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Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Vin Scully, iconic former Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, dies at age 94

Vin Scully, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, died Tuesday at age 94, the team announced.
...
Scully served as the Dodgers’ broadcaster for 67 years, including an eight-year stretch in Brooklyn before the franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1958. His stint with the Dodgers was the longest time spent by a sports broadcaster with any one team.

The greatest voice in the history of American sports has left us.

Hombre Brotani Posted: August 02, 2022 at 11:44 PM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: vin scully

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   1. Anonymous Observer Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:05 AM (#6089765)
This is a gut punch.
   2. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:09 AM (#6089766)
Grew up in SoCal but not a Dodgers fan, but Scully was an indelible part of the MLB scene for anyone who grew up here. The guy was a true icon of media who was from a different time but still belonged in this or any time. RIP.
   3. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:12 AM (#6089767)
The chief reason I started getting MLB Extra Innings so many years ago. Where do you think my silly BTF handle came from? Adore Uecker, but nobody tops Scully.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:18 AM (#6089768)
That's tough to see. RIP to the greatest.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:22 AM (#6089769)
RIP Vin. A life well lived.
   6. Meatwad Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:25 AM (#6089770)
Rip to one of the best ever at his job. Vin was just amazing.
   7. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:29 AM (#6089771)
We've lost a man whose career in baseball overlapped Connie Mack, who was born during the Lincoln Administration. Almost all of organized baseball history in two steps.

There are still a few men living who played against Cornelius when they were young, but with Scully it was different, because he was still broadcasting baseball games to us a couple years ago. It made him feel younger than he was; he made us all feel younger than we are.
   8. Hombre Brotani Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:34 AM (#6089773)
I learned English listening to Vin Scully. I was five years old when I came to America in the summer of 1977, and my father thought that the best way for me to learn English fast was to listen to it constantly. He would tune the radio to KABC news radio, and I was supposed to listen to that every night. What he didn't know was that KABC was also the radio home of the Dodgers. Nearly every night that first summer, I would go to bed listening to Vin call the game, his sing-song call lulling me to sleep. I copied his rhythm, I copied his cadence, I copied the way he'd draw words out. The voice in my head when I'm thinking to myself? That is -- I'm not kidding -- his voice.

I don't really know how to adequately express my sadness tonight, but it is some comfort to know that I don't have to. Everyone who grew up with baseball grew up with Vin as their baseball father (or grandfather, or uncle) shares the same grief I feel. For tonight, I'm five again, the game is on, and it's Vin again, welcoming me to join him for another ballgame.
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:40 AM (#6089775)
RIP. Losing Bill Russell and Vin Scully within a few days of each other is a huge loss for the sporting world.

Hombre, thank you for sharing. And it’s a good thing you didn’t learn English listening to Howard Cosell.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:59 AM (#6089777)
It’s rare that back-to-back posts bring a tear to your eye and an audible chuckle. So, a tip of the cap to Hombre, Dave, and of course the man who inspired them to write. Truly the best.
   11. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 03, 2022 at 04:17 AM (#6089780)
Hombre, thank you for sharing.


Seconded. That's a wonderful story, and a great tribute to Vin.

The only baseball game I have on my iPod is Scully's call of the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax's perfect game.
   12. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 04:43 AM (#6089783)
I grew up in Southern California as an Angel fan, but I watched at least as many Dodger games as I did Angel games, and I could not get enough of Scully. My first baseball memory is going to Angel Stadium and hearing the crowd chant "Reggie! Reggie!" when Reggie Jackson came to the plate near the end of his career. But my second is of being allowed to stay up and watch game 1 of the 1988 World Series when I was six years old. I will never forget that call.

But of course, it's all the other games that contributed equally to his greatness. Listening to Vin tell a story about great bunters while Brett Butler beat one out in the 4th inning of a random May game against the Braves was maybe not quite as indelible, but was just as important to his legacy in my mind.

What a great man.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: August 03, 2022 at 05:54 AM (#6089784)
Vin Scully and Roger Angell both gone in a matter of weeks. 2022, you’re a cold-hearted bastard.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2022 at 07:32 AM (#6089785)
That's just a beautiful story Hombre. You should share that with a publication/site with a larger audience than BTF.
   15. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 03, 2022 at 08:11 AM (#6089787)
How does the most highly regarded sports announcer of all time, not just among baseball fans but within his industry, leave behind so few imitators? Vin was the slam-dunk model for how a game should be called from *both* the TV and radio booths; instead, we have been saddled with a bevy of juiced-up performers screeching sh1t like "Santa Maria!!!" whenever the home team manages to put runners in scoring position.

RIP Vin.
   16. Colonel Samuel B. Sternwheeler Posted: August 03, 2022 at 08:21 AM (#6089789)
As great a storyteller he was, both literate and witty, he was a master of using silence to tell the story.
   17. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 08:38 AM (#6089792)
The only baseball game I have on my iPod is Scully's call of the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax's perfect game.

"twooo and twooo to Harvey Kueeeeen"
   18. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: August 03, 2022 at 08:56 AM (#6089796)
Hombre that's a wonderful story. My father learned english from the Three Stooges. You chose better.

The thing about Vin is that not only was he magnificent as a broadcaster but he is like Will Rogers or Dick Clark in that no one ever seemed to have a bad thing to say about him. He seems to have been a genuinely decent person which is all too rare among the truly elite at their profession. RIP Vin.
   19. asinwreck Posted: August 03, 2022 at 09:19 AM (#6089799)
The single best thing about MLBNetwork is it allowed national audiences to see what Vin was like calling a local game as the only voice in the booth. Just a relaxed, friendly, andthoughtful conversation with a friend for 3+ hours.

Regarding imitators, I think quite a lot of announcers have their impressions of him down. (Jon Miller did his in Japanese.) Harry Shearer had a good one 30 or so years ago.
   20. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 09:35 AM (#6089802)
That's just a beautiful story Hombre. You should share that with a publication/site with a larger audience than BTF.

Should you choose to, Hombre, Dr. Mrs. PRD is a "known" person in the sphere of ESL/EFL teachers (and is currently in her last week of a 3-week State Department-sponsored exchange in Pakistan where she is leading week-long training sessions for 3 large groups of novice teachers around the country) and I'm sure she would be delighted to direct you to people who could best publicize your story among that audience.

And another RIP to the best ever. Not really a Dodgers fan but a baseball fan, and it's a huge loss for the sport. Too early to suggest he just couldn't bear the thought of seeing Joey Gallo in Dodger Blue?
   21. Gary Truth Serum Posted: August 03, 2022 at 10:34 AM (#6089815)

Regarding imitators, I think quite a lot of announcers have their impressions of him down. (Jon Miller did his in Japanese.) Harry Shearer had a good one 30 or so years ago.

I don't think he was saying that Vin didn't have people who did impressions of him. I think he was saying that there were not many later announcers that used his style as a pattern to call their own games.
   22. Perry Posted: August 03, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6089816)
How does the most highly regarded sports announcer of all time, not just among baseball fans but within his industry, leave behind so few imitators?


Not that he's done much baseball in the last few decades, but I always thought Al Michaels must have been heavily influenced by Vin. He's the closest of anyone I can think of in terms of style. And he was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and moved to LA the same year the Dodgers did, so the influence would be natural.
   23. asinwreck Posted: August 03, 2022 at 11:43 AM (#6089835)
On Vin as a model, the solo model isn't something team outlets like anymore, so that is unique. The deceptively conversational yet immaculately prepared effort to treat the listener like a friend does have its adherents. Jason Benetti is no slavish imitator of Scully, but I sense he has Scully in mind as he prepares. Joe Davis, too, among the young ones.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:17 PM (#6089838)
RIP, by far the best voice/storyteller baseball has ever had.

It’s rare that back-to-back posts bring a tear to your eye and an audible chuckle. So, a tip of the cap to Hombre, Dave, and of course the man who inspired them to write. Truly the best.


Agreed. I had the same reaction when reading them.

That's just a beautiful story Hombre. You should share that with a publication/site with a larger audience than BTF.


Also agree with this.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:22 PM (#6089839)
On Vin as a model, the solo model isn't something team outlets like anymore, so that is unique. The deceptively conversational yet immaculately prepared effort to treat the listener like a friend does have its adherents. Jason Benetti is no slavish imitator of Scully, but I sense he has Scully in mind as he prepares. Joe Davis, too, among the young ones.


That is an advantage that Scully does have, which he earned, is the one announcer to control the flow of the storytelling and know where he's going with it. In a two or three man booth, they have to feed each other openings so that there is no "ego" in play/accusations and I've heard too many broadcasts where the one announcer tries to hand off or set up a story, and the other announcer completely whiffs on it or goes to an unforeseen tangent that takes longer/shorter than the intended setup. There is something good about having a color man/analyst pairing, but there is also more room for noticeable failures and issues of timing.
   26. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:24 PM (#6089840)
Never heard him announce.
   27. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:25 PM (#6089841)
The thing about Vin is that not only was he magnificent as a broadcaster but he is like Will Rogers or Dick Clark in that no one ever seemed to have a bad thing to say about him


I read this as “Will Clark” at first and thought it was a really odd choice for an example
   28. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:26 PM (#6089842)
(Yes, that was a joke. I don't know how any non-deaf baseball fan could make that claim.)
   29. DL from MN Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6089846)
How does the most highly regarded sports announcer of all time, not just among baseball fans but within his industry, leave behind so few imitators?


What Scully could do was not easy. Who else has collected 75 years of baseball stories, is gifted at telling them?
   30. Shredder Posted: August 03, 2022 at 12:59 PM (#6089848)
As you get to my age, you start losing people people who were a big part of your childhood. I’m anything but a Dodgers fan, but it used to be the case that not every single game was televised (unless you were a Braves or Cubs fan) and as a sports nut, I watched every game I could. In LA, that meant a heavy dose of Vin Scully. I didn’t like the Dodgers, but you couldn’t not like Vin Scully.

Two non game memories: in 2008, I flew back to LA to take my dad to see LA Times columnist TJ Simers moderate a discussion with Scully and John Wooden. Just a great night with two legends. Probably one of the best nights I every spent with my dad. A few years earlier there was a televised round table with Scully, Chick Hearn, and LA Kings broadcaster Bob Miller, all hall of famers. I was very lucky to grow up at a time when they were all in their prime.

I’ll take Scully’s call of Gibson’s home run over Jack Buck’s any day of the week. RIP, Vin
How does the most highly regarded sports announcer of all time, not just among baseball fans but within his industry, leave behind so few imitators?
Aside from when he was doing network stuff, he didn't really work with a color guy, which gave him time to weave those great yarns. Don't really see that anymore.

It's weird how the industry has changed, but when some guys hang around a long time, it takes their listeners a while to realize it. When Bob Miller retired a few years ago, there was a lot of criticism of his replacement, Alex Faust, who's actually pretty good. The thing is, he calls hockey on TV like it's being broadcast on TV. Miller came up in the days of the simulcast (Chick Hearn, too), and he called a hockey game like it was on radio, even when he was doing it on TV. You can take any seconds off when doing hockey on radio.
He would tune the radio to KABC news radio, and I was supposed to listen to that every night.
This is a great story, but it would have been even better if you'd said you learned how to speak English listening to Jim Healy.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 01:11 PM (#6089851)

What Scully could do was not easy. Who else has collected 75 years of baseball stories, is gifted at telling them?


And doesn't fall into the trap of "things were better back in the day." Vin seemed to always find baseball as an amazing gift, no matter the era.
   32. TJ Posted: August 03, 2022 at 01:16 PM (#6089852)
Growing up in the Detroit area, I had the great pleasure of hearing Ernie Harwell call games for my beloved Detroit Tigers. I devoutly believed Ernie was the best. Even as a young kid I had heard about Vin Scully, but thought that was just another examples of the coasts pumping up one of their own at the expense of the Midwest, sort of the same view I have of Bruce Springsteen vs Bob Seger today. (Yes, I will die on that particular hill.) I believed that no one could be better than Ernie Harwell.

Then I heard Vin Scully call a game.

The beauty of baseball is its rich tapestry of history. No one was better at weaving that tapestry of the past into the game they were calling than Vin Scully. He celebrated what makes baseball magical and embraced his listeners with the way he showed his shared love of the game. You didn’t listen to Vin call a game- you shared his joy of being a part of the game of baseball. After that first Vin Scully game I heard as a kid, I always made it a point to never miss any of his broadcasts. Vin Scully will always be the GOAT to me…

   33. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2022 at 02:11 PM (#6089865)
And doesn't fall into the trap of "things were better back in the day."


That is one of those things that makes me hate someone as an announcer. You can talk about the difference in the changes of the game without badmouthing the game. And mention it once and move on. I've had announcers mention it, return from commercial break and continue and it's ridiculous. You are to be selling the game and maintaining viewers/listeners, any talk about comparing eras is going to offend someone.
   34. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 03, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6089871)
And doesn't fall into the trap of "things were better back in the day." Vin seemed to always find baseball as an amazing gift, no matter the era.

I suppose that confirms that Vin didn't post here.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6089875)
As a Mets fan, I periodically go back and watch Scully’s call of the 1986 World Series Game 6. I always love that after calling the play, he’s just silent for what seems like forever, letting the scene and the crowd noise tell its own story. Can’t really imagine any announcer doing that today.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: August 03, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6089878)
Joe Buck has parroted the "shut up and listen" mode of Scully's after some historic plays.
   37. The Duke Posted: August 03, 2022 at 03:56 PM (#6089879)
Buck does it all the time. It doesn't seem like it should be so hard to learn
   38. . Posted: August 03, 2022 at 04:07 PM (#6089881)
As a Mets fan, I periodically go back and watch Scully’s call of the 1986 World Series Game 6. I always love that after calling the play, he’s just silent for what seems like forever, letting the scene and the crowd noise tell its own story. Can’t really imagine any announcer doing that today.


The amazing thing about those games -- and they are indeed off-the-charts tremendous -- is that I don't think there was a single mention of the so-called "curse of the Bambino" and no effort to talk about the "tortured history" of the Red Sox and all the other "poetry" of it all. I don't think there was even a mention, beyond the don't-blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety, of how long it had been since the Red Sox won the championship. For whatever reason -- and good cultural histories have been written on it -- we didn't need that context or that nostalgia "boost" then. (*)

These were fantastic, compelling baseball games -- news events, really -- being played right now in front of our eyes -- and as Vin narrated them, that was more than enough. I still can't quite figure out exactly why that's no longer enough -- that's more for a Life and Times of Vin Scully perspective -- but Vin never needed anything more all the way through his last game at the mic.

Vin wasn't just the greatest baseball play-by-play announcer of all-time, he was also a fantastic NFL announcer. His work with Hank Stram on the last five minutes of the Niners-Cowboys NFC championship game in 1981 (Dwight Clark's catch) is a masterwork of the form, virtually impossible to improve upon. It seemed that way then, and 41 years later, it still does. A quick viewing in Vin's honor tonight is likely in the offing for this saddened fan.

(*) The spirit of Vin Scully can be neatly distilled in his "Can you believe this ballgame at Shea???" to Joe Garagiola right before (I think) Mookie hits the famous dribbler up the line.
   39. . . . . . . Posted: August 03, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6089890)
The Koufax perfect game call was sublime, but the 1986 Game 6 call is a different kind of masterful. Listen to how he builds the suspense without turning the volume to 10 until the exact climax, and only for about two seconds. The combination of Scully and the TV production (which basically treats the 3 minutes after the error as a silent movie) is unimprovable.

https://youtu.be/EDCpRPteSSc
   40. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 05:28 PM (#6089898)
To be fair, the Buckner play really added to the narrative of “the curse”. A lot of teams have long championship droughts, but I think it was 1986 Game 6 that made the Red Sox stand out.
   41. . . . . . . Posted: August 03, 2022 at 05:39 PM (#6089900)
The amazing thing about those games -- and they are indeed off-the-charts tremendous -- is that I don't think there was a single mention of the so-called "curse of the Bambino" and no effort to talk about the "tortured history" of the Red Sox and all the other "poetry" of it all. I don't think there was even a mention, beyond the don't-blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety, of how long it had been since the Red Sox won the championship. For whatever reason -- and good cultural histories have been written on it -- we didn't need that context or that nostalgia "boost" then.


FWIW this is untrue. They did a whole graphic about it in the bottom of the tenth before the wheels came off.
   42. . Posted: August 03, 2022 at 06:44 PM (#6089906)
To be fair, the Buckner play really added to the narrative of “the curse”.


Oh, absolutely.

They did a whole graphic about it in the bottom of the tenth before the wheels came off.


Yeah, "never" and "none" and "zero" and "not a single" will always get you burned, and so it is here, but the graphic wasn't all *that* much beyond the "don't blink or you'll miss it" variety.

Watching the clip again is a nice reminder of Calvin "I Want My Mommy" Schiraldi insisting in Once Upon a Time in Queens that he was never really nervous or shaken in the '86 postseason which ... um, yeah. Sure thing, Calvin.
   43. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 03, 2022 at 08:31 PM (#6089918)
His best line during that 86 series, maybe ever was '55,078 here at Shea, and they've really been put through the wringer.' I think that was said at the beginning of Mookie's 10th inni ng AB.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: August 03, 2022 at 11:38 PM (#6089942)
Watching the clip again is a nice reminder of Calvin "I Want My Mommy" Schiraldi insisting in Once Upon a Time in Queens that he was never really nervous or shaken in the '86 postseason which ... um, yeah. Sure thing, Calvin.


ha.

I was at Game 7, sitting behind home plate, as I have noted (too often) before.

Shea was so loud that even as a young man, I struggled to focus on the at-bats.

and with every ball - or really, every pitch - the place just got louder.

only time I have ever been at an outdoor sporting event that sounded like it was in a dome.

the "CAL-VIN!" chants, of course, were spurred by the impudent and full-of-hubris Red Sox fans at Fenway who did the same for DAR-YL Strawberry. payback's a biatch!
   45. Booey Posted: August 04, 2022 at 12:04 AM (#6089945)
The first World Series game I ever watched was the Kirk Gibson game. I was 9, and needless to say I was hooked for life (even though I was a big fan of the Bash Brothers and was rooting for the A's).

RIP Vin. The GOAT, and there's not a close 2nd.
   46. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: August 04, 2022 at 06:56 AM (#6089951)
#32 - I came to the Detroit area as a young adult and was fortunate enough to have enjoyed, and grown to love, Ernie. The thing that I find amazing about both Ernie and Vin is that their way of calling games (perhaps more accurately sharing games) made total strangers think of them as friends - and those lucky enough to meet them went away not having lost that feeling. The world needs more of them and fewer of... basically everything else.
   47. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 04, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6089968)
The American Sportscasters Association Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time (2009).

1 - Vin Scully

2 - Mel Allen

3- Red Barber

4- Curt Gowdy

5- Howard Cosell

6- Bob Costas

7 - Jim McKay

8- Keith Jackson

9 - Al Michaels

10 - Dick Enberg

11 - Jack Buck

12 - Ted Husing

13- Jack Brickhouse

14- Don Dunphy

15 - Graham McNamee

16 - Ernie Harwell

17- Marv Albert

18 - Harry Caray

19 - Jon Miller

20 - Bill Stern

21 - Chick Hearn

22- Marty Glickman

23 - Jack Whitaker

24 - Jim Nantz

25- Chris Schenkel

26 - Lindsey Nelson

27 - Russ Hodges

28 - Ray Scott

29 - John Madden

30 - Bob Prince

31- Joe Buck

32 - Milo Hamilton

33- Bob Wolff

34 - Chuck Thompson

35 - Chris Berman

36 - Phil Rizzuto

37 - Marty Brennaman

38 - Clem McCarthy

39 - Bill Walton

40 - Foster Hewitt

41 - Harry Kalas

42 - Johnny Most

43 - Bob Elson

44 - Brent Musberger

45 - Pat Summerall

46 - Merle Harmon

47 - Dick Vitale

48 - Dick Stockton

49 - Tony Kubek

50 - Bud Collins
   48. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 04, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6089970)
35 - Chris Berman

36 - Phil Rizzuto

37 - Marty Brennaman
WTAF?
   49. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 04, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6089974)
Once you get past Scully, the entire list is somewhat subjective, with an obvious bias towards older network announcers, as opposed to younger broadcasters with a mostly local or regional reach.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 04, 2022 at 11:45 AM (#6089976)
15 - Graham McNamee

That's the one that really jumped out at me. He was the first nationally famous sportscaster, and for that reason alone probably deserves a spot on the list. But if you've ever heard any tapes of his games, or seen the transcripts, you quickly realize that he's basically winging it half the time. OTOH try to imagine what it must have been like trying to describe a football play on a mud-soaked field where both teams were wearing dark colored jerseys with small and low contrasting numbers, with no spotters there to help you tell one player from another.
   51. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: August 04, 2022 at 11:57 AM (#6089980)
Ofc this is subjective, but for me, Hearn, Madden, Summerall and Most are too low--and if you are looking at it as a national thing, Summerall and Madden need to be Top 10 IMO.
   52. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 12:12 PM (#6089982)
35 - Chris Berman

WTAF?

Yeah, Leather is at least 16 spots too high but at least he's rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' toward the backbackbackbackbackbackbackback of the list.
   53. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 12:38 PM (#6089986)
I know that's from 2009, but the exclusion of Doc Emrick is shameful. Bob Miller should probably be on that list as well; he certainly deserves it over guys like Bill Walton (who is an atrocious color commentator) and Chris Berman.
   54. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 12:47 PM (#6089988)
Amen, no Emrick is quite an indictment. Berman inclusion quite sad.
   55. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: August 04, 2022 at 01:13 PM (#6089994)
#32: I grew up near Seattle, and feel the same way about Dave Niehaus. He's one of the all-time greats, he IS Mariners baseball, but Vin Scully is the GOAT. His voice is what baseball sounds like, much like how like Keith Jackson is what college football sounds like.
   56. . Posted: August 04, 2022 at 01:34 PM (#6089997)
I know that's from 2009, but the exclusion of Doc Emrick is shameful.


Doc was really, really good, but IMO he's one of those guys who's been "underrated for so long that he's now overrated." Clearly belongs in the top 50.

It looks like this is a US only list, but the best hockey announcer of the last 50 years is Hockey Night in Canada's Bob Cole. He'd be top 10 all-time on a properly curated list.

Without putting them in any order, I'd say the elite class -- the canon -- is Vin, Marv Albert, Costas, Summerall, Madden, Cole, Keith Jackson, Michaels, Enberg. Jim McKay, Harry, Mel Allen, Gowdy as Last Four In/First Four Out. Reasonable arguments for people like Nantz, Jack Buck, Musberger, Dunphy. If you need boxing representation in the canon -- and you might -- Dunphy's worthy.
   57. Hombre Brotani Posted: August 04, 2022 at 01:52 PM (#6090000)
1 - Vin Scully
3- Red Barber
Joe Davis is going to be on this list, and right up near Scully and Barber. Davis calls a wonderful game. He's clearly from the Scully school of PBP but not so much that he's an imitator. He's easy to listen to, conversational and with a light touch of wry humor. He's also just 34. The Dodgers really know how to pick'em.

There are a few active announcing teams that are very, very good but I don't know how many of them end up breaking into this list. Benetti and Stone in Chicago are terrific, and the Mets, Padres, and Giants both have good crews. They're all crews, though; nobody owns the booth by themselves these days.
   58. Karl from NY Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:37 PM (#6090021)
I don't think there was a single mention of the so-called "curse of the Bambino" and no effort to talk about the "tortured history" of the Red Sox and all the other "poetry" of it all.


The Curse was basically nothing, a cutesy joke at most, until the book by Shaughnessy in 1990. The Red Sox were seen as generically unlucky, but there wasn't any suggestion of anything overarching until that.

The Phillies never won for a century until 1980 and nobody ever called them cursed. Shaughnessy's book started it, basically an early form of headline meme clickbait.

For the list in #56, Al Michaels belongs just about at the top (not that you were necessarily ranking them.) He's quietly been football's version of Vin Scully with elegant understatedness.
   59. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:48 PM (#6090027)
George Vecsey's 1986 Game 7 column in the NY Times

"Enos Slaughter ran all the way home again last night. Jim Lonborg's arm was still tired on two days' rest. Joe Morgan slapped a hit off Jim Burton. Bucky Dent's fly ball once again soared over the left-field fence.

"All the ghosts and demons and curses of the past 68 years continued to haunt the Boston Red Sox last night as the New York Mets won the seventh game of the World Series, 8-5 - with an a capella chorus of fans chanting the Boston players' names derisively - to bring more gloom to the New England region, which has not enjoyed a World Series victory since 1918.

''I don't know nothin' about history,'' John McNamara said on Saturday night after Mookie Wilson's strange little grounder squirmed its way into history. ''And I don't want to hear anything about choking or any of that junk.''

Of course he doesn't, but there is no denying that the Boston Red Sox have been playing under a cloud ever since their owner, Harry Frazee, sold off Babe Ruth early in 1920, and that cloud settled over them in this Series. All the leads they had, all the chances, went down the drain, just as they had in 1946 and 1949 and 1967 and 1975 and 1978."
   60. . Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:51 PM (#6090030)
The Phillies never won for a century until 1980 and nobody ever called them cursed.


That's because nostalgia wasn't a thing in the culture in 1980, at anything like the scope of today. We're now at the cultural played-out point where we're just regurgitating the past -- thus the retro stadiums, the throwback uniforms, the persistent conscious and fussy nestling of single events within broader historical contexts like the "Curse."

The 1980 World Series sold itself quite easily as a self-enclosed meaningful news event.(*) As did the '86 series. Their reporting and presentation reflected that. At some point not too long after that, for a variety of reasons, sporting and cultural events no longer did.(**)

As noted upthread, there are some good books on this phenomenon in the wider culture. A good starting point might be Evil Geniuses by Kurt Andersen, one of the founders of the great Spy Magazine.


(*) The Phillies won the 1980 World Series. That was the story. Nothing more was necessary.

(**) Apologists will likely say that the presenters today are way more knowledgable than their predecessors and therefore more able to put things in "context" and "perspective," to which one need say only: Vin Scully. Eduardo Perez.
   61. . Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:55 PM (#6090031)
My quick back of the envelope thesis would be that the baseball poetry movement, whose canonical work is (was) "the cursed Boston Red Sox," picked up a lot of steam when the former President of Yale and native Bostonian was named the commissioner of baseball in 1989.
   62. Perry Posted: August 04, 2022 at 04:07 PM (#6090035)
Curt Gowdy was ubiquitous when I came of age as a sports fan in the late 60s -- seriously, he did the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the NCAA final four, as well as the All-Star game, the Saturday Game of the Week, and the biggest AFL game every Sunday -- but I never thought he was that good. Maybe when he was younger, before I heard him, but he definitely worked well past his prime.
   63. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 05:07 PM (#6090050)
I think there's just a lot more competing voices trying to talk and write about sports (and everything else) than there used to be, and very low barriers to entry. So you get a lot of people trying to stand out from the crowd with various angles or gimmicks, and when one of them is successful they spawn their share of imitators. You saw it with Chris Berman and the ESPN crowd, with Bill James and the sabermetrics crowd, with Bill Simmons, etc.

With baseball in particular, there's also more dead time to fill in a broadcast than there used to be. One of things you notice when watching that 1986 Game 6 broadcast is that between pitches, Scully often just says "ball 2" or whatever, and then 10 seconds later the next pitch comes. When there's 25-30 seconds between pitches, the announcers need more material -- or at least, they feel like they do.
   64. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 05:12 PM (#6090052)

My quick back of the envelope thesis would be that the baseball poetry movement, whose canonical work is (was) "the cursed Boston Red Sox," picked up a lot of steam when the former President of Yale and native Bostonian was named the commissioner of baseball in 1989.

I have no idea about that or whether there was any connection, but I would also note that 1989 was the year Field of Dreams came out.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 04, 2022 at 05:55 PM (#6090054)
I know that's from 2009, but the exclusion of Doc Emrick is shameful. Bob Miller should probably be on that list as well; he certainly deserves it over guys like Bill Walton (who is an atrocious color commentator) and Chris Berman.

Aside from some of the local guys I'd never heard of, the most risible names on that list are Berman, Walton and Vitale. The ones I'd place much higher would be Marty Glickman and Chuck Thompson. Glickman had one of the purest voices in the business and practically invented the art of basketball play-by-play announcing. No way that Marv Albert should be above his longtime mentor.

And Thompson was every bit as old shoe comfortable as Scully, even if not as erudite or polished. He was the perfect fit for Baltimore, both the Orioles and the Colts, the broadcasters' counterpart to Brooks and Johnny Unitas.
   66. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 04, 2022 at 06:45 PM (#6090058)
You can see the resentment that "real" sportscasters have for the ex-jocks. Summerall and Madden were easily the best pair of NFL announcers I've ever heard. Don Meredith and Frank Gifford were both better than Cosell in the classic Monday Night Football booth.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6090080)
I thought the 1986 NY Times excerpt I put out above would have clarified matters.

I'll explain it another way.

Upon arriving at Shea Stadium for Game 7, the seemingly universal vibe was that the Red Sox curse was so powerful that we were going to see an inevitable final act. all the fans knew it, all the Mets knew it - hell, even all the Red Sox knew it (including 1969 Miracle Met Tom Seaver, who was in uniform for the Red Sox but not on the postseason roster).

without the curse, the Mets trailing I think 3-0 in the 5th inning would have made the natives more than a bit restless.

not even a little bit.

it was just "Oh, so the screenwriters decided to go with a 'rally' plot to wrap things up. huh."

then came the rally - as we all knew it would.

it was tremendously fun and immensely satisfying.

but drama-filled? tension-packed? nail biter? nope. that's Game 6 you're talking about.

before Game 7, the spoiler alert already had leaked. Mets fans came for a coronation, and the Red Sox and a smattering of their fans arrived for a funeral. and we all got what we all knew was coming.

curses cannot be erased (well, until 2004, which is the subject of the latest Jeter episode now playing on ESPN but catch up later with the entire episode if you haven't taped it or whatever else people do now to preserve something to watch later.)
   68. baxter Posted: August 05, 2022 at 01:35 AM (#6090112)
Given the thread has shifted somewhat away from Scully, thank you #30 for mentioning both Chick Hearn AND Jim Healy.

The simulcast reference is also a great one. Listening to Hearn call a game on radio (left to right across your radio dial) was quite exciting (especially during the 33 game streak). As a boxing fan, I appreciate Dunphy's old broadcasts. He appeared on "The Way it Was" with Graziano & Robinson; fantastic announcing; blow by blow (like on radio). Now the announcers just want to talk to each other rather than describe the fight. Andre Ward is a notable exception, even though providing color commentary, usually has interesting insights into the fight.

Schenkel used to broadcast bowling; referred to by Healy as "the late Chris Schenkel" (when Schenkel was still alive).

This is not a phi beta kappa move (another Chickism) on my part, but I preferred Enberg to Scully, less talking. Enberg would also call the pitches.

Ray Scott was a minimalist announcer; don't need all the talking; heard him briefly when he did Raiders games.

The competition is dramatic enough.

Despite his need to be the center of attention, Cosell stood for unpopular causes when others wouldn't (although the scene in "Sleeper" when Miles Monroe (woody allen) is shown a clip of Cosell and asked by people in the future (I think) we couldn't figure out why people were shown this person Cosell, was it to punish him and allen's response is yes, that was it.
   69. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2022 at 11:15 AM (#6090123)
Despite his need to be the center of attention, Cosell stood for unpopular causes when others wouldn't (although the scene in "Sleeper" when Miles Monroe (woody allen) is shown a clip of Cosell and asked by people in the future (I think) we couldn't figure out why people were shown this person Cosell, was it to punish him and allen's response is yes, that was it.
We didn't know exactly what this was, but we've developed a theory. We feel that when citizens in your society committed a crime against the state, they were forced to watch this.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2022 at 11:26 AM (#6090124)
The simulcast reference is also a great one. Listening to Hearn call a game on radio (left to right across your radio dial) was quite exciting (especially during the 33 game streak). As a boxing fan, I appreciate Dunphy's old broadcasts.

For sheer dramatic effect it'd be hard to top #38 Clem McCarthy's calls of one of the Triple Crown races, when it came down to the home stretch with one horse after another taking the lead.

   71. baxter Posted: August 05, 2022 at 11:34 AM (#6090127)
69. Yes, that's it; i saw that when it came out, so 50 years ago, wow. thanks.
   72. Bob T Posted: August 05, 2022 at 12:32 PM (#6090139)
One advantage McNamee would have had in football was the limited substitutions so once you figured out who was on the field, it stayed that way usually for the whole quarter.

As for his baseball work, Ring Lardner was credited as saying,
"“There was a doubleheader yesterday—the game that was played and the one McNamee announced.”
   73. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 05, 2022 at 01:11 PM (#6090145)
   74. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 05, 2022 at 02:00 PM (#6090155)
The American Sportscasters Association Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time (2009).

You can tell this list cannot be taken seriously, because Bill Walton is on it but Bill King is not.
   75. baxter Posted: August 05, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6090191)
I would take Walton's inclusion more seriously if he were called by the nicknamed Jim Healy created: Bonespur Bill
   76. Howie Menckel Posted: August 05, 2022 at 10:34 PM (#6090241)
excellent pre-game tribute to Scully at Dodger Stadium not a surprise, but in Tinseltown the bar is set pretty high and they cleared it without the bar even wobbling.

I was watching the Mets - having turned an 8-0 deficit into 8-5 - and on a commercial break I flipped to the Scully tribute and forgot about the Mets game for like 15 minutes.....

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