Scully to play it by ear

Jeff Passan
Yahoo! Sports

LOS ANGELES – The prospect of Vin Scully lending his voice to the bittersweet moment of baseball's most hallowed record falling to an alleged steroid user would create the ultimate dichotomy: grace and eloquence crashing against suspicion and disillusionment.

Some of the game's greatest moments have chosen Scully, 79 and in his 58th year announcing Dodgers baseball, as their voice. He could witness another this week as the Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the San Francisco Giants with Barry Bonds one home run from tying Hank Aaron's record of 755.

"That time is upon us now," Scully told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. "And I can't imagine what it's going to be like. I really don't want to."

Amid the setting of Dodger Stadium, he can only imagine the length of the pause needed to allow Bonds' likely soundtrack – unrelenting booing – to tell a greater story than he ever could.

"I'd like to think I'm the rare announcer who can keep his opinion out of it," Scully said. "That's not my job. I'm here to tell the story of what's happening at that particular moment and putting it into the appropriate context."

Of course, the context, if boiled down as perfectly as Scully did April 8, 1974, would go something like: "Barry Bonds, one of the great talents baseball has ever seen, and the face of steroids for a sport imperiled by them, has just tied the home run record of the incomparable Henry Aaron."

Scully said he will not script the call. It's not his style. Though if Bonds hits No. 755 (and, perhaps, No. 756), Scully is unlikely to gloss over Bonds' alleged transgressions.

"I don't know if now is the right time to put that into context," he said. "I think years down the road history will be its greatest judge."

The closest Scully came to judging Bonds came a year and a half ago when Bonds sat six shy of Babe Ruth's 714.

"I probably would just as soon it not happen against the Dodgers," Scully told Yahoo! Sports colleague Steve Henson. "With Aaron, it was a privilege to be there when he did it. It was just a great moment.

"With Bonds, no matter what happens now, it will be an awkward moment. That's the best word I can think of now. If I had my druthers, I would rather have that awkward moment happen to somebody else."

Fate may have it another way.

"That time is upon us now," Scully said Tuesday. "And I can't imagine what it's going to be like. I really don't want to."

So Scully did what he always does. He arrived at Dodger Stadium about 3 p.m. and milled about the press box that bears his name. He walked down a long hallway to a dais made of baseball bats and hosted a short press conference. He went over his stack of notes to study up on the 24 Giants not named Bonds.

And he readied for the chance to intertwine himself with history once more, uncertain whether to relish or rue the occasion.

"If the moment comes, I'm going to call what I see," he said. "The biggest thing to me will be the reaction of the crowd. That will be telling."

What to Read Next