Vin Scully

There’s a thread on this sports game forum that I (used) to frequent about longtime Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully.

Plain and simple, one of the guys posted that he hates Scully. Thinks he’s old and overrated. In fact, the poster tried to say that the only reason Scully is a one-man operation -- he’s the only guy in the booth -- is because Scully’s incessant storytelling would “mummify” a color man. (I’m paraphrasing here, of course.)

I love Scully, so I couldn’t disagree more with this poster’s assessment of him. Why? Two reasons:

  1. He’s Vin Scully. Hate him or love him, the man’s undeniably a legend. 62 seasons with the Dodgers; first in Brooklyn, then in Los Angeles.
  2. Scully’s one-man show is proof you don’t need an analyst.

Thanks in large part to networks like ESPN, sports broadcasting these days is mostly one big hype machine. Announcers and the talking heads (no matter whether they’re in the booth or in the studio) seem to have this overwhelming desire to put a positive spin on every single player, no matter how marginal his or her abilities may be.1 In addition, I find the analysis of the game to be too superfluous and bogged down by minutia: there’s way too much emphasis on -- since we’re talking Scully here, in baseball -- a pitcher’s stuff, the location of that last breaking ball, and Sabermetrics2.Worse, many programing execs think it’s splendid to put three jerks broadcasters in the booth. Sadly, this let-us-orgasm-over-you-with-a-million-men mentality is the hot trend in sports television these days, and I don’t see it dying out anytime soon. (It’s about the fans, you know.)

That’s why I find Vin, even at 85 years old, to be so refreshing to listen to.3 Sure, he might wax poetic about the good ol’ days or let you know where Matt Kemp went to preschool, but at least he calls the game while doing so. He doesn’t gush over what a tremendous fastball Clayton Kershaw has or that Kershaw’s a surefire first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He does his job and tried to mitigate the ambient bullshit. Keep in mind: those who cover the games aren’t there to provide entertainment. The, ahem, event is supposed to be entertaining in and of itself. Aside from the constant drooling over players, this is probably the biggest problem in sports coverage today -- these announcers try to be entertainers, when the reality is they’re not and they aren’t supposed to be. They should be objective and Jack Friday-esque insofar that they should report the facts (gameplay), and impart nothing.

To each their own, but to me, it’ll be a sad day when Scully finally retires or kicks the bucket.

  1. This is mainly because everyone is afraid to have an opinion, because a less-than-flattering one could cost them the next scoop or interview.

  2. I have issues with Sabermetrics, but that’s another post.

  3. There’s an oxymoron for you: feeling “refreshed” by an old guy.