There’s no game today, and perhaps that’s just as well; the less we have to think about yesterday’s missed opportunities and the possible news that Clayton Kershaw could be lost for not only the rest of the year but part of 2013 as well, the better.
So I thought, what’s the go-to when trying to lift the spirits of Dodger fans? The same as it’s been for decades: Vin Scully. You can imagine how pleased I was when I woke up exhausted on Sunday morning, dragged myself to the couch, flipped on the TV, and saw the unexpected treat that was “CBS Sunday Morning” doing a feature on Vin… and then of course Sons of Steve Garvey had to go and beat me to recapping it.
But no matter! We have something just as good. On Saturday, Baseball Prospectus held an event at Dodger Stadium, complete with guest appearances from Logan White, Steve Garvey, & Vin himself. I was unable to attend for obvious reasons, but reader “Real Tom” made plans to attend based on my posting about it a few weeks ago, and provided the following report. Sounds fun! (Vin Scully is My Homeboy shares some videos of the event provided by BP.)
I got to sit 7 feet from the mic, so I got to speak directly with Vin and Logan during the questions-answer sessions. There were less than a hundred people there, I think. Everyone was cool, and just about everyone had great questions. Highlights:
1. Vin opened the event with a question-answer session led by Dan Evans. He talked about the birth of his career, playing college baseball against President Bush at Yale, calling Aaron’s 715th homer, liking Luis Cruz, and not caring enough about the new Yankee Stadium to actually make the trip out. He said that he would have called the Yankees series next year if the old stadium was still around, but basically said that the new place simply didn’t mean much to him. He also pointed out that the Padres series was starting the next day in SD, and that it would be difficult to call both. He was charming, thoughtful, and Vin-like. They opened up discussion to the group, and I got to ask Vin about his relationships with other broadcasters. He was perfect. So so perfect. He made us laugh on several occasions.
2. Logan White and Dan Evans spoke for a while, and then opened up discussion to the group. He was incredible. It was obvious that White is grateful to Evans for giving him that job all those years ago. White talked about tricking other scouts into thinking he would take Kershaw with the 28th pick in the first round rather than the 7th. He talked about the impact of “area scouts,” particularly concerning the drafting of Matt Kemp. He discussed the evaluation of college players versus HS players. He claimed that the new CBA actually helped make this the Dodgers’ best draft in years (he said that it might be the best since 2002). It was a little complicated, but I believe he suggested that restricting teams from paying over slot actually made the picks less risky. He talked about Yasiel Puig being a physical beast, and about his detailed analysis of potential players and their families. At the very end of his question-answer session, he mentioned that the Dodgers just got a letter of intent from a 16 year old Mexican pitcher that throws 94 MPH, Julio Urias. He seemed reluctant to say it at first, but then acted kind of giddy and shared about the kid anyway. I got to meet him and ask a question, so that was awesome.
3. The unexpected guest was Steve Garvey. Apparently, he and Evans are friends. That dude is a charmer and a story teller. One could say he’s similar to Scully, if Vin Scully’s anecdotes were all about himself, and if every story subtly suggested he belonged in the hall of fame. I particularly enjoyed when he talked about his conversations with Bill James regarding the fact that he’s not in the Hall. If that interaction was featurd on a reality show, I would watch it. Seriously. I’ll paraphrase only because I didn’t have a recorder, but he basically said “Bill tells me he just cant quantify my consecutive games streak, or my MVP award, or….” and I can’t remember the rest. Steve Garvey was much more entertaining than I expected. I just loved the idea of Garvey arguing with Bill James about his Hall of Fame qualifications.
4. I sat in front of Jonah Keri during the game, and we briefly bashed Colletti together.
5. Most importantly, I got to hang out with a bunch of cool baseball people while wearing a STOP BUNTING shirt. Steve Garvey and I got into an argument over the shirt, and he somehow suggested that bunting less would only hurt our chances at winning. When I suggested that Mattingly likes to bunt too often, Garvey said that players often make the decision on their own. That’s when Evans started talking about how players and managers no longer hold the same loyalties to each other as they did years ago, pointing out that managers can get thrown under the bus. That’s when I realized that I was shooting the shit with Dan Evans and Steve Garvey. And that was awesome.
Overall, I got to speak with some incredibly smart and unaccessible people, and it cost me about the same amount as parking/entry/food. It was a really cool day.
A “Stop Bunting” shirt, you say? You mean, like the kind that our very own Eephus Blue has been selling? The very same: