It was brutal, last night's 11-0 Dodger loss to the Phillies.
I was listening to the Dodger feed on my XM Satellite Radio. For the playoffs, the Dodger Network is taking a page from history. You see, during the season the principal Dodgers announcers are Charley Steiner and Rick Monday. They share the announcers' booth beginning in the 4th inning of all games, and for most road games they broadcast the entire game.
THE Dodger announcer is, of course, Vin Scully, who's been at a Dodger mic since the 1950 season. At home and West Coast games, he broadcasts the first 3 innings on radio, then heads over to the TV booth. But in this post-season, we get to go back (in a sense) to the old days, when Scully had the mic solo for most of the game, with Jerry Doggett giving him respite for a couple of innings each game. For this post-season the Dodger feed is Vinnie for innings 1-3 and 7-9. It makes all the difference.
Growing up, Vin Scully's voice was in the background whenever Grandpa Hutchinson was around (his house or ours) and the Dodger game was on. His voice echoed throughout Dodger Stadium as fans brought our transistor radios and tuned to KFI to listen to him describe the game we were watching. Just a couple of years ago, as I was driving on a September Sunday afternoon, I marvelled as Scully kept his listeners entertained as a batter fouled off something like 15 pitches in a row.
Last night, as the Dodgers were receiving a royal shellacking, Vin Scully told it straight. No whining like the more "homer" announcers we have here in the mid-west. No harsh criticism of "bad decisions" by Joe Torre, his coaches, or players. Oh, there was no doubt as you listened just how badly the game was going for Los Angeles and how they weren't executing the way the team with the best record in the National League ought to be executing. But the story is the game, and Vin is a master storyteller, bringing in all sorts of background -- one story was of when the "Whiz-Kid" Phils beat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff to make the World Series, and he didn't need to mention that it was 1950 and that he was there in the booth -- to put it all in the proper context. Baseball's a game. A wonderful game, even when things aren't going well for your team.
Sadly, the 2010 season will be his last. Then no more will a ball game begin, "Hi everybody, and a very pleasant evening to you, wherever you may be."
There's a Facebook group called "Vin Scully - The Voice of God." That's not quite right. Vinnie doesn't speak and things come into being. Rather he describes what's happening, and you are there and you understand what's going on in ways that never would have come to mind. When Scully's announcing the world is right. Evan when the game is brutal. Vin Scully - The Voice of Heaven.