Vin Scully helped California baseball take root

At the end of the 1957 baseball season, the Brooklyn Dodgers packed their bags for a long-awaited move across the continent.

The hypothetical moving chests housed the Dodgers-scribbled home kit, the squeaky old Flatbush heroes and much of the front office, as well as manager Walter Alston and his up-and-coming young players. (They weren’t sure if young Brooklyn southpaw Sandy Koufax could use her speed.)

The baseball was moving to the Promised Land. The historic New York Giants also moved to San Francisco, taking Willie Mays with them. ( bride or them.)

But nothing and none of today’s covered wagons could have transported and transplanted a baseball game to the Left Coast better than a young man named Vin Scully, recently moved out of the Fordham campus in the Bronx and out of a broadcast booth in Brooklyn.

More than anyone or anything, Vin Scully sent a baseball into the ozone layer, first from the ill-defined Colosseum and then, starting in 1962, from a pastel oasis in a former Mexican camp located in Chavez Gorge.

Scully was a warm voice from a warm climate, instructing the locals in the finer points of major league baseball. (We surly, neglected Dodgers and Giants fans in the east liked to think that Californians didn’t know anything about baseball, despite Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.)

On mild evenings in Chavez Gorge, the common denominator was not the noise of the crowds or loud statements, but the turn-based narration of Scully and his henchmen discussing strategy, as well as the past heroism of the masters. Hodges and Reese and Snyder and Erskine and Furillo, most of them running on dead batteries.

Scully’s sweet voice carried over the stereo waves from new gadgets called “transistor radios” that are easy to carry around the stadium.

He wasn’t your typical baseball homer announcer who tended to say things like, “Let’s get us a few runs this inning!” Vincent Edward Scully who died on Tuesday at the age of 94, never yelled, never got sick, never patronized, never preached – just named the plays and added personal notes about the players. His gentle approach, reminiscent of pulling up a chair, was like a beloved elder explaining the game that was unfolding on the field. In 1958, just 30 years old, Vin Scully was the keeper of the beloved franchise’s history in another world.

“It wasn’t a first baseman, or a manager, or a team — certainly not with win-loss numbers because they had a tough year,” said Peter O’Malley, son of former owner Walter O’Malley. said in the middleJuly Essay by Bill Shakin or The Los Angeles Times on Scully’s direct impact on Los Angeles.

“The team was introduced by Vinnie,” he added. “There was no one who could do it better. When you pause to understand the impact he had then, as well as today, it’s extraordinary.”

One consolation for the heartbroken Brooklyn fans left behind by the Dodgers was that Scully stayed within earshot. He called at World Series games often enough for us to be reminded of what we had lost. Gil Hodges and Duke Snyder came to the Mets as faded icons, but Scully materialized on the air at the height of his game.

Scully had a good teacher in Red Barber, who broadcast the Brooklyn games when Scully was a young (Giants) fan. Barber had his usual Southern patter. (“Tearing a patch of peas,” “two teams eating rhubarb,” “Dodgers” “sitting in the front seat”—we knew exactly what each of them meant.) But behind the playful and charming regionalism, Barber was a complex religious man, who once thought about becoming a teacher.

Once on air, Scully was a bit vague about why the player wasn’t on the lineup; Barber made it clear to him that he had to find out why in access to the manager before the game.

On another occasion, the authors say, Scully drank beer in the press room before a game, which Scully’s experience was a common practice. Barber, not used to alcohol, told Scully that he couldn’t afford to be seen drinking beer because it could be charged against him if he slipped at the microphone.

The authors note that Scully may have suffered from strict discipline, but he always treated Barber as his mentor in his public statements and in letters to “Old Red”.

If Barber was known for his Southern style, Scully became known for his silence. He realized that an important play deserved the roar of the crowd, not the roar of the broadcaster. He would sit at the microphone and let the roar come out.

In 1986, Scully returned to New York, watching the Red Sox slowly climb the steps of the dugout, waiting for the final of the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1918. Instead, Mooky Wilson’s little dribbler slid past first baseman Bill’s aching legs. Buckner, and the World Series was suddenly extended to a seventh game.

“Small roller up ahead… for the bag!” Scully started, but then added, “It’s going through Buckner! Here comes Knight and Mets wins!”

Shea Stadium went crazy when Scully sat at the microphone for a full three minutes. He then added, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, you’ve seen about a million words, but more than that, you’ve seen the absolutely bizarre ending to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Mets are not only alive, they are healthy and will play the Red Sox tomorrow in Game 7.”

Here, for the first time in his magnificent career, Scully missed something. He was quoted as saying that he never thought he would hear the normally neutral New York sportswriters cheering the Mets’ victory. I later wrote in print that we didn’t applaud, we gasped in horror at the fact that we suddenly had to rewrite our stories at midnight to note that the Mets had inexplicably survived to play Game 7 (and win the series, after the rain on sunday).

Scully’s impeccable confidence in acting on screen stood him in good stead two World Series later, when an injured Kirk Gibson hobbled into the Dodgers’ trailing Oakland A’s. He briefly named a game-changing homer but then went silent for 65 seconds when Dodger Stadium exploded, then made one brief comment and went silent again for 29 seconds. He was Vin Scully, and he knew that the fans at home in front of the TV camera could present their eyes and ears, their own emotions.

Major League Baseball has come a long way since Walter O’Malley got away with Our Bums. Baseball has evolved from the eastern half of the United States into a worldwide sport. In Canada, in Latin America, in Japan, all over the world, fans knew the score.

Vin Scully knew his audience. He carried himself with the aura of a self-confident yet reserved star. He knew he was part of the show; he didn’t need to talk.