Legendary sports-radio voice Dan Shulman will join his son, Ben, in calling Saturday’s Barrie Baycats game against the Kitchener Panthers at Coates Stadium in Midhurst.
The announcement came late Thursday night from the Baycats social-media platforms and created quite a buzz throughout the city by early Friday morning.
Dan Shulman spoke with BarrieToday and said he was amazed at the attention it was getting in such little time, but he was looking forward to the game.
“I woke up and saw the hits on social media. It was amazing how many people had already seen the news and how excited people sounded about it,” Shulman said. “This will be an exciting rematch of last year’s league final and the game itself stands on its own merit.”
Dan Shulman calls some Toronto Blue Jays games and has done extensive work for TSN, ESPN and now Sportsnet. In the early 1990s, Shulman was brought on to The FAN 590 in Toronto, but previous to that he got his broadcast start in Barrie.
“I first started working for CKBB, which is now is B101, and I spent time doing everything from weather, sports, news. You name it and I did it,” he said. “I had a place down on Dunlop Street and I would walk to the Colts games at the old arena. This was before they were in the OHL and were a Junior 'B' team.”
The arena was located at the site of what is now the Barrie fire department headquarters.
The Shulman duo will be making some family history in Barrie on Saturday as it will be the first game they have called together. The moment will certainly be business as usual for Dan, but as a dad, he's looking forward to it on a personal level.
“I’m just hoping I don’t screw it up for Ben,” Dan said. “This is his ball team and he has put a lot of work into calling these games with Dante (De Caria). Ben will let me know where he does his homework on the players and give me some knowledge of the team and league, and I will do whatever he needs me to do.
"But this is about 99 per cent personal and, as a dad, this moment is not lost on me. How many dads get to call a baseball game with their son? We will be all business at the headset, but as a dad this is very special," he added.
The elder Shulman doesn’t get to pay too much attention to the IBL with his busy schedule, but is aware of what is going on in the league and in Barrie and has great respect for both the league and the ball club.
“The IBL just celebrated 100 years and at any level of sport, that is something special,” said Shulman. “As far as the Baycats go, five straight league titles is huge accomplishment and the organization is doing so well by their fanbase, it is so impressive. I know Kyle DeGrace, my wife is friends with Glenn Jackson and the league is known down in the Christie Pits area of Toronto, so we are certainly paying attention to as much as we can. I am very excited to be able to participate in calling this game Saturday.”
Ben Shulman has been calling the games alongside De Caria and is equally as excited as his father for Saturday’s big tilt against Kitchener, telling BarrieToday that the idea of the pairing between father and son had been a year in the making.
“We talked about it last year, but we could never get the schedules lined up,” Ben said. “When we realized we could do it for this game, it was so exciting being a Saturday afternoon against a rival from the finals. It’s funny how everything just came together.”
Ben will take the lead on the day and says he will approach the game with the same professionalism he has since calling games last season.
The younger Shulman has an idea of how it will play out, but admits to being a little nervous.
“I am a little, but honestly not too nervous,” he said. “I’ve watched him call so many games and he was truly the first reason I got into this. But I also know that I am the one with the Baycats and IBL knowledge so I have to be a professional and make sure we flow smoothly.
"Right now, I feel like I’ll call innings 1 to 3 and 7 to 9 with dad taking 4 to 6, but who knows if that changes before the game starts," Ben added. "Truth be told, yes, this is a very moment for us and I am very excited.”
The game starts at 2 p.m. at Coates Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at Centretown Sports at 649 Bayview St., Coates Fine Cars at 444 Blake St., at the Coates Stadium box office on game day or online here, where for the month of May tickets are 50 per cent off (online only).