to listen to Vin Scully broadcast Dodgers games.
The Los Angeles Dodgers might have ended the baseball season on a dismal note, but the award-winning Dodger sportscaster finished it off on a "high-larious" note, by smacking a grand-slam comedic homer out of the park.
Last Sunday, Scully completed his 58th season as the Dodgers' premiere broadcaster.
Magic is exactly what Scully has brought to baseball broadcasting. Doing both the play-by-play and the color, he saves the listeners from a montage of conflicting voices and unending, mind-numbing monotony of detailed analysis of every player's most nuanced gesture.
The only magic he hasn't been able to work is a pennant for the Dodgers.
Often he plays the Jewish or Italian momma and is a down right "noodge," telling people to drive carefully to and from the stadium. Not a day game goes by without him telling the fans to slather on the sun block.
No one knows how he does it. He probably doesn't know himself, but he can be in the middle of a story, call a play, and immediately pick up the thread of the story without missing a beat.
At season's end, it's not unusual to hear him give us the play-by-play of three games at once, while keeping us posted on which team is vying for what position in the standings for the playoffs, which is exactly what he did during the last three days of the season.
After 58 years of calling games, Scully has seen everything on the field and in the stands, from perfect games to no-hitters, from records broken to championships won and lost, from players rushing the field to fans behaving badly.
In all those years, there's only been one thing Scully couldn't do, one elusive thing that he confessed on-air that he's always wanted to do. Say three little words: Who's on first.
That was until Chin-Lung Hu, a native of Taiwan, joined the team at the beginning of September. Pronounced "who," Hu's first hit as a Dodger was a homer in a game with the San Diego Padres. Touching first base was all that was required, not visiting it.
His second game appearance resulted in four round trips from the bench to the batter's box and back to the bench.
In the next game against the Arizona Diamondback, Scully uttered something that's still cracks me up, "Let's hope Hu get's a base hit, folks. I can't wait to say Hu's on first."
They say that three's the charm. Game three. The Dodgers were still in Arizona, and voila! Hu gets his first single. Scully took a deep breath and said, "OK everybody. All together ... Hu's on first!"
When Vinnie said he couldn't wait to say "Who's on first," I laughed for days and listened closely waiting for it to happen. The moment would be too priceless and it was.
I'm still laughing, and so is Scully. Chin-Lung Hu can't do anything without us being able to hear the chuckle in Scully's voice. The only times he suppresses it is when he says the shortstop's full name.
As long as Vin Scully calls Dodgers games and there are kids out there to listen, they will not only learn about America's pastime, but Scully will teach them about Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First," which is perhaps the most famous comedy routine that has been immortalized in comedy history.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are also the only two men who never put on a baseball uniform, or played for any professional baseball team, who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Perched in the audience in comedy heaven, Abbott and Costello must be smiling down on Dodger Stadium, Vin Scully, Chin-Lung Hu and all the fans, because now an entirely new generation of fans will get in on the joke, and finally ... Hu's really on first!
Sandy Sand is a resident of West Hills and former editor of the Tolucan.
By Sandy Sand – Los Angeles Daily News - 10/07/2007