In writing about Vin Scully, I could talk about the 25 World Series he has broadcast. I could mention the 18 no-hitters he has called. I could go on and on about the 12 All-Star Games. But to me that's not what Scully is about.
Scully is about more than mere numbers. The fact that he has been working at his current job for 61 seasons is amazing enough, but he is much more than that to so many people. Vin is a feeling, something baseball fans, and Dodger fans especially, have been privileged to enjoy, in most cases, their entire life.
I can't think of baseball without Vin Scully. He is synonymous with the game itself. Scully is the soundtrack of our summer, the man we listened to as a kid as we fell asleep at night. Vin has so many memorable calls that are forever burned in my memory:
- "High fly ball into right field, she is gone...[37 or so seconds of silence] In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."
- "Two and two to Harvey Keunn, one strike away. Sandy into his windup, here's the pitch. Swung on and missed! A perfect game!"
- "If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky."
- "Little roller up along first, behind the bag. Here comes Knight and the Mets win it."
- "Bo Jackson says hello."
- "Eastern most in quality, western most in flavor."
Vin not only broadcast Dodger games, but also was the play-by-play man for NBC's Game of the Week from 1983 to 1989. He even dabbled in golf and football, even broadcasting "The Catch," by Dwight Clark of the 49ers, in the 1981-82 NFC Championship Game.
Scully is not a homer announcer, either. Growing up in southern California, I knew of very few announcers outside of Scully, so there is no question I am biased when it comes to him. However, with the advent of MLB Extra Innings, and having listened to announcers from every other team in the last decade and a half, I have no qualms about placing Scully at the top of my list of best announcers, and deservedly so.
Vin's strength as a broadcaster is his storytelling style. With the Dodgers, he has almost exclusively worked alone, with the idea that he is speaking directly to us, the listeners, rather than an analyst in the booth. He has an innate ability to seamlessly transition from the story to the game action itself, rarely letting anything interfere with the game itself.
Humility is a trait Scully has in spades. He never wants to put himself ahead of the game, always reluctant to make a big deal about himself. Scully threw out the first pitch of the 2009 home opener, and addressed the crowd afterward, saying "In all these years, I have needed you a lot more than you have needed me." Mr. Scully, I respectfully disagree.
Since last season, I have had the great privilege to cover several Dodger games, working in the Vin Scully Press Box no less. I have had the chance to shake Scully's hand, say hello to him, and see him interact with many others. He is an impossibly nice man, and no matter whom Scully encounters, he seems genuinely excited to meet them, as if the pleasure was all his.
Today, Scully will decide his future plans. Selfishly of course, I want him to come back for another season, because I can't imagine baseball without him. But the man has given me so much joy throughout my life that I can't possibly be upset at any decision he makes. Whatever Vin decides to do, as long as he is happy with his decision, than I will be, too.
Thank you for everything Mr. Scully.