Just as I do, you may think whatever dastardly thoughts about the Los Angeles Dodgers you wish, but please go along with me on this one: You can’t disrespect their voice, Vin Scully, an iconic presence in an industry which features the immortal actions of such luminaries as Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax. Vin Scully is the cultured voice of not only the Dodgers, but of Every-Team, USA.
I enjoyed the way that the San Francisco Giants presented their tribute to Jackie Robinson, employing both Vin Scully and Giants’ broadcaster Jon Miller, to introduce their respective teams. The two Ford Frick Award winners make all fans appreciate what a fine art they have elevated their game to.
Vin Scully represents the voice of reason, in an age often devoid of any semblance of rationale. His well-modulated tone is one that others attempt to emulate. His unique style is one that will forever draw fans into his circle or at least allow them to feel comfortable and at ease, standing at the fringes occasionally, for a sweet taste of childhood and home.
Although I don’t like to make this a habit, I do look upon the Dodgers from one angle as a civilized and even cultured opponent, for this is the organization which opened the door to Jackie Robinson, and for that I will always be grateful. The feats accomplished by those subsequently allowed to play the game as a result of Robinson’s actions belie truth.
On the other hand, Yasil Puig makes it challenging to retain my noteworthy impressions of anything Dodger, as he reaffirmed last night when he deigned to sidle six or eight steps up the first base line, after hammering the ball into the right field corner, coming to a halt with a grimace of disgust as Hunter Pence gloved the ball on the track. I have never seen anything so arrogant on a baseball diamond, nor do I wish to do so again, but I can forget about the Dodgers’s right fielder when Vinny takes over.
Vin Scully, born November 29, 1927, has been with the Dodgers since they were in Brooklyn, his 65 seasons with the Dodgers the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team, in professional sports history. Wikipedia described his voice as dulcet, which means sweet and soothing. I can’t attest to the sweet, but soothing certainly works for me. Though he broadcasts for the team I love to hate, I forgive him because without the Dodgers, the Giants would not be the team they are.
Jon Miller is noted in baseball circles for his dead-on impersonation of Scully. Why do other announcers want to sound like Scully? Among his countless achievements, he was named Sportscaster of the Century in 2000 by the American Sportscasters Association, which also named him top sportscaster of all time on its Top 50 list (2009).
Among his calls are four perfect games, one each by Don Larson (1956), which he described as “the most dramatic and well-pitched ballgame in the history of the game,” Sandy Koufax (1965), Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds (1988) and Montreal’s Dennis Martinez in 1991. He called Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, Bill Buckner’s muffed ground ball in the 1986 World Series, Will Clark’s pennant-clinching base hit off Mitch Williams to clinch the 1989 National League Championship Series, and Kirk Gibson’s winning home run, in Game One of the 1988 World Series. He is a god in the broadcast booth.
I must say that I do not believe my impression of “Vinny” is influenced in any way, shape or form on my growing up in the balmy SoCal climate, listening to the Blue Crew play all through the sixties. We would lie out under the stars, my three older bros and I, and listen as Frank Howard would provide all the offense needed, to win another 1-0 game, with Koufax pitching. When the San Francisco Giants would roar into town, the fireworks would begin.
No, my impression is based on a lifetime of listening to baseball on the radio and the fact that I have never heard any broadcaster who does it as fluidly and seemingly without effort as does Vin Scully. Considering he announces for the team I love to hear beaten more than any other, I must say that because the Dodgers are destined to lose, they might as well have the best in the business describe it. It’s only fitting, say I.