Phillies Announcer Dan Baker on Bryce Harper, Gritty, and People Who Say Baseball Games Are Too Long
The public-address announcer has been behind the mic in South Philly since way back in 1972.
When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be … a Phillies, Eagles or Warriors player. I’ve always rooted for everything Philadelphia.
The first Phillies game I ever went to was … in 1954, with my dad at Connie Mack Stadium.
I may be best known for … the way I introduce the National Anthem: “Please stand and help us honor the United States of America.” I try to say it as patriotically as I can.
One important lesson I’ve learned is … give it your best shot, and let things fall where they may.
When I interviewed for this position in 1972 … I told Bill Giles I would be the quickest and most accurate at this job in all of baseball. Back then, the public-address announcer also had to operate the in-progress scoreboard. You needed to be very focused.
I love this job because … I’m simply so excited to watch the Phillies and root for the Phillies with all of my heart. It’s a true joy for me to come to the ballpark. That was true in 1972, and it’s true 48 seasons later.
One question people often ask me about my job is … what courses I took to become a good public speaker. The truth is that my brother and sisters are, like me, very good public speakers, because our parents stressed elocution growing up. When I left my parents’ home, I left as a very good public speaker.
Veterans Stadium … was where I met my wife, Cathy, who worked in sales and marketing. Our son was born the same year the Phillies won their first World Series, in 1980. My daughter was born in 1983, when the Phillies next went to the World Series. Mr. Giles said we needed to keep having children.
People who complain that baseball games now are too long … maybe have too many other things going on.
Making a living at a job like this is … a dream come true. The Phillies have been very good to me. They’ve given me five rings for the five World Series I’ve had the privilege to announce.
I’ve called out sick … twice. I’ve done more than 3,800 Phillies games.
I love to eat … Italian food. I could eat Italian every night of the week. We love Marra’s, Pesto, Villa di Roma, Ralph’s and Scannicchio’s.
The current Phillies team is … so exciting. They have a powerful lineup and are capable of scoring a lot of runs every night.
My favorite versions of the National Anthem … have tended to be those from anthemists with an operatic background. I also introduced Taylor Swift before a World Series game in 2008.
In a steel-cage match between the Phanatic and Gritty, the winner would be … the Phanatic. I love Gritty, too, but the Phanatic is the most beloved mascot in all of sports.
My impression of Bryce Harper is … wow! The fans just love him. He’s a baseball player. I think he’s gonna hit 40 home runs in this ballpark this season. It’s really special to think that he’s gonna be here for the next 13 years. We have a special city. And this is a special team.
Published as “One of Us: Dan Baker” in the July 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.