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Sports Q&A: Dodgers broadcasters Jaime and Jorge Jarrin

Jaime Jarrin, a Hall of Famer and the major leagues' first daily Spanish-language radio play-by-play man, has been working Dodgers games since 1958. Now his son Jorge is part of their broadcast team.

June 11, 2012|By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
  • Jaime Jarrin is introduced on the field during a pregame ceremony honoring his broadcasting career.
Jaime Jarrin is introduced on the field during a pregame ceremony honoring… (Jill Weisleder / Los Angeles…)

Jaime and Jorge Jarrin spent manyFather's Dayweekends apart, with Hall of Fame Spanish-language Dodgers broadcaster Jaime working games while son Jorge grew up and later worked as KABC's helicopter traffic reporter, "Captain Jorge."

Now they're together, Jaime enriching his legacy as the nation's first daily Spanish-language radio play-by-play man by remaining on Dodgers radio broadcasts, and Jorge taking over with color commentator Manny Mota on Fox Deportes' first-year television coverage of 50 of the team's games.

Jaime, how has your job been now that you're working in the same press box with your son?

"I knew he'd be ready for it, not because he's my son, but because he's so responsible. It's a very good profession, a nice way of living, and I'm so extremely pleased and proud he is following in my steps. I didn't have to teach him much, except to remind him it takes a lot of preparation time to do the work. I tell him, 'Do the time.'"

What's it been like for you, Jorge, to have the influence of your legendary father?

"Those are some really big shoes to fill. I have rediscovered what my father loves about this game. The beautiful thing about baseball is you have moments of great action, but also enough down time to have a conversation, which I enjoy doing. With Manny Mota — celebrating 43 years with the Dodgers on Monday — I have the great pleasure with every pitch and every situation to get so engrossed with the various angles of the game. I can understand why my father has done this for 54 years, and has no intention to stop it."

Jaime, what has kept you enjoying the game?

"I love what I do, and I feel very lucky to do what I do, to have the best seat in the stadium, and have such a huge following. To me, I'm not just broadcasting a baseball game, but doing a public service. So many people out in L.A. work so hard all day. They come home from work to relax and listen to a game. To have them listen to me, it's a privilege and I'll never get tired of it."

Jorge, being so close to your father's work now, what have you taken from the experience?

"That work is what keeps my father so engaged, so sharp. My father spent a lot of time away from us while I grew up. It was a sacrifice. My mom held us together. But now I get to have dinner with my dad every night. I take so much pleasure in that."

Jaime, your legacy in Los Angeles — first as a valued newsman, being the voice of Fernandomania, the Hall of Fame — might be obscured to some by the fact you've been on Spanish-language broadcasts, but it is incredibly deep. What do you consider your richest memories?

"I was a news reporter before doing this. I put up a solid news department at KWKW. I covered a skyjacking of a Frontier Airlines plane to L.A. The hijacker wanted to meet with me about releasing the passengers. I covered the funeral of JFK. The riots. I was never looking for honor as a newsman for 10 years on the streets of Los Angeles. I just wanted to give back to the community. It's a huge community, and for the Hispanic community, the radio was for a long time the only way we could communicate with each other. I am very pleased I was part of that."

Jorge, you share that sense of community, I assume?

"We don't take things for granted. We feel the responsibility to open doors and get information out. When you think of the Latino community, the whole reason it's grown so big is the American dream — a better life open for others. My father has been blessed to impart this information. We know, for every one of me, there are 1,000 more who'd like to feel validated. Forty-eight percent of the Dodger fan base is Latinos. It's very important. I can remember my father coming home from a deadly downtown protest, with pellet marks on his roof from the bullets, him saying, 'You can't believe what I saw today.' My mom asked him, 'Why do this?' He said, 'I have the opportunity. I need to be there.' Those are the times I think of on Father's Day. He and my mom, Blanca, provided such a solid foundation."

Jorge, how do you acknowledge leaning on your father's wisdom, yet make it on your own?

"I used to go and sit next to him when he was broadcasting. I'd listen to him on the radio. I have that sense of responsibility going, knowing what's expected. I do the same thing as him, but I try not to get in his way of the game calling it on TV. I'm not painting the scene like he does. I'm a fan who has the opportunity to talk about it. There's a big difference: No one showed my father the ropes. What he did was much tougher, establishing this."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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