"And a pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be..."
I am a fan of the San Francisco Giants, simply put. I admire the orange and black and everything the Giants stand for, including the great broadcasters. The likes of Jon Miller, Lon Simmons, Duane Kuiper, Dave Fleming, and Mike Krukow are what really made me passionate about the game of baseball. They painted a picture better than any television screen could show me and taught me what I know about the sport. Although I rank these fine broadcasters very high on my list of favorites, I consider Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully as the greatest broadcaster of all time.
One of the things I like to do is use my MLB.com account on my PlayStation 3 just to hear Vin Scully call Giants games. Each game I hear, I just have more of an appreciation for what he does. You don't say this about every sportscaster, but Vin Scully tells baseball fans something new and interesting each broadcast.
Vin Scully should be lauded for more than his longevity or for the fact he calls games by himself. He has been the voice of the Dodgers for over 60 years, dating back to their Brooklyn days, and tells you the story of baseball like no other. How he fills in the gaps between pitches as both play-by-play man and analyst is remarkable.
As a student at UCLA, I had the pleasure of watching many Dodgers games that Vin Scully announced. When the Giants would play the Dodgers, I would be excited to hear how he described the game of baseball. I learned more about the Giants from him than I did from Jon Miller or Mike Krukow, and I learned a great deal from them.
For example, I learned so much background about individual Giants players from him. Take Aubrey Huff for instance. When Huff came to bat at Dodger Stadium during a Giants/Dodgers game, Scully filled the time with an anecdote about Aubrey Huff. He explained how after Huff went to a Texas Rangers game with his mom, Huff told her he wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up. In response, Mrs. Huff bought him a batting cage, and it sure paid off with a 2010 championship ring on Huff's fingers. Another story about Huff that Scully told was how when he was in an art class, he was asked to paint a picture for a project. What picture did he chose? None other than Barry Bonds at Pacific Bell Park.
Scully does an excellent job painting these pictures with many other opposing players. His unbiased commentary during Dodger broadcasts is a rare breed, and he is an example every young broadcaster should follow.
Many sports broadcasters today, especially national, are headline readers (just listen to the national announcers during the play-offs). Scully does more than just read headlines. He puts in time and effort researching players, the game, and match-ups. He is a scholar of baseball, and it shows up in his work. If anybody has an opportunity to watch a game Scully broadcasts when the Dodgers play your favorite baseball team, I encourage you to do so. This can be done easily if you will be in Los Angeles this summer or if you have an MLB.com pass. You will feel like he is your home broadcaster with his immense knowledge of teams other than the Dodgers.
If Vin Scully teaches you anything, it should be that the real work does not come from doing the actual broadcast. It comes from all the preparation that goes into the broadcast before it happens - the research, looking up stats, preparing what to say, reading the press guide, etc. Same goes to anybody who wants to work in the media. The real work is not what you see on television, but it comes from those who work 9-5 Monday through Friday to make the broadcast happen. This I learned from the office workers I had the pleasure of meeting while I was interning at Fox Sports.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to hear Vin Scully on a regular basis now that I moved back to the Bay Area, but I will always have MLB.com to hear him call baseball games, through 2011 at least. To baseball fans' delight, he will be saying " It's time for Dodger Baseball" for at least one more year. Vin Scully retiring will be a sad day in baseball when it happens.
For more on Vin Scully and to hear some Vin Scully quotes and audio calls, click here. For Giants fans, click here for his call from Will Clark's NLCS single to win a game and his prime 9 moments from MLB Network. Also, if you have it, go on your MLB.com pass and listen to Vin Scully when he called Aubrey Huff's home run on Sept. 16, 2010. As a Giants fan, it is just a great call, especially when he says "she is gone" like he did on Gibson's 1988 World Series home run.
Photo Attribution: Craigfnp at en.wikipedia