STILL MISSING VIN SCULLY: He Was Brilliantly Simple
STILL MISSING VIN SCULLY: Brilliantly Simple
I know I’m late writing about Vin Scully. But I still miss the guy. Watching or listening to a Dodgers game just hasn’t been the same. Don’t get me wrong. I love watching my LA Dodgers on TV or even listening to a game on the radio. But way too often in the past few years since his retirement, I’ve found myself shouting at the TV, “SHUT UP!” Sometimes I have to turn the volume of the TV off, and just watch the game in silence. There’s something annoyingly missing.
Being born and raised in Los Angeles, means I bleed Dodger Blue. I’m sure if you’re from Chicago or San Francisco, you feel the same about the Cubs or Giants. I grew up loving and following the SoCal Boys of Summer, through the best and even worst seasons. Thanks to my little Dodger Blue (duh) transistor radio, I’d be able to listen to the game while lying out on the beach. And of course my friends and I would head up to Chavez Ravine and enjoy America’s Favorite Past Time at Dodgers Stadium. And yes, I’d bring my trusty radio with me so I can also listen to the game…at the game. But I wasn’t the only one. Hundreds showed up doing the same thing. There was a wondrous reason for that.
When I was a very little fella, If I heard that some of the Dodgers were going to make an appearance at the Del Amo Mall in Torrance, I’d ride my bike over and get autographs from the likes Dusty Baker, Tommy John, Reggie Smith, Davey Lopes, and Rick Monday. Later in years I met others like Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser, and Tommy Lasorda. One of my favorite memories is while I was working at a radio station in LA, I did a live remote broadcast at a newly built apartment complex in Simi Valley with Dodger pitcher Rick Honeycutt. But there is one legendary Dodger I had ironically never met. More than any other Dodger, I wish I could’ve met him. The voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.
It hit me the other night watching a Dodgers game, yelling at my TV. It’s Vin Scully I miss. Not just because of the legendary broadcaster’s recent passing. Not just because he’s been that voice behind the mic my entire life. It was the simplicity of his stories and the calls he made. It was knowing how to tell the story. And it was knowing how much to say with the call at play. I was drawn to everything Scully said….and appreciated when he just let the moment speak for itself.
A perfect example was the game everyone still, to this very day, talks about as one of the greatest calls. During game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A’s. It’s the bottom of the 9th inning at Dodgers Stadium. Dodgers are trailing 4-3. Mike Davis steals 2nd base. A’s Dennis Eckersley pitches a 3 balls 2 strikes slider to an injured Kirk Gibson at bat. And Gibson slams it. Vin Scully makes the call, “High fly ball into right field….she is GONE!” Then! He says NOTHING! Scully just lets the roar of the fans tell the story. Pausing, allowing us at home to scream and cry with joy. Then in perfect Vin timing, he brilliantly says, “In a year that has been so improbable…the impossible has happened!” I still get teary-eyed thinking about that call. Sorry Tom Hanks. Sometimes, there is crying in baseball.
You see, it’s not just the man I miss. One of the great things about Vin Scully that many play by play announcers haven’t figured out, was that he didn’t talk over the heads of the viewers and listeners with a ton of stats, or over analyze every single move, pitch, hit, and thought process. He just laid out what we needed to know, updated us, told a great story, and let us enjoy the game.
Vin Scully kept it brilliantly simple. Knowing that everything else was, "blah blah blah”.