Today marks the 60th anniversary of legendary announcer Vin Scully calling Dodgers games. As usual, he had all the right words to describe the moment:
I feel only overwhelming gratitude. You feel blessed that you’ve lived that long, that you’ve been allowed to do what you love to do for that long, and that my health has held up all those years. It’s humbling to think that you’ve been that fortunate and that God has blessed you with that time.
That first team, the so-called “Boys of Summer,” that was my graduating class. I mean, look at the team then. I had Don Newcombe, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Billy Cox, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo, and Carl Erskine. That was such an amazing collection of players, so I guess that was the team that made the most impression on me.
Scully is 82 years old and no longer travels with the team beyond the West Coast, but remains my favorite announcer in all of baseball. In fact, he’s so good and so fun to listen to that I actually use him as motivation to exercise, putting on Dodgers games while doing late-night sessions on the elliptical machine. And if you’ve seen me, you know that’s really saying something.
I’m a lifelong Minnesotan with no strong feelings about the Dodgers and exercising is perhaps my least favorite thing in the entire world, yet Scully makes working out while watching Matt Kemp and company a treat. Here’s hoping for many more years in the broadcast booth for Scully, or at least as many as it takes for me to shed another 30 pounds or so.
Congrats, Vin. It takes someone truly special to be the best for 60 years.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.