As the play by play man for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Dan Shulman relayed one of the most important news stories in a generation to millions watching that Osama bin Laden had been killed by United States military forces. By all accounts, Shulman was masterful in his handling of the situation. In this interview, Dan talks to AA about how the information was relayed throughout the booth, breaking the bin Laden news, and other questions about his broadcasting career including what it's like to work with one Dick Vitale. Make sure to click "Read More" for the entire, amazing story.
Q: Before we get to the big news, the first question we always like to ask announcers is how you got your start in sports broadcasting?
A: I'm Canadian as you may know and I went to the university of Western Ontario. I actually graduated as an actuary. While I was at university just for fun as an extra-curricular kind of thing I worked at the campus radio station broadcasting the university's basketball and football games. When I graduated I worked as an actuary for six months and decided it wasn't for me. I had my mid life crisis early when I was 22 years old and decided to give broadcasting a try.
I got a job at a small radio station 50 miles north of Toronto, eventually got to Toronto and worked at the all sports radio station, and then eventually was hired to be the Blue Jays play by play announcer on TSN. One thing led to another, and some people at ESPN heard some of the work that I did and I got lucky and wound up there. When I got the Blue Jays job, which was 1995, I did the Blue Jays in the Summer and college basketball for ESPN in the Winter. Then, I went full time to ESPN in 2001.
Q: I have to ask, what's it like working with Dick Vitale?
A: It's great. It's a fun ride. It's always exciting and unpredictable, but it's fantastic. He's a ton of fun to work with and we're very close and become great friends. There's never a dull moment when you work with Dick. I enjoy every minute of it and I always look forward to working with him.
Q: You're the new play by play man for Sunday Night Baseball, how has the transition been filling in the Sunday Night booth, which is a big topic amongst a lot of baseball fans?
A: I'm so honored and flattered that my bosses would offer me the position on Sunday Night Baseball. Jon Miller is a Hall of Fame broadcaster and one of the best in any sport. It was definitely on my mind when I accepted the job that I'm following in the footsteps of one of the all-time greats. I try not to dwell on it because I don't want to put more pressure on myself. Every Sunday when the game begins I treat it like every game I've ever done and I hope all the viewers like what they're hearing and see.
ESPN puts so many resources into the Sunday Night show providing research and stats and we have so many bells and whistles that enhance the telecast, it's really fun. Anything a broadcaster could ever think of asking for is at our disposal. It's great to be a part of such a talented team.
Q: Tell us about how the Sunday Night booth is coming together and your chemistry with Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.
A: I guess we've done about five or six games, we're very comfortable with each other, but the chemistry develops over time just like anything. This past week obviously was a much different situation because of the news that broke when we were on the air. Both Bobby and Orel see the game so well and so intelligently, I can throw anything at them and they've got an answer for it. They're such smart baseball guys. What's really nice and what's really important that your readers may or may not realize is the chemistry you have on the air develops from the chemistry you have off the air and all three of us get along great.
Q: Of course, all eyes were on Sunday Night this week. Your phone has probably been ringing off the hook with interview requests since then I can imagine.
A: Yea, it's been a crazy couple of days. It's certainly a moment that I'll never forget. It's not something you can prepare for in any way, shape, or form. It's one thing if it happens at 3 in the afternoon and you've got a few hours to think about how you want to handle it during the telecast that night. We weren't even in a commercial break, we were on the air when I found out. Bobby sits beside me and he nudged me with his elbow and I look towards him and he held up his cell phone...