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Know-Vin Situation for Steiner

The new Dodger play-by-play announcer says he has always wanted to work with Scully.

November 23, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Charley Steiner, introduced as the Dodgers' new play-by-play announcer Monday, said the decision to come west was an easy one.

"This may sound like a cliche, but it's true," he said. "If you're a mathematician, you want to work with Einstein. If you're a musician, you want to work with Dylan.

"If you're a play-by-play announcer, you want to work with Vin Scully."

Steiner, who spent 14 years with ESPN and then three as a radio announcer with the New York Yankees, said it all sank in when he got a call Thursday from Scully, welcoming him aboard.

It wasn't quite all official then, but almost.

"We had a hiccup that held things up," said Lon Rosen, Dodger executive vice president.

Said Steiner: "There are hiccups, and there are belches. This was a hiccup."

Steiner will share play-by-play duties with Rick Monday on KFWB radio broadcasts and the Channel 13 and FSN West 2 telecasts Scully does not work.

Scully, heading into his 56th season with the Dodgers, now works only televised games and misses about 45 of those a season. When Scully is there, the first three innings are simulcast on television and radio.

When Steiner or Monday is handling the play-by-play on radio or television, he will work with one of the two new commentators who have yet to be named. Scully, as always, will work alone.

One of the commentators is expected to be Al Downing. Steve Sax is among those being considered for the other commentating job.

According to Rosen, there were about 550 applicants for the play-by-play job, with about 300 submitting audition tapes.

San Diego Padre announcer Matt Vasgersian was frequently mentioned as a possibility, but, according to a source, his contract did not allow him to seek employment elsewhere.

Steiner's contract with the Yankees was up, and there was a possibility he was going to be moved from WCBS radio play-by-play to the YES Network studio. Yankee studio host Fred Hickman recently left YES to go to ESPN as a "SportsCenter" anchor.

Steiner said he wasn't interested in the studio job.

One thing that interested Steiner in the Dodgers, he said, was that they were his favorite team when he was a youngster.

Steiner, who was born in 1949 and grew up on Long Island, remembers as a kid going to Ebbets Field with his father to see the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also listened to the Dodgers on the radio with Scully announcing.

"I knew back then that I wanted to be a baseball play-by-play announcer," he said.

Steiner said that Thursday, when his deal with the Dodgers was all but finalized, was the best day of his career. He celebrated by taking his 93-year-old mother, Gertrude, who still lives on Long Island, out to lunch. When he told her about the Dodger job, she said, "When do we move?"

"Yes, I guess Mom's coming along," said Steiner, who is single.

Dodger owner Frank McCourt, at a midday news conference announcing the hiring of Steiner, said, "We want to make our broadcasts fun for the fans. Sports should be about having fun."

Steiner replaces Ross Porter, whose contract was not renewed after 28 seasons with the Dodgers. Porter was among those who called Steiner on Monday to congratulate him on his new job.

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