‘Voice of Sum­mer’ Scully pre­pares to hang up mic a er 67 years

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AF­TER nearly 10,000 base­ball com­men­taries, 25 World Se­ries, 18 no-hit­ters and three per­fect games, Vin Scully is fi­nally hang­ing up the mi­cro­phone. For 67 years, the 88-year-old broad­caster known af­fec­tion­ately as the “Voice of Sum­mer” has cap­ti­vated gen­er­a­tions of fans as the play-by-play an­nouncer for the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, a job that be­gan when the iconic fran­chise was based on the op­po­site side of the coun­try in Brook­lyn.

Scully’s dis­tinc­tive, dul­cet tim­bre and pitch-per­fect de­scrip­tions have ac­com­pa­nied so many iconic mo­ments that at­tempt­ing to list them is some­thing of a fool’s er­rand.

Whether it was Don Larsen’s per­fect game for the New York Yan­kees in the 1956 World Se­ries or Hank Aaron’s record-break­ing 715th home run to sur­pass Babe Ruth in 1974, Scully’s evoca­tive voice was there.

But within a few weeks, one of the most cel­e­brated ca­reers in base­ball will be over.

On Septem­ber 25, Scully will call his fi­nal home game from his perch in the press box at Dodger Sta­dium, where he has been ever-present since the team moved into the venue in 1962.

On Oc­to­ber 2, he will take to the broad­cast booth for the last time when he calls an in­ning of the Dodgers’ road game against the San Fran­cisco Giants, the last game of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

For Scully, there is a beau­ti­ful sym­me­try to the date of his fi­nal game, a sym­bolic book­end to the mo­ment 80 years ago that he fell in love with base­ball as an eight-yearold boy, walk­ing home from school in New York.

“I was not quite nine years old. I went by a Chi­nese laun­dry and in the win­dow was the line score of the World Se­ries game, that would be Oc­to­ber 2, 1936, and the Yan­kees beat up the Giants 18-4,” he told re­porters this week.

“As a lit­tle boy, my first re­ac­tion was, ‘Oh, the poor Giants.’ So that’s when I fell in love with base­ball and be­came a true fan. My last game with the Giants will be Oc­to­ber 2, 2016. That will be ex­actly 80 years to the minute from when I first fell in love with the game.”

Scully’s love af­fair with ra­dio as a medium be­gan at the same age.

“When I was very small, about eight years old, the only thing we had was ra­dio. And the only sports on ra­dio would be col­lege foot­ball, ba­si­cally, with an oc­ca­sional Joe Louis heavy­weight cham­pi­onship fight, some­thing like that,” he said.

“My par­ents had this big old four­legged ra­dio with a cross piece un­der­neath it. And I would get a pil­low and maybe a glass of milk and some crack­ers or what­ever, and I would crawl un­der­neath the ra­dio on a Satur­day, put the pil­low on the cross­bar, put my head on the pil­low, and I was di­rectly un­der­neath the speaker.”

Those child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences have in­formed the way Scully ap­proaches broad­cast­ing.

“When I got into broad­cast­ing, I was again cap­ti­vated by the roar of the crowd. So what I’ve tried to do ever since the be­gin­ning was to call the play as ac­cu­rately and quickly as pos­si­ble, then sit back and revel in the roar of the crowd. And for that brief few sec­onds, I was eight years old again,” he said.

Un­fail­ingly mod­est, Scully is quick to put his ca­reer as a wit­ness to base­ball his­tory in its proper con­text.

“I’ve done some 20-some­thing no­hit­ters, X num­ber of per­fect games and X World Se­ries games,” he says. “God has been in­cred­i­bly kind to al­low me to be in the po­si­tion to watch and to broad­cast all of these some­what mon­u­men­tal events. But none of those are my ac­com­plish­ments; I just hap­pened to be there.”

Scully’s mod­esty is re­flected in his de­sire to avoid a pro­tracted farewell. The un­cer­tainty of the post­sea­son left him anx­ious to avoid a “good­bye like they do in grand opera, where they say good­bye 25 times in 15 min­utes”.

“We’ll tie the rib­bon on the pack­age in San Fran­cisco, and that will be that,” he said.

While Scully ad­mits he will miss broad­cast­ing when he heads into re­tire­ment, he takes com­fort from the role he has played in the lives of count­less lis­ten­ers over the decades.

“Peo­ple will say to me, ‘You know, when I hear your voice, I think of back­yard bar­be­cues with my mom and dad. Or paint­ing the garage with my fa­ther and your ra­dio on lis­ten­ing to the ball­game.’

“It’s nice to be a bridge. It re­ally is from one gen­er­a­tion to an­other. I keep say­ing it be­cause I mean it so much. God has been so good to me to al­low me to do what I’m do­ing at a very young age, a child­hood dream that came to pass. Then giv­ing me 67 years to en­joy ev­ery minute of it, that’s a pretty large Thanks­giv­ing Day for me. So, yeah, I’ve loved it.” –

Photo: EPA

Long-time Los An­ge­les Dodgers an­nouncer Vin Scully looks through the door of the green mon­ster prior to the game at Fen­way Park in Bos­ton, Mas­sachusetts, on June 11, 2004.

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