I didn’t have the opportunity to hear Vince “Vin” Scully as often as Dodgers fans. My experience was often limited to the nationally televised All-Star baseball games, four World Series and four National League Championship Series that featured Scully’s iconic commentary.
Mr. Scully, who died Aug. 2, is regarded by people I respect as the best sports announcer of all time. He was 94 when he died, and had announced Dodgers games for 67 years, starting in 1950, when the team was in Brooklyn, through his retirement in 2016.
Mr. Scully received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I found a file of quotes about Mr. Scully. (They were emails, so there are no attributions.)
“Well, I’m crying again. He had such a beautiful soul.”
“I never thought I’d take hearing those words on my drive home (in traffic) for granted.”
“‘Greatest of all time’ gets thrown around a lot, but it doesn’t seem fitting enough for him. He’s all of our Grandpas. … RIP to a true GOAT.”
While we’re talking about announcers, let’s discuss some who may be more familiar, those of the Miami Marlins. I watch most of their games, but not all. Like you, I have other obligations. And sometimes, when they’re losing, as they have been lately, my friend, Sam, and I find something else to watch.
Paul Severino is the Marlins’ play-by-play announcer. He’s good enough. I wouldn’t call him a
“homer,” but you won’t hear him criticize the home team or manager Don Mattingly. He’s pretty matter-of-fact.
With several young, inexperienced players getting a lot of action, I’d like to know which of them has a shot at being with the team next year. We’re talking here of Lewin Diaz, Peyton Burdick, J.J. Bleday, Luke Williams and Charles Leblanc, who, so far, is showing he’s a quality hitter.
I’d also like to know which of the veterans will be there next spring. Severino must have an opinion. Why else would he have a job in baseball?
When the Marlins were going through a streak of winning games in late innings or forcing extra
innings, I expected Severino to show a little excitement. This below-average team doesn’t provide the announcer many such opportunities. But when they do, Severino’s demeanor shows no more enthusiasm than it does after a “regular” victory.
Severino works with several analysts, who are typically former players. Some are good, some aren’t so good. The one who makes the most appearances, I believe, is former player J.P. Arencibia, who’s also rather vanilla.
He doesn’t provide much that we didn’t already know.
So Craig Minervini steps in and gives us some interesting information. Minervini is a veteran announcer who does a nice job, but often at a distant spot, having contributed to a pre-game show or ready to do a post-game wrap-up.
Another who does a nice job – or better – is analyst Rod Allen, who’s new to the Marlins’ announcing team. Allen called Detroit Tigers games from 2003, but, as Tony Paul wrote on July 16, 2021, in The Detroit News, “It all came to a sudden end in September 2018, when Allen and
(broadcast partner Mario) Impemba got into a physical altercation in and outside the broadcast
booth at the Chicago White Sox ballpark. The dispute was reportedly over a chair.”
Both were fired. Allen was 61 at the time; Impemba, 58.
Allen, who was a Marlins hitting instructor in 1992-93, isn’t shy about telling it as it is, even predicting what type of pitch is coming from the Miami pitchers and criticizing when the pitchers cross up the catcher.
The other analysts include Tommy Hutton, a veteran player and former analyst with the Marlins;
Gaby Sanchez and Jeff Nelson.
Kelly Saco does a variety of assignments for the pre- and post-game programs. So does Jessica Blaylock, who has done similar work for several years, as well as working with the announcers for the Florida Panthers hockey team. Both do credible jobs.
It’s a nice collection of announcers, but they’re no Scully. Perhaps no one ever will be. What do you think? Let me know at [email protected]