Our biggest birthday wishes to the peerless Vin Scully. And to Ross Porter too …
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
Your ears won’t be deceiving you on Opening Day. That voice you will be hearing is Ross Porter.
It won’t be on your radio or TV, but rather booming through Dodger Stadium. Porter, a radio and TV voice of the Dodgers from 1977-2004, will be the honorary public address announcer for Friday’s home opener, featuring the Dodgers against the Giants and all the requisite pageantry.
“I was appreciative of the fact they asked me to do this this year,” Porter said. “It’s a special honor to do on Opening Day. That’s nice, and I’m looking forward to that. It’s gonna be exciting just to be with the fans, to be able to speak to the fans. I’m just happy to be there and be back.”
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Porter reconnected with Dodger Stadium when he was invited to throw out a ceremonial first pitch August 31.
“It was really a thrill to be back there and to be able to see people and talk to people, and go downstairs and have them show me the new clubhouse and all the things they built in since I was last there,” Porter said. “And it was great to be able to bring my family and friends. The Dodgers provided us with a suite that night, which was very nice of them.
“It was just a nice experience, very positive — everything about it. It was just good to get back there.”
Porter is taking the place Friday of regular stadium P.A. announcer Eric Smith, who has a prior commitment, but this won’t be the last Dodger fans hear of Porter this year.
Beginning on KLAC AM 570 after Friday’s game and throughout the season will be “Ross Porter’s Dodger Moments,” a featurette that will include a short interview from a Dodger or famous Dodger opponent of the past.
Friday will bring Sandy Koufax talking about Dodger Stadium, followed by Willie Mays on Saturday talking about the Dodger-Giant rivalry. For Sunday, it will be Don Drysdale recalling the night his scoreless inning streak almost ended with a pitch that hit Dick Dietz, only to be overruled because Dietz didn’t try to get out of the way.
“It comes out of my personal library of interviews that I kept through all those years,” Porter said. “At the moment, I have 52 of those ready to go, recorded, and I will add to them because I want to get the current players and mix them in with the former stars. I’ve still got about 25-30 other ones that I have not really edited yet, but I’ve got ’em. So we’re going to have quite a group.”
Porter remains attuned to the Dodgers of today and is optimistic about their potential.
“I’m very excited about the chances for this team,” he said. “You know and I know and people that know baseball realize, it really comes down to how many people are injured. You keep them healthy, and I think they have an excellent shot to win the National League and be in the World Series, and then it’s just who can win four.”
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter has taken a position with Interactive Broadcast Network Sports (iBN) as a studio host and play-by-play announcer covering high school and college football and basketball.
Porter, whose 28-year tenure with the Dodgers ended after the 2004 season, has been running Real Sports Heroes since 2007. He starts his new job August 26, the day that IBN launches its 2011 prep football coverage. The network also covers sports including mixed martial arts and minor-league baseball.
Nice job by T.J. Simers of the Times catching up with Ross Porter – make sure to read it.
From the Dodger Thoughts archives: “Next Stop Porterville” (forgive the typographical annoyances). Can’t believe six years have passed since that interview.
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The economy is treating some people right: Kirk Gibson’s “She is … gone!” bat, jersey and batting helmet sold for more than $1 million combined at auction Saturday.
Thank You For Not ...
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Dodgers at home: 1,028-812 (.558695)
When Jon attended: 338-267 (.558677)*
When Jon didn’t: 695-554 (.556)
* includes road games attended
Dodgers at home: 51-35 (.593)
When Jon attended: 5-2 (.714)
When Jon didn’t: 46-33 (.582)
Note: I got so busy working for the Dodgers that in 2014, I stopped keeping track, much to my regret.