On June 29, the Mets played the Dodgers in Los Angeles. R.A. Dickey was pitching, and I turned the game on, half-listening because I was working at the same time. Vin Scully read through the Dodgers' lineup, and then he started introducing Dickey. Here's what he said:
Here is R.A. Dickey. Robert Allen Dickey out of Nashville, Tennessee. Went to the university. Was the #1 pick by the Rangers way back in 1996. Quite a lengthy article about him, Jim Peltz wrote it in the Times. And the best way to describe Dickey is to quote him. What kind of a man are you? And he said, "Father. Husband. Christian. Pitcher. Author. Adventurer. Star Wars nerd. Reader. Ninja in training. And cyclist."
And knuckleball pitcher, and the first one is outside to Dee Gordon, ball one."'
It was poetry. All Scully was doing was reading the words of another man, as printed in a newspaper. But it was poetry. I rewound it and listened to it six times. It might be obvious to think the "Star Wars nerd" was the best part, but that's probably the thing that first made me stop what I was doing.
I knew that Scully was quite probably the greatest baseball broadcaster to ever live before he introduced Dickey. Nothing he did during that half-inning changed my mind. That's when I realized Vin Scully can do anything. He's distilled magic, a gift from someone who is looking out for us.
And it's a shame that we get that voice only three hours a day, about 100 games a year. I don't have a lot of money, but I would pay extra to hear more Vin Scully in my life. Sometimes it would be a direct payment to a company using his voice, or other times it could just go into a central fund that pays Scully to lend his voice to things he might not otherwise do.
With that in mind, here are a brief and partial list of suggestions. Your job is to read them with Scully's voice in your head.
The voice on the GPS included with my phone is obnoxious enough that I choose not to use it. I would rather get lost. But a Vin Scully GPS would be tremendous.
About 50 feet up, on your right-hand side, you'll see Gough St. Now, Gough is named for John Bartholomew Gough, a famous orator of the 19th century. The subject that made him famous, however, was temperance and anti-alcohol crusading. Which makes it especially ironic to know that Gough St. is now home to scores of bars … take a left here on Franklin … of all different varieties and themes, including "Smuggler's Cove", a tiki bar with a pirate theme.
I don't drive nearly as much as I used to, so I'm out of the audiobook game. Scully would get me right back into it, though. Say, A Clockwork Orange ...
"What's it going to be then, eh?"
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim … and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening … a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry.
Or Naked Lunch ...
I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train … Young, good looking, crew cut, Ivy League, advertising exec type fruit holds the door back for me. I am evidently his idea of a character. You know the type comes on with bartenders and cab drivers, talking about right hooks and the Dodgers ...
Or -- and I can't express just how much I would pay for this -- anything from Cormac McCarthy.
See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves. His folk are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has become a schoolmaster.
None of those opening passages have been altered at all. Now how much would you pay for the Blood Meridian one? I'd start with $100, but you could bleed me dry if it came down to it.
I don't listen to them. You don't either. But of course we all would if Scully were doing them.
Now boarding at Gate A5 for Qantas, flight 108, Los Angeles to Sydney. Please make sure you have your luggage, and do not leave any bags unattended. Thank you for flying Qantas.
Now, the name "Qantas" might seem odd for not including the "u" after the "q." It isn't breaking the rules of the English language, however, as it is really an acronym. The name "Qantas" stands for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services." If you wonder why they didn't adopt the "u" from "Queensland", well, that would be a question for the founders, Paul McGinness, Fergus McMaster, and Hudson Fysh. Now, Fysh was a lieutenant in the Australian Light Horse Brigade …
Now this is a stretch, as I don't want them to remake 2001: A Space Odyssey. By the last scene, when Bradley Cooper is talking with Joouros, the robot partner he met at the academy, you would forget all about the brilliant performance by Scully as HAL 9000.
But it would be a brilliant performance. Don't you worry.
I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm afraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
It's called "Daisy Bell," and it was composed by Harry Dacre in 1892. Now, it was made popular by Katie Lawrence in '92, but that popularity was mostly confined to song halls. The surviving wax cylinder of "Daisy Bell" was sung by Edward M. Favor, with Thomas Edison himself said to do the recording. Now …
Guest starring on popular albums
This was just an excuse to leave this here:
Anything. Let me know what I have to do to make any of this a reality. I'll tithe if I need to.
A quick story: I watch most of my out-of-market baseball on my Playstation 3, which means I use the controller that's usually reserved for video games to navigate MLB.tv. One night, while watching a Dodgers game in San Diego, I was listening to the Padres announcers, which was the default setting. When I realized what was going on in the fifth inning, I pushed a few buttons and suddenly Scully was calling the game.
The thrill and rush of endorphins felt like the first time I beat Super Mario 3 as an 11-year-old.
It's January. Spring is approaching. And with it, more Vin Scully. If he can do some other things on the side, that would be swell. If not, though, let's just remember how fortunate we are to get Scully calling baseball games.