This viewer did not tune in to watch Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley retire 20 of 21 Nationals yesterday afternoon. He also did not tune in to watch the Nationals in their 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.
It was hearing the voice of Vin Scully that convinced him to watch the game.
With the Nationals playing in Los Angeles over the weekend, Scully was doing the Dodgers game for Prime Ticket, which was the feed for MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings.
It was beautiful to hear him do the game. He was great as always. His play-by-play was enough to forget the ineptitude by the Nationals on this day.
Scully did a great job illustrating Billingsley’s performance. He talked about how the pitcher was able to get the Nationals out by mentioning his groundouts, which he kept track of. Who needs a color analyst?
The venerable Dodgers play-by-play announcer worked without a color analyst for a long time now. It’s a credit to him that he can mix in some analysis along with play-by-play. That’s hard to do.
Scully does all the talking, but it’s amazing how he can make a point by being concise rather than rambling on. He has the right words in getting his point across.
The best part of his work is he doesn’t have a catchphrase for his signature calls. That’s a relief for folks who may not be interested in that type of stuff. Too many times, announcers tend to come up with a goofy catchphrase to entice a viewer.
Maybe the younger generation embraces the catchphrases, but it doesn’t make an announcer special by doing that. It should earn ridicule. An announcer needs to call a good game and describe the action well. Screaming about a play or being clever about a player does not make an announcer good.
Too many announcers today do that, and it drives this baseball viewer nuts. Thankfully, Scully never learned to do that when he studied broadcasting at Fordham.
Scully’s best work stems from him coming up with anecdotes during a telecast. He likes to tell stories about other players from other teams, which would interest other fans during a game. Here are some of the stories he shared in yesterday’s telecast:
- Jason Marquis likes to collect watches as a hobby
- Mike Morse likes to ask Jayson Werth questions about hitting
- Davey Johnson was a professor in scuba diving.
- Todd Coffey fights through a diet by coming up with recipes in making chicken.
For some, that is meaningless. Most fans like to hear about the score and watch the game rather than hear an announcer talk about random stuff. That’s fine, but when Scully mention those stories, it is his way of connecting players to the fans
This is an example of the hard work Scully puts into his job. He goes to the other team’s locker room and interview the players, so he can mention those stories in the telecast.
It’s unheard of by most announcers, who are lazy nowadays. They spend more time talking about the team they work for rather than talking about the other team. It’s a pet peeve, and that’s not how a game should be televised.
Sadly, announcers like Scully are going on the wayside. The days of Harry Caray, Bob Murphy, Harry Kalas, Jack Buck, Dave Niehaus and Mel Allen are long gone, and they are replaced by either bland announcers or over-the-top announcers.
There are more Hawk Harrelson and John Sterling wannabes on the air, and it gets annoying to hear both overdo their home run calls by screaming.
Scully gets it right by describing what a key hit is like with few simple words.
There has been grassroots campaign about the Dodgers announcer doing the World Series on FOX. There’s a good chance he could retire if his heart is not into the job next year. He is going by year-to-year.
It would be nice if he did the World Series. He would be an upgrade over Joe Buck for one thing. Second of all, it would be a great way to finish an impressive career.
Buck talked about how he is willing to step aside for Scully. It would be something Fox should do. If nothing else, it would increase the network’s sorry World Series ratings, so that should be a motivation for the network and baseball.
There will never be a guy like Scully. It’s hard to do, and most announcers are trained to announce differently.
Here’s hoping Dodgers fans appreciate him while they still have him. They shouldn’t take him for granted, especially when announcers at his age tend to lose it altogether. That shows Scully is still at the top of his game for him to continue to be sharp.
Now’s the time to cherish him.