New broadcaster Davis honored by warm welcome

New broadcaster Davis honored by warm welcome

LOS ANGELES -- Vin Scully threw it to his replacement, Joe Davis, in a recorded baton-passing during Opening Day ceremonies at Dodger Stadium, and Davis admitted he momentarily contemplated the worst outcome imaginable.

"I didn't really fear this happening, but deep down I was wondering -- am I going to get booed?" Davis said on Tuesday. "I mean, it's not Vin up there, it's some other guy they're turning around to salute. So, not only did I not get a negative reaction, but to have them cheer, it was one of the special moments of my entire life."

As the 29-year-old voice of the Dodgers, Davis can expect plenty more life-changing moments. His hiring a year ago was official declaration of his meteoric rise into sports broadcasting elite. The 53 games he broadcast in 2016, while continuing his role as one of FOX Sports' lead announcers, provided a transition he believes contributed to his acceptance following in the footsteps of a national icon.

"It was huge for me to get comfortable," he said. "And it was important for the fans at home for me to ease in. I think it would have been incredibly jarring for the fans to have 162 games of Vin and suddenly it was 162 games of me. I know it's still jarring that Vin's not there and here I am, but hopefully it allowed people to begin to tolerate me some."

The likable Davis said maybe that's why the reaction he's seen on social media and heard in person has been, what he calls, 99 percent supportive.

"I guess I am a little surprised that it's been as positive as it's been, and I think that's a reflection of the people here as much as anything I've done," he said. "I've been blown away, my wife and I both, by how we've been welcomed."

Reflecting advice that Scully gave him, Davis said he hasn't tried to be like Scully or anybody else.

"I developed a mindset that I was not trying to replace him, because that was impossible to do," he said. "So, right away I got into a place where I was not replacing him, but trying to be the best me I could be."

Davis said he has been most influenced stylistically by Joe Buck.

The son of a football coach, Davis played the game at Beloit (Ill.), graduating in 2010. He was the Southern League Broadcaster of the Year with the Montgomery Biscuits in 2014 and has worked for ESPN and Comcast. He will continue to broadcast key games for FOX Sports when the Dodgers' schedule allows. He, wife Libby and 9-month-old daughter Charlotte live in South Pasadena.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.