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Summary:

During his Wednesday night Tweetcast for the Dodgers, Scully basically tweeted like he broadcasts, but with one huge social media bonus: the ability to engage directly with his audience.

Vin Scully Dodgers
photo: Los Angeles Dodgers

So it turns out the best sports broadcaster that ever lived is also awesome at Twitter.

Vin Scully, the Dodgers’ legendary television and radio broadcaster — whose career goes back so far it includes calling games Jackie Robinson played in the 1950s — is still the best in the business when it comes to old broadcast media. But on Wednesday night, the Dodgers officially turned over their Twitter account to him during the team’s game against the Yankees.

I’ve been listening to Vin’s voice my entire life. It was on the radio at my grandparents’ house as far back as I can remember, on my own television as a teenager and through college, and lately on my iPad via MLB.TV. As broadcast technology for watching baseball has evolved, Vin has remained the same as ever: the steady, grandfatherly guide through a three-hour game. But digital media wasn’t something he’d really attempted yet.

So I was curious how the delightfully retro, human baseball encyclopedia would do with the thoroughly modern social media format. (Especially since the way he deliberately sounds out Twitter during broadcasts (“Twit-terrr”) conveys mostly wry amusement.) In truth, his “Tweetcast” struck me mostly as a gimmick by MLB.

But not long after his first tweet appeared in my feed, his classic game welcome, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!,” it was clear we were in for some social media magic.

Why is this a big deal? First, any 85-year-old taking his first stab at tweeting in front of 305,000 people (with the promise of being retweeted thousands of times over) is pretty great. But he’s also really good at it. Almost perfect, you might say. The folks who are the best at tweeting can pack a lot of information into 140 characters, easily engage with their community, and most importantly, actually have something to say.

Vin Scully did all of those things Wednesday. Importantly, he stayed with what he does best: calling the game…

…and fluidly mixing in amusing trivia, apropos historical references and his own memories. I mean, I had to stop myself from favoriting every. single. tweet.

Vin had plenty to say. But like his broadcast trademark, he didn’t say or tweet too much. He paced his tweets every few minutes, adding color, and always coming back to the game. And in Wednesday’s game, his old-timey references were particularly on topic: the Dodgers were playing in New York City, his former home. When he joined the team, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.

He basically tweeted like he broadcasts — but with one huge social media bonus: the ability to engage directly with his audience. And this is why I think Vin on Twitter was so perfect and such a treat for fans — of the Dodgers, of baseball, and of him. Especially these kinds of interactions:

Vin talks to us all game long, all season long, but very few people get to talk to him. And Wednesday night, the Twitter format allowed him to do just that without taking away from his game coverage.

In the middle of a disappointing Dodgers season, this was definitely a bright spot: to see a guy who remembers when television wasn’t even invented absolutely master our new broadcast medium.

@Dodgers, can you let him tweet every night? Please RT.

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  1. mikegagliano72 Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Reblogged this on Permanently Grumpy (A Weblog) and commented:
    How it’s done, via the venerable Vin Scully.

  2. This is certifiably awesome. As a Phils fan, it makes me miss Harry Kalas and the way he also made the broadcast itself enjoyable. Wonder what he could have done in 140 characters….

  3. Erica – You’re awesome! What a great assessment of Vinny’s brilliance. And I know that it’s sexist, but I think that it’s great to see a woman capture those sentiments (about baseball and the Dodgers) as well as any man. Kudos!

  4. Clark Smidt Friday, June 21, 2013

    Great spotlight on a tremendous broadcaster. I actually remember him doing the Dodger games from Brooklyn on WOR/TV 9, New York. Clark

  5. I use to think that baseball was made for radio. That’s how I became a fan. But, I realized as I got older that it was the announcers like Scully that brought baseball to me not the game itself.

  6. The interactivity is significant but don’t overlook the value of reaching a separate audience. This was not the network audience. It was the Dodger Twitter audience. In this case, the overlap may have been nearly 100% but in many other cases it might not be. The ability to grow one audience by integrating with a separate, niche group is something that broadcasters should examine more closely.

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