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Dodgers’ Vin Scully ‘One on One’ From the Booth

After 60 years in the broadcast booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully says he still gets goose bumps. In an interview with Jeffrey Brown, the hall of famer discusses his first big break, the thrill of baseball, and his "one on one" approach with the fans.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Finally tonight, a very special baseball story. This weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West Championship. Jeffrey Brown profiles the man who has called the Dodgers' games for 60 years.

    VIN SCULLY, sports broadcaster: It's time for Dodger baseball.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    It's a voice that generations of Dodger fans have grown up with, savored, loved…

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Ground ball to third, backhanded by Blake. He straightens up to throw him out. Easy inning for Randy Wolf…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In Los Angeles, but also incredibly going all the way back to Brooklyn in the 1950s.

  • VIN SCULLY:

    The pitch at the right ankle of Andres Torres, ball one.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And at age 81, in his 60th year as a radio and TV broadcaster, Vincent "Vin" Scully still feels the thrill of it all, most of the time.

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Oh, sure. Now, admittedly, there are days where you think, "You know, I'd rather sit under a tree and read a book than go to the ballpark."

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Yes, everybody has those days, right?

  • VIN SCULLY:

    But what's great is, you come to the park, you do the routine stuff, and then the crowd comes in, and the team takes the field, and the crowd roars. And all of a sudden, you're delighted as a kid in a candy shop.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    That's exactly where you want to be.

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Exactly.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In an age when the sports broadcast booth is crammed with two or even three announcers, Scully still prefers to work alone…

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Sanchez a strike, and the count 0-1.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … giving the play-by-play, describing every moment of the action, and providing the color…

  • VIN SCULLY:

    One ball and one strike to Freddy.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … the stories and details that entertain and enlighten his audience. His style, mastery of language, and, yes, longevity have made him a legend in sports circles.

    It all began, he says, with lessons in attitude from his mentor, Red Barber, another broadcasting great, who gave Scully his first big break and brought him into the booth in Brooklyn in 1950.

  • VIN SCULLY:

    One of my many jobs as the junior partner of the broadcasting firm would be to get the lineups every day. And let's say that one day I brought up a lineup where Smith was hitting in front of Brown. The next day I brought a lineup up and Brown was hitting in front of Smith. Red would ask me, why? And the first time he asked me why, I didn't know. However, after that, I knew. And that was part of Red: Be there early, be very well-prepared, and then you're ready to go on the air.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Who are you talking to when you're doing the game? I mean, you're one of the few who still does it alone for the most part. So who are you talking to?

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Well, first of all, I have to make people understand, it's not an ego thing. It's not that I just want to be on all by myself. This goes back to Brooklyn, where Red's philosophy was simply this. If I want to sell you a car, is it better for me to talk to you about the merits of the car or talk to so-and-so and have you listen to our discussion about the merits of the car? Red always felt that it was better to talk one on one.

    So what I'm doing, I'm talking to the listener. And I will talk. I'll say, "Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you," or…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    "I forgot to tell you."

  • VIN SCULLY:

    Exactly, talking — because I don't want the microphone to be in the way. I want them to know I'm sitting next to them in the ballpark talking.

  • DODGERS FAN:

    You've got the best job in the world.