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Down The Rabbit Hole with Charley Steiner a.k.a. Dinners with Vin Scully

Dodgers radio play-by-play announcer Charley Steiner was seven years old when he first heard Vin Scully calling Brooklyn Dodgers baseball games while growing up in New York. Today, he is friends and colleagues with Scully and has dinner with him before every Dodgers home game.

“I pinch myself. It can’t be much cooler than this.”

In an interview with Larry Gifford Media, Steiner’s voice is filled with all the excitement of the same little boy who huddled around an over-sized Zenith radio in his Mom’s kitchen to listen to Scully’s poetic description of the Dodgers all those years ago. And at times, Steiner finds it hard to put what it means to him into words.

“It’s one of those things where I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have done what I’ve done, to end up where I have been and to have dinner with whom I have dinner. It’s…it’s…it’s….it’s Alice in Wonderland.”

Entering his seventh year in the Dodgers’ radio booth, Steiner acknowledges that counting the 83-year-old Scully as a friend and mentor is bit “Gumpian.”

 “I freely admit I get to play pepper with Babe Ruth every day. It ain’t bad.”

Every Dodgers home game, Steiner, Scully, Rick Monday and Billy Delury sit down at the same table, in the same seats at the same time (“5:30, like clockwork”) at Dodgers Stadium. For 45 minutes, the four men talk about the issues of the day.

“Vin reads every section of the newspaper every day. So we will spend as much time talking before a game about life, about a political issue or whatever, as well as how well ‘he’ hung the curve ball in the sixth inning last night.”  

Spending so much time with Scully has helped Steiner develop a wicked good impersonation of the Hall of Fame announcer. His voice jumps from the depths of his belly to the top of his nose and dances out of his mouth like ice cream cone dripping down your hand on a hot summer day. Imitation is the finest form of flattery and Steiner doesn’t hold back.  

“In the booth, technically he has impeccable timing. He has an unbelievable vocabulary. He has the ability to reach for the right word and the right emotional tone – every time.”

Steiner continues, “You know that old sports cliché: the game speeds up for young guys and slows up for veterans?  The game comes slow to him. I mean that in the highest regard. His brain is working a mile a minute. It’s like Keanu Reeves’ character in Matrix, deflecting bullets in slow motion, that’s Vin!”

The lessons learned from Scully for Steiner reach far beyond the broadcast booth.

“I’ve learned as much off the air and how he conducts himself as I have on the air. There’s a sense of composure both on and off the air. There is a separation between the on-air persona and who you are and being able to leave that other stuff at the door when the game begins.”

On March 31st, Steiner will be in the booth as Scully opens his 62nd season as the voice of the Dodgers. Scully will call the first three and last three innings on Talk Radio 790, KABC radio in Los Angeles, with Steiner and Monday doing the middle three innings.

Charley Steiner on Vin Scully – Listen to Steiner’s comments on Scully

Charley Steiner Interview Podcast-40 minutes – Listen to complete interview with Steiner

Read more from Charley Steiner in the Larry Gifford Media “Let’s Talk About It…” Newsletter

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