A couple of weeks ago I stated my goal this year was to watch every game and hear every call that Vin Scully broadcasts this season, his 67th behind the microphone for the Dodgers. Sadly, just two weeks into the season, I have to back off that goal a bit, and revise it to “catch at least part of every game that Vin broadcasts this season.” Living on the east coast, where most Dodger games don’t start until 10:05, it’s a bit unrealistic to catch EVERY inning. Not if I want to keep my day job anyway!
Blogging about every home Dodger game and recapping some of Vin’s best lines during the game, while doable, would be a bit boring, to even the most ardent Dodger fan. What I think I will do is come up with short summary of what I think his best stories were during a particular home stand, and try to capture the essence of Vin! Editors note: these may or may not be in chronological order!
It was quite moving to see all the video tributes and Dodger stars that came out for the pregame festivities. I am sure most of you have seen them by now.
The first inning of the broadcast started with no Vin! I thought something was wrong with my video feed. Not on his last home opener! Well, it turned out it took longer to get from the field to the press box than planned, and Vin apologized saying “The stairs get steeper here at Dodger Stadium, so it took us a little longer than usual. But anyway, we’re here, and Jean Segura was just hit on the hand or arm and they are checking him out.” Vin, like you ever need to apologize for anything!
Vin gave us quite the history lesson on Socrates. No, not Socrates Brito, but the philosopher. He told how Socrates could have left jail but didn’t, just to prove them wrong, and he wanted a dinner every night. According to Vin, “He stayed in jail, and eventually drank the hemlock. I guess back in Rome, that’s the same as we say, he must have had the Kool-Aid. In 470 BC or whatever the heck it was, they drank the hemlock.” Later he asked “What the heck is hemlock?” Sure enough, an inning or so later, he told us what hemlock was!
Jackie Robinson Day
Probably the most poignant story he told, one that he’s passed along before, was about Jackie Robinson and when the team went to Cincinnati. Jackie was getting quite a few threats, and young Dodger, Gene Hermanski, suggested they all just wear #42. Well, I will let Vin tell it in his way:
Uncle Vin reads Dr. Seuss
Last Saturday I took a road trip to see the Akron RubberDucks, which I blogged about earlier. It’s a 6 hour drive, and the Dodgers were set to go at 9. I set my MLB At Bat app up, and listened to Vin on the radio broadcast for the first 3 innings. At one point, the camera cut to a cute infant, with a split Dodgers-Giants t-shirt, which caught Vin’s eye. After another batter or two, they cut back to the baby, and Vin read some good ol fashioned Dr. Seuss:
Not only can Vin make Dr. Seuss exciting, he can even make a grocery list sound exciting!
Live advertisements at Seal Stadium
When the Dodgers and Giants first moved out west, the Giants played at Seals Stadium, which accommodated only about 23,000 fans. It was so small, in fact, that Vin and the broadcast team basically sat among the fans during the game. In those days, the broadcasters would do live commercials. One time, Vin was doing a beer commercial for a local brew, and when the Giants fans around them realized they were the Dodgers announcers, the fans would just yell out all kinds of other beer brands in the middle of the commercial. Another live commercial was for a cigarette brand. Vin starts reading the promo, and a fan leaned in and just asked Vin if he had a light! It was shortly after that when the team decided they could start taping the commercials before the game!
- Talking about Madison Bumgarner after giving up a first pitch HR to Kike Hernandez: “We talked about Bumgarner’s feet, it’s his heart that’s hurting right now.”
- After reading a promo for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: “Sounds like a dance team: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.”
- On the view of the sky: “There’s a thin line of clouds, as if they are holding hands in centerfield, going left to right. Maybe they’re just trying to peek over and get a look at the game.”
- The Giants had some fielding woes early in the game, so Vin quipped: “Tomlinson and Panik are trying to keep a straight face without breaking down and crying.” Later, Vin would tell the story of Manager Dave Bristol, who once said “The 2PM bus is for those who need extra work. The empty bus leaves at 5.”
- Vin was talking about how intense Jack Sanford would get during games. He would be so intense on the mound that when Manager Alvin Dark would go to the mound, he would have to shout, “Jack! Jack! It’s Alvin!”
All these stories and more have made the late nights worth it. One game I won’t be able to watch on tv (live, anyway) will be the Padres-Dodgers game on April 30. I will actually be AT the game. My first ever trip to Chavez Ravine. I can’t wait!
Vin Scully photo credit: By Craigfnp at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4850032