“It’s a perfect beginning to the end of the day.”
— Vin Scully, remarking on the weather prior to last Wednesday’s Dodger game
When I was about eight years old I hid under my blankets past my bedtime. I did this because it was the only way I could listen to Jon Miller call baseball games. I had a little Walkman radio that picked up WTOP out of Washington DC, and if I turned its only knob just barely past the “off” position, I could put it to my ear and be at Memorial Stadium in North Baltimore and my parents wouldn’t be the wiser. Until now, I guess. Sorry, Mom and Dad! I spent many nights with Jon Miller and, in that way, I learned about baseball and fell in love with the game, the team, and the voice in equal measure. Years later, Peter Angelos bought the team and soon after fired Miller and, in doing so, ended my time as an Orioles fan. The point is, announcers matter. They are the adhesive that binds fandom to a team. And there is no better illustration of this fact than Vin Scully.
Scully began calling Dodger games in 1950 while the franchise was still in Brooklyn. That Dodger team contained a pitcher named Rex Barney. Barney would go on to become the PA announcer for the Orioles games that eight-year-old me listened to on the radio under his bedsheets. Ain’t life something? Sadly, Barney died almost two decades ago, his voice the last to grace the loud speakers at old Memorial Stadium and the first at Camden Yards. Through it all, Scully has called Dodger games. I’ve heard Vin Scully referred to as an institution, but Scully is more than an institution. Brookings is an institution, but nobody cares whether it’ll be around next baseball season or not. Scully is beloved in a way an institution is not. He makes baseball better, which, when you think about it, is no easy feat.
Scully was in the booth last Wednesday as Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game against the Giants in Los Angeles. He gave up six hits, one run, one walk, and struck out 15. It wasn’t even Kershaw’s best outing which is what makes it so amazing because for many pitchers it would easily be their best outing. If there’s anything that can enhance a Clayton Kershaw start, it’s Vin Scully. Here are his calls of each of Kershaw’s strikeouts.
Let’s listen together!*
*Note: to hear audio, place mouse on lower left-hand corner of each video and click speaker icon.
Strikeout One: Angel Pagan, 1st Inning, Slider
“Clayton ready and the strike one [sic] pitch on the way… check swing… they look… and swing. And Pagan tries to hold up and strikes out.”
Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about listening is the certain sounds a person makes around a specific word. Scully has a way of saying the word “two” that is just wonderful. He draws out the “oo” part in a way so delicious to the ear that we don’t want the word to end.
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