Dodgers @ Giants Oct. 2, 2016: Vin Scully’s swan song

“It’s time for Dodger baseball.”

This is the last time we’ll hear those words from Vin Scully. This is the end of an era that will not be replicated. Vin Scully is calling his final Dodger game. It’s OK to cry. It’s definitely a sad day, but it should also be a day of celebration and remembering just how great he has been for 67 years.

12:05 p.m.
San Francisco
Pederson 2B Panik
Maeda (R)
Moore (L)

I am not a native of Southern California and have not ever lived there. I haven’t listened to Scully since I can remember because I couldn’t have received his broadcasts since I can remember (I’m not that old). But I am incredibly fortunate and happy I have been able to enjoy his broadcasts for the better part of the last 15 years. That’s when I first got the MLB Extra Innings package on cable. While I didn’t get to see all the games, I got to see most of them. It wasn’t until MLB.TV that I was able to see and hear more of Scully. And between that time, I gladly doled out $15 a year for streaming audio just to hear him and the Dodgers.

There’s a reason why he is concluding his 67th and final season — he is good. He is a legend. He is the goal to which other broadcasters strive. No one can tell a story like Vin. No one can weave it into the game — well, as best as one can tell you that “Uggla” is Swedish for “owl.” He could talk about this dumb game and incorporate stories that don’t even pertain to baseball, and we the viewer were still glued to our TVs. He didn’t just show up at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game and say, “Let’s do this.” Vin was tireless with his preparation, and he had to be to last this long and be this good at a profession.

There are some calls folks will never forget:

  • Sandy Koufax‘s perfect game in 1965
  • Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth‘s all-time home run record
  • 1986 World Series: Bill Buckner (and that’s all I need to say)
  • 1988 World Series: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

This list could go on, almost infinitely.

Recently, one of my favorite calls has been that of Clayton Kershaw‘s no-hitter. Here is the best of his call of that game in about 4 1/2 minutes.

There have been a plethora of memorable calls — and you probably have your own favorites. That’ll happen over the course of 67 years. And while I’m sure Vin has meant more to folks who have grown up with him, I feel quite fortunate to have had the pleasure and privilege of hearing him call games. Others have said and will say this better than I have here.

Today’s broadcasters do not have the skill to carry a call by themselves. They cannot captivate an audience as Vin has all these years. He didn’t need a color commentator to play off of because that’s not the way he did it. That isn’t a knock on today’s broadcasters, but there are very few people who could do what Vin has done (and not for 67 years). Vin was definitely in a class of his own when it came to calling a game.

But he did more than call a baseball game. He made the viewer/listener feel welcome. He had a conversation with the audience and dropped in anecdotes in between pitches and plays. He did it without it being forced or trite or disingenuous. That was Vin’s unmatched skill. It was like watching a game with your grandfather, and I’d like to think Vin is everyone’s honorary grandfather.

He was a breath of fresh air as broadcasters have become more bombastic, gotten louder and cannot hide their inherent bias when calling a game. Yeah, team-specific broadcasters are allowed to be “homers,” but that wasn’t Vin’s style. He played it, most of the time, as down the middle as a team-specific announcer can — and even if he started leaning the Dodgers’ way, it wasn’t nearly as bad as something like, “Grab some pine, meat.”

Not many people who sit behind a microphone can have the impact Vin Scully has for more than half a century.

So thank you, Mr. Scully. Thank you for everything you have done. There will never be another like you.

Oh, and it’d be great if the Dodgers won today.

About Dustin Nosler

Avatar photo
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.