Who remembers 1950? I don’t. That was some year in some history book that didn’t feature a war, or economic collapse. It was a year before a young centre fielder named Willie Mays would take up residence in centre field for the New York Giants. It was the heart of the Yankees domination of the game, led by Dimaggio, up in the Bronx.
Except down south of Yankee Stadium, in Ebbett’s Field, 1950 was the year the Dodgers hired a kid named Scully to be the third man in the booth of their radio and TV play-by-play team, joining Red Barber and Connie Desmond.
67 years later, Vin Scully turned out to be the greatest baseball play-by-play announcer ever. There’s not even any debate about it.
Scully was a rare bird – a broadcaster, often a solo act, who made the game the story, not him.
There’s loads more we could say about him, and baseball, but Scully was always a baseball man. He kept it simple. When he switched to TV, he let the image tell the story. He came prepared. He respected the rhythms of a game that might be ill-suited to the 21st century, but still can pack an October wallop, as anyone who watched the Kansas City Royals the past two postseasons can attest.
Scully is pretty old – pushing 90 – and has said that 2016 will be his final season.
He has also said that he won’t announce any postseason games, that the Dodgers 2016 regular season finale, Oct 2, will be his final on-air broadcast.
He was on Dan Patrick’s radio show the other day, talking about his emotions, how he feared he might not hold up under the stress, on air, demonstrating that beautiful restraint he has made his trademark for the past seven decades.
Everyone seems willing to let him go out on his terms – which I completely disagree with.
Not only should Scully be calling Dodger games in October, should they make a postseason run – could there be anything more absurd than a Dodger run with Scully sitting home in the Pacific Palisades, sipping a cool drink? – but even if the Dodgers should fall short, Scully should be calling at least a portion of the World Series on FOX.
I know – Joe Buck calls the World Series. And Joe Buck does a pretty decent job of it, too.
But Joe Buck’s dad Jack was a contemporary of Scully’s. No one knows the role Scully played in the growth of the play-by-play man over the decades better than Joe.
That’s why I want Fox, and Buck, to set aside three innings of a World Series game for Scully to do the play-by-play.
Imagine that. Once through the lineup. One final October victory lap. One final World Series.
The only real potential problem is that Scully calling nine outs might be such a big deal that he overshadows the two teams playing the game – something he went out of his way not to do for 67 years.
I can respect that sentiment, even though I also reject it. We – all of us baseball fans – need an appropriate platform with which to say so long to Vin, and the World Series on FOX is precisely that.
If Scully should happen to lose control of his emotions, I happen to be quite confident that the tens of millions of baseball fans who ever tuned in to hear him call a game since right around the end of the Second World War will be happy to weep along with the old redhead one final time.
Then Vin can retire to the veranda. America can elect a new President. The Vikings can get busy winning the 2017 Super Bowl ( a guy can always wish!) And respect will have been properly paid to the Hemingway of the play-by-play racket, by his heir apparent, in front of the (baseball) world, on its most visible stage.
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