It was just a few hours before the first game of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball doubleheader Sept. 28 when analyst Doug Glanville learned he would play a different role in the booth when the Detroit Tigers hosted the Cleveland Indians.
Jon Sciambi — scheduled to provide play-by-play with Glanville and Rick Sutcliffe – suddenly fell ill. On short notice, Glanville was called upon to provide play-by-play throughout the game – for the first time in his broadcasting career – and all the additional responsibilities that come with that role.
Front Row spoke with Glanville to get his thoughts on the last-minute switch.
Editor’s Note: The Indians and Tigers played again today at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. Dan Shulman filled in for Sciambi with analysts Glanville and Sutcliffe.
When did you know you were going to be in the play-by-play role last night?
Around midday, we knew Jon Sciambi could not call the game and that there was no cavalry coming. So producer Jeff Dufine, Rick Sutcliffe and I got together around 4 p.m. to firm up the mechanics. Over the next hour or so, we decided I would do most of the play by play but it would be more of a hybrid: Play-by-analysis.
— Doug Glanville (@dougglanville) September 29, 2016
Have you called play-by-play before?
No. I have never done play-by-play other than imitating a Harry Kalas home run call when I was playing with the Phillies, which I tried to do for [Detroit Tigers slugger] Ian Kinsler. Key word: “tried.”
How do you approach calling play-by-play versus your usual role as an analyst?
It was something we discussed beforehand. I appreciate our production team because they showed great confidence and made sure I understood that I should focus on the analysis. When you think of the great [Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play voice] Vin Scully, there are many times when he just brushes through the pitch to get to the storyline. As the game went on, I felt more comfortable focusing on the stories and analysis and less concerned about “missing” anything.
What was the most unique or challenging moment for you during last night’s game?
It is looking at the game through “different eyes,” as my colleague Rick Sutcliffe eloquently described. The timing is different, the way to be inclusive of my partners is different.
But the toughest part was reading [Tigers slugger] Miguel Cabrera-hit-missiles that looked like line drives to second base that either hit the wall or went out – both happened.
The crescendo to create excitement while being accurate was really tough. And quite frankly, it is so easy to get caught up in just watching a guy like Cabrera. He is equally exciting as he is silencing because you truly want to stop and watch the art.