Talking with … A man who knows the scoreby emma silvers, j. staff
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City: San Francisco
Position: Anchor on the nightly “SportsNet Central” and host of other Comcast SportsNet shows
J.: You’ve had a long career as a sportscaster and sports anchor, from ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to doing college play-by-play to TV stations in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. But where did you grow up?
Dave Feldman: Palo Alto. I went to Paly, Palo Alto High, where [49ers coach] Jim Harbaugh was one of my best friends. I was bar mitzvahed at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills.
DF: I grew up a huge 49ers fan, and I also grew up rooting for the Warriors … and the A’s, because I was actually born in Oakland. My mom’s from there, and so was her mom.
J.: This past year was a pretty standout one in Bay Area sports to come home to. What have been the highlights for you?
DF: That’s very true. The 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, the Giants won the World Series, the Warriors had a great playoff run, now the A’s are dominating. I have to say I don’t think there’s any coincidence that it’s all happened since I came back here last summer [laughs].
In terms of highlights, covering the Super Bowl in New Orleans was really fun. Doing our live shows right there on the Mississippi River with [former 49ers] Bill Romanowski, Dwight Clark and Dennis Brown, with all these 49er fans around — that was very cool. Doing live shows from Oakland during the Warriors’ playoff run was also really fun. It’s been great to be home.
J.: You played basketball in high school and in college at Tufts, and were an assistant coach at Stanford. When did you realize that being a sportscaster was the track you wanted to take?
DF: I knew pretty quickly that with my skill level, I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete. But I thought I would be a coach. And then I interned at a TV station and people started saying, “You know, you’ve got a good voice. You look OK on camera,” and I started thinking, “This would be a pretty good way to make a living.” Of course, I didn’t know how hard it was. And then my first job was in Sioux City, Iowa, making three bucks an hour.
J.: True or false: There are a lot of Jews working in sports broadcasting and as sports writers.
DF: ESPN certainly had their fair share. I’ve never really thought about why, except that a lot of Jews I know are good talkers.
J.: Ever had an issue when you needed to cover a big game on a big Jewish holiday?
DF: It’s actually always been the opposite: I’ve never had an issue. People are always understanding about “OK, you need Yom Kippur off,” or whatever it is.
In ’97 or ’98, when Jim Harbaugh was playing pro sports, he lived in Orlando, and I went to visit him during Passover. He’s Catholic, but he made a whole seder — one of his neighbors was Jewish and he went over and borrowed the haggadahs. That’s the kind of guy he is.
J.: What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into sports broadcasting?
DF: I’d say it’s a great job, but only do it if it’s 100 percent what you want to do. You’re going to work weekends, you’re going to miss friends’ weddings and other events, you’re going to work until 11:30 at night, so it’s not always great for relationships. The upside is you get paid to do something you really love. You get to sit next to Dwight Clark and watch 49ers games and get paid for it.
J.: Do you think the Giants still have a chance this season?
DF: You know, teams have come from further back. They’ve struggled, certainly — people call it a World Series hangover — and the pitching’s been inconsistent. But they’ve got one of the best players in the game in Buster Posey. He’s playing at a world-class level. It’ll be tough, but I would not count them out yet.
“Talking with …” is a j. feature that focuses on local Jews who are doing things we find interesting.
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