Vin Scully Day
This year, after sixty-seven seasons as the Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer, Vin Scully will end his Hall of Fame career. The City of Los Angeles has been blessed. Scully’s is the greatest voice in baseball history. That’s not hyperbole. He is simply the best at what he does. If you don’t believe me, you should visit Dodger Stadium this year to hear him call a game in person. But unfortunately, as it is, you won’t be able to.
When Scully and the Dodgers moved to Chavez Ravine in 1963, transistor radios were as ubiquitous as cell phones are today. As you stepped into the nave of Dodger Stadium, Scully’s voice — carried by thousands of tuned-in radios — was omnipresent. During the decades that followed, he not only announced, but conversed with the stadium crowd. Laughing with them, asking them questions, commenting with them, educating them, bemoaning and celebrating the team with them, Scully documented the here and now of the sometimes beautiful-loser, sometimes World Champion Dodgers with intelligence, style and grace.
Now at Dodger Stadium, a transistor radio is as rare as a recent visit to the World Series. With this turn of technology, Scully’s voice has been minimized. You can hear his two-tone tenor in the gift shop and restrooms where management has piped it in. But the only opportunity to hear Scully when you’re in your seat — with the ballfield spread in front of you — is during his Jumbotron broadcast welcome, ending with his trademark, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” After that, the sound of “Dodger Baseball” is a PA system program — high-decibel sound blocks of cheerleading fx, advertisements, at bat music, movie trailers and over-amped MCs pitching hot dogs, drinks, and hero worship. If you do bring a radio (or try to listen to Scully on your smartphone), you’ll need headphones. But even headphones are hit or miss. The PA system overpowers all.
Before Vin Scully retires, the Dodgers need to designate a series of special days — one every homestand — when Scully’s voice can to be heard at the stadium for an entire game again. We’ve honored Scully with testimonials, trophies, and a street named after him. But let's not forget to enjoy what he calls his “instrument” — his voice — playing in the ballpark again. That PA system was meant to broadcast the sound of Dodger Baseball and until the end of this season the sound of Dodger Baseball is Vin Scully’s Voice.
Vin Scully Day would be about the love of the game, but it would also be about a moment created by a master: Scully the artist whose sense of timing has an unconscious intelligence, whose pitch is cool, poetic, and in the moment.
“… if I have a trademark,” Scully once said, “it would be to call the play as quickly and as accurately as I possibly can, and then shut up — and listen to the roar of the crowd.”
He’s also far too modest.
Los Angeles would love to hear Vin Sully at the ballpark once again. (We’d like to hear ourselves, too.) For the love of Dodger Baseball, let’s set aside a game every homestand to fill the stadium with the sound of Scully’s voice. After this year, we — and he — will never have that chance again.
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