Posted June 07, 2013

Watch: Yasiel Puig hits a grand slam and Vin Scully can’t believe it

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

Yasiel Puig has given the Dodgers a badly-needed spark. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The Dodgers were clinging to a slim 1-0 lead over the Braves in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night when, with one out, they loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk to bring up rookie Yasiel Puig, a right-handed batter, to face right-handed sidearmer Cory Gearrin. Gearrin’s first pitch was a changeup that hung out over the plate, and Puig, who homered twice on Tuesday, did this to it:

On the Dodgers’ TV broadcast, legendary announcer Vin Scully, 85, came about as close as he ever will to replicating the enthusiasm of his famous Kirk Gibson call when he said, “And a high fly ball into deep rightfield…I don’t believe it! A grand slam home run!” (For the record, his call of Gibson’s blast was “High fly ball hit to rightfield, she is gone!”)

As is his style, Scully then remained silent as Puig circled the bases before offering this lesson to aspiring announcers everywhere: “I have learned over the years that there comes a rare and precious moment where there is absolutely nothing better than silence, nothing better than to be absolutely speechless to sum up the situation. And that was the moment. Oh mackerel.”

Scully’s silence was understandable considering that was Puig’s third home run in his first four major league games, which is an impressive feat but not quite as rare as you might think. It has been done 13 times, including an amazing four times last season when Yoenis Cespedes, Will Middlebrooks, Yasmani Grandal and Manny Machado all turned the feat. Shelley Duncan (2007) and Trent Oeltjen (2009) also did it in recent seasons,and in 2005, the Mets’ Mike Jacobs hit a record four home runs in his first four major league games.

That one of Puig’s home runs was a grand slam sets him apart a bit more, but even that isn’t unprecedented. Middlebrooks had a grand slam among his first three major league home runs last year, and Dave Kingman had a grand slam among his first three major league blasts in 1971. Kingman, incidentally, would go on to have by far the best career of any of the eight men to hit three home runs in their first four games prior to last season, a good reminder that as impressive as Puig’s has been in these first four games, his hot start is no guarantee of future success.

3 comments
MattBugaj
MattBugaj

The Charlie Steiner calls have been a nice complement to the Scully calls this week. As far as the second half of the article which asserts that maybe this is no big deal, you have to tack in the Bo Jackson-like off-balance throw to end his first big league game with an outfield DP. The excitement hasn't been there, nor has the drama, with these other guys. All three of his HR were IMPORTANT ones to a struggling team paying way too much money for not much of anything. Everything he's done has been crucial to the game itself, not just to a rookie's stats. Is he making raw mistakes? Definitely. Will tape get around on him so that he goes through a major slump during his rookie season? Yes. The lack of the normal let-down is what made Mike Trout so special last year. Is he head and shoulders above everyone else mentioned? Yes. Sure, other guys have the same quantity of home runs in the same quantity of games, but how many of them received a Gatorade shower when they didn't even have the official GWRBI while being interviewed by a white reporter doing his best to hold a foreign language conversation? None. How many of those other guys had three important home runs and an important defensive play? None. How many of those guys were rounding second every time that a normal HR trotter rounds first? None. Something special is definitely going on.

StephenGrange
StephenGrange like.author.displayName 1 Like

Vin Scully no longer works, he just has a pleasant chat with several thousand listeners and tells them stories..Perfect!

Lyle F
Lyle F like.author.displayName 1 Like

@StephenGrange Nicely put. I'm not a Dodge fan by any means, but I'll watch a LA game just to listen to one man discuss what is happening. And as he says in his description of Puig's homerun, sometimes silence says it all.  It's so refreshing after all the 2 or 3 announcer teams that hate silence.