Vin Scully's Last Call
October 2, 2016 10:33 AM   Subscribe

In about two hours, baseball broadcasting legend Vincent Edward "Vin" Scully will call his final game, as the San Francisco Giants host Vin's Los Angeles Dodgers in an attempt to clinch a shot at the National League championship. Depending on where you are, the game will be free to watch online.

Vin's last call at home was something of a fairy-tale ending, with Charlie Culberson hitting a walk-off solo homer in the 10th that not only ended the game but secured the Dodgers' division title.

Vin Scully has been broadcasting for the Dodgers for sixty seven years.
It is mind-bending to consider that he has not just been on 22 of the 94 annual radio and television World Series broadcasts ever, but been alive for 87 of them. It is goose-bumpy to recognize that the season he began broadcasting major league games, Connie Mack was still the manager of the Philadelphia Athletics (Mack had become A’s manager in 1901 and we’ve just passed the 130th anniversary of Mack’s debut as a major league catcher). And it almost requires the language of Light Years to realize that if you start a new job the day after his last scheduled regular-season Dodger broadcast and you stay in that gig as long as Scully has in his, you will not be leaving your new position until Sunday, September 26, 2083.
In his thousands of hours of his astonishingly lengthy career, Vin Scully called Hank Aaron's 715th home run. He called . He called the Mookie Wilson grounder that made Bill Buckner into Bill Buckner. He called Kirk Gibson's World Series-winning home run. He called Yasiel Puig's second game ever in the major leagues. He called Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter. And after today, his broadcast career will be entirely in the past tense.
posted by Sokka shot first (30 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Officially there have been 23 perfect games in the U.S. Major Leagues.

19 of them occurred while Vin Scully was working for the Dodgers. Four of them occurred at Dodgers games during Scully's tenure. Only one of the four was pitched by a Dodger (Sandy Koufax, in 1965).

Only the White Sox have participated in as many perfect games, which means that Scully has probably called more perfect games than any other baseball announcer.
posted by ardgedee at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Officially there have been 23 perfect games in the U.S. Major Leagues.

Dammit, Jim Joyce.
posted by protocoach at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

What really blows my mind is that Scully was the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
posted by escabeche at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2016 [13 favorites]

This is hard. Scully's final home game, last week, was difficult enough for me watch. Even though it's been coming all year long, I'm not sure how I'll handle this one, either. It's hard to explain to non-romantic baseball fans. I'll try, anyway. Forgive my bumbling. This is hard.

It's not just the familiar, soothing voice that's been triggering me all year. It's also the way I can't even fathom how Scully's done close to ten thousand games now, always live, almost always alone in that booth, without the safety net of some dumb jock ex-player to make fake banter and fill dead time. That's incredible, and I marvel at how smoothly he can just talk for three hours every night. Nobody does that. It's like doing a one-man Broadway show almost every night. For sixty-seven years. Yes, he's slipped a beat or two in the last decade, but he's 88 years old. Even Scully at 80% of his best is still better than anyone else working today.

But it's not just longevity. It's perspective. Every baseball game, it's been said forever, is filled with the ghosts of everyone who's ever played before. And, indeed, you can watch almost any game, and at some point or another, a ballplayer or moment from the past comes up as a natural topic: a player comes close to doing something that only Joe DiMaggio, or Sandy Koufax, or Jackie Robinson did before. Or a coach remarks in passing that someone has a swing that looks a little like Lou Gehrig's. Or maybe it's just one of those one-in-a-million oddball baseball plays that hasn't happened in twenty years.

At that point, each and every professional announcer will recite the usual data or read an almanac-style factoid to remind us why this matters. And so will Scully. But then he'll go so much further by adding "Which reminds me of a story. I asked Koufax about that very pitch once, over dinner at the old Carlton Club on LeBrea..." or "Well, friends, let me tell you: I remember that day in 1954 -- I think it was a Tuesday -- and there was a little more than that on Jackie's mind that day. You see..."

You know those rare times when someone's nutty old grandpa manages to reach just the right level of bourbon and clarity from which to launch into a sobering, riveting war story that holds everyone's attention because of how easily it cuts through an entire century? It's like a spotlight appears in the room, and everyone grows quiet because they can't help but notice that this is a rare look into a history and a mystery that's long lost to most of us. That's Scully and baseball, day after day after day since the 1950's. It's... impossible.

I'm rambling. Maybe I should just say that Scully's voice is baseball for me, and I cannot imagine not hearing it anymore.

Do I leave a period here, or what. This is hard.
posted by rokusan at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2016 [36 favorites]

Literally one of my earliest memories is his voice on the radio and my mother (RIP 1999) and grandmother (RIP 1989) lying on sofas in our darkened family room with cool cloths on their foreheads in the stifling heat of a summer day in Southern California in the early 1960s in a home with no AC. It freaks me out to think of how early in his career that would have been, how much longer he has continued to broadcast while my forebears are off dying, and how old that makes me. Because, after all, it's all about me...
posted by janey47 at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am a lifelong Los Angeles resident and Dodger fan, and the looming absence of Vin Scully is only made worse by the prospect of nothing but Rick Monday and Charley Steiner, who I have heard go almost an entire inning without telling you the score, or the count, or anything related to the game being played. I think they're sometimes surprised when they remember there's players on the field.

Vin's longevity is astounding. His career has reached retirement age. I will miss hearing his voice. I might have to learn Spanish so I can listen o Fernando and Jaime.
posted by curiousgene at 11:17 AM on October 2, 2016 [6 favorites]

Thank you so much for posting this.

I'm in my 40s and Vin Scully has been doing this longer than I've been alive. He's the last great broadcaster and this is the indisputable end of an era.

I don't follow baseball anymore, but I want to listen to one more game and remember warm summer days when my dad would be working in the garage with Vin Scully on the radio and Tommy Lasorda in the dugout. I can almost smell the sawdust, oil, and fresh cut grass.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Game just started. They rolled a short little montage of old footage and it fucked me up pretty good.

At his last home game there was a big to-do for him at the end, which (of course) he seemed faintly embarrassed by. His speech—"I've needed you all far more than you've needed me" completely destroyed me. Standing there in the kitchen just sobbing my eyes out.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

"Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon to you, wherever you may be."

Vin, may YOU have a very pleasant afternoon today and everyday wherever you may be.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

"Just looking at the field as dark as it is, I immediately think of 1962..."
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2016

Damn, missed the first inning. defaulted to San Francisco's video and commentary, which is kind of a dick move, considering.
posted by ardgedee at 12:48 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well, I'm passing up possibly McCutchen's last game as a Pirate to see Vin's last game.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:28 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

That's gotta be the only time you'll hear "root, root, root for the DODGERS" at AT&T park.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:28 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

Sokja shot first oh no they di'int! Did they?
posted by janey47 at 2:32 PM on October 2, 2016

For anyone who wants a little dust in the room, from his farewell ceremony on the 23rd Vin's plans for retirement.

God love you, Vin. Try really hard.

I'm not crying you're crying
posted by ZaphodB at 2:38 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Watching this right now and getting pretty weepy. Can't think of another person Los Angeles loves more than we love Vin Scully. A friend and I ran into him at the Music Center a few years ago, and she fangirled at him like I've never seen her fangirl before. I can't imagine the Dodgers without him. :(
posted by OolooKitty at 2:46 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Janey47: Sure sounded like it to me. Maybe it's just wishful thinking.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:46 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Multiple people on Twitter confirm.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, and here's video footage. From the Giants' Twitter account.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:56 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

The fact that the Dodgers got whipped seems somehow to make sense. They got the walk off last week, today the Giants get the wildcard spot. So it goes.
posted by curiousgene at 3:11 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Olberman on Scully.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:27 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Giants sweep Dodgers & in playoffs!

The Dodgers are in the playoffs as well. Scully is great but I am going to be happy as can be if the Giants can eliminate them.
posted by bukvich at 3:49 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

It is so wonderful that he gets all this loving tribute while he is still here to enjoy it. Even so, this is just one more way that 2016 sucks.

The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to L.A. when I was 2 years old living in Cleveland. My parents wisely moved us away from the Cleveland Indians when I was 5 and Vin was already an institution in my new city.

Disclaimer: I have no apologies for being a long-time Los Angeles Angels fan (Underdog Syndrome) through all those years when they just needed one more good starting pitcher, a home-run hitter and a Vin Scully to compete with the Dodgers in my mind.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:51 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a life long Red Sox fan and a resident of LA for the past 20 years. I have an intense "meh" reaction to the Dodgers, but yeah, Scully retiring - that's a big un. The Giants fans singing root for the Dodgers? - a g-d Christmas miracle.

And a tear jerker.


So long Vin!
posted by drewbage1847 at 4:54 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also not to be overlooked: Even Vin Scully knows Dick Enberg's farewell deserves its own recognition
"Wherever I am, if your name comes up, I will say from my heart, 'As good as they come,'" Scully concluded.

Scully knows of what he speaks. Enberg was the lead national voice on NFL, college basketball and Grand Slam tennis broadcasts for decades, primarily on NBC. He chronicled UCLA's men's basketball dynasty. Scully aced him out of a chance to add baseball to the collection in the 1980s — but Enberg has done just fine, thank you very much. In fact, he joined Scully in the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame last year.

Imagine: Enberg and Scully (and the late Jerry Coleman in San Diego) were the main voices of baseball in Southern California at the same time. Both Enberg and Scully are still excellent at their craft. Both will leave the air Sunday.
Great announcers like Enberg, Scully, and Coleman wind up in your formative memories as background noise for some of those golden summer childhood afternoons, hanging out with your parents and listening to the ballgame on the radio. It's one of those special details you don't really notice until it's gone.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:25 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Now for something completely different.
As an SF Native my favorite Vin Scully call is The Catch
posted by bitdamaged at 7:02 PM on October 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

A nice tribute, Sokka shot first, for someone certainly worthy of notice. I haven’t listened to much baseball in recent years, but – now that I think about it – Scully’s voice has been a familiar one to me for at least 50 years. Hard to imagine anybody doing anything professionally for 67 years, especially at that level of excellence. Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Scully.

... my favorite Vin Scully call is The Catch
I don’t remember ever hearing Scully do a football game, but that one – "It's a madhouse at Candlestick!" – is pretty fine.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:15 AM on October 3, 2016

i was at this game yesterday! we all sang "take me out to the ballgame" a cappella to vin and it got me a bit teary-eyed. everyone was pretty sentimental but the mood was super fun (probably because we took an early lead and won 7-1) and the weather was great despite a few showers and overall it was a pretty wonderful sendoff i think
posted by burgerrr at 9:28 AM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Vin Scully's Final Call, a transcript of his call of the 9th inning yesterday. So fantastic. I don't even need to hear the audio - I can hear it in my head as I read this.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2016

Some of my favorite baseball memories are muting the TV sound during the World Series and listening to Scully call the games on CBS Radio. The man was so delightfully perfect at what he did.
posted by non canadian guy at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

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