From syrup on the fingers to the best voice in baseball
Two slices of California life, if you will, while soaking up the sunshine and waiting for Scott Kazmir and C.C. Sabathia to throw down.
Given the schedule of the American League Championship Series, with its stupid, built-in day off coming Wednesday, the aim was to find a hotel close to the Big A. But you know what else is close to the Angels’ stadium: Disneyland, the 1955 original.
So the very nice hotel where I park my head this week is about a driver-wedge from the main gate of the amusement park, which means it is packed with young kids and their parents. The breakfast room each week is a spectacular scene: Little kids, only minutes away from seeing the mouse, are revved up already. Then they’re filling up their little bowls with sweetened cereals and eating pancakes with gobs of fake syrup. Yikes.
Sugar hits would be about the last thing these kids need. They’re literally banging into walls, not to mention the adults trying to toast a bagel. This morning, there was a little girl eating syrup with her bare hands, while her mother, already looking exhausted at 8 in the morning, contemplated the kind of berserk day she was in for. Fun stuff, for sure.
But the real only-in-L.A. moment came when I got out of the Big A after Monday’s outstanding ball game, the 5-4 Angel win, and hopped into the car.
The Dodgers and Phillies were entering the seventh inning and there, on the car radio, was the great Vin Scully, still handling Dodger broadcasting duties at age 81, in his 60th season of calling the team.
When you don’t get exposure to Scully, it’s easy to take for granted how good he is. And he has always been the best, for this money. He works alone, so the air never gets crowded, but because he’s not working with a partner, he always makes it sound as if he’s talking directly to the listener. The great pipes may not be what they once were, but they’re still good and his vocabulary and description still verges on literature.
I found myself driving around block after block, not really wanting to go back to the hotel and listen to the TV talking heads. Scully was making me "see" the ball game just fine. Finally, another kind of call arrived, so I missed Scully’s take on the bottom of the ninth, which consisted of the Dodgers blowing the game and, likely, their best look at the NL series. It was a great trip home, though. How will anybody ever be able to replace this guy?