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Vin Scully and the Sword of Damocles

Apr 16, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT


Last night during the Padres-Dodgers game, Vin Scully casually — as if he were talking about the weather — wove the tale of the Sword of Damocles into the play-by-play of Chad Billingsley giving up a homer to Eric Stults. Here’s the verbatim play-by-play from the One-of-Five blog.

As someone who often tries way too damn hard to weave in cultural or literary references to baseball stuff, it’s both pleasing and mildly dispiriting to hear someone do it so damn easily.

Not that this is everyone’s cup of tea, of course. Some of you may rather hear a former ballplayer-turned-color man talk about how someone is a “competitor” or explain how so-and-so is looking for “his pitch to hit” or something. In which case I won’t judge you.  Much.

  1. KR - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Tomorrow: how Matt Kemp is like By-Tor and/or the Snow Dog.

    • unknowneric - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      And then, how the Roman Crisis of the 3rd Century relates to the management of the Miami Marlins.

      • Ben - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        Jeffrey Loria, I served with Caligula. I knew Caligula. Caligula was a friend of mine. Jeffrey Loria, you’re no Caligula.

    • yahmule - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Caligula’s own Praetorian Guard dispatched him. How awesome would it be to see Marlins coaches and front office staff chasing a fear stricken Loria through the concourses of Marlins Park?

      • cur68 - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        Very. Very. VERY awesome.

  2. gloccamorra - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Just the other day, in noting that Vin Scully no longer travels with the team any farther east than Phoenix, somebody wrote that Vin isn’t as quick as he used to be, but we’ll take what he gives us. Well, he may not be as quick as he used to be (questionable), but he’s still at least two orders of magnitude better than anybody else speaking into a microphone.

  3. spudchukar - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Craig, this just in. You can do both.

    • paperlions - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Can, but don’t.

      The beauty of Skully’s broadcasts is enhance because he doesn’t have a side kick interrupting him all the time to recount stories that never happened or to try to prove to the audience how smart s/he is.

      • spudchukar - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        But the over-riding attitude amongst many who visit this site, is that those involved in the management/production/playing of the game are a bunch of buffoons, who, were they to only listen to much more knowledgeable commenters then their respective teams would be, oh so much better, off.

        Certainly, Baseball like any industry has their fair share of fools. Yeah, I am talking to you Jeffery Loria, but for every incompetent , there is a dues paying ardent participant, whose insight far exceeds the reach of most I read here.

      • paperlions - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        I think there are some very good announcers that are ex-players….sadly, none of them work for the Fox Sports Mid-west. I really don’t have a problem even with announcers I don’t enjoy…I figure they must be talking about baseball on a level that is entertaining to someone, and those announcers just aren’t for me.

  4. chill1184 - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Vin Scully is Fing awesome

  5. realgone2 - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Then on the complete other side of the spectrum you have Chip Caray.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      While Chip Caray will always have his warts as a broadcaster, to dismiss him as the “other end of the spectrum” is short-sighted and inaccurate. Were I a fan of at least a dozen other teams, I’d love to have Chip doing the TV or radio play-by-play over what I’d be subjected to on a nightly basis.

      • APBA Guy - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        I agree. There are a lot of local broadcasters who are nowhere near as good as Chip.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Chip Caray is very much a tool (as are his eyebrows).

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Excellent addition to the discussion. Your insight, clearly the product of some deep thought on the subject, is much appreciated.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        While I appreciate your heaping praise…please know it isn’t required Chip.
        I consider it a service (a service I enjoy to fullest).

    • spudchukar - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Uh, no. Sorry, but the notion that I would be forced to listen to that kiss ass toady on a regular basis gives me the creeps. Never has so much been lost in two generations. The dude road into the announcing arena on the coattails of his father and grandfather, learned next to nothing of their prowess, and disgraces their wonderful ability to share the game with listeners and viewers.

      • nolanwiffle - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        Did you really expect an unbiased opinion from the man’s own eyebrows??

      • yahmule - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Two posts ago Spudchukar jams on everybody here for characterizing “those involved in the management/production/playing of the game (as) a bunch of buffoons”, then he proceeds to piss all over Chip Caray.

        Are you bi-polar, Spud, or are snarky comments only okay when you make them?

    • bravojawja - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Not quite. Chip would know what the Sword of Damocles is. He just wouldn’t be able to work it into a broadcast as well as Scully. Or my mom.

    • dacty4491 - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      I have to listen to Chip Caray as the announcer of Braves games. I find it hard to imagine that there are a dozen other announcers who are as bad as him. It isn’t just that he’s ignorant. He’s lazy as well, and does not appear to prepare for the games at all. He got fired from his gig at TNT or TBS, whoever did those Sunday afternoon games, reportedly because he would not come to the game prepared. When he was hired by the Braves, he said that he did better when announcing for only one team. I took that to mean that he thought it would be easier to fake it. Not only have I never heard him mention an advanced stat but, I’ve never even heard him talk about on-base average or slugging percentage. His partner, Joe Simpson, occasionally mentions them, but not Caray. An announcer like Hawk Harrelson may be bad, but at least he’s a character, as were Chip’s father and grandfather. On top of everything else, he’s just plain, effing bland.

  6. realgone2 - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Chip Caray is god awful. Every pop fly is a high drive. He consitently gets facts wrong and he’s announcing style reminds me of a used car salesman.

    • sabatimus - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      Never heard him, but he’s GOT to be better than Hawk. Right?

      • chicitybulls - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        No. Not even close. Hawk is the man.

      • realgone2 - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        Hawk is just a homer I’d much rather have him announcing for the Braves. If I had my top choice it’d be Gary Thorne.

  7. Brian Donohue - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    It’s not just that he tells such stories, but how. If you’ve ever heard those great sessions between Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell (on public TV, maybe 25 yrs. or so ago) — you know what I mean. These ancient stories and characters, brought to life in an urbane, 20th c. voice. Scully does it with great art too: last year during an interleague game he got started on Hieronymus Bosch because the name of a Detroit player reminded him of the great painter of those hellish scenes. It was one of those moments where you just sat back and said, “this is why baseball is better than those other sports.”

  8. chicitybulls - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Sword of Damocles. Wasn’t that a computer virus or a doomsday device in some movie?

    • moogro - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      It was somewhere between the Scilla of a computer virus and the Charybdis of a doomsday device.

      I had a friend who made it a point to use that in every single paper, every single class, all through college. It was always awesome when the professors’ would forget it happened.

    • chicitybulls - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Now I remember. It was the disk that Cuervo Jones used in Escape from L.A.

  9. Jonny 5 - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    What? I love hearing 25 times per game how a hitter is looking for something “middle in”. I don’t hate Chris Wheeler, I just wish him to fired. Or someone would punch him in his junk every time he says that.

    • Robert Dobalina - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      He threw out the old “pitching backwards” last night when talking about Arroyo. What I wish for would be that squirrel he wears on top of his head to come back to life and bite his jugular. He is thE worst.

  10. cur68 - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Gotta tip the ole Beavermen Cap to Jack Morris last night. He wasn’t too bad with Buck Martinez & Pat Tabler. No Vin, but not bad. He did something I didn’t expect. He laughed at himself. One of Buck & Pat’s feature schticks is to make fun of how awful they were as ball players, especially in comparison to whomever was currently hitting or pitching. Morris joined them in this by describing guys that would just tattoo his stuff. He described his iron-clad belief that he could get anyone out, the subsequent sight of his best pitch being yarded into the CF seats, then his sense of “how did THAT happen?”. And laughed about it all. He was pretty good.

    No homers in that booth. Just a tremendous sense of having a good time, a laugh about life, and things they used to do when younger fellas. The best broadcasters are either the natural story tellers, like Scully, or the ones that treat it like an evening with their mates at the pub and everyone is there to comment in a witty manner on the proceedings. Buck, Pat & Jack were the latter. It was a good game, too.

    • nbjays - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      I must say I enjoy Buck and Tabby calling the Jays’ games. I agree that they have the ability to bring a sense of “been there, done that” into the game narrative, to make a point, but do it in such a way that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Most importantly, they don’t come off as know-it-alls, like McCarver or Joe Morgan often do.

      The recent KC games were great for that, both of them having played for the Royals. They even flashed a graphic the other night of their old baseball cards and stats while they each played for KC. Buck’s card highlights mentioned something about 4 RBI in an NLCS, and Tabby said “I thought that 4 RBI was for your whole Royals career”, to which Buck answered “Hey I was bad but not THAT bad”.

      As you said, Cur, good stuff!

  11. jeffa43 - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Some day Vins voice will not be around, and I am not ok with that. I don’t like the dodgers but watch them often, just to hear Viny paint pictures with his voice.

    The man is the definition of class, greatness, baseball and poetry in motion. To see a pop up drop, and to hear… “And a parachute lands safely” …. Vin is the best.

  12. kiwannabee - Apr 17, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    As a lifelong Padres fan, I have just two things to say about Vin Scully.

    Over. Rated.

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