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Dodger Thoughts: In Praise of Vin’s Voice
The biggest news of the past weekend for the Dodgers might have been their massive trade with the Boston Red Sox, but it wasn’t the most important.
Vin Scully’s announcement Sunday that he would return to the Dodgers in 2013, for his 64th season behind the mic, breathed the kind of life into the Dodgers that no player acquisition could ever match.
Though there’s always some amount of suspense about the professional future of the 84-year-old Scully before he commits to the next lap of his unmatched journey, his affirmation for 2013 had come, at least in recent weeks, to be relatively expected, which is remarkable if you give it much thought. Had he said otherwise, it would have sunk the spirits of this city like no other announcement in my memory. Consider the collective reaction around Los Angeles in April when a terrible cold kept him bedridden for the Dodgers’ opening home games.
Much has been written about why Scully has such a pull on his community, usually centered on his incomprehensible poetic skill to find the right word for the right moment (or to be silent when called for as well). But there’s something else I find inescapable when considering the Scully effect. While it’s true that baseball has never had a verbal artist like Scully, I’ve found over time that he can be mesmerizing even when saying the most straightforward and simple lines. His voice can make anything sound beautiful.
In all honesty, I think there must be something chemical about it, something about that Fordham drawl, as I like to call it, that turns aural water into wine. “Deuces wild,” “gone” – these, like many of his words, are no longer original. He can describe the action in the most declarative sentences, and still it is soothing in a way no other announcer can match. He is blessed with a beautiful instrument, and we’re the beneficiaries.
It’s no revelation to say that Scully is irreplaceable, but it’s not just his style or wordsmanship. Someone could bring the same smarts and sensitivity to the broadcast booth, but he still wouldn’t have the entire package unless he also had that magic sound. Scully is Elvis; he’s Sam Cooke. And in my dreams, he’s forever.