Scully remains unique among MLB changes


Returning to call Dodgers games for a 66th straight season, Vin Scully makes watching baseball a truly unique experience in this era of sports broadcasts.

Scully, who has announced Dodgers games since the team’s days in Brooklyn, still calls the games solo and with a tact that is unparalleled in today’s landscape of overproduced, busy and loud baseball broadcasts.

Despite current efforts to speed up the pace of play to make the game more palatable to the modern fan, Scully’s style is a reminder that baseball is not a game meant to be played or commentated on at breakneck speed. It is a sport of strategy, long payoffs and tension, which builds over the course of nine innings.

Scully takes this to heart, as he has for decades, filling the airtime with expert detail about players, anecdotes informed by over a half-century of baseball history. His delivery leaves the perfect amount of space between his words, allowing the crowd and the sounds of the game to fill in where a color commentator might interject on other broadcasts.

For baseball fans of the current generation, there is literally no one else like Scully remaining. Bringing his well-honed radio broadcast style to television, Scully has remained steadfastly classic in the way he chooses to narrate a game. But during the later parts of his career, the presentation of baseball, particularly on television, has changed dramatically around him.

The industry standard for baseball television broadcasts has become commentary teams, flush with one or two color commentators, sideline reporters and break-ins from studio teams. This approach clutters broadcasts with a hectic style and a pace that is hardly befitting of the speed of the sport it is meant to present.

FOX’s network coverage of the World Series and the All-Star Game is reflective of these trends and has become so overly stylized that it almost seems the broadcast dictates the speed of the game and not the other way around.

With modern baseball so pragmatically concerned with its pace of play, it has re-shaped the way the sport has been presented in an unfortunate manner. Perhaps it is indicative of the instantaneous way fans consume sports media in the age of the internet and streaming video, but perhaps it is also a misstep that is irreparably shifting the sport (or at least the way it is meant to be enjoyed from one’s home) into becoming something wholly different altogether.

This is why fans, particularly in Los Angeles, should cherish the experience of listening to Vin Scully calling a baseball game. As the sports reporters and producers continue to tinker with rules and broadcast techniques in an effort to reach the next generations of fans, there is value in recognizing part of what has made the experience of being a baseball fan so great for generations.



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