This blog originally appeared on John Fleck's blog and is reposted here with permission.
I’d like to tell a Vin Scully story.
Growing up in Southern California in the 1960s, radio was a backdrop to our lives. It was the AM radio era, and KFI 640 was often on in the house, whatever they were playing. I loved radio. I would listen to whatever, fascinated by the magic.
For a time, I even listened to hockey. I had never seen a hockey game. I had no earthly idea where the blue line was or what what “icing the puck” meant. I would construct these elaborate images in my mind to match the frenzied voices on the radio.
So I listened to baseball, not as a baseball fan, but as a child mesmerized by the magic of a distant communicator telling stories. During that time, Scully and his broadcast partner Jerry Doggett would swap innings, each solo in the booth. As a youngster, there was no distinction in my mind between the two, but eventually from the background emerged Scully the storyteller.
There’s an easygoing way to his stories, a fun bit of business he’s telling a friend over the backdrop of a lazy summer afternoon at the ballpark, a circling parallel narrative that never got in the way of the day’s game, but rather filled in around it.
There was a period, memory is hazy but I’m guessing it was the early 1970s, when one of the local TV stations, KTTV Channel 11, would carry the Saturday road games, and Scully and Doggett would also do the TV play-by-play – one on TV, the other on the radio simultaneously, then switching. By that time I’d become a huge Scully fan, so I’d switch the sound and get Vin Scully for the whole game – half his TV call, the other half his radio call. I loved those Saturdays.
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