Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vin Scully Is A Peach...Jolly Rancher Fan

Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew just posted a wonderful interview with Dodgers legend Vin Scully, which effectively balances reverence with some of the more personal, whimsical questions I've seen in a Scully profile piece. Some highlights:

David Brown: I heard you like Jolly Ranchers candies. Are they the things that really get you through broadcasts?

Vin Scully: No, what it is, working alone, you're talking a lot — especially when you're doing three inning simulcast [on the radio] and then six more on television. And I often thought, "I can't drink any water" because the inner tide would cause me to have to rush off to the men's room. And that would not be too good.

And I thought, "What I need is something to moisturize my throat without actually drinking any fluid. So I had some hard candy — whatever it was — and what I do is, it sits quietly [in its wrapper] until the third out. I'll put it in my mouth — I don't keep it in there, just a couple of swallows and then I'll take it out — and then maybe three outs later, maybe nine outs later, I might do it again. And I've found that it helps a great deal. [...]

DB: I've heard stories about thousands of fans bringing transistor radios to the games to listen to you as they watched in person. Wasn't that disorienting, to hear your voice out there?

VS: No, not really. It always bothered the engineer, who was controlling the broadcast. I never heard it, in all honesty. I was just too busy jabbering. The transistor radio was probably the greatest single break that I had in Southern California. It enabled me to talk more to the fans — and to elicit a response. We sang happy birthday to Frank Secory the umpire; I had a lot of fun asking them ... at one time, the balk rule said you had to come set for "one full second." Well, I had a lot of fun with the crowd, saying "OK, well let's see what you think a second is." Then they would respond. So we had a lot of fun. [...]

DB: And you briefly managed a game one time?

VS: Two pitches. It was [then-Dodgers manager] Walter Alston who called. They had won the pennant the night before. It was a Sunday and several [players] had overindulged or had been over-served. All of the sudden the phone rang in the booth and it was the manager (from the dugout). We were good friends and he was laughing and said, "Look, you've always wanted to manage — it's your team." I said, "Really?!" We were in commercial, and he says, "Yeah. The only thing is, you have to give it to me right away (snaps fingers), you can't wait. Right away!"

Well, I had a good pal, Ron Fairly, who was my mother's favorite player — he was left-handed and red-headed — so he fell right into her category. Anyway, I told the crowd that I was the manager and they got a big kick out of it, that they would know in advance (what the team was going to do). So I had Ronnie going, stealing second, and the first pitch was fouled off and he was tired, over-served, whatever, and I'd talk to the crowd and say, "Gosh, I hate to do this. But I'm going to run him again." Every time Ron would look at the third base coach, his head would snap and the crowd would roar, because they knew — for the only time in their lives — exactly what was going on. The second time I ran him, the ball was in the dirt and he he slid or collapsed into second base for a stolen base.

At that point, I was looking to [stop] because I didn't want — I think it was the Braves — to think I was making fun of them. I respect the ego of the major league player. So I told Alston over the air, "OK, Walter, I've taken you this far. It's your team now." [...]

DB: Do you have any idea how many frequent flier miles you've accumulated? How many times you've flown on an airplane?

VS: No, no. I know, with American Airlines, I'm over 3 1/2 million. But all of the others, I have no idea.

DB: Do you get your own plane when you're over 3 1/2 million?

VS: No [laughs]. I think they sent me a plastic paperweight when I got to 3 million.

Make sure to click on the first link to read the whole thing; it's well worth your time. Nice job, David Brown!


Josh S. said...

The audio's the best part.

Fred's Brim said...

you can hear Ryan Theriot grounding out to third in the background

Fred's Brim said...

"Sweet, sweet lady..."

I thought he was quoting Homer's "sweet sweet caaandy"