In the summer of 2003, I ordered satellite TV for the MLB Extra Innings package, which allowed me to watch every televised baseball game. What a treat. See, I don’t watch much TV. Keeping my eyes open and fixed on a box drains my enthusiasm generally, unless a beautiful or fascinating series of images draws my eyes to it. Radio, now that is more my thing, and unless I am at a ballgame or at Sophie’s bar, I am usually asleep or listening.
On those spring nights back in 2003, I would come home late from work just in time to turn on the west coast games. If I was lucky, I had missed only an inning or two, and distress arose only when I couldn’t find the games fast enough to switch during commercials on what seemed like 500 stations. No MLB Mosaic had they!
At first I figured it just made sense that I would end up watching the Dodgers most often. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I was born and raised a Dodger fan. (Now, STOP NOW. This is not the time. You think it was easy becoming a Yankee fan? I DID my time. 15 years. Without baseball, that is. I couldn’t watch a game for 15 years after leaving LA in September 1981. Not that I didn’t watch the Series that year. I SAID STOP. You’ve got me all upset. Back to the story. OK?)
Soon I realized there was more to the attraction. Dodger Stadium is peaceful, orderly, and beautiful, like a Dodger home uniform. I found myself drawn to the cordial, courteous, grammatically pleasing, and, yes, mellifluous tones of Vin Scully broadcasting to me from Dodger Stadium, unencumbered by company crowded into the sound booth with him. I remembered that voice. When I first heard his voice as a child in LA, I had never heard of Brooklyn, which is where I work now. Isn’t that something? As Mark Gremse would say, "That’s baseball." Remember him? I was his favorite Dodger fan.
Accustomed to the YES (Yankees Ever Superior) Network anchors I call the SuperFriends because they seem to broadcast in teams of 4 or more (Kay, Kitty, Kenny, Bobby–did I leave anyone out? O’Neill?), I was struck by the moments of silence in Scully’s game. No plays missed during the punchline of someone’s joke. No tension waiting for the inevitable interruption by whoever’s slacks are too tight tonight. No anxiety over whether the game is interfering with Michael Kay’s beauty sleep (code word: unmanageable) No patter. No filler. Just the game. Calls. Observations. Questions. Speculations. Analysis. Reminiscences, of Branch Rickey?!. Now that’s baseball.
Now, I have a fast computer and broadband internet connection. What else do I have? MLB All Access and MLB Mosaic. All Vin Scully, any time.