Buried within his daily column, Salon’s King Kaufman takes note of a wonderful moment on Friday night when Dodger announcer Vin Scully let a ninth-inning confrontation between Dodger closer Takashi Saito and Angel slugger Vlad Guerrero speak for itself. The Golden Throat of baseball history told his listeners, “Boy, when you get a matchup like this, Guerrero and Saito, I think the best thing to do is shut up. Just, uh, you concentrate, and I’m gonna have some fun myself.”
Watching the scene myself on Friday night, I thought back to Scully’s artful handling of Nomar Garciaparra’s game-winning home run in the now-legendary 4+1 game:
Leftfielder Roberts had already turned back to face the plate as the ball went over the wall as pandemonium broke out both in Dodger Stadium and in my own private viewing box; somehow I managed to keep from waking my wife. The Dodgers dogpiled at home plate as Scully, with admirable restraint, let the celebratory scene do the talking.
Two minutes later, the master of the mic remarked enthusiastically, “I forgot to tell you: the Dodgers are in first place!” Another minute of crowd shots and stadium noise passed, un-Scullyed, before he finally signed off: “I think we’ve said enough from up here. Once again, the final score in 10 innings — believe it or not — Dodgers 11, Padres 10.”
I remember showing that clip to Alex Belth a few months back, just after he’d commented that there wasn’t anything particularly memorable about Scully’s calls during the four consecutive homers that had transpired the previous inning. Alex left my home whistling a different tune.
Once again, thanks to Vin Scully for giving the gift of his understated style.