Vin Scully — An Appreciation - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Vin Scully — An Appreciation

For the hard-core baseball fan, which regular TAS readers know me to be, there are certain dates on the baseball calendar we look forward to and celebrate. Dates which renew us and lift our spirits. One is the day pitchers and catchers report for spring training. A big one is Opening Day. As is the beginning of the World Series.

In recent years another inspiring date for me has been the day Vin Scully announces that he will return to call Dodgers games for yet another season. This happy event took place during a game against the Cubs in Dodger Stadium Friday night, which I was happy to view on MLB-TV. The news that Scully’s distinguished, long-running career will continue to run is always good news for fans of baseball, the English language, and civil discourse. The soothing Scully has been turning Dodger games into poetry since Harry Truman was president and the Dodgers were in Brooklyn.

But this year’s announcement came with an unwelcome element. Something that even the most devoted Scully fans knew would have to happen someday, but which we would as soon put off for a few more years. Scully, who turns 88 in November, said that if, God willing (the humble Scully always adds this), he makes it through the 2016 season, it will be his last year in the booth. Talk about good news/bad news.

Listen to the red-head as he reflects on a 67-year career, that has been truly remarkable, even if he would never say so: “I would say, realistically — I don’t want any headlines — but next year would be the last one. How much longer can he go on fooling people? Dear God, if you give me next year, I’ll hang it up. I do feel in my bones that will be enough. I’m sure the people will feel that will be enough too.”

I’m not so sure about this last sentence. Vin fans — there are legions of these, and not just in Southern California — are not at all eager to see and hear the last of this remarkable Dodger. Vin says he doesn’t want next year to be a farewell tour. But inevitably it will be. There will be lots of headlines. Vin, born in the Bronx in 1927, is out of the don’t-make-a-fuss generation. Me-me-me had not been invented when Vin came along. But a well-deserved fuss will be made over Vin’s final tour and over his career. He will just have to humor us.

Vin continues: “I saw Mel Allen leave the Yankees, Red Barber leave the Dodgers, Russ Hodges leave the Giants, Harry Caray leave the Cubs, Jack Buck leave the Cardinals. You know what? Not one of these teams missed a game. They kept on playing and the fans kept on going. I know I can be replaced.” He went on to describe himself as “the most ordinary guy you ever met.”

The ordinariness of Vin’s appreciation of his game, his reflexive patriotism, and low-key charm and affability are all parts of his popularity. They’ve added up to a career and a public figure that is anything but ordinary.

And true enough, Vin will be replaced when his broadcasting days are done. At least someone else will be in his seat. Probably a couple of folks because Vin is the last announcer to call games alone. (This is also part of the charm of Vin’s game — he is clearly talking directly to the viewer/listener rather than to the beefy “color guy” in the booth with him.) But whoever takes on this job post-Vin will have shoes to fill that are as big as Dodger Stadium itself.

I try to be non-partisan in my baseball coverage for TAS. But another Vin-related item makes it difficult for me not to urge readers to pull for the Dodgers to be in this year’s World Series. An on-line petition urges Fox Sports, this year’s World Series broadcaster, to include Scully in the World Series broadcasts if the Dodgers are in the mix. The suggestion is that Scully replace Joe Buck. The personable Buck says the idea is fine with him.

“Personally, I’d love it,” Buck said. “We’ve always toyed with the idea of having the hometown guy involved in a World Series broadcast. I’m from that camp. In my dad’s era (Joe is the son of the late Jack Buck), we paid a nod of tribute to the greats. And there’s no one like Vin, or close to Vin. I’d happily step aside to hear his voice (on the World Series).”

Hard to believe, but Vin’s voice has not been heard in the World Series since 1988. (Relive a great play and a great call from that one here.) Indeed it would be a treat to hear it again. What a well-deserved victory lap that would be.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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