The Tao of Vin Scully III: Ross Porter

As a professional play-by-play man, what can you learn about your craft simply by listening to Vin Scully today?

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== Ross Porter (linked here), former Dodgers play-by-play man for 28 seasons (1977-2004):

“No. 1: Be objective and not partisan. An announcer’s credibility is highly important. The audience needs to believe what is being reported is accurate and not biased. The broadcaster may be paid by the team he is covering, and can want that team to win, but should not use the word “we” in his play-by-play.

“No. 2. Take advantage of crowd noise and don’t overtalk. When Henry Aaron hit home run 715 in Atlanta, Vin described the homer, then removed his earphones, rose from his seat, walked to the back of the broadcast booth, took a drink of water, and then returned to the microphone.

“No. 3: ‘Less is more’ has always been one of his mottos. That includes doing numerous interviews or commercials.

“No. 4: Don’t listen to other play-by-play announcers. Be yourself on the air and don’t risk imitating others by using the same phrases.

“No. 5: A preference for one voice at a time on the air. Red Barber had the philosophy that the play-by-play broadcaster should be talking only to his audience, not conducting a conversation with a ‘color’ man in the booth. Are the Dodgers the only team like that?

“No. 6: Barber also taught Vin the importance of doing your homework. Part of that involved being at the ballpark early to talk with managers and players. That approach has changed over the years. The ability to find interesting information on the internet, through media notes and guides provided by the public relations departments of the teams, and sources like STATS, Inc., has become equally important.

“No. 7: The play-by-play announcer is on the air to describe what is happening on the field. He’s not there to report second-hand information which may have been relayed to him by other sources. An example was an altercation between Don Sutton and Steve Garvey in the Dodger clubhouse at Shea Stadium in 1978. None of the announcers saw it so what were they to say?”

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