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Vin Scully: “and that’s the story of Mike Matheny and the bird poop”

Jun 27, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

Scully Rainbow

Yes, Vin Scully is good at describing the game action, but it’s not like he’s Al Michaels “Do you believe in miracles!” intense or anything. He has had a ton of great and dramatic moments, of course, but what sets him apart is how easy and pleasant he is to listen to over the long haul of a game and a season.

His thing is telling stories. That’s key to his flow. You’re watching a three hour game and your attention simply can’t be on the X’s and O’s all the time — and the less said about the “talking to hear myself talk” business of color commentators the better — so Scully provides a respite every inning or so with some bit of background on a player or manager. An anecdote or an obscure fact or two, seamlessly woven into his play-by-play. “Uggla” means “owl” in Swedish, for example. Or this player likes to play the sousaphone. When people try to describe how Vin Scully is relaxing to listen to, the stories are essential to that.

They’re not all beautiful gems, of course. Heck, I’d say most of them aren’t. They’re goofy a heck of a lot of the time and if anyone other than Scully was telling them you’d probably have a lot of “um, oookaaay” sort of reactions. Mostly because the story teller would laugh at himself or be self conscious about it.

For example, can you imagine anyone telling you a story that contained the line “and then a pigeon defecated directly on his head” without guffawing and losing his forward storytelling momentum? I don’t think anyone but Vin Scully could. And that’s what he did last night, describing how a bird crapping on Mike Matheny’s head in Ann Arbor one fine morning helped him decide to stay in school:

  1. Francisco (FC) - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    My Life is Complete.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      The #CardinalWay!

  2. kycardsfan - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Vin Scully is the absolute best

  3. drewy44 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Sadly, instead of Vin last night, we were all treated to Tim McCarver. The anti-Vin.

    • kycardsfan - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      I may be in the minority, but I love that he is on some Cards broadcasts this year. I think he works well with Dan.

      • beepbeepbeeplgb - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        i agree with you ky fan. i think him n dan do a pretty solid job. yeah they’ll go on some dumb tangents from time to time, but for the most part it’s pretty interesting. McCarver is much better doing cards games than national games because he can tell cool stories about the old days. Lots of Gibson talk. Besides, anything in the world is better than the combo of Rick n Al.

      • bfunk1978 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Not in the minority at all. Or maybe I’m there with you. I was totally against it when I first heard he was going to be doing games, but it turns out he’s really pretty good. Maybe it was Joe Buck I should have been hating all along.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        He’s not bad. Not fantastic, but not bad. I think Fox’s gimmicks like Scooter the talking cartoon baseball at WS time made him look worse than he is.

        And, right on Joe Buck. He’d rather do NFL anyway. (And he’ll probably be teh suck on golf next year too.)

      • scruffmagee - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        He makes me cringe every time he tries to say players’ names

        Bore-Joes….. really?

      • gpollak - Jun 27, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        I like both of them, for entirely different reasons. It’s apples and oranges. But Vin IS baseball. Simple as that. I used to live in LA and couldn’t stand the smog, the lack of seasons, the phoniness. Only thing I miss is Vin Scully.

  4. paperlions - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    This story provides great insight into Matheny’s in-game decision making process.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      When a pigeon craps, he changes pitchers?

      • paperlions - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        I think so. Fair territory = lefty; foul territory = righty

  5. asimonetti88 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    We have been so lucky to have a couple of the greatest in the business here in LA with the late Chick Hearn and the great Vin Scully… I’m not a Dodger fan but I’m making sure to enjoy as many Scully broadcasts as possible because there’s unfortunately never gonna be another one like him.

    • mikhelb - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Not to forget Jarrín with the Dodgers since 1958 doing the narrations in spanish, one of the greatest announcers of baseball all-time.

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrin!

    • baberuthslegs - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      Same here. Well said.

  6. mikhelb - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Jaime Jarrín (who has been with the Dodgers for almost the same amount than Scully) does the same thing in spanish, come to think about it almost all spanish speaking classic announcers still call games that way. Guys from the new school (specially Puertorican, Venezuelan and Dominican) have lost that. I loved to listen to Mario Thomas of the Padres call games, thank god his “replacement” Eduardo Ortega continued that tradition, its a treat to listen to them.

  7. drewzuhoskydaily - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Reblogged this on DrewZuhoskyDaily! and commented:
    Farmer John’s…

  8. Brian Murphy - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Scully also told an in-depth story during this game of a World War II general who won the Medal of Honor. The general’s name was Jonathan Wainwright.
    Oh, he doesn’t share any blood with last night’s pitcher, Adam Wainwright, but Scully said he couldn’t let the moment pass without saluting another Wainwright for his service.
    Dude’s got stories.

  9. miguelcairo - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Sometimes I wish Vin was my grampa.

  10. mazblast - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Vin tells lots of stories, but he also knows how to use silence to tell one. Younger broadcasters seem to think half their pay is tied to how many words they say, and half to how little space they put between them.

  11. mazblast - Jun 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    One other thing. Vin tells the story while keeping the audience at least somewhat informed about THE GAME. My local announcers couldn’t care less about what’s actually happening; they think I tuned in to hear about their ice cream eating habits, the quality of local golf courses, or their team’s hack press release of the hour. God forbid they should tell us the score, the batter, the pitcher, the count, runners on, and little freaking things like that.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Bear in mind, Vinny comes from the radio era, when if he didn’t tell you, you didn’t know. And even with TV, for many years Vinny did simulcasts. If we’re watching on TV nowadays, with a score box, there is less need for that info to be spoken. And when your locals annoy you, there is always the “mute” button.

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