Friday 31 August 2012

A Living Institution

Vin Scully is not a legendary base ball broadcaster, he is the legend of baseball broadcasting itself. If you want to know what it sounded like to hear the Don Larsen perfect game call in the 1956 World Series, one of the voices that broadcasted that game was Vin Scully's. If you want to hear one of the smoothest, most information packed modern broadcasts, listen to a Dodger home game, called by Vin Scully and only Vin Scully.

Now, I could probably point out that Vin has been baseball's great constant voice, and that he has been a Dodger employee longer than they have been the Los Angeles Dodgers. That, all by itself, is magical. Like Vin Scully, and his legacy, there's still more magic to come. Vin Scully remains happily unretired.

Vin is hardly phoning it in, either. In this season alone, he came up with a more descriptive term for the outfield shift, he learned about twitter, still thinks fast enough on his feet to lip read and edit a manager's profanity on the fly. He took a picture with Giancarlo Stanton. The young Mr. Stanton noted that meeting Vin was on his 'bucket list'. Are you an item on someone's bucket list? I didn't think so.

The baseball gods, (who control all that is uncertain in the game I love), can be fickle, but one would assume that they are pleased with having Mr. Scully as their standard bearer. Since he is not a player, the baseball gods cannot offer up a spectacular catch, or a walkoff win to Mr. Scully. They have given him the chance to call some of the greatest moments in the game. Perhaps not knowing what to get Vin this year, the baseball gods got him a bobblehead.

Now, that's really nice, but these aren't the baseball grandmas or baseball cousins working the magic here. Anybody can get a bobblehead made, but only the baseball gods can work the magic as you are coming down on the field to get the bobblehead.

From twitter:

And from the Dodgers Instagram account.

Yes, everything went exactly as well as you would expect for Vin Scully in Dodger Stadium. Plus a rainbow.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Top of the 7th: Flyout, LF (Deep Left)

A great catch is like watching girls go by; the last one you see is always the prettiest. - Bob Gibson

I'm going to go back in time a little bit here, but only about a week, to August 12th, 2012. (This blog is a labour of love, and other labours have not allowed me the time to come to this earlier.) It was in the 7th inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays held a comfortable 6 run lead over the visiting New York Yankees. Casey McGehee was the second batter in the inning, Curtis Granderson having reached base on an infield single.

McGehee launched a 2-0 pitch from Brad Lincoln over the head of Rajai Davis in left field.

To really understand what happened next, we have to add a little bit of context to Rajai Davis and his playing style. Two days earlier, Davis lost a ball in the lights at his home park, which is not unheard of, but certainly unusual. He often takes a wrong first step on fly balls, but uses his blazing running speed to overcome most of his mistakes. His throwing arm is unremarkable, which is why he is in left field, as Colby Rasmus represents a superior option in centre. Davis often appears just a bit indecisive in the outfield. He's certainly a step up from Eric Thames, and worlds apart from Adam Lind, but how he will play the bounce on a ball over his head is always a lingering question.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

A Long Season

It is a long season.

You have probably heard that more times than you can count, if you are a baseball fan. It is, mathematically, the longest season of any professional sport. 162 games in 6 months, each lasting 3-4 hours, give or take an hour here and there. That's the most time spent on the field of any sport. So, we hear, quite often, about the long season.

The length of the season, just by adding up days, doesn't really approach the problem of the Long Season, though. Those 162 games are played six or seven days in a row, on a regular basis. The limit on the number of consecutive games played? Let me give you the official wording:
(12) No Club shall be scheduled, or rescheduled if practicable, to
play more than 20 consecutive dates without an open day. A rainedout
game may be rescheduled to an open date in the same series, or
to an open date at the end of the same series, if (a) the open date is
a road off-day for the visiting Club, and (b) the rescheduling does
not result in the home team playing more than 24 consecutive dates
without an open day.
Yes, twenty day in a row are possible in the regular conduct of business in the MLB. Have you ever worked twenty days in a row at your job? Even if your job isn't the most demanding in the world, how would you think of your job at the end of a twenty day stretch. I would call it a grind. I might include a few curse words before the word 'grind', but 'grind' would be my general feeling.

Baseball is a long grind.