Maybe this is a story that only holds true for me, because I grew up not necessarily sheltered, but not wandering far from the Bay Area and not becoming the biggest baseball fan until really the last decade or so. I grew up with guys like Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Ted Robinson, Jon Miller, and more recently, Dave Flemming. Every single one of these broadcasters I associate with the Giants, and barring any super scandalous done by them, will always have their voices playing in the background of the highlights I remember from my childhood.
Now, I’ve been in Long Beach since around 2003, but never really listening to Dodger games since meeting my fiance, and the only good (baseball) thing about becoming close with a Dodger fan was the exposure to Vin Scully, their broadcaster and anytime you are new to anything, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. It could be big, it could be nothing. Vin Scully, I learned, is and was bigger than big. There are a lot of people whom I wouldn’t be surprised to hear call him the voice of baseball. Scully has been around the baseball booth since 1950, before even my parents were born, and has been an exclusive one-team-man. For those that know your history, you know this means he was in Brooklyn with the Dodgers, and came west with the team when they invaded Los Angeles.
Take a read on his wikipedia page and you’ll notice what he’s done is not exclusive to baseball, as like any aspiring broadcaster does, has his talent showcased to multiple audiences. I was up in San Jose watching a replay of the January 10, 1982 NFC Championship game between the Cowboys and the 49ers. It took me a minute to realize I was listening to the familiar, but much younger voice of the one and only Vin Scully. He made the call of the much heralded “The Catch” that Bay Area fans love to see over and over again, forever part of 49er lore.
The man’s so good he got his Ford C. Frick Award in 1982, and even though there has been talk of him retiring during these past few years, he’s doing pretty well for an 84-year old in the booth.
So if you’re a Giants fan that has been loyal to Kruk, Kuip, Jon, Dave, and the rest of ’em and you haven’t heard Vin Scully call a game once, or this is the first time you’ve heard of him, I urge you to give him a shot, as painful as it might be to watch a Dodger game for 9 innings. I’ve put him on a pedestal, but for good reason. The only way I can describe him to others is as a grandfather figure who tells you stories about the game of baseball wrapped around a 3 hour story of the game you tuned in to listen to.
He’s getting old, yes, but he’s still golden, and I’m glad I get the chance to listen to him call a game. Catch him while you can.