Dave Leno, Sportscaster with Booming Voice and Engaging Personality
"If you haven’t jumped on board before, you will after you listen to Dave.
It’s entertainment, passion and play by play all in one."
- Sherry Dunbar, Indiana University Volleyball Head Coach
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Dave Leno's Blog
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Sunday April 13th, 2014
I had a wonderful week broadcasting two Japanese baseball games for ONE World Sports at their studios in Stamford, CT. The company receives a live feed from the Tokyo Dome in Japan and broadcasts Yomiuri Giants games to American audiences in English. The Giants are considered the New York Yankees of Japan, and have won more titles than any other team. They seemingly dominate Nippon Professional Baseball every year, possessing some of the top talent in the league. I'm honored to join the talented list of on-air talent to bring these Japanese Central League games to US households.
A lot of people ask me how it's done. Well, I sit in a soundproof booth in the Stamford, CT studios calling the action as if I was live in Tokyo. I'm watching two monitors that carry the feed. In front of me, I have my custom made baseball scorebook, notes on the matchup and my labtop in case I want to look up key statistics and other facts. When I put on my headset, I'm instantly transporated to Japan as if I'm engulfed in the magnificent 45,000 seat stadium atmosphere. I hear everything from the roaring crowd to the field of play. Despite me being 13 hours behind, the quality is so good, I really get a great sense of how thrilling Japanese baseball is to watch.
There are so subtle differences, of course. Japanese baseball actually doesn't play extra innings during night games because the subway system shuts down at a certain time. If it goes to extra frames, the game stops regardless of the score after the 12th. It can end in a draw. Different from MLB, you will see more of an emphasis on fielding and small ball. Almost everytime a runner's on first, he'll be bunted over. Sacrifices are more commonplace. If you read today's analytics in the States, many theorists claim small ball doesn't put your team in as good of a spot as you would think. The Japanese managers tend to differ.
From a stature standpoint, Japanese players are smaller and there's not as much emphasis on weight training. You'll see 30-40 homeruns from the homerun king in Japan. One would expect more from the most powerful hitter in MLB.
I look forward to my next batch of Japanese games from Stamford, CT later this month. I'll be back up North, April 22 and 23 as Yomiuri looks to continue dominating the Central League. That series, the Giants host the DeNA BayStars, all part of the 80th season of Japanese Baseball.
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Saturday April 05th, 2014
Last Sunday, everything seemingly rolled in the Trenton Freedom's favor. The Freedom cruised to a 52-17 rout of the Richmond Raiders, who lost in the PIFL Championship the last two years. Amid a respectable crowd for the expansion club's first-ever game, QB Warren Smith tallied four touchdowns, two of which came on the ground; and the defense was lights out, limiting Richmind to just 3 points (YES, a mere 3 pts) in the first half. In fact, Richmond's 8 penalities mired its chances of making it somewhat close -- a few touchdowns were called back due to Raiders errors on offense.
As the play by play announcer for the team, I was overjoyed to see the Freedom come out with a bang. On the first drive, Smith hit wide receiver Antoine Rivera for the team's first-ever touchdown. After that score, the points kept racking up. Calling 8 on 8 vs 11 on 11 in the outdoor game is somewhat easier for player ID purposes. However, the fundamentals of play by play remain the same - score, down and distance, ball carrier, tackler, etc. On radio, I'm much more descriptive, documenting where the catch was made on the field and how the route was executed. Was it a chest-high catch, shoulder to shoulder tackle or post pattern? These are the pictures I'm trying to paint for our listeners on gameday.
It was awesome to see both the O&D units come together given no game experience, just training camp. It didn't look like these players were sporting the Freedom jerseys for the first time at all. Talking with a lot of fans, many are even more pumped because the Freedom have a boatload of playmakers. I've been telling people I could hear some of the thrashing hits from our RAI Broadcast Booth in the rafters of the arena. Head Coach Kevin O'Hanlon has multiple options on both sides of the ball, which certainly attests to the depth on his roster. This depth should make for a great game on Sunday at Lehigh Valley. Kickoff is at 4pm with our Pitt Financial Pregame Show beginning at 3:30pm. It's a homecoming of sorts for O'Hanlon and Defensive Coordinator Bob Kohler as the two previously coached the Steelhawks defense.
- Written by Dave Leno
- Published on Friday March 14th, 2014
We are less than three weeks away til kickoff, and I cannot be more excited. I take a lot of pride being the Voice of the Trenton Freedom and will give everything I got every broadcast and coach's show. The Professional Indoor Football League is a new organization to me, so I'm in the process of reading the rulebook and understanding the ins and outs of how this game differs from, let's say the NFL or AFL. As the radio play by play guy, I'm not only centering on calling the game but also working closely with our radio rights holder to organize commercials, promos and spots played throughout the game.
Earlier this week, I went out to the team hotel and met with players and staff to record some bumps. For example, I sit down with a player and ask him to say, "This is Joe Smith and you're listening to Trenton Freedom Football on 920 The Voice." I then transfer the .wav file from my recorder to the computer, edit it down and convert it to an .mp3. This edited file will get sent to the radio station so they can put it in their logs and automation. Next week, we're going to script our commericals, sort out which ones need to be voiced and which already have content. Like my TV games, I will have promo cards on hand in the booth, so when there's a dead ball, I can squeeze in a sponsor mention. Now, keep in mind because this is radio, I am my own producer whereas TV, I'm listening to the producer in the truck. In this medium, I am in contact with my engineer back at the radio station and he is listening for my tag line when I want to take a commerical break. I can talk back to the engineer during commericals in case there's any info. I want to relay. It's a lot of moving parts, but we make it all work smoothly.