As we were hanging out at the LakersNation.com booth this past weekend at the Nike 3on3 Basketball Tournament, Brian Champlin from Mantuitive.com told me a story about hearing Vin Scully saying "Fuck" over the air. I loved it so much, I had to repost it here:
It was the summer of 2002. I had just finished college but was still slumming it in Isla Vista while working a day job at a law office in downtown Santa Barbara. We lived across the street from the beach. We still threw keggers on the weekend, still cat called girls from our balcony and still imbibed ridiculous amounts of alcohol not because it was prudent, but because we could. I had my own room. Life was good.
On weekdays I'd often come home ready to cut loose and relax. Sometimes this involved drinking copious amounts of booze, sometimes it meant just sitting back and enjoying a ball game. It was in the latter case where the following scenario played out:
We were watching a Dodger home game. A night game, as I recall. My friend S-man and I were on the lower tier of our house's stadium seating setup, eating dinner, minding our own business, unaware that fate was about to reach out and shake us. Only the main TV was on.
(Footnote: We had two TV's so that during programming conflicts between sports and entertainment we could settle disputes. Example: Everyone who we lived with enjoyed Monday Football but some were also some avid fans of Boston Public. Solution? MNF plays on mute while BP plays on in stereo. BP ends just as the final 2 minutes of MNF are finishing so it kind of worked out. Oh, to live in a world before TiVo)
Now, a quick aside on Vin Scully. He's an institution. The Chick Hearn of baseball announcers. Actually, you might even say that Chick Hearn was the Vin Scully of basketball announcers. Either way, Vin is incredible. The one thing Frank McCourt could never have screwed up. Of course on this particular night, it was Scully who tripped himself.
At some point during the middle innings an obscure batter who's name escapes me stepped up to the plate. Scully introduced him in his usual fashion, imparting details both pertinent and non, both banal and yet fascinating in their minutia, going on in his folksy up and down cadence that draws you in like a lullaby.
But as Vin was elaborating on one of his anecdotes we were surprised by a sudden pause. A few moments of dead air went by then were followed by this shocking revelation: "Some guys like to fuck," we heard from the TV.
S-man and I looked at one another, too stunned to speak. Finally one of us shattered the awkwardness, "We both just heard that, right?" Yes, we had and we were both certain it was Scully's voice that had uttered the words.
The obscenity was followed by a quiet cackle, a boyish laugh that a six year old might offer if caught trying to bring candy into the classroom. The laughter quickly faded and then came another long pause. The silence seemed to stretch into eternity.
At last Vin's voice reemerged, continuing as if nothing had happened. We couldn't believe it. No acknowledgment. Not a peep. The next day I looked far and wide for some echo of Scully's remark. In The Times and The Register and anywhere I could think of. No one seemed to catch it.
I chuckle looking back now because this event unfolded in a time before Youtube and Twitter and Facebook had taken hold of our cultural zeitgeist. If Scully had done the same thing in this day and age it would be uploaded on the internet faster than you could say landlines (landlines, lol).
But it didn't. And now S-man and I are scarred by the incident forever, not just by the obsurdity of it, but by the mystery of not knowing if it really happened. It's a topic that inevitably comes up every year at our fantasy baseball draft and it always makes for a good laugh. Maybe in a way it's better to have some doubt.
Of course that summer would go on. The Angels would win the World Series and we attended a key playoff game at The Big A where the Halos stormed back against the Yankees. It was the birth of the Rally Monkey.
But even now I still wonder about that night. Was he talking to someone off mic and forgot to hit the cough button? Was this just mental slippage due to senility? Perhaps a practical joke by some soon to be fired tech guy? Did we make it all up in our minds or did it really happen?
I guess it will just always be one of those stories... that time I heard Vin Scully use the F-word.
Brian Champlin is Editor-In-Chief of mantuitive.com
He is also a fervent Los Angeles apologist and occasional off color humorist.