, which makes for a heavy travel schedule.
“I estimate I sleep in a hotel room about 140 nights a year,” said Shulman via phone Thursday from his home in Canada. “The travel part is not glamorous, but it’s a means to an end. I’m blessed to have the job that I do.”
Wait a minute; aren’t all Canadians crazy hockey fans?
“As a young kid, hockey was the only thing I knew,” Shulman said. “I was 10 when the Blue Jays came to Toronto and I was hooked on baseball from the day they got here.”
Shulman played high school basketball, but his first exposure to American college basketball came when his family visited his grandparents in Florida for spring break.
“This was March of ’83, the year where North Carolina State made the Cinderella run and won the national championship,” said Shulman. “I was hooked. Everybody else was going to the beach and I’m just sitting and watching basketball all day.”
He is also a huge football fan — his favorite team being the Green Bay Packers, so Shulman is “still stinging” from the NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks.
“If my career had taken a different bounce, I could have just as easily been a hockey/football guy,” Shulman said.
Instead, he is a baseball/college basketball guy.
“Sometimes people will come up to me and know me as a baseball guy and hardly even know I do basketball,” Shulman said. “Sometimes people will come up to me as a basketball guy and hardly even know I do baseball.”
The pace of the two sports is different, presenting unique play-by-play challenges.
“I liken it to during baseball season, I’m walking on a treadmill, then on Nov. 8, or whatever it is, someone triples the speed of the treadmill and I’ve got to get going fast,” he said. “I’m equally comfortable doing both, to be honest with you.”
He’s also comfortable working with different partners. Shulman said his goal is to get the most out of his analysts. It shows.
“One of the producers I work with makes the analogy that we’re a basketball team and I’m a pass-first point guard,” Shulman said. “That to me is about the highest praise I can get. I don’t need to make the basket, I prefer the assist.”
He sometimes gets an assist on the road. Two of his three boys are huge sports fans. His 14-year-old wants to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. (He’s at 19.) His 21-year-old is looking forward to attending the ACC Tournament in March.
“It kind of alleviates some of the loneliness for me from being gone so much,” Shulman said. “If I can take my kids with me and show them a really good time that’s a good thing for everybody.”
Just as making that career switch was a very good thing for a certain Canadian.
“I love being a play-by-play announcer for games,” Shulman said. “I’m lucky that the thing I wanted to do is the thing they hired me to do and they’ve allowed me to keep doing it.”
Credit to the Lexington Herald-Leader who originally posted this article
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”