DETROIT – After two years without calling a game due to the pandemic, the play-by-play announcer for the West Michigan Whitecaps got a chance to achieve his dream over the weekend and answered a last-minute call to drive across the state and cover the Detroit Tigers on the radio.
When Dan Dickerson, the radio voice of the Tigers on 97.1 The Ticket, moved to the television booth for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, someone needed to take his spot on the radio call.
That’s when Dan Hasty’s phone rang. He had just finished a workout and was taking care of his 8-month-old daughter.
“The phone rang and my first thought was, ‘It’s a little unusual for them to be calling me on a Sunday at 11 a.m.,’” Hasty said.
He was in the middle of taking care of his daughter and didn’t have a chance to take the call. Immediately afterward, he got a text asking him to call as soon as possible.
“At that point, then, that’s kind of my dog whistle,” Hasty said. “That was kind of my moment where I said, ‘Oh, maybe -- is this it? This isn’t it.’ Kind of trying to talk myself out of it.”
He said the situation was explained to him, and he was officially asked to cover the game on the radio. First pitch was scheduled for 4:07 p.m.
Hasty, who grew up in Sterling Heights and attended Stevenson High School and Central Michigan University, is the play-by-play announcer for the Whitecaps, Detroit’s High-A affiliate. He was at his Grand Rapids home when he got the call, so he had to drive across the state.
“We were about four and a half hours away from first pitch,” Hasty said. “My wife -- who is an emergency room physician assistant, so she’s been dealing with COVID-19 for a year over at the hospital -- she was working. So, had to coordinate child care on the fly.”
Hasty got in touch with a babysitter and jumped in the car. He said he pulled up to Comerica Park about 90 minutes before first pitch.
“I had just enough (time) to write out a lineup card and go,” Hasty said. “It was unusual from the respect of there was no prep time. I didn’t have time to do all the research I wanted to do, but the good news was I had been prepping for what happened on Sunday for 20 years.”
For all those who grew up wanting to be the next Ernie Harwell, today is for you. I was one myself.— Dan Hasty 🎙 (@ThatDanHasty) April 18, 2021
This afternoon, Jim Price and I bring you the call of the @tigers and @Athletics from Oakland Coliseum on @971theticketxyt.
Let’s do this. pic.twitter.com/5uprd18U87
Calling a Tigers game has been a dream for Hasty, but since he found out about the opportunity so late, he didn’t even have a chance to be nervous. He said he felt excitement, more than anything.
On his way to the park, he called many of the people he credits for helping him and investing the time it took to get him in a position to receive that phone call.
Hasty said he hadn’t called a real baseball game on the radio in two years because the Whitecaps last played in 2019. Major League Baseball canceled the entire minor league season in 2020 due to the pandemic.
On top of the late notice and long layoff, Hasty had to call the game while watching on a monitor because the Tigers were on the road in Oakland, California, and he was in Downtown Detroit. Still, the experience lived up to his expectations.
“It was everything I could have ever wanted that experience to be,” Hasty said.
Hasty was happy with the way the game went, especially considering all the circumstances leading up to first pitch. His phone was blowing up with messages and social media mentions.
“The goal was always to do what happened on Sunday, and hopefully beyond,” Hasty said.
His path to that point wasn’t easy. While working for 97.1 The Ticket years ago, Hasty had to make the difficult decision to leave and take a chance.
“The thing that you need to do play-by-play is reps, is opportunity,” Hasty said. “So when the West Michigan Whitecaps opportunity came along, I had to make a really hard choice. That was, in a sense, having to bet on yourself.
“You knew what you wanted to do. You knew what you had to do, and it was something that was going to be very uncomfortable -- leaving Detroit to go to Grand Rapids. But Sunday felt like a real validation of that.”
You can watch our full interview below: