VIN Scully. The voice of the Dodgers. The voice of the San Fernando Valley. The voice of Los Angeles. No doubt about it, one of the best things about living in L.A. is being able to listen to Vin Scully broadcast Dodgers games. The Los Angeles Dodgers might have ended the baseball season on a dismal note, but the award-winning Dodger sportscaster finished it off on a “high-larious” note, by smacking a grand-slam comedic homer out of the park. Last Sunday, Scully completed his 58th season as the Dodgers’ premiere broadcaster. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityMagic is exactly what Scully has brought to baseball broadcasting. Doing both the play-by-play and the color, he saves the listeners from a montage of conflicting voices and unending, mind-numbing monotony of detailed analysis of every player’s most nuanced gesture. The only magic he hasn’t been able to work is a pennant for the Dodgers. Often he plays the Jewish or Italian momma and is a down right “noodge,” telling people to drive carefully to and from the stadium. Not a day game goes by without him telling the fans to slather on the sun block. No one knows how he does it. He probably doesn’t know himself, but he can be in the middle of a story, call a play, and immediately pick up the thread of the story without missing a beat. At season’s end, it’s not unusual to hear him give us the play-by-play of three games at once, while keeping us posted on which team is vying for what position in the standings for the playoffs, which is exactly what he did during the last three days of the season. After 58 years of calling games, Scully has seen everything on the field and in the stands, from perfect games to no-hitters, from records broken to championships won and lost, from players rushing the field to fans behaving badly. In all those years, there’s only been one thing Scully couldn’t do, one elusive thing that he confessed on-air that he’s always wanted to do. Say three little words: Who’s on first. That was until Chin-Lung Hu, a native of Taiwan, joined the team at the beginning of September. Pronounced “who,” Hu’s first hit as a Dodger was a homer in a game with the San Diego Padres. Touching first base was all that was required, not visiting it. His second game appearance resulted in four round trips from the bench to the batter’s box and back to the bench. In the next game against the Arizona Diamondback, Scully uttered something that’s still cracks me up, “Let’s hope Hu get’s a base hit, folks. I can’t wait to say Hu’s on first.” They say that three’s the charm. Game three. The Dodgers were still in Arizona, and voila! Hu gets his first single. Scully took a deep breath and said, “OK everybody. All together … Hu’s on first!” When Vinnie said he couldn’t wait to say “Who’s on first,” I laughed for days and listened closely waiting for it to happen. The moment would be too priceless and it was. I’m still laughing, and so is Scully. Chin-Lung Hu can’t do anything without us being able to hear the chuckle in Scully’s voice. The only times he suppresses it is when he says the shortstop’s full name. As long as Vin Scully calls Dodgers games and there are kids out there to listen, they will not only learn about America’s pastime, but Scully will teach them about Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First,” which is perhaps the most famous comedy routine that has been immortalized in comedy history. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are also the only two men who never put on a baseball uniform, or played for any professional baseball team, who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Perched in the audience in comedy heaven, Abbott and Costello must be smiling down on Dodger Stadium, Vin Scully, Chin-Lung Hu and all the fans, because now an entirely new generation of fans will get in on the joke, and finally … Hu’s really on first! Sandy Sand is a resident of West Hills and former editor of the Tolucan.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
“It’s a pretty tough area. It’s a pretty mountainous area,” he told reporters. “Nothing would be simple.” In Washington, Pentagon officials said they could not confirm news reports of airstrikes. “I don’t know of any Turkish airstrikes in that area today,” Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock, Joint Chiefs of Staff operational planning director, said at a Defense Department press conference. Separately, a senior defense official said there is increasing frustration at the highest reaches of the Bush administration with the Turkey-Iraq situation; that the Iraqis understand this; and that there is growing sympathy with the Turkish position that something has to be done. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the U.S. military believes the Turks would “like to avoid a cross-border military operation on the ground if they could.” In congressional testimony Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Iraqis are taking steps to crack down on Kurdish rebels. The U.S. has told Turkey that retaliatory attacks would have a “destabilizing effect,” she said. Few of the U.S. military forces in Iraq are along the border with Turkey, but there is ample air power available. U.S. officials have said repeatedly in recent days that U.S. forces are tied up with the long-running fight against insurgents and the al-Qaida in Iraq group elsewhere in the country.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands – Pentagon chief Robert Gates said Wednesday he saw little sense in airstrikes or major ground assaults by U.S., Turkish or other forces against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq until more is known about their locations along the border. His comments to reporters during a break in a NATO defense ministers meeting suggested U.S. concern that Turkey will open a large-scale offensive across the border into the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. That area has been one of the most prosperous and peaceful parts of Iraq in recent years. Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships reportedly attacked positions of Kurdish rebels just inside Turkey earlier Wednesday, and Turkish leaders in Ankara discussed the scope and duration of a possible offensive. Turkey’s leaders face demands at home to stage an offensive in northern Iraq. Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – known as the PKK – rest, train and get supplies in relative safety in the area before returning to Turkey to conduct attacks in support of their goal of autonomy in southeastern Turkey. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.At a news conference in this seaside village, where defense ministers of all 26 NATO member countries gathered to discuss their efforts in Afghanistan, Gates was asked to assess the prospects of the U.S. military launching airstrikes in support of Turkey’s efforts against the Kurdish rebels. “Without good intelligence, just sending large numbers of troops across the border (from Turkey) or dropping bombs doesn’t seem to make much sense to me,” Gates said. The defense secretary was questioned about whether his sense of the limitations on effective military action applied to U.S. as well as Turkish strikes. “For anybody,” he replied. Adm. Michael Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told soldiers at Fort Riley, Kan., that the border situation is complex and any incursions across it would be a difficult undertaking. Asked later whether the U.S. is considering airstrikes, Mullen said he would not disclose any military options at this point.