My goal this season for this blog is to post on a more consistent basis. Sadly, I’m not off to a great start. My primary focus of this little blog has been attending minor league games and new stadiums, and try to capture the essence of “real baseball, real close.” I was very fortunate last year to visit some fantastic teams and stadiums, and sprinkled in a few other posts on baseball memorabilia and memories. I plan on doing the same this year, but I needed another idea, another hook to keep active.
As I settled in for tonight’s opening day game between the Dodgers and the Padres, in Vin Scully’s 67th and final season behind the microphone, I had a great idea. What if I watched every single Vin broadcast this year? Catch every single story, every call, as told by this living legend. What a goal! So that’s my plan, and hopefully be able to capture the spirit of Vin’s broadcasts in his final season in my little blog! This may be a bit tough at times, as I am on the east coast and most games won’t begin until 10:05 my time! So while I will catch the start of most games live, I may end up catching more than a few innings on replay with my MLB.tv subscription. Early on I may do a post for each game, and as the season progresses I may just do a summary of a particular series. Especially as my MiLB tour gets cranked up this season!
I can’t say I have been a lifelong Dodgers fan. I always enjoyed the few times I heard him growing up, but growing up in then-baseball starved Florida, and before the advent of games on every night of the week, and then MLB.tv, I didn’t get a chance to hear him that often. My best friend growing up, Dave, his father was a huge Dodger’s fan, so I of course always liked them but never really got hooked. But I’ve been a subscriber to MLB.tv for over 10 years now, and my appreciation for Mr. Scully has grown exponentially every year.
Game 1 – Dodgers 15, Padres 0
“A lot of people are thinking, ‘You know what? Dinner tastes a lot better than sitting here.’ ”
Vin’s ability to weave in personal and historical stories is his trademark, and his broadcast style is such that he makes you feel like he’s having a conversation with just you. His first broadcast in this his final season didn’t disappoint. In the first inning alone, he let us know that, at age 21, Corey Seager is the youngest shortstop for the Dodgers in 72 years. Gene Mauch made his debut with Brooklyn in 1942 at age 18! Vin later states that Adrian Gonzales continues to be the butter and egg man and delivers!
As a precursor to Clayton Kershaw’s great night on the mound, Vin remembered a scout once saying that “strikes don’t lie, and that Kershaw could write a book about it.” There are all kinds of hits and descriptions but strikeouts don’t lie. Kershaw ended up fanning 9 in 7 innings on just 96 pitches, 61 for strikes.
The best two stories of the evening were about two Padres. The first was Alexi Ramirez’s car: [edit: for some reason the video is not able to embed so you can view it here. Sadly it contains a spoiler for a story I mention below.]
The second story was about Padres manager Andy Green. Green was raised by just his mother, and at age 5, Green’s grandmother got him into a 6 year old T-ball league. Well, the first time he was the pitcher, he took a shot to the mouth on a line drive. He was able to shake it off, and stepped back in. Wouldn’t you know it, the next batter also hit it right back to Green and he suffered another shot to the mouth. What a tough kid, and now he’s manager of the Padres!
Other quick nuggets during the game:
“They’re gonna call that strike three. I think that might have been a mercy call by the plate umpire.” – Dodgers were up 8-0 at that point.
“The Padres could’ve gone to the beach, it was a nice day today. Had they gone to the beach, they would’ve lost nine-nothing.”
“That one looked like a marble on a concrete floor.”
“A lot of people are thinking, ‘You know what? Dinner tastes a lot better than sitting here.’ ” – on the dwindling crowd as the game got out of hand.
And finally, Vin relayed a story of when Padre Jon Jay met Michael Jordan in a shoe store, and used the term GOAT. Vin wasn’t sure what the term meant, and then was told that it stood for Greatest Of All Time.
How appropriate that the GOAT announcer would tell a story like that!