05/20/2002 2:38 pm ET
Sarah's Take: Dodger broadcaster Ross Porter
By Sarah Morris / Dodgers.Com
Dodger fans often overlook Ross Porter because everybody loves Vin Scully.
However, they should not when he has been a vital part of the Dodger
broadcasting team since 1977.
Because I started being an ardent Dodger fan the same year as Porter joined the
Dodger organization, I cannot picture listening to a Dodger game without
having Porter broadcast. I took him for granted, but last year when he missed
September due to health problems, I realized how much I rely on him for my
Now I treasure every opportunity that I can listen to him.
Though I marvel at Scully's mastery of the English language, I probably have
learned more from Porter than Scully. I marvel how Porter can use statistics and
his analytical skills to explain a baseball situation. In a recent interview, I
asked him how he developed his analytical abilities using statistics. He
replied, "I don't know. I think baseball lends itself to that. Someone once
wrote statistics were the soul of baseball."
This is what I admire the most about Porter. Listening to his analysis with
statistics has helped me develop my analytical abilities. Though I am not
comfortable with doing math, I realize how important statistics can be to
understanding a baseball situation. Usually in the off-season, I write an
analysis of each Dodger's seasonal performance. This process helps me to
understand why the Dodgers did not go to the playoffs or why they won the World
Series. I believe my player analysis is directly contributed to spending my life
listening to Ross Porter.
Anyone who listens to Porter knows that he spends many hours preparing for each
broadcast. I admire his dedication to his job. "I spend anywhere from
two to five hours a day preparing for a game," says Porter. As most people, who do research,
Porter relies on the Internet for newspapers from other cities, sources
about the opposition, and statistics from Stats, Inc.
Porter describes spending 26 seasons broadcasting Dodger games as his greatest
achievement. Though this could be a career for most people, Porter was an
experienced broadcaster when he joined the Dodger broadcasting team of Vin
Scully and Jerry Doggett.
Porter says that at three or four his father, an ardent Pittsburgh Pirates fan,
"would put me on his knee in the morning at breakfast and read to me baseball
stories. He piqued my interest in the game."
"I knew that I wanted to be a sports caster when I was eight years old," Porter
Porter grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He listened to the late Harry Carey when he
broadcasted games for the Saint Louis Cardinals. Because he grew up in a little
town, he received an opportunity to broadcast on a local station when he was
Before becoming a Dodger broadcaster, Porter did play-by-play of high school
basketball games for a year for KNBC with Sandy Koufax as his color man. Later he was
the nightly sportscaster for the same station.
Porter holds the record for broadcasting the longest game alone. The 22-inning
marathon took only six hours and fourteen minutes. On August 23, 1989, Porter
was the only Dodger broadcaster in Montreal. Vin Scully did not accompany the
team on that trip. Don Drysdale flew back to Los Angeles to be with his wife,
Anne Myers, when she delivered their second child, Darren.
I remember that game well. I got tired of listening to the scoreless tie, but I
would not leave my radio until Porter's voice gave out or the game ended. I
cannot imagine how glad Porter was when Rick Dempsey homered. I asked him how he
lasted that long. He said simply, "It was luck."
Porter has hosted Dodger Talk for years. He has developed a reputation as "the
stat man." When I lived in Pasadena, I would not miss it. However, here I seldom
get a chance to listen to Dodger Talk. I admire how Porter handles the callers.
He has been my role model when people e-mail me baseball questions. His research
and preparation makes the show more informative than any other sports talk show.
To me, Ross Porter should be immortalized into the broadcasters' wing at the
Baseball Hall of Fame. I hope that he is. I would like to thank Mr. Porter for
teaching me and being a good role model for a young baseball writer.
Sarah Morris is the editor of Dodger
Place. She lives in Anderson, Texas.