Sign Up for
Google Alerts!

content headlines
sent out every day
email us to sign up





Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

opinon in
Reagan country



Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news


Michael Ramirez
editorial cartoon


Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today




tOR Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]




Doug Gamble- Contributor

Doug Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]

Vin Scully – The Best
The broadcaster is top of the list…
[Doug Gamble] 5/11/05

If there were a Mount Rushmore for baseball broadcasters, Vin Scully’s face would be on it.

The incomparable voice of the L. A. Dodgers is now in his 56th year of play-by-play broadcasting, going back to the Brooklyn years, a landmark unequalled in all of sports. Ernie Harwell, the now retired Detroit Tigers announcer, held forth for 55 seasons.

This short column can’t do justice to Scully’s brilliance and his contribution to America’s great national pastime, nor can I find words that would come close to matching his vaunted eloquence. But to put it simply, like Johnny Carson among late night talk show hosts or Frank Sinatra among popular singers, he is the best at what he does.

This assessment is borne out by baseball historian, author and former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, Curt Smith, whose latest of 11 books, “Voices of Summer,” ranks Scully atop a list of baseball’s 101 best baseball announcers of all time. Smith uses a unique ranking system, with each announcer assigned from one to 10 points in 10 categories including longevity, continuity, language, popularity, persona, knowledge and others. Only Scully scores a perfect 10 in each category.

Announcer Hank Greenwald once said, “Football and basketball carry the announcer. The announcer carries baseball.” Scully continues to prove how insightful those words are.

In his broadcasting craft he is like both a painter and a poet. He faces the start of each game as an artist does a blank canvas. Armed with a pallet of eloquence, insight and resonance, he applies verbal brush strokes of color and texture throughout the game until another masterpiece has been created.

His poetry surfaces often, as when he described a base runner on second hoping to make it home, with a nod to “Death of a Salesman,” as a “tiny ship” seeking “safe harbor” or referred to a cheap base hit as “a humble thing, but thine own.” He once said, “He catches the ball gingerly, like a baby chick falling from a tree.” And as the afternoon receded toward the end of a game, what he saw inside the stadium was, “twilight’s little footsteps of sunshine.”

And Scully sometimes waxes philosophical, as in, “Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day to day. Aren’t we all?”

His broadcast of the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs in 1965 is considered a classic. In a profile of Scully for an internet site, writer Gary Kaufman says a transcript of Scully describing the final three outs reads like a short story. “It had tension, rising and falling drama and great turns of phrase. And it came off the top of his head at a moment when, like the man whose feat he was describing, he knew he had to be at the top of his game.”

But Scully also knows when his silence is golden. When Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th career home run against the Dodgers in 1974 and Atlanta fans went wild, Scully actually rose and temporarily left the booth. “I didn’t want the temptation to talk over noise,” he said.

Smith, who refers to Scully as “baseball’s Laurence Olivier,” says he proves that it isn’t necessary, even in today’s culture, to dumb down a product to lure an audience. “Scully lures through skill, work and an extraordinary affinity for language,” he told me.

Thanks to audio streaming on the web, this Southern California treasure now invites baseball fans throughout the country and the world to “pull up a chair.” Millions know that what baseball is to America, Scully is to baseball. And as he sets a new record for longevity with each broadcast, it’s great to know he apparently still hasn’t reached his personal bottom of the ninth. tRO

California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly column for the Orange County Register and

Copyright 2004 Doug Gamble




Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005