Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Video: President Barack Obama introduces Vin Scully at Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony

15 Comments

Last week, it was announced that retired Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The medal is the highest honor given to a civilian, meant to honor those “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The ceremony was held on Tuesday afternoon at the White House. Scully was one of 21 recipients. Others included Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bruce Springsteen.

Here’s video of President Obama introducing Scully:

The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds. You hear the crack of the bat, you got the crowd singing in the seventh-inning stretch, and you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully. Most fans listen to a game’s broadcast when they can’t be at the ballpark. Generations of Dodgers fans brought their radios into the stands because you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories. Most play-by-play announcers partner with an analyst in the booth to chat about the action. Vin worked alone and talked just with us. Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations. When he heard about this honor, Vin asked with characteristic humility, ‘Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.’ And we had to inform him that, to Americans of all ages, you are an old friend. In fact, I thought about him doing all these citations which would have been very cool, but I thought we shouldn’t make him sing for his supper like that.

2017 Preview: The National League West

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

Getty Images
3 Comments

For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics