Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, February 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 11° Clear

Grip on Sports: Ageless Vin Scully brings you back

Vin Scully’s voice transports old guys back to age 7 in pajamas sitting in front of a radio. (Associated Press)
Vin Scully’s voice transports old guys back to age 7 in pajamas sitting in front of a radio. (Associated Press)

Tuesday: Are there certain things that take you back to childhood? Certain odors or tastes or sights that transport you from this day to one years and years ago? I was able to experience that feeling last night and, yes, it was fun.

It was what I heard on the radio. The voice of god, as my best friend called it. Vin Scully was describing a Dodgers-Giants game. Suddenly, I was seven again and sitting in my closet-sized bedroom in the house up on Grandview, pajamas on and the radio tuned to KFI.

Scully might be older than Methuselah, but he still can bring it. The same catch phrases are there, still not just thrown in to fill air time, but used to illustrate a point. The same attention to detail is there (“Kemp waved Puig off but that didn’t do any good; Puig’s eyes were focused on the ball”). And the same willingness to quietly criticize someone who doesn’t play the game correctly (“That’s usually the center fielder’s ball”).

All the while his soft-spoken tones waft through the speakers, describing the same game he’s been describing since the Dodgers were in Brooklyn.

I attended my 40th high school reunion last weekend and, when we were in high school, Scully had already been calling games for 20 years. The dean of baseball announcers recently announced he’ll be back next season, extending a streak of which even Cal Ripken Jr. is jealous.

Friday: It’s Ryder Cup weekend. The only time golf acts like football or baseball or a real spectator sport.

The weird thing about golf is watching an event in person isn’t nearly as cathartic as watching it on television. You can’t yell and cheer and cleanse the soul in person. There is a reason old golf fans have ulcers. A golf clap is quiet and understated. Being a fan at a golf event is the opposite of being a Seahawks fan at CenturyLink or a Red Sox fan anywhere.

Except at the Ryder Cup.

It’s the one time golf fans get to cheer and whoop and holler. To chant jingoistic sayings. To wave flags and act like an idiot. To be completely un-golf-fan-like. If you hate watching golf, then tune in and watch a bit this weekend. You might actually like it.

Thursday: Tonight Central Valley takes on Brett Rypien and Shadle Park in a game that may feature more touchdowns than your usual EWU shootout with one of the Montana schools. But don’t expect many folks in the stands who don’t have a connection to either school.

The idea of driving to Albi on a Thursday night just to be a spectator seems to be one of those quaint traditions on life support, like delivering an afternoon newspaper or repairing watches. If you’re wondering why, just check the TV listings. Under college football there are three games listed, including a Pac-12 showdown (UCLA at Arizona State) that may just decide who wins the conference’s South Division. You can watch college football from 4:30 p.m. until the local news comes on.

Or, if you are a die-hard NFL fan there is always the now weekly game from that league to use as an excuse. The constant encroachment of televised college and professional football has broken the bond that once existed between the football fan and his or her local high school.

The Albi Thursday night games are pretty much crowd-less, though it doesn’t help the gate when even that is available in the comfort of your own home. Tonight’s game is on SWX and even though the production values may not reach NFL Network standards, it’s still on. And another reason not to leave home.

You can flip between the Pac-12 game, the NFL game, the GSL game and re-runs of Friends, all without any wear-and-tear on the Honda. It’s modern life at its best.

And worst.

Sunday: The Pac-12 has a problem. A credibility problem.

A game between No. 2 Oregon and upset-driven Washington State was coming down to the final minutes. It should have been a celebration of the balance of the nation’s second-best conference.

Instead they have to point to an area of turf where a flag should have been, but wasn’t. This isn’t about who won or loss. It’s about credibility. And Pac-12 officiating still doesn’t have any. That’s sad.

Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email

You have been successfully subscribed!