First, the Good News

Yeah, we Dodger fans have needed to cling tightly to anything good that we can, lately.  Even if it’s last week’s sweep of the Brewers–the team’s first sweep since June.  Really, I am tempted to start with yet another litany of the 2010 Dodgers’ woes, but nothing can dim the bright light of a wonderful announcement that was made last week. 

Vin Scully will return for his 62nd season of calling Dodger baseball in 2011.  Speaking as one of many fans who needed a lift like this news provided in this very trying season, I can only say this is a real cause for celebration.

I’ve given some thought about how blessed we as Dodger fans are, despite the drama accompanying 2010.  As if 60+ years with the greatest baseball broadcaster in history isn’t enough, we actually have two Hall of Fame announcers still calling games for us–Jaime Jarrin  is the other–and they’ve combined for 112 seasons of excellence.  What is really special is that, among all Major League Baseball teams, these two gentlemen have been associated with only the Dodgers’ organization.  Broadcasters have tended to hop around from team to team over the years, but these men are strictly Dodger Blue–two classy people who represent the organization so well.  Even in a dismal season, they make the intolerable tolerable.  Vin brings a smile to my face on a regular basis with his smooth and inimitable blend of knowledge, wit, and his masterful vocabulary, occasional weaving in cultural references.  Even his self-professed ignorance of some trends is charming in its own way–just a couple of weeks ago, Vin noted on the air he didn’t even know what a mullet was, much to the amusement of many viewers on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.  Of all the sights, sounds, and other things associated with baseball season, none is sweeter than the sound of his voice.  He is a link to Brooklyn history, a link to baseball’s arrival on the West Coast.  Vin was baseball long before I was a
twinkle in my daddy’s blue eyes.  I mean, think about it–Vin was
calling baseball games when Harry Truman was president! 

Still, I’m happy to share Vinnie with the rest of MLB’s fans, as he is a treasure to the game itself.  A devoted husband, Vin has always credited his wife with allowing him to continue his  work even though he’s cut back on the number of games he calls over the years.  So, in addition to being elated about this late season surprise announcement, I would also like to  express my gratitude to Sandy Scully, for sharing him with all of us.

I’ve always said there were two men who taught me about baseball–one was my late father, and the other was Vincent Edward Scully.  Dad has been gone for seven years.  And I have  never been more grateful to still have Vin.  Words, something that Vin is so good with, can never be enough to express my appreciation to him for his many accomplishments over the years. He has been part of my extended family for as long as I can remember.

So it was that baseball fans, but especially those in Dodgertown U.S.A., held their collective breath last weekend when it was announced that an announcement would be made the next day as to our beloved announcer’s future with the team. Vin will be 83 by the time next season gets underway.  To our knowledge, his health is still good.  Surely he couldn’t think of going out on a season like this, could he?  Even when asked about his decision after the fact, he beamed about his deep love for the game.  It’s to our benefit.

Whatever the 2010 Dodgers do in the next month, nothing can mar this wonderful news. The very definition of timeless excellence, Vin just keeps on bringing new generations into the fold, like he did with so many before them, with his golden voice.  It’s one I can’t imagine life without, although someday that certainly will come to pass.  But I don’t want to ever think about it having to happen.  I’ll certainly cherish every moment, come what may. 

Maybe it won’t ever come to fruition, and Vinnie will outlast us all.

Vin.jpg

**************************************************************************************************************

But now that we must move on, what a horrible season this has turned into.  And yet, I still savor it.  The events of the last few days have played out like a real soap opera.  Manny has been claimed off waivers and is now in a Chicago White Sox uniform.  (His last at-bat was an  abrupt, one-pitch pinch-hit appearance before he was ejected.)  The McCourts’ divorce trial  started today.  The Dodgers have lost their last two games, and trail in the wild card race by 6 1/2 games.  And as if all of that weren’t enough, the Phillies roar into town tonight fresh off a sweep of the first place Padres over the weekend, and our Bums get to face Doc Halladay. 

My thoughts on Manny are that I’m grateful for his carrying the team into the 2008 playoffs, and beyond, though they fell short of winning a championship.  Although I’d been on the fence about the acquisition when he arrived in L.A., I was supportive of the Dodgers re-signing him in the offseason, based on what we’d seen in those two-plus months of August-October.  Then, he disgraced himself and the organization with the PED suspension.  He’s still a great contact hitter, but the power just isn’t there, nor is the health.  He’s had three stints on the DL this year.  What more can you say?  Thanks to No. 99 for the thrilling moments.  The pinch-hit grand slam on his bobblehead night in July, 2009 was described by Vin as “even more Hollywood than Hollywood.”  But like the Hollywood sign needing refurbishing in its old age, I think this version of Hollywood is showing signs of wear and tear, too. .

***************************************************************************************************************

Way back in April, I noted here that several Dodger trends of the past decade were beginning to change.  That was noticeable in their season opening series on the road in Pittsburgh as the Pirates, a team they had always beaten handily since PNC Park opened in 2000, dominated them in the first four games.  Well, here’s another spell broken–prior to last weekend, the Cincinnati Reds had lost 12 consecutive games in Dodger Stadium, going back to 2006.  The law of averages, of course, dictated that streak would come to an end–but not only did Cincy win the first game, they won the series as well, taking two of three.  Reds manager Dusty Baker, a fan favorite during his Dodger days some 30 years ago, wears #12 just as he did when he played in L.A.–and said before the 13th game was played that the losing streak would end at 12.  Moreover, Baker’s team won the season series between the two teams for the first time since 2004. 

The next constant to fall by the wayside was the Rockies winning a series with the Dodgers, when they took two of three in Coors Field over this past weekend.  That hasn’t happened since 2008; Colorado and L.A. have played nine series, all won by the Dodgers, over that span.

****************************************************************************************************************

I’m disappointed, of course, with the recent news that Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg will miss next season because he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery.  Fortunately, the success rate for pitchers is very high, as so many have returned to action and continued a stellar career.  If you didn’t read my post about “TJ and the Doc” last year, it’s in the September 2009 archives.   Best wishes to Stephen, although his recovery period will be long and surely difficult, in that youth is not patient.  But the kid has made us proud, however briefly.

****************************************************************************************************************

I’ll end this entry on another positive note:

Happy Birthday to the Splendid Splinter.  Yes, he’s been gone for eight years now, but today would have been Teddy Samuel Williams’ 92nd birthday.  Born in my hometown of San Diego on August 30, 1918, Williams was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.  The last player to hit .400 in a season, he was a two-time Triple Crown winner.  His 21-season career was interrupted twice by military service (39 combat missions as a Marine pilot).  Williams retired from baseball on September 28, 1960–fifty years ago next month.

Before I was old enough to know much about baseball, I knew about the legend of Teddy  Ballgame.  At the time, there was no major league baseball in San Diego.  He grew up in North Park, went to Hoover High, and played for the minor league Padres before making it big with the Red Sox.  And what a career!   There was a time when I was four or five years old when I could count on one hand the number of other major league players’ names I knew–Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays,  Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax.  So far as I knew, these six players were the “greats” of all-time.  

So here’s to “that other” Kid!  Thanks for all you did for the great game of baseball, and for this wonderful country of ours.

 
Ted Williams collage.jpg

7 Comments

Who doesn’t love Vin- that was some great news for sure hearing he will be back.

Really great news that Scully will be back next year. He’s the best – bar none. As for Manny, he did give the Dodgers a shot in the arm and the Mannywood thing was exciting for fans. But, as usual, he burned another bridge and had to move on. Maybe he’ll rebound in the DH role.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Nice commentary there on Ted Williams too! And of course I’m grateful Vin will return. That seems like the only good news this season. It’s time to start a new chapter without Manny.

Very nice. Just got back from my trip north a couple of days ago. I heard Stras is back in San Diego rehabbing. Disappointing season for us just keeps happening doesn’t it.

Very nice. Just got back from my trip north a couple of days ago. I heard Stras is back in San Diego rehabbing. Disappointing season for us just keeps happening doesn’t it.

It’s good that Vin will be back next year, like HK was, Vin’s voice is just meant to call the plays. The Dodgers have a chance to spoil it for the Padres this week, but then do they want to give the Giants a hand or not…

-peter

Phillies Outside

Hey! Mmuaaah!! You know I’m a sucker for a post like this. Beautifully done as always…..”tough guy” : ) !!
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: