I was happy to see Colorado’s Jim Tracy win the National League Manager of the Year Award this week. The Rockies were 10-games under .500 when Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle, and he led the team to a 74-42 record the rest of the way to win the NL Wild Card. Tracy also received a 3-year contract to manage the Rockies through 2012.
I got to know Jim when he was managing the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Hamilton, OH native is truly one of the nicest people I’ve come across in baseball.
He’s also the source of one of my most embarrassing moments in broadcasting.
Several years ago when I was hosting the Cincinnati Reds pre-game show on Fox Sports Ohio we decided to do a big feature story on Tracy to air when the Reds faced the Dodgers. Since Hamilton is not far from Cincinnati, we traveled there to interview friends and family members. We even got our hands on old high school yearbook photos.
When the Dodgers got to Cincinnati, I sat Jim down for a lengthy one-on-one interview to tell the story of how a kid from a small town in Ohio grew up to become the manager of one of the most storied franchises in baseball.
Just before the interview began, Jim asked me to repeat my first name so I said, “It’s Dan.”
I knew exactly why he wanted to know. Jim realized that the interview would sound more personable if he mentioned my name while answering some of the questions.
Sure enough, immediately after I asked my first question, Tracy began his answer by saying my name. But there was one problem – he got it wrong and called me Dennis.
I probably should have corrected him before continuing, but I decided to ignore it and keep going. Wrong move. After my second question, he referred to me as Denny.
The guys in the production truck were laughing hysterically, but after a couple of “Dennys” I didn’t have the heart to correct him. So that’s how it continued for about 10 minutes. I would ask my question, and he would begin his answer with some variation of the name Dennis.
To this day, one of guys that I used to work with in Cincinnati calls me Denny.
It was an honest mistake by Jim Tracy and I’m genuinely happy that he was named the NL Manager of the Year.
I just hope they don’t engrave his name wrong on the trophy.
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