Patterico's Pontifications

8/3/2022

Vin Scully, 1927-2022

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:08 pm



[guest post by JVW]

It should never come as a surprise when a man dies in the ninety-fifth year of his life. By that point he has already gone well into extra innings. Nor is it a tragedy in the same way that the death of one in youth or in middle-aged — cheated out of the honor of combing grey hair as the old Irish saying goes — affects us, as we tend to fall back on the cliche that the deceased elder “lived a full life,” whatever we mean by that.

But yesterday’s passing of Vincent Edward Scully somehow carries with it a special pang of regret that one might not ordinarily feel for a man who had enjoyed such a long life. Perhaps because up until six years ago he still worked as the broadcaster on Los Angeles Dodgers home games, we had forgotten how few were the sands which remained in the hourglass of his life. To many of us who love baseball, it seemed that we would always have Vin Scully behind the microphone explaining to us the intricacies of a well-executed squeeze play or relating an anecdote about Duke Snider or Maury Wills or Davey Lopes or Shawn Green or any of the thousands of other players he covered in his 67-year career. We remember and cherish the great calls he made during a lifetime of indelible baseball moments (and, let’s not forget, he has his share of memorable football moments too). We recall his wit, whether it was the way he provided the play-by-play of a baseball fight (in which he read a player’s lips and sanitized the audio translation as, “That’s bull fertilizer!”) and placed it into the context of the game, or when he related the story of how getting bombed by a pigeon convinced Mike Matheny to remain in college and led him to meet his eventual wife, or when he displayed his deep erudition on the topic of beards, all woven within the regular play-by-play of the game. His knowledge of the history of baseball was vast, befitting one who in his boyhood met Babe Ruth, and he was a credit to the Jesuit education he received first at Fordham Prep and then at Fordham University, in an era when the Jesuits could still be taken seriously. He’s likely the last man from bygone days in which broadcasters worked in radio and thus understood that they had to hold the listener’s attention during the game since there were no visual images to see. I doubt that any play-by-play man will ever again be so consistently interesting.

Like so many other people who are almost universally admired and widely loved, Vin Scully’s personal life inevitably contained elements of tragedy. His first wife died young from an accidental overdose of medicine fifteen years into their marriage, leaving him to raise their three children. One of those children, his son Michael, would die in a work-related helicopter accident while inspecting damage in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. And Vin’s second wife, Sandra, suffered from ALS which eventually took her life in January 2021. Through it all, he remained a cheerful and indefatigable on-air presence, buoyed by his strong Catholic faith and his devotion to his children and grandchildren. And this being a conservative blog, it’s only fair that I add that Vin Scully held no truck for fashionable political nonsense, nor did he care for showy grandstanding by overpaid gladiators.

When he decided it was time to retire he announced it in advance of his final season, no doubt knowing that it would help his employer sell tickets by staging various tributes to his remarkable career. In his final game, he summed up what his career had meant to him:

So long, Vin. And thanks for making baseball the best sport to follow from afar.

UPDATE: NRO’s Dan McLaughlin turns out to be Vin Scully’s nephew, and he writes an incredibly moving and beautiful obituary about his uncle. A small taste from the second paragraph:

Vin’s story was the story of my family, and the story of so many American families: up from nowhere, and East to West. All four of my grandparents, including Vin’s mother and stepfather, immigrated to America in the 1920s. Some came with little, some with nothing. My grandmother was born Bridget Freehill in Ireland in 1900, a subject of Queen Victoria. She was shot at during the Easter Rising in 1916. She was a strong, tough, opinionated redheaded lady, a survivor, and the kind of traditional Irishwoman who always wore a nice hat to church. She lived to be 97. She came to America with a letter of reference from the clothing store in Dublin where she worked after coming south from County Cavan. Those were troublesome times in that troubled place, and New York was a fresh start.

Do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing.

– JVW

Allahpundit to Leave Hot Air September 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:20 pm



Patterico to end his subscription to Hot Air September 3.

I don’t mean to denigrate my friends Ed Morrissey and John Sexton by saying this. But they know (because I tell everyone) that Allahpundit is and always has been my favorite writer on the Web. I’ll still check in at Hot Air, but I don’t spend much on Internet subscriptions and I have to save my money for wherever Allahpundit is going next.

This world does not always reward stand-up people with external benefits like fame or money. More often than not, it rewards bad people with such things, while repaying goodness with challenges and difficulties. Stand-up people don’t really care about such external prizes. If they did value such things highly, they could probably obtain them; they know how to sell out, because they have watched people do that their entire lives. The fact that they don’t sell out shows they value what really matters in life: trying to walk the path that we all know, in our hearts, we should walk.

There are precious few stand-up people like that. We need to value the ones we have, and Allahpundit is one of them. I wish external success for him — but more important, my wish for him is that he will continue to be the strong, funny, principled man of character he has always been. That’s the finest blessing I can imagine bestowing on him.

Josh Hawley: One Is A Lonely Number, Indeed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:03 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Of course he ran away from a yes vote:

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the only senator to vote against a resolution on Wednesday backing Finland’s and Sweden’s entry to NATO. The Senate approved the resolution in a 95-1 vote…

[…]

He said he does not believe the U.S. should expand its security commitments in Europe, because America’s “greatest foreign adversary” is China.

Hawley argued that growing the country’s security commitments in Europe would make Americans less safe.

“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to head off further Russian aggression in Europe. That is entirely understandable given their location and security needs. But America’s greatest foreign adversary doesn’t loom over Europe. It looms in Asia,” Hawley wrote.

“I am talking of course about the People’s Republic of China. And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not ready to resist it. Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe,” he added.

[…]

“Finland and Sweden want to expand NATO because it is in their national security interest to do so, and fair enough. The question that should properly be before us, however, is, is it in the United States’s interests to do so? Because that’s what American foreign policy is supposed to be about, I thought,” Hawley said.

“Expanding NATO will require more United States forces in Europe, more manpower, more firepower, more resources, more spending. And not just now but over the long haul. But our greatest foreign adversary is not in Europe. Our greatest foreign adversary is in Asia. And when it comes to countering that adversary, we are behind the game. I’m talking, of course, about China. The communist government of Beijing has adopted a policy of imperialism,” he added.

I like how the St. Louis Dispatch editorial board summed it up:

His rationale is a retread of the case he once made against U.S. assistance to Ukraine: that containing Russian aggression somehow diminishes America’s readiness to confront future Chinese aggression. It’s a strained argument. Since when can’t America walk and chew gum at the same time, geopolitically speaking?

Reminder to Hawley: This is America, dude.

More:

Hawley’s condemnation of China for “dominating its neighbors and bullying free nations into doing its bidding” is valid but could just as accurately describe Russia today. And unlike China, the Russian threat against freedom isn’t speculative, but is unfolding right now in Ukraine.

The senator who sprinted through the Capitol ahead of a mob that was partly of his own making doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to sound judgment. Putting more guardrails around Vladimir Putin in the form of NATO-member neighbors is a sign of strength and solidarity by the free world — and a far more useful message to China regarding that solidarity than the one Hawley is hawking.

Anyway, Mitch McConnell called a yes vote for Sweden and Finland a slam-dunk:

“If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck,” McConnell said Wednesday. “This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support.”

Interestingly, while there are rumblings that the Trumpian Hawley may run in 2024, three other possible contenders (Cruz, Cotton, and Rubio) criticized their colleague for his no vote.

Note: Even Sen. Rand Paul, who opposed the last two additions to NATO, voted “present” on Finland and Sweden.

–Dana


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