I say my oldest friend, yet we never met; that’s how good Vin Scully is as a play-by-play announcer.
When I was a boy, I listened to him on the radio when I went to bed, when I was playing in the yard or walking around the neighborhood on a warm summer evening; his voice was everywhere in those days. He would be played on loudspeakers in the stores, every dad had him on the transistor radio in their garage, every mom had him on the radio in their kitchens; you could literally walk all over the place and never miss a play because every house had a radio on and a window open…
Yet what makes Vin special isn’t that everyone in my home town listened to him, it is the way he described the game, for unlike other announces, Vin paints pictures with words, he tells stories that mesh with the game as it moves forward in a way that is pure genius, and all the while he is speaking as though talking to you personally as a close friend.
Several years ago, I began subscribing to MLB.TV so I could hear Vin Scully again after being so long away from the Los Angeles area; my wife thought that was odd to say the least. Having grown up in the Midwest, she really hadn’t become familiar with him, even though he did national broadcasting in the late 70’s and 80’s, but she too was hooked in an hour or two of listening to him; everything is good when Vin is there.
What’s even more amazing about Vin is that he approaches his job as though he’s no big deal, just a red-headed kid from New York who is doing the thing he loves, a guy who doesn’t really know what all the fuss is about. That might just be his most endearing characteristic in an age when everyone wants to be a big shot.
Oh yes, I’m going to miss Vin Scully!
If you have a minute to spare, here’s a fantastic tribute that you will enjoy, even if you’ve never heard of my oldest friend.