Arts & Entertainment

Dodgers Spanish announcer isn't too optimistic about the team's chances in 2018

File: Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin is interviewed before ceremonies honoring 50 years with the Dodgers before the game with the Chicago White Sox on June 24, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
File: Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin is interviewed before ceremonies honoring 50 years with the Dodgers before the game with the Chicago White Sox on June 24, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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Thursday is opening day for the Dodgers, and Southern California's Spanish-language listeners will be following along with the play-by-play commentary of announcer Jaime Jarrín as he enters his 60th year with the Boys in Blue.

This year's prospects

The team's coming off losing the World Series last year — and Jarrín isn't optimistic about them faring better this time around.

"I think it's going to be a tougher year," Jarrín said. "Last year, it was fantastic, fabulous year. You know, you don't win 104 games very often."

The Dodgers' National League West rivals the Giants, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks have all improved a lot, Jarrín said, based on what he's seen in spring training. Still, not all hope is lost.

"I think the Dodgers are going to be fighting. I think they have a good chance to win their division. Beyond the division, it's going to be tougher, because Chicago's going to be really, really strong, and the Nationals are going to be also very strong."

Many are predicting the Nationals could go all the way — Jarrín said he thinks that's probably going to happen, with the Rockies also having a strong shot.

"Last year, I thought we were going to win the World Series, especially after winning the sixth game. I thought we were going to win, but the team just stopped hitting, and you know the results. We lost the seventh game, and we lost the World Series."

Beyond the team's prospects, Jarrín was excited for opening day.

"Every opening day, it's a very special day," Jarrín said. "I don't think I will be nervous, but I will be very excited seeing the great crowds that come through Dodger Stadium, and just feeling the atmosphere that you feel at Dodger Stadium."

What to keep an eye out for this season

Jarrín spent three weeks with his family watching the team at spring training this year, but he said it's tough to judge talent in that setting.

"The well-established players already know that they're going to be with a team. The young kids, the prospects are trying to do sometimes too much in order to impress. But you can get an idea of what kind of a team you are going to have."

Jarrín's player to watch this year: Yasiel Puig.

"I think it's time for Yasiel Puig to really deliver it. He had a very, very solid second half of last year, and the way that he has been playing this spring, I am confident that he is going to be one of the factors in Dodgers winning everything this year."

The Dodgers are down a key player with Justin Turner suffering an injury in spring training, but Jarrín said he thinks it will be a fantastic year for Puig.

Opening day with Jaime Jarrín

Jaime Jarrin in the broadcast booth at the L.A. Coliseum during the Dodgers' inaugural season in Los Angeles, 1959.
Jaime Jarrin in the broadcast booth at the L.A. Coliseum during the Dodgers' inaugural season in Los Angeles, 1959.
Courtesy of The Dodgers

Jarrín shared his opening day ritual. It starts with him getting to the stadium an hour earlier than usual, as he's trying extra hard to beat Los Angeles traffic. With a 4:08 p.m. start time, Jarrín said he plans to be there around noon.

"Then once you get into the ballpark, you want to really get the feeling of what's going on in the ballpark. I go to the clubhouse and I see all the players, and I try to shake hands with everyone there and wish them a very successful season."

He wants to be there early "to have plenty of time to move around, and see all the players, and try to encourage them to relax and take opening day as any other day."

If you head to a Dodgers game, there's a good chance you may spot Jarrín — he takes a break from broadcasting in the fourth and fifth innings and takes a walk around the loge level, Jarrín said, shaking hands, taking pictures and signing autographs.

"I try to get in touch with the people, because I know that without them, I am nobody. In radio and on TV, you know, ratings are very important, so you have to cultivate your approach with the community. At the same time, I know that I am not just doing a game, I am not only describing what is going on on the field, my duty is to give to the fans something to relax, something to enjoy."

Will the Dodgers enjoy another division championship, or even another run at the World Series? You'll have to tune in to find out.

You can hear Jarrin call every Dodger game this year at KTNQ1020 AM.