Confusing times call for word therapy. Thus, some fresh thoughts for a Friday:
- Southern California’s Summer of Baseball Love comes to an end this weekend with the final broadcasts of legendary baseball announcer Vin Scully from Dodger Stadium, followed by The Last Broadcasts next weekend at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
Some Northern California fans may chafe at the adulation given Scully throughout the season, given how well they’ve been served in all major sports by Hall of Famers Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons and Jon Miller, not to forget one who should be a Hall of Famer in Bill King.
Yet Scully is very much a part of Northern California sports history as well, at, of all places, Candlestick Park.
His last network call of the NFL was the Cowboys-49ers NFC title game, remembered simply as “The Catch.” Check it out here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAjvGFO3Ruc
A great 49ers moment, of course, and an even better one for the #NeverCowboys crowd, but the quality of the announcing is as good, if not better, than some of the dreck peddled out on the networks nowadays.
And, in 1989, Scully was behind NBC’s mic for Game 5 of the 1989 NLCS, when Will Clark drove in the runs that propelled the Giants past the Cubs and into the World Series and a date with the Athletics as well as the history books, thanks to the Loma Prieta earthquake. You can watch that here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGXnWDwcAoI
Me, being a Giants fan, I prefer Hank Greenwald’s radio call. But note how Scully employs a classic technique for television sportscasting, letting the roar of the crowd and the pictures tell the story.
So, pleasant retirement, Vin. Thanks for spending an evening with us. And do feel free to resume rooting for the Giants after all these years.
- Meanwhile, the major political parties are getting ready for the first debate of the general election season. What will happen? I think Trump wins on sound bites, but Clinton wins with coherent ideas on policies. That means it will come down to the talent and swimsuit competitions.
- It’s unfortunate the rules don’t allow for a free debate, such as we saw between Matthew Santos and Arnold Vinick on “The West Wing.” But even this might be too much drama for a race that’s become dominated by style instead of substance.
- And if you’ve got the boxed set or a streaming service that offers “The West Wing,” the Santos-Vinick debate is a must-see. I think I learned more about how the major parties approach things in a conventional campaign than in a lifetime of observing the political scene. Not that there’s anything conventional about this cycle’s race.