The Tao of Vin Scully XIV: Dave Caldwell

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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== Dave Caldwell (linked here), the voice of Cal State Northridge basketball, who has also done high school sports in Santa Clarita since 1998:

“Preparation, preparation, preparation. There is no such thing as too much preparation. When I listen to Vin Scully, he weaves his stories about players and the game with such little effort that it is clear he simply has a vast knowledge of the subject. The only way to get that knowledge is reading, talking, asking questions and creating a trust with those who play the game.

“This desire to prepare, I believe, comes first from his love of the game and it’s players. A fan doesn’t watch or listen to a game on the radio because of Vin Scully, or any play-by-play sportscaster. A fan cares about the game. He or she has a passion for the sport and its participants. Vin adds to that fans’ experience by emphasizing what is important in the game and all that surrounds the game. I have always felt that what is on the field or court in front of me — the players, coaches and the game itself — is far more important than I am. Have no ego … be filled with humility. That is Vin Scully.

“As my career progressed, I understood that more and more. As I would listen to Vin I could sense that humility, his sense that nothing is bigger than the game and all that truly matters is how it is played and by whom. He loves the game of baseball, and out of that passion comes the desire to learn more about the people who make the game so great. What matters most is the person playing the game. Treat him or her with great dignity, admiration and respect, until proven otherwise.

“My lesson? Understand the players and participants first. Know who they are and why they do what they do. They are the reason I and all who watch or listen are here. Spend time talking with these players and coaches, even the officials and administrators. I have always come away feeling richer for the conversation. I found it enhanced my own pleasure of the game and it added greatly to the experience of the viewers and listeners with whom I communicate.

“There is a craft to this play-by-play gig, but it is the art that matters more. And like a good pilot, if you get to the end of the journey and you are happy with the trip, you don’t need to know who the pilot was but you sure are appreciative when you meet him.”

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