On Monday, we posted some heretical nonsense about Vin Scully not actually being that good. In rebuttal, you could probably just assert that he's the best there ever was and leave it at that. But it's more fun to prove it.
There's a tendency when praising Scully to reach back to the era of Maury Wills and Don Drysdale, or to dust off the recording of Sandy Koufax's perfect game.
Again, 51,819. Last night we had the sellout crowd of 56,000. And you can bet there'll be a sea of red in St. Louis. Two balls and two strikes to Loney, with two out, ninth inning, 2-1 Cardinals. Franklin set, ready. Ryan delivers. Fastball lined to left field — coming up in a hurry to grab it and drop it is Holliday. Loney goes into second base. Oh, what a big break!
Matt Holliday had the game over and somehow missed the ball with his glove. It hit him right in the groin. Hopefully he's wearing a cup. And it landed in front of him. You talk about a painful error for Matt Holliday. So Juan Pierre will run for Loney. So Pierre carrying the tying run as the Dodgers get a monumental break. And there was no reason. No sunshine. No dappled shadows and sun as we had earlier. It was just the ball hit at the left fielder and it seemed to handcuff Holliday. And looking at the replay it never even touched his glove. It just caught him right amidships in the groin.
So the tying run at second base on a huge error by Holliday. He had accounted for one of the two Cardinal runs with a home run in the second inning. So one minute he's wearing the cape of the hero, now he's on the edge of wearing the horns as Casey Blake comes in with Pierre at second and two out. Casey Blake has lined out to third, grounded to first and flied to center. And this crowd of 51,000 back up on their feet again. The game should be over and it isn't.
Holliday doesn't touch the ball again. But as the Cardinals fall apart, Scully keeps circling back to him, working his way into his head. That's where the drama is, and Scully doesn't miss it. When Ronnie Belliard ties it with a single, Scully goes back to left field, where he finds “the loneliest man in Los Angeles.”
He's also in complete command of the language, dropping little metaphors and turns of phrase in between the balls and strikes, milking the empty spaces in the game. After a passed ball and a walk, he checks on Holliday one more time.
“Can you just imagine the thoughts of Matt Holliday in left field?” he says, just before Mark Loretta wins it with a single. “I think you can. A lot of the times you say there's no way I can figure out what the guy is thinking. I think you can figure out Matt Holliday right now.”
He does this almost every night. Dodger fans are lucky to have him back for another year.