As a Washington Nationals fan never wishing to miss a start by Jordan Zimmermann, I had two hours of sleep before 10 on May 13th so as to take in Nationals-Dodgers game, on the LA feed with the ageless Vin Scully—a throwback to the golden age, who called his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.
In classic style, Vin, now 85, calls the games solo. Nothing against “color” commentary, but it does tend to over-analyze the play-by-play. A solo announcer comes up with other things to fill the time. Scully is full of stories you ordinarily never hear. Whether this is good or not depends on how you like your broadcasts. But how else would we have learned that….
* In spring training, Nationals center fielder Denard Span was surprised to have a dead fish drop next to him in center field! He looked up, saw an angry osprey circling, and threw the fish over the fence in self-defense.
* Last year, reliever Drew Storen wore 37 hats. (How many hats does an ordinary player wear in the course of the season? Superstitious players probably won’t change a hat when they’re on a good streak.)
* Sal “The Barber” Maglie, the New York Giants’ 1950-55 pitching ace, “whose face was on wanted posters all over Brooklyn,” joined the Dodgers in 1956, pitched a no-hitter in September, and was Don Larsen’s opponent in Larsen’s famous World Series perfect game on October 6th—called by Vin Scully:
Got him! The greatest game ever pitched in baseball history….A no hitter, a perfect game in a World Series….Never in the history of the game has it ever happened in a World Series….And so our hats off to Don Larsen—no runs, no hits, no errors, no walks, no baserunners. The final score: The Yankees, two runs, five hits and no errors. The Dodgers: No runs, no hits, no errors … in fact, nothing at all. This was a day to remember, this was a ballgame to remember and above all, the greatest day in the life of Don Larsen. And the most dramatic and well-pitched ballgame in the history of baseball…. Mel [Allen], you can put this in your ring and wear it a long time.
Vin’s final home game was on 25 September 2016, against the visiting Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers ended up winning on a 10th inning walk-off home run by Charlie Culberson and in doing so clinched the NL West Division title. The final broadcast of his career was the Dodgers’ October 2nd game at AT&T Park against the San Francisco Giants.
For a much finer tribute than this, see Kevin Costner’s Farewell at Dodger Stadium.
See also: “The Summer of 1960.”