Editor’s note: Welcome to Off Camera with. . ., a Front Row series that introduces you to some of the studio anchors who have recently joined ESPN. Today, we meet Hakem Dermish, a studio host and SportsCenter anchor who joined ESPN in April 2012.
Something we don’t know about you: I umpired travel baseball for nine years [in Ohio] and considered going to professional umpire school. I was also a volunteer umpire at Cooperstown Dreams Park in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 2002. I umpired in a tournament of 64 teams from all over the country. In my entire career, I only ejected five people. My favorite current MLB ump is Jim Joyce. Great umpire. Even better person.
What makes ESPN a good fit for you: I would say my passion for sports and working in a team environment. I enjoy the camaraderie and the ability to impact sports fans worldwide. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to create memorable television with my colleagues for our fans.
Give us your “back of the baseball card” bio: I was born in Libya and then moved to the United States when I was 2 years old. My dad is Arab. My mom is American. I grew up in Kent, Ohio and graduated from Asbury College. I worked in Marquette, Mich., Toledo, Ohio and Washington, D.C. As a former catcher, my favorite play in sports is a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play.
Favorite team/sports moment: Atlanta Braves. I grew up in Ohio and became a Braves fan because they were always on TV. At the time, the [Cleveland] Indians weren’t on TV every night. The Braves became my favorite team. My favorite moment was “Sid’s Slide” in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. [Home plate umpire] Randy Marsh got the call right as [Pittsburgh Pirates catcher] Mike LaValliere’s tag on [Atlanta baserunner Sid Bream] was late. I went nuts. I made my own tomahawk out of sticks and I remember throwing it up in the air. Thankfully, no one was injured. My mom was nice enough to let me stay up late to watch postseason baseball because I explained to her how important it was to me. Thanks, Mom!
Favorite food at ESPN Café: Jose’s chicken-ranch wraps. They are exquisite. His intensity and attention to detail is admirable.