After receiving yesterday’s press release from Garrett Thomas of the Dodgers PR department announcing that the Dodgers have decided on Don Sutton as their final bobble head giveaway for the upcoming 2013 season, several of our ThinkBlueLA regulars got into a discussion about Sutton over on the ThinkBlueLA forum. The discussion wasn’t based on Sutton’s Hall of Fame baseball career but rather on his extremely successful broadcasting career with the Atlanta Braves organization – the same Atlanta Braves organization where current Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten cut his teeth.
Having had the pleasure of watching Don Sutton during his remarkable career (which was recently profiled by Evan Bladh over on the Opinion of Kingman’s Performance blog site), I was extremely pleased that the Dodgers new (and dialed in) ownership group had the sense to finally and rightfully honor one of the greatest Dodgers of all time – one who the previous owner had completely ignored while taking the greatest franchise in baseball history down the toilet.
As a SiriusXM subscriber for nearly a decade, I have had the opportunity to listen to Don Sutton during several of his Braves broadcasts and, quite frankly, he is very good. He never comes across as egotistical or a know-it-all (or a know-nothing-at-all like one of the Dodgers part-time television broadcasters – I’ll leave it at that). Instead, Sutton comes across as a humble, intelligent and knowledgeable professional who is both easy and pleasant to listen to – characteristics that seem to be lacking in many of today’s broadcasters.
Our discussion on the forum focused on that dreadful day when Vin Scully decides to finally hang up his Hall of Fame microphone to enjoy the retirement that he so rightfully deserves, and more so on who would occupy his chair (since no one will ever replace him) as the new Dodgers everyday television broadcaster.
As my analytical (and sometimes scatterbrained) mind works, I began connecting some dots with all of this:
- Don Sutton – the former Dodger
- Don Sutton – the Hall of Famer
- Don Sutton – whose number was retired by the Dodgers in 1998
- Don Sutton – a current (and very good) broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves
- Stan Kasten – a former Atlanta Braves executive and a very good friend of Sutton
- Stan Kasten – the current Dodgers president and CEO
- Vin Scully – who will most likely retire at the end of the 2013 season
- Time Warner Cable – which will kickoff it’s inaugural season as the Dodgers’ new TV rights holder in 2014
- Sandy Koufax – who was recently brought back into the Dodgers organization joining many other former Dodgers
- A Don Sutton bobble head giveaway night on Thursday night, June 6 when the Braves are in town to face the Dodgers (in case you missed the date)
When you put all of these things together, is it possible that Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson and the rest of the Guggenheim Baseball Management group are perhaps trying to lure Don Sutton into Vin Scully’s vacant chair if/when Scully retires, thus bringing Sutton back into the Dodger family where he rightfully belongs? I could certainly think of a lot worse possibilities. Granted, when Vinny finally does retire, he will undoubtedly be replaced with a broadcasting duo rather than a solo broadcaster and a Don Sutton/Rick Monday or Don Sutton/Jim Watson duo wouldn’t be bad at all, if you get my drift.
As a point of information, Scully was asked why he prefers to work alone, something that is extremely rare these days and I believe that Scully is quite possibly the only broadcaster currently doing so. Scully answered as only Vin Scully can – he said that when there are two (or more) broadcasters in the booth, they inevitability and invariably end up talking to each other during the broadcast instead of talking directly to the listeners/viewers. He added that this was how his predecessor, fellow Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber worked, and as we all know, it was Red who taught Vinny the craft. Even to this day, Scully frequently talks of his love and respect for Barber and that he has spent his entire broadcasting career trying to emulate Red. (I hate to break the news to you Vinny, but you far surpassed the great Red Barber decades ago).
Please keep in mind that all of this is pure speculation on my part and there is absolutely nothing to even remotely suggest that this will happen. Sutton is undoubtedly under contract with the Braves organization (or their radio/television affiliate), so such a move might not even be possible. But with all of this in mind, perhaps there is more to Don Sutton bobble head night than just a bobble head.