Monday, September 14, 2009

Vin Scully, on Speaking in Tongues

Vin Scully, from yesterday's telecast:

No score, James Loney will start it off.

Last night, in the ninth inning, following a walk to Casey Blake, James hit one into the crowd atop the wall in deep right center field, his twelfth home run of the year. All twelve on the road, tying people like Jose Cruz, Eddie Yost, Sam Mele. All twelve on the road.

Kenny Keltner, who played third base for the Cleveland Indians, Kenny Keltner had thirteen home runs one year, all on the road. That was in 1939. And I'm pretty sure Kenny Keltner's name is always attached to Joe DiMaggio.

Tell you why in a moment, as Loney checks in, Penny ready and delivers, and he drops a breaking ball inside, ball one.

I'm pretty sure when Joe D. had his fifty-six-game hitting streak stopped, it was against Cleveland, and in one or two of the at-bats, Kenny Keltner took base hits away. Two of 'em.

The one-oh pitch on the way is outside, ball two.

What's funny is to talk to a modern player. Last night I was saying to Loney all about the fact that he has tied Cruz, Yost, Mele, next one Keltner. He looked at me as if I was talking a foreign language.

Here's the two-oh pitch on the way, James takes off the plate, ball three.

However, I also remember the look on a young black baseball player who had no idea about Jackie Robinson. So after that I figured okay, school's not in. It's out for a long time.

6 comments:

rbnlaw said...

Knowing who Jackie Robinson was and what his life meant is required of all Dodger Fans.
No exceptions.
My kids know who he was and have read about him. They were not allowed to go to Dodger Stadium until they could tell me who he was, where he played minor league ball, who he played for in the Negro Leagues, where he went to college, what sports he played there, and the year he died.

My son hopes to go to a game before he's 20.

Seriously, they do know who he was and why we should know him, and why we are proud to be Dodger fans. Any and every young ball player, black, white, whatever, must know of him.

And, yes, I do know he was a BRUIN!

Rob said...

Ballplayers have no time to worry about the guys who played before them; they're worrying about beating everyone else on the pyramid ahead of them to the major leagues, and once they arrive there, about beating back the waves of talent designing to take their jobs away. I just can't get too excited when guys who are busting their nuts to do everything they can to help their teams win aren't conversant with a subject that isn't immediately applicable to that task.

rbnlaw said...

Ballplayers also have about 4 months of down time each year.

In other news: RIP Jim Carroll.
Another person who died, died.

Eric Karros said...

Sax, Orel - do you guys remember in high school or maybe shortly thereafter we were playing a self-invented trivia game, and the answer to a question was Jackie Robinson, and one of our other friends playing answered "Smokey Robinson"?

That memory sticks with me. If you guys don't remember it but are curious who it was, let me know (he was not one of the Sons).

Dusty Baker said...

This is why it is great what baseball has begun doing with regard to honoring Jackie every year. Baseball has often been behind the times on social issues, but the last few years they have been making up for lost time by annually honoring Jackie's legacy, educating players and fans about him and other pioneers, ramping up the RBI program, etc.

Vin's point underscores the continuing need for this, albeit in a really head-shaking context.

Ken said...

There is a difference between knowing someone whole robbed base hits from Joe D and knowing Jackie Robinson or even Roberto Clemente.

Like in history class, you don't learn about the guys who rowed Washington's boat, you learn about Washington.