As I type this, we’re just minutes away from the much-anticipated debut of (mildly controversial) Nationals phenom Bryce Harper. The Nationals take on the Dodgers tonight in Los Angeles. Because of that, Vin Scully will have the distinction of calling Bryce Harper’s first Major League Baseball game.
You know who else had his debut called by Vin Scully?
Mickey Mantle, who retired—retired—forty-four years ago.
Mickey Mantle, who died seventeen years ago.
Scully called his first World Series in 1952. When he was 25. No one else that young has ever called a national World Series broadcast.
If Bryce Harper is three-fourths the player the Nationals believe him to be, he’ll be in the majors for at least a decade. That would put his retirement somewhere in the vicinity of 2025, or seventy-five years after Scully did his first Dodgers game for radio and television.
This year, like last year, and, to a lesser extent, like the year before that, is supposed to be Scully’s last. I think we can take Scully at his word that his retirement will come to pass this time. Particularly in a world with graceless homers and forgettable Fox Sports Net carbon copies manning local broadcasts, baseball without Scully will be a slightly less-appealing game.
I miss him already.