Philadelphia Daily News - December 16, 1980

Baker:  Return Trip


By Phil Jasner


Dan Baker and his wife have been corresponding with a Japanese couple they met in this country in 1972. “And we spent time with them when I broadcast the Temple-Boston College Mirage Bowl football game from Tokyo in 78," Baker was saying as he prepared for another international journey. "We thought, despite our friendship, we'd probably never see each other again."


As you are reading this, the Bakers are enroute to Japan, where Dan will join Randy Rosenbloom to telecast the Temple-UCLA basketball game. It starts at 1 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo, but back across the international date line it'll be 11 p.m. Saturday on Channel 17, via Metro Sports Productions.


As a guy who has been there before, Baker had this suggestion for Don Casey, the Owls' coach. "The body's chemistry, its biological clock, is really thrown off passing through all those time zones," Dan said. "They probably should stay up when they get there, so they don't go to sleep and wake up in the middle of the night. The other thing is, the Century Hyatt, where we're staying, has about 12 restaurants, but not everybody can handle the cuisine."


Baker is 34, has a master's degree, spent 12 years working as a teacher, and now is the voice of the Big 5, through WHAT (1340) and WWDB-FM (96.5), plus the public address announcer for the Phillies. But this is his most sweeping effort, with the game going into roughly 1,000 cable markets and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.


"ONE OF MY best memories of Japan is a visit we made to Mount Fuji," Dan said. "It took us a few hours to get there, and I began to wonder if it'd be worth the time. It turned out to be breathtaking, majestic."



In the meantime, he passed up a feeler from the Mizlou Network about helping with Eastern 8 telecasts. "I thought about it," he said, "but my loyalty is with Philadelphia and the Big 5. Not that anyone has ever hit me over the head with a terrific offer, but right now I don't feel I can turn my back on the people who gave me my opportunity in the first place."