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Vin Scully is to Dodgers what Harry Kalas was to the Phillies


The first time I heard Vin Scully  was on the 1980 World Series Highlight Film between the Phillies Vin Scully. Photo: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sportsprose/vin-scully.jpgand Royals. After watching the credits to see who the narrator was, I immediately thought of Harry Kalas, whom up to that time was the only baseball broadcaster I had heard whose voice rivaled Scully's. Shortly after that day, I started watching NBC's Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons, and from that point on heard Scully's voice on a regular basis. Being that my sister now lives near the Los Angeles area, I have the pleasure of hearing Scully call the Dodgers games when I go out to visit and the team is on the West Coast.

On Sunday, Scully announced he would be returning to the Dodgers for his 62nd season behind the microphone. Scully, 82, was expected to possibly announce his retirement today. According to Scully however, he just couldn't stay away.

And who could blame him?

Vin Scully is an institution to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Similar to and even more so than what Harry Kalas was to the Phillies. Scully had been calling Dodgers games for more than twenty years before Kalas joined the Phillies in 1971. Kalas and Scully were quite familiar with each other since the Phillies and Dodgers squared off four times in the NLCS during Kalas' lifetime (there would be a fifth time in 2009). In fact, when Kalas passed away last year, the always classy Scully even paid tribute to him.

Vin Scully's name draws more national attention than Kalas' did. In fact, Scully Harry Kalas photo: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2009/04/13/2009033873.jpghas often been heralded at the greatest announcer in the history of sports. Not because of talent (I honestly prefer Kalas' voice over Scully's), but for several factors. One of them being the wider spectrum of an audience that Scully had as opposed to Kalas. Scully certainly capitalized on his fame more than Kalas did. Although Kalas did voiceover work for NFL Films as well as commercials, baseball fans could usually hear Scully every Saturday afternoon as well as World Series Games and All-Star Games ("Bo Jackson says hello!") for decades. Scully was also a broadcaster for the NFL as well as an announcer for the PGA Tour.

The overall success of their respective franchises is also a factor here. Let's face it, the Dodgers have more of a winning tradition than the Phillies do, and Scully was on hand for six Dodgers' World Championships. Kalas for just two with the Phillies (calling only one World Series winner).

I'm sure the reported $3 million a year Scully gets for calling Dodgers games (now usually only on the West Coast) doesn't hurt. But at his age (in addition to his longevity), it's clear that Scully isn't doing it for the money. Much like Paul McCartney and his love for playing live, calling baseball games is what Scully does best. Just like McCartney and music, it's practically all they know, and they would probably both be lost without their respective crafts.

So if Vin Scully continues to do what he does and he does it well, he should stick around for as long as he wants.

Baseball is definitely better having him around.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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