Young Al Michaels had a good role model: Vin Scully

Well, I finally received Al Michaels’ new autobiography yesterday. Given all the interviews he’s already done, I feel like I was the last sports media writer to get my copy. Oh well.

The book is officially out for all, and even before reading it, I know it will be good. Few people in the last 50 years have witnessed more sports history than Michaels.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News did a Q/A with Michaels. After being born in Brooklyn, Michaels’ family moved to Los Angeles in his early teens. That exposed the budding broadcaster to one of the all-time greats.


Q: What were the pros and maybe cons about growing up in L.A. listening to Vin Scully? When you finally get your first play-by-play job in Hawaii doing minor-league baseball, you write that all you can think about is: ‘Just sound like Vin Scully.’ How did you mean that? Is there a way to channel him without imitating him?

A: Well, I mean, we all have models. It’s probably the same in a lot of businesses – especially what we would call working the arts, and that includes acting, broadcasting, writing, that kind of discipline. If you start out writing as a kid, you do it like someone you really enjoyed reading. So when I’m starting out at Arizona State and trying to figure out how to do this, you hear the voices in your ear and obviously Vinny was primary at that point. Early on in my career, I’m sure I sounded a lot like Vinny. I sounded somewhat like him by the time I got to Cincinnati. Jim Palmer once told me that he remembers watching the 1972 World Series on NBC and he said, ‘Wow, is that Vin Scully doing the game?’ And it was me. I’m sure I carried it for quite some time. But with experience, you develop, I don’t want to say my own style, but a way of broadcasting. And it’s been so long now that I don’t think I sound like anybody.


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