Vin Scully…What A Joy!

I spent part of my afternoon today listening to Vin Scully broadcast the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game against the Florida Marlins on MLB.com. What a joy it is to listen to Scully announce a baseball game! I spend many hours each year listening to the stuffy airbag announcers who currently work for MLB teams up and down the east coast. Compared to them, Vin Scully is a breath of fresh air. I guess it helps that Vin has over 60 years of broadcasting experience and has seen a lot of baseball games. And I believe that is what makes him so enjoyable to listen to. At 80+ years old Vin has seen it all. And you an tell he still loves baseball and is prepared for each game. Scully talks effortlessly during the game, weaving in stories from baseballs past, interjecting personal tidbits about players that are not necessarily superstars and describing what is happening in the game without personal bias. For instance, today Scully mentioned that a veteran catcher had recently told him that the reason San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey was injured so badly in a collision at home plate earlier in the week was because Posey did not position his feet correctly while trying to block the plate. Specifically, Posey’s knee was on the ground when he was trying to make a tag on the runner at the plate, as opposed to being on both feet in a crouch. Now I don’t know if the veteran catcher who told this to Scully made an accurate assessment of the Posey collision or not, but I do know that Vin Scully proceeded to tell two wonderful stories about other catchers he had watched during his broadcasting career that had similar collision experiences. The first story was about how Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella once eluded a collision with New York Yankee runner Billy Martin by moving aside “like a matador” at the very last minute tagging Martin on the top of the head. Martin was called out at the plate. And Billy Martin, always the fighter, was furious. However, Scully said Roy Campanella just “shrugged his shoulders” at Martin. The other story Vin told was how Los Angeles Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro had a habit of crouching very low on both feet when a runner was bearing down on him at the plate, and then quickly jumping up, causing the runner to flip over Roseboro’s back. Now perhaps the reason for Posey’s injury was more complicated than just the positioning of his feet, but the great thing about Scully’s observations were that they captured two instances in baseball’s past, the famous Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950’s (The Boys of Summer) and the pitching powerhouse LA Dodgers of the 1960’s (Johnny Roseboro was Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale’s catcher). Unfortunately, there are not many baseball announcers left that can relay this kind of “history of the game” to the younger generation of baseball fans. Vin Scully is still an amazing baseball announcer and one of the last of his kind. I have heard some people say that Scully talks too much during a broadcast. And I can understand how they might feel that way as I was a big Skip Carey fan when he was broadcasting for the Atlanta Braves. Skip was witty, had a dry sense of humor and knew how to use brief seconds of silence so the listener could just listen to what was happening in the ballpark. But at least Scully doesn’t get personal and babble on about meaningless things during game, unlike many of the reality show type baseball broadcasters I’ve heard the past few years! Maybe I’m just showing my age 🙂 I can’t believe I’m going to say this, as I am a lifelong San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves fan, but, do yourself a favor and listen to a Dodgers home game this year. You won’t regret it! I hope Vin Scully can continue to broadcast baseball games for another 20 years!

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