USA Today has one of the best articles here that I've read about Vin Scully, who is retiring at the end of this season after broadcasting Dodgers baseball games for a stunning 67. Written by sportswriter Bob Nightengale, it's long, detailed, full of good stories and a link to the video of one of Scully's greatest calls, Kirk Gibson's famous game-willing home run. (It's far better in it's subtlety and eloquence than the call by Jack Buck that's often shown. Scully simply says, "She...is...gone!" Then, waits a minute in silence as the home crowd roars maniacally, and finally adds one of his greatest lines: "In a year that has been improbably, the impossible has happened.")
My only quibble with the piece is that although it mentions how Scully called Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965 (against the Chicago Cubs, no less -- when the Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley only gave up one hit himself), it leaves it at that, and omits that Scully's announcing of that entire 8-1/2 minute ninth inning is perhaps the greatest call in the history of baseball, and maybe the greatest in all sportscasting. How remarkable is it? I have a book of great sportswriting for baseball, and it includes a transcript of Scully's call -- without editing -- so remarkable in that it wasn't, of course, written, but entirely extemporaneous, yet it reads like it was crafted by an expert novelist. So, to correct that oversight, here's the full call --
That aside, the article is terrific, as Scully sat down for a two-hour interview, so the piece is more comprehensive than most. It includes, for instance, a wonderful story about Jackie Robinson -- timely, what with the PBS documentary... -- and how Scully once went ice skating with him, even though the ballplayer, who grew up in Southern California, had never been on skates before.
Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, there has been a battle between the team and local cable providers, so fans can only watch Scully's final season if they are able to subscribe to Time-Warner Cable. Happily, I do, so I can see and hear Vinnie. I wished I liked the team more, so that I could appreciate this last year on that level, but with Vin Scully, it's near impossible not to appreciate him at pretty much any level.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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