Detroit Tigers fans who tune into tonight’s game against the Minnesota Twins may hear an unfamiliar voice on the radio. Dan Dickerson is unable to broadcast, so Greg Gania has been called up to the Bigs.
Gania just concluded his 16th season as lead play-by-play broadcaster for the Erie SeaWolves, so he has plenty of experience. The SeaWolves fell one game shy of winning their first ever Eastern League title this year. But getting to call a big league game isn’t the worst consolation prize in the world.
Fans who follow the Tigers Minor League Report will recognize Gania’s voice from highlights over the past few seasons. But he has also handled a few Tigers games in recent years.
The Detroit Tigers had a sudden need for new announcers in September 2018, so Gania stepped up for a game. And earlier this year he called both ends of a doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics.
Detroit sports fans are pretty fortunate. Ken Kal, Mark Champion, Dan Dickerson, and Dan Miller are all outstanding play-by-play announcers. Their voices are a conduit, delivering tangible experiences to millions of sports fans each year. And that broadcasting quality extends far beyond metro Detroit.
Dan Hasty does an excellent job as the voice of the West Michigan Whitecaps. The inimitable Jesse Goldberg-Strassler calls games for the Lansing Lugnuts. And out in Erie, Pennsylvania, Greg Gania brings big-league broadcasting chops to Double-A baseball.
The relationship between broadcasters and fans is asynchronous, but it’s real, and long-lasting. Fans appreciate their announcers, but they probably don’t quite appreciate how difficult the job is.
And that task is significantly harder in the minor leagues. Broadcasters have to call a game with minimal production support. There are no spotters giving them notes, and often they don’t even have monitors giving them an on-field view. They cut up highlights on their own, and write game recaps, and handle promotions and public relations.
They do it for the love of the game, and for chances like the one Gania is getting tonight. The numbers don’t lie. Reaching the highest level as an announcer is even more difficult than making it as a player. It’s not a matter of ability, but of opportunity.
So fans should tune in and celebrate whenever announcers like Dan, Greg, and Jesse get a chance to call big-league games.
Touch ‘Em All Time? – The Tigers head into their final two home games with a total of 49 home runs at Comerica Park. They are two homers shy of the lowest home total in the DH era (1976), and they’ll need to hit nine home runs to match their lowest season total at Comerica Park (2001)
Wasted Away Again – The Tigers went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base on Friday night. They have the second fewest plate appearances with RISP in baseball this year (1,232) and the lowest OPS (.645) in such situations
Batter Late Than Never – Saturday marks the MLB debut of Brendon Davis, who the Tigers claimed off Waivers in May. The 25-year-old hit .235/.340/.424 with 20 home runs in 139 Triple-A games between Salt Lake and Toledo. He’s set to play third base and bat seventh for the Tigers on Saturday
Photo Credit: Detroit Tigers