“Oh, to be 22 …”

“Oh, to be 22 and a Dodger.” ~ Vin Scully

(Describing Dodger Rookie Yasiel Puig after a magnificent throw from right to get the runner at home and end the inning. August 31, 2013. You can see it all here.)

Oh, to be 85 and to see baseball as Vin Scully does.

I’m not a Los Angeles Dodgers fan (though my dad was, in a “I don’t like baseball, but I do like the Dodgers” sort of way).

But, I always like to listen to Vin, the voice of the Dodgers for the past 64 years. (And, soon to be 65 years, as he’s just signed on for 2014.)

He is, quite simply, the voice of baseball. Scully is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, is regularly chosen as the best broadcaster in baseball, and has been calling Dodgers games – on radio and, today, on television — since 1950. Since they were the Brooklyn Dodgers.

When I listen to Vin Scully doing a game today I imagine my dad, out in the backyard in California on a long-ago Saturday, beer in hand in his beloved green hammock, listening to a game on the radio. Vin Scully calling a Dodgers game, same as today. Only the names have changed.

And, long ago doesn’t seem all that long ago.

Whether describing a baby wearing a hat, marveling over a cloud formation, or his regular nightly depictions of the sun setting over Dodger Stadium, baseball becomes richer when Vin Scully is sharing it with you.

The world becomes sweet and timeless and precious.

So, I went to a game on Sunday. And, I took my camera (which is new and foreign and intimidating). I tried to see the things that Vin Scully would see, if he were at the park with me.

Harrisburg Senators (AA Washington Nationals team) vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA San Francisco Giants team). September 1, 2013

(Second to the last game of the AA season. Harrisburg will go to the playoffs. The Squirrels’ season will end on Labor Day.)

Squirrel Autograph Day

It was Flying Squirrels autograph day at the park. Oh, to be 22 …

more autographs

Jarrett Parker

The Squirrels’ Jarrett Parker (UVA alum) … dreaming of the AAA Fresno Grizzlies?

Having A Catch

Having a catch before the game.

upper deck

Zinger

Every team deserves a mascot (hear that Chicago Cubs?). The Flying Squirrels have two. This is Zinger. He is a giant acorn.

fans

swing

This is not a homerun swing.

Lollis homerun

This is. (The Squirrels’ Ryan Lollis, leading off the first inning.)

cotton candy

Hey, snacks!

pitchers mound

Not a good day to be a Harrisburg pitcher.

man on first

right field

Right field can seem awfully far away sometimes.

bullpen

The relievers in their bullpen. (Even minor league teams have their candy backpack … it’s over there on the ground on the left.)

old stadium

All you have to do is turn a camera button and your 21st-century game looks like 1964.

older stadium

Or, 1934. (That’s Editor/Husband on the left keeping track of the pitching changes in his program.)

overexposed

When you get cocky, your camera will change all your settings.

clouds

Some clouds for Vin.

gloves

And, just as quickly as it started, the minor league season is over. Wasn’t it just Opening Day? Where did the summer go? And, how many days until spring?

(And, Vin Scully would be disappointed if I neglected to give you the final score.  Richmond Flying Squirrels 7. Harrisburg Senators 3.)

13 thoughts on ““Oh, to be 22 …”

  1. Great pics, Jackie. Looks like you’re having lots of fun with your new toy. Okay, pop quiz: Besides the Cubs, what are the 3 other MLB teams that don’t have a mascot?
    Remember the San Diego Chicken? He was my all time favorite.

    • Hi Jan, I know this one! Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Angels! I wrote about the Cubs lack of a mascot earlier this summer, and was fact-checking to make sure I was correct. I knew about the Dodgers and Red Sox … but, I thought the Angels had their Rally Monkey mascot, but I guess he’s unofficial. And, what/who is the Yankees mascot? I think they don’t have one currently (but they used to … ) Maybe the Nationals (who now have FIVE Presidents) can loan one to the Yankees (afterall, Teddy Roosevelt was a New Yorker!)

      But, your Cubs are tailor-made for a mascot. A big cuddly Cub, for heaven’s sake, would be adorable! :)

  2. I don’t like the Dodgers in the least bit and have no ties to them emotionally, but I’ll tune in to listen to Vin Scully because he has that old school baseball voice and knowledge that I just love. Jack Buck has ruined any other announcer the Cardinals will ever have for me. Jack Buck and Mike Shannon together on KMOX was magical to me. I can listen to old games Buck announced for hours and hours. The announcers nowadays are just too goofy or something. Mel Allen doing TWIB was another one I loved. That was Mel Allen, right?

    • That’s what we do … we tune in to listen to Vin. There’s no one like him. Although I’m quite fond of Jon Miller who did Orioles games for many years and has been doing Giants radio games for the past decade or so. I’ll sit in the car just to listen to him when a Giants game is on Sirius.

      I get especially annoyed with the broadcasters who just seem like frustrated never-made-it out-of-JV ballplayers; just trying to impress us with their amazing and vast knowledge of the game (and wanting all the players to like them). (My husband likes to yell at the players … I am much happier yelling at the broadcasters.) I’ll take a former player on a broadcast any day (even the dim ones). They are much more fun.

      Yup, you’re right … Mel Allen did This Week In Baseball. Here .. you can relive the theme song …

      Catchy!

  3. I really like the photos. Interesting that the Richmond Flying Squirrels get to wear the World Series patches – even as a Giants fan, I find this a little dubious.

    Regarding Scully, I have to admit that I’m still struggling to understand what all the fuss is about. You can’t help but admire and respect his longevity and service to the game, but I find his delivery a little too laid back. In general, I prefer commentators with a more measured delivery, and can’t abide the Hawk Harrelsons of this world, so it is perhaps surprising that Scully isn’t more my cup of tea. Admittedly, I am relatively new to baseball, so perhaps I just need to listen to him a few more times to really get what he’s about.

    • Thanks for reading! And, Giants fans are always welcome on my blog!

      I think it’s a-ok for the Squirrels, San Jose Giants, Fresno Grizzlies, etc to wear the World Series patches — they serve as the finishing schools for the major leagues. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford relied on the Richmond Squirrels in their early years, and most recently, Ryan Vogelsong relied on the Squirrels just a few weeks ago to provide two critical rehab assignments (I got to see one of them — so fun to see a Giant on the mound!) The Squirrels also proudly fly the Giants/World Series flag outside their stadium … and there are lots of people in Giants jerseys and caps at the ballpark.

      Baseball is unique in the way it uses minor leagues as a school for future major leaguers, a support for injured athletes, and a “waiting room” for emergency roster moves.

      Of course, I’m an Orioles fan, and no one uses its minor league teams better than Baltimore. They should have their own expressway on I-95 from Norfolk (where their AAA Tides live) to Baltimore where players are always going back and forth — to shore up the bullpen after a long night of extra innings or to fill in when a player is injured. Their minor league teams are also well known for teaching “the Oriole way” which emphasizes defense – defense – defense. The team is on track to break the ML record for fewest errors in a season, so clearly the Oriole Way is working!

      Don’t give up on Vin! His gentle cadence and rhythym and sweet perspective on the game are nice contrasts to Hawk Harrelson and some of the other shouters on the air. But, as a Giants fan, you get to enjoy one of the very best broadcasters ever — Jon Miller stole my heart when he was with the Orioles some years ago, and I always look forward to hearing him when I catch Giants games via Sirius Radio.

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

  4. 41 years ago I was 22 and played, as you, in the minor leagues. That was before Curt Flood decision. A former player back then was looking at my dislocated finger and remarked that when I get older I’ll remember all the hurts. Well U’m passing the baton. All those slides, the throws, the swings, the running. I can move because I do yoga. I am a UM alum and UVA is now a conference rival.

    • Thank you so much for reading and for your comments. Pre- and Post-Curt Flood baseball are so dramatically different — different worlds entirely, I guess.

      And, yes, it’s so easy to feel invincible when you’re 22 … it’s hard to imagine a time when the aches and injuries that seemed so minor at the time settle into the bones as we grow older. I’m a former gymnast — and I will always feel the little long-ago injuries that my body can no longer hide. I, too, am so grateful for Yoga which has helped keep me supple and has strengthened the muscles around those old injuries. I’m always happy when former athletes come to my class — looking for another way to stay fit while helping care for the injuries that have piled up over the years.

      I’m not a UVA alum (the University of North Dakota was a hockey school primarily), but UVA is the closest place we have to baseball, so I’m always delighted to make the little hour-long drive to see some baseball in Charlottesville. But, I do love U-Maryland!

      Thanks again for reading … I hope you’ll check in again. I always appreciate the comments of the many, many readers who know the game much better than I ever will! I just know I love it! :)

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