Vin Scully, the Voice of Our Game

Vin Scully is entering his 67th and final season as the voice of the Dodgers and baseball. (via Prayitno & Howell Media Solutions)

Vin Scully is entering his 67th and final season as the voice of the Dodgers and baseball. (via Prayitno & Howell Media Solutions)

You would think — to paraphrase the man himself — the booth at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world. There he is, in his ninth decade on the planet and his 66th year on the job, away from his wife and family and without a partner to share the burdens of the broadcast. He is a man alone, yet a man in full view, a lone figure borne on the paradox of public isolation. Accompanied only by the microphone and the yields of pregame research, he occupies the solitary space between the watchers and the watched.

In this hermetic chamber he must negotiate the hours of the game. On the field, the men whose play he is poised to describe are young enough to be his grandkids’ friends. The distance between his generation and theirs has grown by the moment, a separation no one can arrest or repair. Born to a time of TV and computer screens, they are far removed, indeed, from the day in 1965 when transistor radios across Los Angeles, each tuned to KFI-AM, thrummed with the sound of his familiar voice as he called the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax’s attempt at a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs.

“I would think,” he said that day, alone per usual as the L.A. lefty flirted with perfection, “that the mound at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world.”

You would think that, yes. And in one sense you wouldn’t be wrong. Loneliness in sports is an alienation from safeguards and assistance. It is the experience of an instant when you and you alone are responsible for the performance on which the outcome hinges, and as you stand ready to parlay your isolation into the best of its rewards, you might also feel the ghosts of old failure and the spectres of defeat arriving to mock your attempt to set yourself apart. Their howls of derision, if you are prone to heed them, are the company you keep in this hard confinement.

But loneliness is also the space where artistry might rise to reveal itself, hoisting its brilliance above those who have gathered on pedestrian ground. Upon passing over its hazards, your mastery affirms the reason you were left alone to do the job. Koufax went on to notch his perfecto in the most single-handed manner — a swinging strike three — and Vin Scully, there alone to describe it, would go on to make of isolation an equally masterful display.

That display, now the considerable opus of his long career, is comprised of countless demonstrations of his singular ability. His calls are so familiar as to have become artifacts.

  • Behind the bag! It gets past Buckner!
  • In a season that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!

Today, despite the archival presence of his broadcast partners, we look to his solitary place in the booth. He and he alone is Vin Scully, a presence as distinct as the dulcet voice that attends it, and now, as the veteran broadcaster prepares for his celebrated return to L.A. air time and his final season as the game’s communal voice, we look to his performance as a way to look forward to more of the same. Now as it’s been in the past, his booth is not one of solitude at all. Rather, it is crowded with companions we can’t quite see. It is alive with history’s players and today’s biographies, yesterday’s anecdotes and tomorrow’s first pitch.

You are there, the unseen fan. They are there, the players now and then.

We are all in there together, with the one and only.

Yes, there he is, so familiar as to defy inspection of his image. We think we know him, after all, a warm and wonderful presence in our summertime lives, but in reality this is what he is to us: an image, an appearance on a screen, a visual impression on which to fix the sound of that voice — that sweet Irish tenor, rising and falling with the action on the field.

“It’s tiiiiiime…”

Ah, it is time. Say it, Mr. Scully!

“… for Dodger baseball, live from Dodger Stadium.”

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

This is the invitation we’ve awaited, the summons to a night of the game.

There he is, on a late-summer evening in 2015, in his understated but elegant suit jacket, his pressed shirt, his silk tie and his matching pocket square, together the customary foreground of a ceremonious image: the green field in wait behind him, a springlike promise of all the events that will blossom into description and history. We see his pale blue eyes as lively counterpoints to the pinkish hue of a remarkably unwrinkled but seasoned face, and the hair, still strawberry blond, swept neatly from right to left to reveal the noble anchors of gray at a thinker’s temples.

We see his experience and his eagerness, twin pillars of an unbroken timeline that connects the careers of Hank Aaron and Mike Zunino, Don Drysdale and the latest Dodgers rookie. And we see, with gratitude, the source of that celestial voice, one so familiar as to have spawned a million imitations yet so utterly sui generis that none can match its sincerity and warmth. In a world of parody and burlesque, he inspires only homage. What he says next is what we still want to hear — still need to hear, an expression so well-worn yet comfortably intimate that its history has fathered expectation.

“Sit back, relax, pull up a chair.”

Top of the first inning, Rockies at Dodgers, Sept. 15, 2015

“And his first pitch to Charlie Blackmon is a drag bunt, and it’s going to be a base hit,” he announces just after Los Angeles starter Brett Anderson’s first-pitch fastball to the speedy Colorado leadoff batter. “Charlie Blackmon runs as well as anyone…. Among other things, he is number one in the league in going from first to third on a base hit. He’s done that 20 times. He will also steal third base if he gets a chance. He’s done that six times.”

And here, perhaps without our perception of it, we are privy in an instant to the Scully skillset. He is a master of time and a magician with the moment, a man who can bend the tenses into an accessible brand of timelessness. The past in all its installments is an incubator of each emerging description, and the moment, well-placed, is the accommodating placeholder for the next unfolding event. An ace of preparation, he is ready with information pertinent to any contingency, be it a call of ball one or a beaten-out bunt, yet his style is so informal that it belies the homework that begets it. So casual is his delivery, in fact, that it seems the yield of a familiar script. He is of ease and ideal cadence, so much so that a viewer is forgiven for believing Blackmon bunted the ball and beat the throw as a way to validate the words on Scully’s tongue.

At the plate now is Jose Reyes, rostered in improvisation. His bunt dies successfully on infield grass. “And we can take a look again at the artistry of, instead of swinging from the heels, having another base-hit play,” says the announcer. “Remember, we’ve had a little rain, thank goodness, and the ball normally might have hit on one bounce and kicked off.”

Context — Scully supplies it. We are reminded that Reyes has made a shrewd choice from among the more dramatic options, perhaps for no other reason than baseball is part of the world beyond the stadium, a world whose weather affects a thousand crops first and one bunt second. Through Scully we see that baseball is great and vital but also just a game; a batter has capitalized on what farmers really needed. In balance are base hits and produce acknowledged.

“And now you get to see the big guys,” he says.

After Carlos Gonzalez whiffs — “and down goes Gonzalez” — Nolan Arenado steps the plate, cueing Scully’s next revelation: that the third baseman boasts the highest rate of extra-base hits to plate appearances and the highest rate of RBIs per at-bat. “He has an RBI every five at-bats, and he’s on a tear in September. And on top of all that, he’s a terrific third baseman.”

In a quick but lyrical transition, cold stats have surrendered to a warm salute. And while that salute has failed the factual accuracy of UZR, it does bear the stamp of Scully’s experience and the endorsement of his kindness. We trust he is right. Arenado really is a terrific third baseman, and the broadcaster’s assessment shares jurisdiction with sabermetrics. Scully is no antagonist. For him, the opposing team is never the enemy and always a collection of men who merit our respect. Even now, as Arenado digs in, we know biographies will arrive on that Irish tenor to further demystify the opponents, rescuing them from the sectarian contempt that can accompany each uniform while restoring their lives to the scope of shared experience.

Those guys came from somewhere, he emphasizes. They do have moms and dads.

Bottom of the first inning, Pirates at Dodgers, Sept. 18, 2015

“Two down, and here is young — and forever young in Pittsburgh — Andrew McCutchen.”

Having pulled up a chair, we are settled in now. We are comfortable, relaxed. Even if the Dodgers aren’t our team and the time zones don’t cooperate with our circadian rhythms, we are listening in leisure to a man whose rooting interest lies less in the team he covers than in the sport and the men who play it. His affection, though never fawning, penetrates the screen that separates his booth from our living room, and we feel immediate closeness to a faraway game.

It is — to paraphrase the man himself — a very pleasant Friday evening, wherever we may be.

“What a player: 93 RBIs, 22 home runs, hitting .298, takes a strike and the count is 0 and 1. They tell an interesting story…there’s a one-hopper down the left-field line going into the corner, and McCutchen on his way for an eeeaaasy double. So with two down, McCutchen doubles. That would be his 34th double. And it will bring up Aramis Ramirez. Anyway, his father would take him out in the back yard and he would have fishing corks and Wiffle balls, so that they would wobble. And he (Andrew) would have trouble with a broom handle to hit the ball. But the big thing: The father drew a little square in the ground and said, ‘Son, that’s home plate. Home plate is yours. Make believe it is your house. Living in that house is your father, your mother, your younger sister. Anything and everything you love is in that house. Any ball that comes is an intruder trying to get into that house and spoil it, wreck it.’ That’s been the theme: protect the house. And here McCutchen comes up and doubles with that theory that’s been in his mind since he was about four years old. His father didn’t say, ‘Just try to meet the ball.’ He said, ‘Attack the intruder…’.”

If luck is where preparation meets opportunity, then Scully just got lucky again. One wonders: Did his biographical anecdote foretell McCutchen’s double, or did McCutchen’s double come to animate the tale? Either way and once again, Scully has mingled live action and past events into seamless description, making the episode appear engineered from available parts of the timeline. In his booth, history is always happening, and the moment is always unique, even if it isn’t entirely different from moments that came before it. Face it: He has seen a lot of doubles off the bats of thousands of sons of advice-giving dads. No single instant occurs without precedent, and none occurs without consequence, but neither is it the end of the world. Andrew McCutchen just hit a double. We look back and then we move on, and still here we are, on this occasion.

His stories leave room for the moments that make the stories important, and the moments never interrupt the larger narrative of the game within the game of baseball. They fit. Each pitch and each play is one small piece of the unfolding tale, one that embraces the transistor-radio days as well as each passing instant of Twitter feeds and player updates. The narrative that pulled us in has given us the biographies that draw us closer. We know who hit that double now — we know him better than before. This is important. The story doesn’t ignore us. It includes us. We are not observers; we are participants. We played ball too, in the yard with Dad. We put our passion inside it. We were part of baseball then, and we’re part of it now. We are not alone.

Top of the second inning, Rockies at Dodgers

“Oh, the thumb-sucker’s thumb
May look wrinkled and wet
And withered, and white as the snow,
But the taste of a thumb is the sweetest taste yet
(As only us thumb-suckers know).”

On screen, an infant is cozy in Mom’s lap, thumb in toothless mouth. His smile is distinctly nonpartisan, the joy unaffiliated with a team. Without directly saying so, Scully has hinted via poetry that even in the thick of a pennant race in which playoff berths might hinge on one pitch, we are cautioned against taking the game too seriously. We all have a share in infancy.

“Born in Torrance,” he informs us as Colorado catcher Dustin Garneau steps to the plate, “went to Cal State Fullerton.… His nickname? Drago. Where’d he come up with the nickname Drago? Well, he used to have spiked hair in college, and when it was gelled it looked a lot like Ivan Drago’s from Rocky IV…. He takes high, two-and-two the count.”

Top of the fourth inning, Rockies at Dodgers

“On this date, Sept. 15, 1980,” he begins, “a 19-year-old kid from Sonora, Mexico, named Fernando Valenzuela made his big league debut. The following season he’d win Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young while sparking the cultural phenomenon known as Fernandomania.”

On screen, a vintage shot of the Dodgers left-hander gives way to a live image of Valenzuela in a nearby broadcast booth, where he handles the Dodgers’ Spanish-language broadcast.

“What a joy he is,” adds Scully, sharing the glimpse with his audience. “Everybody on the ballclub called him Freddie. And one of the amazing things: If he had a little piece of string, he could turn that thing into a lariat, and you could not believe the accuracy. He would catch the heel of your shoe as you walked by his locker. Amazing. What a delightful guy. Meanwhile, Nolan Arenado — not delightful, against pitching, for sure, and the 1-and-0 pitch is a little low, ball two.”

Bottom of the fourth inning, Rockies at Dodgers

The rain is shimmering in the L.A. night. The stands are nearly empty.

Justin Turner steps to the plate, blue helmet glistening.

“Ballplayers every now and then will suggest to the umpires to stop the game…Turner takes a strike, two-and-one. A second baseman with the Boston Braves a thousand years ago, I don’t know how he did it. Connie Ryan. And it was pretty dark, and they didn’t have lights, and Ryan came out of the dugout to bat. And strapped on his helmet was a flashlight. And the flashlight was on. And so he came up as if he couldn’t see. That was the idea. They threw him out of the game.”

The count moves to three-and-one on Turner. Rain continues to fall.

“There was a very good-natured guy who played for Pittsburgh named Pete Castiglione, and I remember one day at Forbes Field, in the rain. Castiglione was a right-handed batter. He took his left hand off the bat and swung it back and forth like it was a windshield wiper on a car. They didn’t throw him out, but they did get the message. Three and two, breaking ball just missed inside.”

Bottom of the fourth inning, Pirates at Dodgers

By now it’s as obvious as the green of the grass: We are witness to a man for whom no game is an exercise in scolding or cheering, for whom each game seems a celebration of its founding spirit. The past is prologue, and just as each new pitch is made of the first pitch, each game for Scully is the product of a decision he made before his first season in L.A. Though pressured to root on-air for the Dodgers, he chose to remain factual and neutral — not a robotic bore like his just-the-facts contemporary Sgt. Joe Friday, mind you, but an independent analyst whose balanced approach would permit him to see players as men and not as mercenaries. With Scully, you won’t hear the pronouns we and they.

“It turned out to be one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me,” he once said.

Preparation and opportunity: In grammar school he wrote a composition about what he wanted to be — an announcer. He studied speech and removed any trace of a New York accent. He played baseball at Fordham, manned the campus radio station, and served as sports editor for the student newspaper. After graduation he got his first break, broadcasting, alone, a college football game in frigid weather from the roof of Fenway Park. A year later he joined Red Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast booth, and at 25, upon replacing Barber after the longtime broadcaster got into a salary dispute, became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game.

“It happens so often in baseball,” he is saying now as Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis takes a fastball high for ball one. “One man’s misfortune is another man’s great break. (Backup catcher) Yasmani Grandal — foul ball off the left shoulder — went something like 0-for-36, and that meant A.J. Ellis got some playing time. And boy, has he used it properly.

“Of course, again, it’s such a tough game, especially at this level. I mean, if you don’t play, you just can’t play.”

We see Grandal in the dugout, arms folded.

“And now Grandal sits, a victim of the game.”

Bottom of the fifth inning, Rockies at Dodgers

Standing at his position, Arenado is glaring into the Dodgers dugout and trading angry words with Turner. The fuss began after Turner barreled into Arenado when the third baseman turned a double play while covering second base in a defensive shift.

The managers are jawing, the players on edge.

“For a moment,” Scully observes in a measured voice, “Clayton Kershaw actually climbed the dugout railing, as if there was going to be one of those incidents that empties the dugouts.”

In his voice is an absence of indignation, in his words a lack of allegiance.

He is the Anti-Hawk, a man apart from White Sox homer Ken Harrelson.

As the fuss continues, even the casual viewer might notice that Scully has never raised his voice, never changed his tone, never taken a side. He hasn’t called Arenado a punk or Turner an American hero. He simply explains the picture, with color, and leaves the rest to the audience, because nothing is Rockies black and Dodgers white.

Top of the sixth inning, Pirates at Dodgers

“On this day in 2006, the Dodgers played a really memorable game.”

Again we see Scully in suit and tie, ever dapper. He goes on to describe the game in which Nomar Garciaparra homered in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Dodgers the win after they had hit four consecutive homers in the ninth to tie the game.

The almanac is always available, the calendar always open.

“And with that, let’s go back to this one.”

Zack Greinke peers in for the sign.

“So here’s McCutchen…How good is he? Not trying to put any pressure on him, but his name will forever be linked with Roberto Clemente. He’s that good. With runners in scoring position and two out — the toughest situation for a hitter — McCutchen is hitting .386. Now they load up the left side. With 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases, all within the first seven years of his career, he has joined quite a group to have done that: Soriano, Kemp, Davis, Strawberry, both Bondses…aaaaandWillie Mays. That’s a strike, two and two.”

The count has reached three and two, but Scully has fabricated no fake tension. It’s a big moment but hardly the first, and he has ignored the appeal of elevating the moment into something greater than it is. And suddenly it’s just another out. Up steps Ramirez, who, as we learned in the fourth, once dreamed of becoming a pro basketball player.

Top of the seventh inning, Rockies at Dodgers

The game has fallen into a late-summer lull. Maybe you’ve picked up a magazine. Maybe you’re flipping through its pages while the game is playing in the background. Still, even if you’re unaware, that lilting voice is your music. It’s not the only soundtrack of summer, but it’s the one that fills the recesses of your private night. His words are the lyrics you forget to hear while bobbing your head to the backing rhythm. You ignore for the moment the message, but still, somehow, it has entered your life.

Bottom of the seventh inning, Rockies at Dodgers

Crack! — the ball is soaring off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez.

“…a driiiiiive to center…and deep…back goes Blackmon…to the track…”

As always, he has allowed the moment to manage his voice; he has modulated tone and rhythm to match the intensity of the play. A can of corn is a can of corn and won’t be adorned, but here his volume is in league with the crowd’s.

“…at the wall…OFF the wall.”

A minute later the camera pans to the Rockies manager.

Walt Weiss taking a sip of water, and let’s see…Yep. He’s heading to the mound.”

Contrast — he won’t inflate a self-evident moment but will elevate a mundane moment just slightly. An everyday scene is now a small portrait, Rembrandt painting men in a tavern.

Runners are on second and third, the score 3-2, Rockies. Austin Barnes is at the plate.

“And he lifts it back of third…down the line…a trio of Rockies…”

The pop-up falls to the grass.

“And it falls between them. Unbelievable.”

His usual practice is to veer from veiled disgust, but if there’s a blunder — a botched rundown, bad defense — he will tell you about it, and now in candor he has registered disappointment on behalf of baseball.

“Last place is last place, boys. You play a long year, you watch a team, and they always show you why they are last.”

Top of the ninth inning, Pirates at Dodgers

The stands resemble the firmament, with thousands of stars.

“A lot of people in the ballpark, they’ve turned on their cellphone lights. And of course, having seen so many different things, I look at these twinkling lights and I immediately go back to 1959. I know that’s a long time ago” — he chuckles — “but in 1959, that memorable night at the Coliseum when Roy Campanella in his wheelchair was wheeled out to the mound by Pee Wee Reese, 93,000 people lit matches, and it was like sitting inside a jewel box.”

With Kenley Jansen on the mound, Travis Ishikawa sends a fly ball to center.

“It’s Pederson’s, and that’ll be that.”

The Dodger are on the infield now, high-fiving.

“Tomorrow night, Clayton Kershaw and Francisco Liriano.”

We’ve been moved again through the tenses, and still here we are.

“Until then, from all of us to all of you, a very pleasant good evening, everybody!”

Bottom of the 16th inning, Rockies at Dodgers

The shot opens with the mostly empty seats.

“The hardy souls hanging tough.”

The Rockies are leading, 5-4, and Scott Schebler is at the plate.

“Fastball, and a hiiiiigh fly ball to deep center. Blackmon at the traaaack…”

His voice is rising in line with the crowd’s, measured, open to the unfolding.

“…at the WAAAAAAALL…to make the catch.”

The voice has dropped to its usual timbre as Blackmon returns the ball to the infield.

After Corey Seager singles, Chris Heisey draws a walk.

“And ball four, in the game that will never end…Up comes Yasmani Grandal.”

Crack! The bat lies shattered. Grandal returns to the dugout.

“So two out, first and third, and (Ronald) Torreyes coming up.”

In the stands, a fan is wearing a rally cap.

“Dodgers with the tying run at third. Two out. Fastball, strike.”

A tailing fastball has caught the corner. Fans, the few of them, are booing. At the same time, Scully has declined a cynical reaction as if spiritually wounded by the umpire’s call.

“So Torreyes down to his last pitch.”

Reliever Gonzalez Germen throws a sinking fastball. Torreyes swings over it.

Got him. Or did he?”

Rockies catcher Tom Murphy is pumping his fist.


We see Arenado at third. He sighs in relief, then gathers with teammates on the infield.

“So that will do it,” Scully says in the same tone with which he began the game — yesterday. “Time of game: five hours and 23 minutes. They’ll be back later today, in the final game of the three-game series. Until then, we wish you all a pleasant good morning, everybody!”

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, Sept. 23, 2015

In the time just prior to the game, Scully is standing on the diamond with his wife, Sandra, and his children and grandchildren, exchanging hugs and kisses. Tonight is not only Vin Scully Bobblehead Night, it’s also the night when the Guinness Book of World Records is recognizing him for serving the longest broadcasting tenure with one team.

Sixty-six years, they’re saying, though you could argue that the team isn’t the Dodgers.

A short time later he is alone again, in the booth. His hair is combed neatly, his suit crisp, his pocket square in place. “…(A)nyone and everyone who loves this game of baseball realizes that we lost a gem: Lawrence ‘Yogi’ Berra,” he begins. “I was asked today, and it made me think about it: What is his legacy? And the legacy of Yogi Berra, I believe, as long as people talk about the game, whenever they mention the name Yogi Berra, they will smile, because he was that kind of a human being.

“Yogi Berra, one of the sweetest men and one of the great players — overshadowed by some of the great names in Yankee history, like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. But, for instance, you know he hit only three home runs fewer than Joe DiMaggio? But anyway” — down on the field, Dodgers starter Carlos Frias is delivering the game’s opening pitch — “Yogi would want us to get on with the ballgame. And Enciarte opens with a fly ball to Van Slyke.

“And we are under way.”

John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.
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Gene Bastedo
8 years ago

Vin Scully is in his ninth, not eighth, decade on the planet as he is oreads over 80 years old.
Nonetheless, let’s enjoy this last season ,Dodger baseball will not be the same without him.

Gary Edwards
8 years ago
Reply to  Gene Bastedo

Thank you for the wonderful essay, which brought a huge smile and a few tears even to this non-Dodger fan. I love listening to Vin Scully after a Nats’ game winds up, and often drift off to sleep with headphones in my ears. I am disappointed when 10p rolls around and I discover the Dodgers are on the road and have to settle for a lesser broadcast.

But thanks for noting the 8th/9th decade thing, “Gene”. Really, that’s your first takeaway? Although I recall a few “errors” in Scully’s broadcasts, and while I’m sure I have missed out on his best years as a broadcaster, he still is the top-of-the-heap voice of baseball. Similarly, whatever minor mistakes the author may have made in the essay certainly didn’t diminish its quality in my eyes. Along those same lines… the typos in your comment, “Gene”, don’t distract from the fact that you are… probably no fun at parties (as politely as I can state it, in homage to Vin Scully’s impeccable manners.)

Gene Bastedo
8 years ago
Reply to  John Paschal


I wasn’t trying to be critical as other reader implies, I thought your article was excellent . A great tribute to a great announcer.

Richard Horgan
8 years ago
Reply to  John Paschal

Actually, “ninth decade” is correct. Scully was born in 1927. So starting with the 1920s, he’s now in his ninth decade.

Richard Horgan
8 years ago
Reply to  Richard Horgan

Whoops. Realized right after posting my previous comment that I had wrongly counted. If you go by the frame of reference of calendar decades, Scully is actually in his “tenth decade”!

1920s / 1930s / 1940s / 1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / 1990s / 2000s / 2010s

Dennis Bedard
8 years ago

His longevity is a record that will never be broken. In this day and age, that is almost impossible.

Vic Saunders
8 years ago

What a great piece. I think this might be the finest thing I have ever seen written about Vin Scully, capturing the essense of the greatest baseball announcer to ever call an inning. There have been some great ones– Mel Allen, Red Barber, Ernie Harwell, Curt Gowdy, Jack Buck, Joe Garagiola, Al Michaels– but all pale in comparison to the fabulous talent of one Vincent Edward Scully. I have listened to Vin since I was a little boy back in the sixties, listening to Dodger broacasts as the signal faded in an out on a portable radio on a farm in Northern Utah. Baseball just won’t be the same once he leave the broadcast booth for the last time this fall. So thanks for a truly great piece of writing honoring a truly great individual.

8 years ago

To put Scully’s career in perspective: In 1983, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It now turns out that 1983 was only the halfway point of his career. And even if you discount everything he did before 1983, he’d sail right in again.

8 years ago

“Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day.”
“Aren’t we all?”

8 years ago

Thanks for the post. Being in Central Cali on the wrong TV provider means the lasty SNLA telecast With Vin I’ll likely see was last night’s ST blowout vs SF. Will miss him. Whoever steps into his shoes (mic, whatever) will have it rough for a while, I imagine.

8 years ago


Michael Horowicz
8 years ago

What a wonderful piece.

8 years ago

Does Scully announce every inning of the games he calls? In many other markets (with 2 or more announcers) they frequently switch off, thus requiring men many years Scully’s junior to call only 5-6 innings instead of 9.

One thing I enjoy is listening to Scully calling Dodger games against my team (St. Louis). I learn more interesting facts about the Cardinals than I EVER get from the STL announcers.

The amazing thing is not that Scully is better than every other team’s announcers, it’s that he’s SO MUCH better.

8 years ago
Reply to  Gene

No, he does not call every inning unfortunately. I believe he calls the first 2 or 3 and the last 2 or 3. He also does not travel anymore (with an exception here or there). I moved to San Diego a couple years ago and have the good fortune of being able to tune into KLAC AM 570 every now and then. MLBTV has the radio broadcast option as well. I’ll have to make it a priority this year.

8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Great piece by the way. Thanks, John for writing this.

8 years ago
Reply to  John Paschal

Having immigrated to the U.S. as a young child in the 1970’s, I had the privilege of learning the English language wit the help of Vin Scully’s nightly broadcasts, on my handy transistor radio. Anyway, my recollection is that on games broadcast on TV, Vin would work innings 1-3, and 7-9, and would do the radio for innings 4-6. Another announcer (usually Ross Porter) would handle the TV side in the middle innings. For non-TV games, I think Scully worked innings 1-3, and 7-9, on the radio.

8 years ago

Don’t scare me. I saw that headline and feared it was a memorial retrospective. We’ve lost too many talented cultural icons already this year.

8 years ago

This was an incredibly moving piece. I wish Vin Scully could call games forever.

Josiah Schwartz
8 years ago

It’s always a joy to read an article that isn’t merely click bait, but rather one that has actual substance to it. Thank you!

8 years ago

His World Series calls of Buckner and Gibson say it all. Short, memorable, passionate, and then letting the picture tell the story, rather than feeling the need to inform us of the magnitude of the moment as so many announcers do today.

Honestly, can you imagine that much silence ever in a national TV broadcast today?

8 years ago

Great article. When I was only a fan of the game I thought he was the greatest. I always felt that even I, a kid with poor imagination, could imagine seeing what was happening while listening over the radio…or that I really could turn the television off and not miss a thing.

When I got into reporting and broadcasting I realized how unique he is. I think he is the only one who excels at radio, television and simulcast. His timing seems to be unfailingly impeccable and his stories also seem to fit the action, as if he was fitting them in after the fact when he knows how much time he has.

When I started training umpires I realized what a class-act he is. The contrast to Hawk is a great one. No broadcaster can be considered among the greats unless they show the dignity and class that Vin displays in every broadcast.

Thank you for the essay.

Mike Curtiss
8 years ago

If anyone needs a sign that God is a benevolent God it is this: Vin Scully has, on national TV both times, announced the greatest moment in Brooklyn Dodger history, the final out of the 1955 World Series, and one of the greatest moments in LA Dodger history, game 1 of the 1988 Series. His delight with the Dodgers’ victory in 1955 shows in Ken Burns documentary, “Baseball”. Filmed maybe 35 to 40 years later, Mr. Scully acted like a 12 year-old kid when he described the Dodgers return to Brooklyn after that game.