BASEBALL INTELLIGENCE (BI-Q): October 2016(#62)

Gone and Lost . . . . But, not Forgotten! The dulcet sound of real baseball!!

2016 has been tough on true sports enthusiasts . . . the loss of Mohammed Ali, Arnold Palmer, Pat Summit, Gordy Howe, and a host of other “old school” athletes that competed hard and stuck to their beliefs without giving in to the PC of the era. Their convictions were real and their respect for the integrity of their sport was true. They competed with all their soul and resources, never “laid up” and only went down with the count! We will never see the ilk of these iconic athletes again. Sadly, we have also “lost” another legend of sport, Vince Scully!

In the past decade or so, we have misplaced the ability to separate sports from banal entertainment and ridiculously inane antics. Television and social media have molded false icons into “heroes” and mediocrity has displaced true athletic accomplishment. It is not the “old-schoolers” mewling about the way it was or how it should be, but a lack of respect for all sports and where this facet of our lives should be in regard to real value. Professional sports have deluded us into believing more is better, taunting is acceptable, and making the most money is the real standard of excellence. Nope . . . none of the above!! Which is why when a man of deep character and an honest belief in the integrity of the game of baseball retires, it is a true LOSS!

Vince Scully approached the art of broadcasting as a revered privilege. Listening to him made a fan feel as if they were at the ballpark and could “see” the game. He did not “blast away” with inane facts (never spewed stats/Sabremetrics as the new breed feels are so important), but simply reported what occurred and let your imagination create the imagery.

Today we are inundated with “color” men (usually players who were not very successful (i.e. Dave Valle, Harold Reynolds, see MLB channel) who continually talk throughout the game, even on television. Red Barber (Hall of Fame) was Vince’s mentor and advised him to never be a “homer” and to keep his opinions to himself. Hence, Vince became the consummate baseball reporter/broadcaster of his lifetime. He was not the game, he was the conduit that provided the course of action and results. He artistically, with superb verbiage, provided the happenings and results without the inane and superfluous babble of the current group of “experts” and “air-fillers”. With Vince Scully you could actually SEE the game on the radio.

Scully’s career with the Dodgers lasted 67 years!!! He truly was the “Voice of the Dodgers” and the best in the business. He did venture into television (NFL, Golf, and MLB) but his true calling was radio broadcasting. Fans around the globe (even ones who hated the despicable Dodgers) would tune in to listen to his coverage and the wonderful stories and lore of the game. His classic opening, “It’s time for Dodger Baseball” will be missed everywhere. What began as an 8-year old rooting for the Giants, carried him through Fordham University, and ironically ended in the Giants ballpark. It was a glorious trip with the greatest game that he shared with all of us fans. He kept it simple and let us enjoy the game without festooning it with useless palaver.

It is said everyone is replaceable . . . not so fast . . . as Vince Scully will not be!! Thanks Vin!!

On Sunday, October 2nd, Vince bid farewell after calling his last game. His final words: “You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me. And I will miss our time together more than I can say”.

Just like Ted Williams in his last at bat, Vin hit it out of the ballpark. Amen!