Damocles of the Dodgers

Posted by Paul on April 15, 2013 in Baseball, IRL | Short Link

The following text was transcribed word-for-word from tonight’s broadcast of the Padres at the Dodgers game, top of the 2nd inning. Pitcher Chad Billingsley is on the mound, the opposing pitcher, Eric Stults, is at the plate.

Vin Scully, calling the action.

“We often talk about Chad Billingsley, saying that he pitches ‘with the Sword of Damocles over his head.’ That’s an old Greek legend.

Chad Billingsley, Damocles of the Dodgers, waits for the Sword to fall.

Chad Billingsley, Damocles of the Dodgers, waits for the Sword to fall.

The ruler was Dionysus, and he had a guy in the courtier – in the court – who would always talk about how great the ruler had it.

So finally, the ruler said, ‘Ok. I’ll tell you how great it is.’ – the pitch is high, ball two – and he had a big dinner for Damocles and there at the head of the table was the chair and the beautiful table set up. Damocles sat down and directly above his head was a huge sword and it was tied by one horse hair.

[Scully chuckles]

Damocles got the idea. 2-2 pitch on the way is fouled back.

So, of course, any time anybody’s pitching in a somewhat precarious position, I guess it applies: The Sword of Damocles.

And, with Chad Billingsley, with that touchy arm, any time he goes to the mound that’s exactly who he is: Damocles of the Dodgers.

Amarista at second, Maybin at first. This’ll be the seventh pitch to Eric Stults. Chad ready, checks, right-hander deals.

High fly ball to deep center…Kemp going back…a-way back…this one is over the wall!

Eric Stults hits it out over the centerfield fence and it’s the Padres on the scoreboard leading, three to nothing.”


  • Aaron says:

    @AaronClaverie 3h
    Vin Scully: “That sword is wiggling on the horsehair right now.”

  • […] Last night during the Padres-Dodgers game, Vin Scully casually — as if he were talking about the weather — wove the tale of the Sword of Damocles into the play-by-play of Chad Billingsley giving up a homer to Eric Stults. Here’s the verbatim play-by-play from the One-of-Five blog. […]

  • Roy Holland says:

    There just isn’t any play by play announcer better than Vinney! I have been watching the Dodgers with his fantastic interleaving comments since the early 60s! Have enjoyed each and every broadcast.
    The games He doesn’t call are just games, takes two people to chat away between events. Vinn comes in with little bits of interesting knowledge which makes the game more interesting!
    I am very happy He decided to call the games this season. There was some talk a season back or so, that he may retire. He surely will be missed when he decides to retire. If anyone deserves to retire, he does! With such a fantastic record of over 50 years continuous service. Even though he will be greatly missed, he deserves anything he wishes to do! Personally, I wish he could go on forever! Keep up the good work Vinney! We (and I think I can speak for most everyone) all are behind you!

  • Vin Smith says:

    I grew up listening to very good sportscasters in Los Angeles. There was Sam Balter (a former All-American basketball player) and Fred Hessler in baseball (Coast League Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels for Fred and Sam), Bob Kelley, Rams, and Chick Hearn, Lakers. While there are fine broadcasters today all over the country, some calling for local teams, others national sportscaster, and a few–like the Giant’s Jon Miller doing both local and national duty. All of those announcers are very good. Curt Gowdy was good. Mel Allen and Red Barber were good. Many others. But Vin Scully is more than just all alone at the top. Now, the following is absolutely the truth! You won’t find this–at least I haven’t found it–but Vin’s absolute best call came in 1959. I was recording the television audio when the Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Braves in a one game playoff for the National League pennant (Dodgers beat the White sox, four games to one in the World Series that year). Here is Scully’s call. With the late Carl Furillo pinch hitting, against Warren Spahn, who was actually in relief, Vinnie says: “…There’s a bouncer, over the mound, over second base. Mantilla up with it… HE THROWS IT AWAY! HODGES ROUNDS THIRD, HE”S HEADING FOR HOME! WE GO TO CHICAGO!” I turned to my father and said: “Sam Balter was Great! And so was Fred Hessler! But Vin Scully is the best ever!” That, in 1959!!!

  • Paul says:

    …and this is why I watch Dodger games, but am not a Dodger fan, even when they are playing teams I am a fan of, such as the Padres.

  • […] play-by-play, Vin Sculley (the legendary Dodgers’ announcer) invoked the Sword of Damocles to talk about Chad Billingsley, the […]

  • […] This beautiful transcription of a portion of a Vin Scully radio broadcast from earlier this week shares the essence of what makes Scully such a wonderful broadcaster.  Enjoy. […]

  • […]  Damocles of the Dodgers – probably my favorite post of all time, too. The reason it ranks so high is that NBC Sports linked to it on their site. It’s a word-for-word transcription of a story Vin Scully told on air during a Dodgers broadcast on April 15, 2013. I heard it while watching the game and immediately knew it had to be transcribed for posterity, and thousands of others seem to have agreed. […]

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