The Tao of Vin Scully VI: Charley Steiner

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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== Charley Steiner (linked here), the Dodgers’ radio play-by-play man since 2005:

“Be exceptionally well read. He reads every section of the newspaper, especially all the little things that are often overlooked that he somehow can make a reference to at the appropriate time because he’s in a conversational medium, with all these points of references you never know where they’ll fit. He then has the ability to pick out items that range from today’s news to ancient history.

“Any athlete will also tell you that they have the ability to slow the game down. Baseball is at his pace. He may be a beat behind a play, but that’s by design — whether it’s an eighth of a second of a half second or a full second. That’s probably the biggest lesson I learned (in 2009) in a game in San Diego (when he thought the Padres had lost a game to the Dodgers when a runner was thrown out at third but they actually tied it and forced extra innings because a runner scored ahead of the play). It’s better to back off a second and be right than be in front of it and be wrong. There’s no safety net in those situations.

“I’ve had the opportunity during the Dodgers’ recent runs in the playoffs to be in the booth with him (on radio) and actually watch him work, and I still marvel at his work ethic. How many people do you know in any line of work who’ve been at it for 60-plus years? I don’t know any. And he’s done it in a very public setting better than anyone ever has. No one can make that claim.

“Having seen so much, he also can put things into context, and know when to raise his voice to the event taking place on the field.

“At the end of the day, it comes down the fact there isn’t much he hasn’t seen, he keeps the listener engaged, and he has impeccable timing. In the course of three-and-half hours, 98 of it is describing baseball, and the other things floating in his head, he manages to use it at the right moment. Then, you throw in the voice, and that makes him Babe Ruth.”

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