Olbermann: Vin Scully is a legend, but not a saint

From SABR member Keith Olbermann at GQ on September 22, 2016:

n Friday, April 9th, 2004, Royce Clayton of the Colorado Rockies—his new dreadlocks cascading out from under his helmet—strode to the plate at Dodger Stadium to lead off the top of the 8th. Far above him, broadcasting perhaps his 8,500th ballgame, Vincent Edward Scully thought of something.

“You see Clayton’s hair and you think of Johnny Damon,” Scully said, pausing, to let the mental image form of how Damon had that season added a long flowing brown beard to his long flowing brown hair. “You seen pictures of Johnny Damon in the papers? Red Sox outfielder?” This kind of aside had long been a standard Scully ploy: utilize an endearing anachronism to help the viewer or listener live up to Scully’s subtle-but-powerful demand that they work hard at multi-tasking and follow not just his broadcast of the game but also his sidebars, which flow like the Mississippi—and he’s Mark Twain, piloting the riverboat while he’s telling you stories about life deep in the woods behind the banks. “Two-and-oh. Holy Mackerel! I tell you who he reminds me of. Only me, now.”

There was no actual pause before what came next. But to all of us watching Vin Scully do just another Dodger regular season game, time stopped to allow us to try to guess where Vin was going with this. One of his viewers—me—at home and under the covers, well past midnight in New York (and thank you baseball satellite package), assumed he would make the obvious, but perfect, analogy between the hair and beard of Johnny Damon and the hair and beard of Jesus Christ. In that split second I was wondering how in the hell he’d do it without leaving the possibility of offense, because in broadcasting today if you’ve gone 67 days without offending anybody you’re either a dreadful bore or a master of collegial decorum, and Vin Scully has gone 67 years without being a dreadful bore or offending anybody.

Read the full article here: http://www.gq.com/story/vin-scully-is-a-legend-but-not-a-saint

Originally published: September 22, 2016. Last Updated: September 22, 2016.