Yes, we have a new example of Vin Scully showing why he's the best.
To set up, I was in San Francisco over the weekend and saw my first game at the Giants' AT&T Park. Sunny and warm afternoon, and there's basically nothing bad to say about the stadium or the experience. Take the Muni streetcar to the park, cross the street, walk through the Willie Mays Gate, gawk at the sights before the game, enjoy the game, exit in five minutes, back on the streetcar in ten. (The Giants beat the Dodgers 4-2, which put the natives in a celebratory mood, though they seemed pretty cordial anyway — even with the occasional Beat LA chant. Lots of Dodgers jerseys and hats in evidence.) There's no denying, AT&T Park on a nice day makes Dodger Stadium feel dated, woefully behind on the food, drink and fun options, and absurdly difficult to reach. I also caught snippets of the guy who I'd favor as the next broadcaster for the Dodgers, should they ever need one. "Easy listening," my wife said upon hearing Jon Miller for the first time.
The stadium announcer, by the way, opened the day by informing the crowd that there had been a plane crash that morning at SFO, and she asked for a moment of silence. She got it, after people stopped gasping. Many did not know of the breaking news just a few miles away (this was a 4:15 game.) During introductions of the rival Dodgers' lineup, the booing stopped at Yasiel Puig's name for a few seconds of murmuring. It felt like a mix of curiosity and respect, though of course the fans loved it later when the Giants' ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner struck out the rookie three times and made him look like an over-swinging kid each time.
During the first inning, the Giants' popular catcher Buster Posey came up third and stroked an RBI double to left. After Pablo Sandoval followed him, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly emerged onto the field and showed the home plate umpire his lineup card. Busted: the Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, had written in that Sandoval was supposed to hit third, then Posey fourth. The umpires caucused and called Sandoval out, reset the score to 0-0, and sent Posey back up to hit again — this time as the official fourth batter of the inning. Posey flied out this time. End of inning. The beauty of baseball.
They never really explained the snafu to the stadium crowd, though it could only have been a batting out of order violation. On Twitter, I saw that LA Observed contributor Bob Timmermann quickly posted it was the first batting out of order event in the major leagues since June 19, 2010. Jon Weisman of the Dodger Thoughts blog added it was the first involving the Dodgers since 1994. I suspect that Jon Miller explained it well for the Giants fans on radio, and that Vin Scully more than covered it for Dodgers fans.
OK, so here's the real reason for this post. The following day, during Sunday's game, Scully revisited the incident. While telling that story, he inserted a story from his first season with the Dodgers in 1950, and he narrated the present game. I didn't hear it, but I think it's probably better as written literature. The transcript is posted without comment at Sons of Steve Garvey, because no comment is really needed. Read it there, but here's how Scully begins.
Pablo Sandoval the batter. You know, the Giants had a first-inning mess-up yesterday, when Posey and Sandoval — actually, it was Posey who hit out of turn.
Sandoval, who was supposed to hit, was then declared out. Posey, who had doubled in a run, then had to come back up a second time, flied out for the third out and that was the end of the inning.
But the Giants went on to win the game anyway, four-two.
The pitch, way outside to Sandoval, ball one.
I remember my very first year, maybe the most outrageous hitting-out-of-turn moment, I mean, really. It was against the Cubs, Chicago Cubs, in Ebbets Field back in 1950. The manager of the Cubs was Frankie Frisch, the Hall of Famer.
Here's the one-oh pitch, Sandoval swings, fouls it, one and one.
Frisch went to Fordham. He was called the Fordham Flash. I went to Fordham. I was not called the Fordham Flash. And we both knew of each other's background, and I went in to get the lineup from the manager.
And he said — in those days, they had to fill out three cards. And he said, "Well, I already filled a card out. I gave it to Spud Johnson. He's out on the field."
I said, "Okay, Mr. Frisch, I'll go upstairs."
"No, no, no," he said. "Don't go away, I'll give you the lineup."
One-one pitch is swung on, lifted around second base. It's Mark Ellis waiting, and makes the catch for the second out.
So, Frankie Frisch gave me the lineup and printed out two cards...
Meanwhile, in his Variety TV analyst hat, Weisman writes that Fox needs Yasiel Puig to make the All-Star team and enliven the network's broadcast of the game.
Noted: Miller said during Sunday's game (won by the Dodgers) that Barry Bonds was in the ballpark. I had no idea that he was even welcome at a major league stadium.