Calling history: SeaWolves broadcaster Greg Gania calls Detroit Tigers no-hitter

Detroit Free Press

Greg Gania was already living his dream when he arrived at Comerica Park on Saturday.

Gania, the voice of the Erie SeaWolves and the team’s assistant general manager/communications, was filling in for longtime Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster Dan Dickerson for the entire weekend.

It was a big opportunity for Gania, who has spotted in for Dickerson several times since making his major league debut in 2018.

Little did Gania know when he arrived at the ballpark in Detroit that day he would etch his voice into Tigers and major league history.

“I thought it would be an easy Saturday where I could call the game, get a nice dinner and do my prep work for the game on Sunday,” Gania joked. “Obviously, that changed in a big way.”

After waiting out an 82-minute rain delay, the Tigers tossed their first combined no-hitter in team history in a 2-0 victory over Toronto. It was the ninth no-hitter in Tigers history and the 320th no-hitter in major league history.

“When we got through five innings I started to mention on the air that the Tigers hadn’t allowed a hit and around the sixth inning you start to think there is something brewing,” Gania said. “It didn’t truly set in until the Tigers got through eight hitless innings and it became a real possibility. The Blue Jays have such a talented lineup that you know it had to be a special performance to keep them without a hit.”

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For Gania, 40, the excitement didn’t end after the team celebrated the final out.

It was just the beginning of a whirlwind week for the longtime SeaWolves broadcaster because of the professional way he handled the call of the final out:

“From the belt, the 0-2 pitch, swing and a chopper left side, charging in (Zach) McKinstry on to first no-hitter! For the first time in franchise history, the Tigers have thrown a combined no-hitter!”

It was a call that quickly hit social media and was used by ESPN on “SportsCenter” and over and over again by MLB Network.

Several members of the national media took to social media to compliment Gania about the call and he spent the rest of the weekend doing interviews on Detroit radio. He did interviews with numerous media outlets this past week as well.

“As a broadcaster, you never want to make it about you, and that’s how I’ve approached things since Day One no matter what sport I’m calling,” Gania said. “My job is to paint the picture of what is going on and focus on the players achieving great things.”

It was a dream come true for a talented broadcaster who is on the doorstep of becoming a big-league broadcaster. From a kid calling games when his friends played video games to having his call tagged to a historic feat in major league history, Gania is enjoying every moment before returning to the SeaWolves as they chase an Eastern League title in two months.

“I really appreciate all of the kind words people have sent and my phone blew up the minute the game ended,” Gania said. “It took about two hours to get through all of the texts and calls and posts on social media and I truly appreciate it all.”

More: Detroit Tigers’ TV and radio calls of historic no-hitter vs. Toronto Blue Jays

No-pressure situation

For most baseball broadcasters, the anticipation of a no-hitter or other significant feats can be unnerving the closer they get to history.

Gania ignored the pressure as he has called three of the four no-hitters in SeaWolves history and two other no-hitters in the Eastern League as well. The latest minor league no-hitter he called was the final game of the 2022 season, when Somerset threw a no-hitter against Erie in the deciding game of the Eastern League Championship Series.

Gania also called the Thad Weber no-hitter in 2009, the Alex Faedo-Drew Carlton combined no-hitter in 2019 and the Casey Mize Double-A debut no-hitter one week later in Altoona.

“It might sound cliché, but years ago Jim Leyland said that it was important to win in the minor leagues so guys experience how to win,” Gania said. “I’ve called five minor league no-hitters, so having that experience really helped me for the bigger stage. It helped calm me down that I had been there before and to just relax and do my thing.”

Gania didn’t prepare any words or scramble in the late innings to scratch out what he was going to say. He relied on his abilities and experience in the moment.

“The minute you think about what to say, you screw yourself up,” Gania said. “I did stand up in the ninth inning and made sure my projections were good. If I would have flubbed it, that bad call would live on forever, so I just needed to relax and describe what happened.”

Gania isn’t sure when it’ll take root that, no matter what happens the rest of his career, he’s attached to a historic performance. According to MLB.com, a no-hitter happens just 1.57% of the time.

“I don’t know if it’ll ever set in,” Gania said. “It’s such a cool moment and I was fortunate to be there for it. It could have easily happened a week later, but to call a major league no-hitter is special.”

Support from Detroit

Since making his MLB debut, Gania has called seven regular-season games and one spring training game for the Tigers.

This past week was a big confidence boost because it wasn’t just a one-game or one-day fill-in, but rather a full three-game series over a weekend.

“When Ben Fidelman called to see if I could handle a full three-game series, I was really excited. I feel like it was almost most relaxing to do a full series because you don’t have to jam all of your player and team research into one broadcast,” Gania said. “I was able to talk to the guys in the clubhouse before and after games and really settle in to get my bearings.”

Some former SeaWolves played a role in the no-hitter as well. Matt Manning started on the mound and threw 6⅔ innings and Alex Lange threw the ninth inning to get the save. Riley Greene had two hits while Kerry Carpenter and Spencer Torkelson each drove in a run.

Support has also come from the front office. Dickerson, who listened from afar on Saturday, was one of the first people to contact Gania about the work he did, along with members of the Tigers communication staff.

“To have the trust of Ben Fidelman and Ron Colangelo from the Tigers that they keep using me means the world to me,” Gania said. “After dealing with struggles mentally and physically over the years, I’m so glad I kept working hard and stuck it out to get opportunities like these.”

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