With the recent announcement of Vin Scully’s impending retirement from broadcasting, news of this not only affects those tuned into his calls from Chavez Ravine, but the entire nation of baseball. It was only a matter of time, as Scully, now 88 years old, knows that there are fewer grains of sand in his hourglass, and feels it is time to exit.
As Scully told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t want somebody else to tell me it’s time. I would rather do it myself.”
Even for someone his age, Scully still has his heart in the game, but does not want to overstay his welcome explaining, “I really do feel it would be time for me to walk away rather than have somebody say, ‘Gee, you know, you’re not the same. You’re not quite this, you’re not quite that.’ I don’t want that. So I think if I can get through next year doing reasonably well, it would be time then to walk away.”
For Scully to hold the record for being the longest-tenured broadcaster with one team is remarkable. To still be as sharp on a broadcast well into his eighties is even more astonishing. It’s hard to even imagine he is anything less than great on air.
The fact remains that Vin Scully is a pop culture icon. His recognition extends beyond even casual baseball fans. Even in the realm of baseball culture, with Scully getting national attention during the advent of televised sports coverage, he’s the most famous sports broadcaster. While some might argue Howard Cosell or Mel Allen, let’s be honest, no one is regarded for their honest, lyrical style in a more positive light than Vin Scully. The man became the bench mark of what aspiring play-by-play announcers (like myself) strive to sound like. Often imitated, never surpassed, no can ever replace Scully.
For Los Angeles Dodger fans, they need to come to terms with Vin Scully’s replacement, be it Rick Monday, Charley Steiner or Joe Davis. No one will ever leave that kind of impact on a baseball fan base or even baseball in general like Scully. He is the most unique of unique snowflakes, he’s once in a civilization kind of talent and personality.
Vin’s final season should not be a season of mourning the retirement of baseball’s greatest voice. We, as fans, need to use it as a celebration for one of the game’s greats. He provided us from his early days on radio, to his days on the Game of the Week, to the rise of regional cable networks, the soundtrack to our summers.
Here’s to savoring one last season with the legend, Vin Scully.