Brad's Blog - What I Learned from the Legendary LA Dodgers Broadcaster Vin Scully

Wow – 67 Freakin’ Years!  It is almost unfathomable that anyone had the same job for that long. Vin Scully broadcasted Dodgers baseball for more time (35 years) AFTER he was inducted into the Hall of Fame than before (32 years).

While I certainly like the Dodgers, I would not consider myself a devout fan. I am writing about Vin Scully because I am in awe of him. After he passed away, there was so much news coverage that I wanted to pay my respects to this amazing individual by sharing a few items that I learned from the coverage many of which are a good reminder of how we should all conduct both our personal and business lives.

Consistency: A key to success is showing up every day. In addition to showing up, consistently learning and working to get better are also vital. Vin Scully was able to get better over the years because he kept acquiring knowledge that he could use either in the next game or a game ten years later. He showed us that there can be huge benefits to consistently doing your work and learning each day.

Preparation: Numerous articles mentioned he was frequently at the stadium long before he had to arrive. Apparently, he did this because he loved being at the ballpark, but also because he was hoping to grab some tidbits of information that he could use for that day’s broadcast. After over 50 years of broadcasting, he still felt a responsibility to his audience to prepare as best as he could. How many of us can say that we try to make sure we are always as prepared as we should be.

Story Telling: One of Vin Scully’s greatest gifts was his ability to weave a good story between pitches. We should all work on our story telling abilities. We all love to listen to a good story and our ability to accomplish both our personal and business goals will likely improve by using story telling to accomplish our objectives. We know that when we go to a presentation, our audience prefers a good story versus just a bunch of facts and figures. I loved that Vin Scully would start his broadcasts with the phrase, “Pull up a chair”.

Be Good, Honest, and Humble: “I would like to be remembered, No. 1, as a good man,” Scully said. “And by being a good man, I mean as honest as possible.” This phrase just resonated with me. How many people with the reach of Vin Scully do we think of as being “as honest as possible”.  It sure seems like we need more “good” people in our society these days. Article after article shared stories about how he not only touched so many people’s lives but how he also made their lives better. Furthermore, when he was recognized for this accomplishment, he indicated it just made him uncomfortable. Bottom line he was a good, honest and humble man.

Stop Talking: So many of us in the commercial real estate industry love to hear our own voices. One of the great praises for Vin Scully was that he had the gift of knowing when to be silent. A broadcaster who stays silent? After Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game, Kirk Gibson hit the World Series walk off home run, and Hank Aaron hit the home run that broke Babe Ruth’s record, Vin Scully stayed silent long enough for the listeners to enjoy the sounds of the stadium instead of assuming that everyone wanted to hear his voice. We should all learn to listen better.

Benefits of Mentorship & Staying Down the Middle: Vin Scully’s mentor was the legendary Red Barber who taught Scully about pregame preparation, being professional, and holding himself to high standards. Barber also advised Scully to avoid exaggeration. He explained to Scully, and I may be paraphrasing, that if you get too excited or negative about an average play, you will lose credibility with your audience. I think many in the CRE business, especially brokers, can learn a lot from this advice. For example, somehow, I don’t think every location can be a “great location”, or have “great traffic counts” or be an “outstanding trade area.”

Words Definitely Matter: Vin Scully had a beautiful vocabulary and knew how to use this vocabulary poetically. In so many ways, especially through texting, it seems that our world is losing its linguistic skills. Obviously, I like to write and enjoy the use of words. Reading people’s praises of Vin Scully’s use of words made be reconsider the importance of what we say and how we say it. The specific use of words can dramatically change the images we shape in our minds based upon what we are being told. It makes me want to be more cognizant to use language more appropriately.

I know this blog is a bit off the beaten path of commercial real estate and the retail marketplace although in my humble opinion our industry would certainly do well to follow Scully’s lead on how he approached his career.  I found myself very inspired based upon everything I read this past week. Los Angeles really did lose a very good man – RIP to the legendary Vin Scully.