COMMENTARY | It's quite rare that you can make a claim that bold without any hesitation of being wrong.
However, in the case of Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully, people love the guy like they love their grandfather who regales them with wonderful story after wonderful story.
There are far more than five reasons why Vin Scully is as beloved a baseball figure as there has ever been and ever will be, but for the purposes of not writing a dissertation, I'll stick to five.
Of all of Vin's tremendous and imitation-worthy qualities, perhaps the best and most appreciated is his ability to call a game as a neutral observer. When you take in a Dodgers game that Vin announces, you get what every fan should hope for: a neutral call of the game without bias and the homer-ism that runs rampant throughout professional sports announcing.
There's nothing wrong with an announcer pulling for the team that pays him, but fans know when that crosses the line into something that you can't listen to or watch. With Scully, you never find yourself feeling that way.
That ability to call a game down the middle is rare and stems from the advice of Red Barber, Vin's mentor and the one-time voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The practice of being fair to both teams and players not wearing Dodger Blue has served Vin well over his decades and decades of baseball service.
An Even Keel
Exciting plays -- regardless of which team makes them -- are met with the same excited calls from Scully. Mundane plays are met with a normal reaction. Scully isn't a Hawk Harrelson or, to move to another sport, Jack Edwards type of announcer who tries to sell to you that something is spectacular or worthy or losing one's mind.
Each baseball game Vin calls is a story he's telling you and when justified, he gets excited, but it's a professional excitement. Very few announcers could have called Kirk Gibson's legendary home run in such a joyous yet tempered way.
Scully is also more than happy to not say a word and let the crowd tell the story and have its say, a seemingly lost art in today's show-me generation of announcers.
Every Dodgers game called by Vin is like story time for the millions of fans watching at home or listening on the radio. When Vin is shown between innings making an historical connection or just telling us the day's happenings around the league, it's like we're all back in kindergarten, sitting around our teacher as he or she opens up a book to excite us with a tall tale.
Fans yearn for Scully's take on the game so much so that plenty who go to Dodger Stadium to take in a game do so with headphones on so they can watch in person while listening to Vin's play-by-play.
Scully Has Seemingly Seen It All
When you've been in the booth since 1950 and on planet Earth since 1927 -- and have had the pleasure of seeing one of the most storied franchises in the history of all sports play in two legendary locations (Brooklyn and Los Angeles) -- you have a ridiculously large vault of baseball memories to draw upon.
What makes Vinny truly great is that even for those moments you know he wasn't around to see, he can make it seem like he was front and center, calling every Babe Ruth game and Mike "King" Kelly at-bat.
Scully is one of the most humble legends you'll come across in any realm of life. He has nothing but praise heaped upon him and just about every Dodgers fan would give a limb to meet the man, yet he remains grounded and respectful of the success he's earned.
One of many examples is the recent standing ovation he received on his bobblehead night at Chavez Ravine. Check out the video to see how the moment was received by Vin as the crowd pays homage to one of the greatest Dodgers of all time.
Vin Scully is a legend among men, and when he's gone, Dodgers baseball and the sport as a whole will never be the same.
Greg Zakwin is the founder of Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle, a Dodgers' and sports card blog. He writes with an analytical tilt about The Blue Crew at ChadMoriyama.com. You can find and follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke. A graduate of UCLA in 2011 with a Bachelor's in History, he's been a follower of the Dodgers since birth and still mourns the loss of both Mike Piazza and Carlos Santana.
- Sports & Recreation
- Vin Scully