It was the story telling skills that set Scully apart from every other broadcaster

Emptying the notebook and the crevices of a cluttered mind to wind up yet another week.

The loss this week of the peerless Vin Scully has taken away the single best baseball broadcaster that I, or anyone else, have ever heard.

His greatest gift?

The ability to weave stories seamlessly into his work that entertained and informed and provided viewers and listeners with some great anecdotes to help pass the time.

And we need more of that, we need more storytellers and fewer bloviators, we need human stories rather than raw numbers, we need fun combined with insight and far less intrusion than we generally get.

We need this:

Look, I know it’s hard job this carrying of a long broadcast, and the default position is always stats and what happened in yesterday’s game and the intricacies of the moment. I sure couldn’t do it and I admire those who can.

I also understand that the needs and desires of listeners and viewers are different today than they were maybe a decade ago but I refuse to believe they are better. I honestly think that a simpler time was indeed a better time.

But the special ones can do more and we don’t have enough special people any more. And no one – before, now or in the future – is, was or will be at the Scully special level.

I can honesty say there has never been a more successful marriage between broadcaster and his sport than Scully and baseball.

Big moments? Oh yeah, he knew how to let them breathe, too; and no one who heard this will ever forget it.

Damn. He was the gold standard.

It’s obvious that the so-called “trial” of American basketball star Brittney Griner was a well-orchestrated Russian farce and sham perpetrated with the full blessing and involvement of the Kremlin and Putin and designed solely to continue to have a hostage that can be at the centre of negotiations from which Russia extract something it wants from the United States.

I certainly understand and support all the calls to bring her home to the U.S. and hope with all my heart that negotiations for her release are quick. But geopolitics is a weird business and now it’s just that – a negotiation with a dangerous, intransigent Russia.

Maybe the upshot of all of this is that never again does a North American athlete go play in Russia. That would be the most sensible thing, to me.

Looks like there are a few questions for Ye Olde Mailbag in the inbox but I haven’t looked too closely to see how hard or elaborate they are.

I do know I’ve got an assignment tomorrow that’s going to eat into a ton of the day so if I can start this afternoon before Friday Patio Time With Baseball Steve, that’d be good.

So click on [email protected]hestar.ca today and start me on my merry way, please.

Anybody who says they didn’t see this absolute meltdown and crisis in Ontario’s health care system coming years ago is either delusional or a rabid supporter the most purely evil government I’ve seen in Canada in half a century.

And both of those are shameful.

Oh, and where’s the accounting of every single dime the federal government GAVE the province during the worst of COVID because we deserve to know how many of Ford’s cronies and supporters got rich off the shattered families of so many Ontarians.

Novak Djokovic’s out? Good.

We’ve got rules and they are important and if you don’t want to adhere to them there are repercussions and consequences and I am quite fine with them.

I do remember a time when newspapers and wire services and television broadcast outlets would have dedicated personnel and resources (read: money) and time and space to both the Commonwealth Games, which end this weekend; and the Canada Summer Games, which begin this weekend in the wonderful Niagara Region.

It’s understandable in a way that we don’t. Staffing levels, expense, the too-important reader “numbers” suggest it’s what has to be cut but part of me thinks we’re somehow cheating readers and ourselves by not going and finding good stories to tell well.

But I will urge all my pals in St. Catharines and the Niagara region to find a way to see some of the Canada Summer Games if you can. In 10 or 15 years you may be watching some Olympian or world champion or some star on some professional team and be able to say: “Yeah, I remember seeing her in 2022.”

Right, the Raptors.

It was certainly cool to run into Kyle Lowry at Nick’s golf tournament on Wednesday and Nick was pretty open about bits of his roster and what they have to do and I got a couple of okay stories out of the day because Kyle was really good answering questions he probably wasn’t expecting.

Also ran into a bunch of behind-the-scenes friends to catch up with – Johnny and Kevvy in the same cart was two of the greats in one ride – and it reminded me just how great a job this is.

I just spent a week where I got to talk to and convey the stories of guys like Lowy and Nick and Julius Erving (there’ll be more with him here Monday but suffice it to say he’s a big fan of Nick and Vince Carter) and the incomparable Wayne Embry.

I have no idea how much longer I’ll get to do this job but I hope it’s forever because, man, it’s fun.

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