Rafu Staff and Wire Service Reports
Orange County native Stephen Nelson will join the Dodgers’ television broadcast team, calling games for SportsNet LA when Joe Davis is unavailable due to his Fox Sports commitments, the team announced Jan. 20.
Nelson has called games and hosted studio shows for MLB Network and NHL Network and was a host and broadcaster for Bleacher Report. He has also been part of the play-by-play broadcast crew for Apple-TV+ Friday Night Baseball.
The 33-year-old Nikkei will be the only Asian American play-by-play announcer working for a MLB team, according to the Dodgers.
“It’s impossible to convey the emotions that come with this opportunity,’’ said Nelson, who was raised in Huntington Beach and graduated from Marina High School and Chapman University, where he majored in broadcast journalism and served as a play-by-play announcer and sports director for Chapman Radio.
Nelson was an intern at KTLA and Fox Sports West, and worked in video production for the Angels and Anaheim Ducks.
“This isn’t simply coming home. This isn’t simply being an announcer for a professional sports team. This is the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s the best organization in baseball for so many reasons and I can’t wait to be a tiny part of it and its best-in-class production team,” he said. “Growing up in Southern California, like so many Angelenos, I enjoyed a front-row seat to broadcast greatness with Vin, Jaime, Chick, Bob Miller and others.
“That tradition has continued with Joe Davis. To work with and learn from somebody that has become a friend in recent years is special. This is an honor and blessing that I’ll work tirelessly to earn.”
Growing up, Nelson attended Japanese school, and in 2021 gave an introduction for Shohei Ohtani in Japanese at the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award ceremony.
His mother, Flo Kuraoka, was a charter member of the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.
“I’m always thinking of that and wanting to carry the flag for Japanese Americans and AAPI people and minority broadcasters as a whole to let younger generations know, hey, there’s a spot for you here,” Nelson told the Dodger Insider.
“There’s the word ‘special’ to describe this whole experience to me. And then when you dive into deeper layers of all this, given what the Dodgers organization means to the Japanese American community in Southern California and what the Dodgers represent and have done for generations now when it comes to representation for all minorities, that’s why we say it’s the best organization in baseball on multiple levels.
“You talk about the on-field success of the Dodgers is one thing, but what about the stuff that’s bigger than baseball? Because they’ve been about it in that area, too.”
In 2023, Nelson will call more than 50 home and road contests for SportsNet LA alongside Davis, Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Eric Karros, Jessica Mendoza, Tim Neverett, Dontrelle Willis and the rest of the star-studded SNLA broadcast team.
“We are thrilled to be adding such a dynamic personality in Stephen and think he will fit in seamlessly with our incredibly talented broadcast team,” said Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Nelson will reportedly live in Los Angeles with his wife, Cori Coffin, who is an anchor for NBC News, their son, Kai, and dog, Nash.