I don’t think anyone has written about Vin Scully at The American Culture. Who is Vin Scully, you ask? What, have you been under a rock lo these last 60 plus years? Or maybe you pay no attention whatsoever to sports. But Vin Scully is the Hall of Fame play by play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has been calling games for 62 years and announced last week he’ll be coming back for number 63. Dodger fans have not had much to cheer about of late, with their team bankrupt and their owner universally hated; another year of Vin is one bright spot.
Being a third generation Dodger fan I was weaned on Vinny. My grandfather and father were born in Brooklyn, and as you may know the Dodgers franchise originated in Brooklyn. Ten years before the Dodgers moved to LA in the late 1950s, my dad’s family moved there. Brooklyn’s loss was LA’s gain, and with the Dodgers came their then young announcer. Over these six plus decades Vin Scully has become a southern California Institution. Those of us who follow the Dodgers find it inconceivable that there would be Dodgers with no Vinny.
Vin is old school, which is a very good thing. Given his age he only calls home games now and some select closer to home away games. Unlike many of today’s franchise announcers, Vin doesn’t call games as a fan; he calls games as a professional, describes, tells stories it seems about every player, paints pictures, quotes philosophers and Shakespeare, all the while keeping the listener abreast of every detail of the game. He also calls games alone, something you never see today. Of course, any other announcer in the same booth would just get in the way.
He is quite simply a genius, and recognized by such in the fraternity of announcers. I always knew how great he was, and how much that God given voice was a work of art, but didn’t really appreciate how much so until I spent a good deal of my adult life outside of LA. Listening to some other announcers call their home team’s games sometimes makes me cringe; just can’t get used to the announcers cheering for the “good guys,” as one especially cringe worthy Chicago White Sox announcer puts it.
So you would think with all this history Vinny’s job would be secure. Well, it is, but in another stupid move by the Dodger owner Frank McCourt and management, they sent out a survey last week to Dodger season ticket holders asking their opinion of Vin Scully. Really. And for the first time in my life I’m on the same side as Keith Olbermann:
Scully’s announcement came on the week that Times columnist T.J. Simers reported that the Dodgers asked their season-ticket holders to evaluate the Hall of Fame broadcaster.
The ensuing uproar resulted in Current TV political analyst Keith Olbermann showcasing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on his “Worst Person in the World” segment.
I just love that! McCourt may not really be the worst person in the world, but he’s certainly the worst owner in baseball, universally despised for what he’s done to one of the game’s most storied franchises. Hopefully Vin Scully will still be calling Dodger games when Frank McCourt is long gone.