The Master at work. . .
MLB network carried the Dodgers-Rockies game Friday night. The winner would claim the National League West title; the loser, the Wild Card slot in the National League playoffs starting next week. The Dodgers won, 5-0, but the outcome really didn't matter to me, simply because I tuned in for Vin.
He's been the Dodgers' play-by-play announcer now for 60 years. SIXTY! Think about that. It's the longest tenure for a single professional sports team in history, and, apart from Tommy Lasorda, has been with the Dodgers organization longer than any other person. How long has he been there? His tenure long pre-dates the Dodger move to California--it was Vinnie, in fact, who was at the microphone when the Dodgers won their only World Series championship in Brooklyn, in 1955.
To hear him on network television anymore is a rare treat. Scully calls only home games and Dodger road games west of the rocky mountains anymore, and since I don't have the MLB package or satellite radio, I hardly get the chance to listen to his broadcast artistry. He's a rarity among baseball announcers: working solo, without a color man. With Scully at the mike, who needs it?
It's Scully's voice that has been part of so many memorable baseball moments. Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game in the World Series. . .Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game. . .Hank Aaron's 715th home run in 1974. . .Bill Bucker's error at first base in 1986. . .Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in 1988.
And now Vin stands alone as the last of his generation. The other Greats--Jack Buck, Ernie Harwell, Jack Brickhouse--are all gone. The 81-year-old Vinnie has said that 2010 will be his last season. If you have the chance to just sit back and listen to the Master at Work, please do so.
He's not a screamer, nor a puker, nor a homer. Throughout his career, Vinnie has realized that often, less is more. I'm hard-pressed to think of a tradmark phrase he's known for. . .if anything it is the slience that he allows to infuse his broadcasts, the rare ability for the man hired to speak to the masses to just be quiet and let the ambience of the moment say it all. He isn't just an announcer--he is an artist, a man who can paint pictures with words. His words have the pacing and deliberateness of a great mystery writer. Listen to him call the ninth inning of the Koufax perfect game, and tell me chills don't run up your spine!
". . .there's 29,000 people in the ballpark, and a million butterflies. . ."
Tyler Kepner, of the New York Times, wrote: "Scully could read an instruction manual and
make it interesting." Indeed. Here's a great profile of Vin from Salon.com.
So, watched the National Rugby League Grand Final yesterday on Spike. Melbourne Storm beat Paramatta Eels 23-16. It was clear that Paramatta was in over its head from the start, and rather amazing, actually, that they only lost by 7 point. After a lackluster first half, the Eels returned in the second half with a vengence, but failed to even the score in the last minutes with an impressive final drive that fell short.
I'm sure my mate Rick is in a good mood this morning--he the Melbourne fan who accompanied me in April to the Storm-Tigers game in Sydney. And his man Bill Slater came through with a crucial try.
Myself, I'll remember the barely contained ferocity of Paramatta's Kiwi-born back with one of the greatest names in professional sports: Fuifui Moimoi. It just rolls off the tongue. I could easily imagine him a defensive back in the NFL. Think of the money he could make in the states!
So the kids were out of school early Friday and we thought we'd take them to a movie. That "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" looked like somethiing they'd want to see, so off we go to the Star Village 8 Theater in Lake Worth. Granted, it's 2:30pm--Matinee times. And these bastards want to charge $9 EACH to see this movie. That's $6.50 PLUS another $2.50 because it's in 3-D. THIRTY SIX BUCKS for a matinee show? They've got to be kidding. We decided it'd be a Blockbuster afternoon. Where do these crooks get off thinking we're unlimited wells of money. It's not enough they can charge $12 for a tub of popcorn and a soda. . but then to charge us $2.50 because of the "specialness" of 3-D. It's all about sticking it to the customer. And we won't go for it.