One of the things retired umpires have to get used to is relearning to pronounce all the letters in the word “strike.”
Fortunately for Dale Scott, he had a previous career in communications to fall back on. Which also meant that when the Hall of Fame came looking for voiceover artists to narrate their new “Connections” webseries, Scott was a natural choice.
And it was thanks in part to MLB’s Pride Month celebrations. After working in the game as a major league umpire since 1986, Scott came out publicly in 2014. In commemoration of this milestone in baseball history, MLB Network aired a segment paying tribute to Scott this past June.
Shortly afterward, MLB Network Producer Andrew Becker was hired to produce the Hall’s YouTube series. As Scott related to Outsports, he had seen the channel’s Pride Month segment and “what caught his attention was, as he put it, my ‘great pipes!’”
After a quick Google search revealed that Scott had put those great pipes to work in radio before joining the men in blue, Becker hired the former umpire for his new project. Which meant that Scott had earned the honor of contributing something meaningful to Cooperstown.
Entitled “From a World Wonder to World Champs,” Scott’s episode draws parallels between baseball’s most famous trips abroad such as Hall of Fame executive Albert Spalding’s 1888-89 World Tour and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks playing Opening Day 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Furthermore, Scott had a special connection to the segment as he was part of that season opener’s umpiring crew.
The gig proved to be educational as Scott had not learned about Spalding’s tour before recording the voiceover. Reflecting on a notorious photo of 19th century baseball stars literally standing on the Sphinx in Egypt, Scott exclaimed, “I found that to be pretty wild! That and the entire episode helped put into perspective where and how this game started and how much rich history it has.”
As a trailblazer in the umpiring profession, Scott is also a significant figure in that history, particularly as it relates to the role of LGBTQ figures in the game.
He reflected on the experience of standing before a microphone again after several decades between gigs:
“It felt great digging up those long ago radio talents and putting them to use. The last time I worked a shift at a radio station was 1986 but I’ve always kept using my ‘radio voice’ for fun with my crew or at home with friends. I’ve had crew mates — after working together all season and mimicking me — go home and their wives will say after a week, ‘OK, enough of the radio voice!’”
Although he is on record proclaiming “There are far too few” umpires in the Hall of Fame, Scott has ensured that his profession is well-represented on Cooperstown’s YouTube channel. And this time it’s not just in a clip of Earl Weaver screaming at one.