When Vince Scully died, I was honored to get a call from the Times, asking me to write a column from the perspective of my youth as a Brooklyn Dodger fan.
When the paper arrived in the driveway the next morning, my column was accompanied by a lovely photo of Vin Scully, from behind, as he called a night game at Dodger Stadium. (The bizarre thing is that the photo was not included in the copious spread on Scully in the great nytimes.com obit spread on the website.)
The photo by Dominic DiSaia perfectly demonstrated the link between Scully and his fans since the Dodgers moved to LA in 1958. (I’ve gotten over it; oh, yes, I’ve gotten over it.)
The photo in the glowing night demonstrated the link between a grand franchise and the mellow, knowing, professional voice of Vince Scully. The fans in Dodger Stadium are one thing, but the audience “out there” is also tangible.
We saw the stadium and sensed what was beyond, from the back of Scully’s fertile head.
So that left me with a question: who is Dominic DiSaia and how did he take the photo of Vin Scully from behind?
Let me pause and say that I have a career’s worth of partnership with the many great NYT staff photographers as well as free-lancers, stringers, most notably Ken Murray, an artist who roamed Appalachia with me in the early ‘70s. I got to know the work habits and minds of photographers.
Dominic DiSaia, I learned, is an independent photographer, 47, raised in Southern California, based in LA. He does commercial and advertising photography with a major in sports.
In 2013, he proposed a project for ESPN about a day in the life of Vin Scully. He got approval but in a limited way – no photos at home, only at Dodger Stadium, and nothing during the game.
“He wasn’t too thrilled about it,” DiSaia told me over the phone, a note of admiration in his voice. “He was a very private man.” DiSaia did learn that Scully would call his wife now and then from the booth, also off limits to the photographer.
DiSaia snapped away, when he could, and then he got lucky. One of the aides in the broadcasting booth area told him that the seventh-inning stretch was a bit longer than normal breaks, and he let DiSaia slip into the aisle behind the broadcasters.
There he learned something I have never heard about any broadcaster before: Scully kept a Jolly Rancher candy on his desk and would suck on it – the same one -- between innings – to keep his mouth moist. But he would not drink anything during the game so he could not feel the need to use the men’s room. Vin Scully was, along with all his other traits, disciplined.
With only a few seconds of access, and not wanting to get in Scully’s field of vision, DiSaia stood behind Scully and saw the big picture – the broadcaster and his audience, in the stadium and wherever that broadcast went. As the Dodgers began batting in the home half, DiSaia snapped away, and then slipped out into the corridor.
As it turned out, this was an epic night at Dodger Stadium. Yasiel Puig, from Cuba, hit his first two homers, and DiSaia happened to be in the photographers’ well alongside the dugout, and another photographer caught DiSaia a few feet from the new hero, as the crowd cheered. Later, DiSaia learned, Vin Scully, always alert, said: “Viva Cuba! Viva Puig!” Terse and perfect.
After the game, DiSaia caught up with Scully for the promised wrapup photo, in the parking lot – but true to his private bent, Scully did not want a glimpse of his actual ride home – a hired driver, because by that time Scully was not driving at night. So Scully went off into the night, and DiSaia polished his photo essay for ESPN.
Scully must have liked the photos because he signed a copy and included it in a cache of souvenirs that he sold to bulk up the college fund for grandchildren.
DiSaia does retain rights to the photo, and has a print available at:
He also has a website:
After that night in 2013, DiSaia continued to work in sports around LA, but as for Vin Scully:
“I never saw him again in person.”
How often do journalists say that about the epic person they met on a memorable assignment, and never again.
DiSaia retains a respect for Vince Scully that matches the worldwide impression – a master artist who knew his audience and himself, as he faced out into the night, and into the ears and hearts of ball fans everywhere.
8/20/2022 12:05:57 pm
Great photos usually express more emotions than words can. When words do matter, it is when they are brief and to the point.
8/20/2022 06:53:05 pm
Alan, your dad sounds formidable, in your book about the store, Able to take action soccer photos --harder than any other sport. I bet John McDermott will agree. You never know. The leaping keeper, punching a shot away, is a key figure in columns by Paul Gardner of Soccer America, who taught me more than anybody. Paul thinks keepers are dangerously allowed to cold-cock an opponent by leaping up with fists flailing. I'm sure a gentle soul like you would never do such a thing. GV
8/20/2022 12:12:44 pm
A masterpiece of a photograph-as a portrait and also as a work of journalism. As you know very well, George, sometime the photographer functions as the eyes and ears of the writer, seeing and hearing things of interest that didn't happen or come up during an interview. I had a shoot with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird prior to the 1992 Olympics. The writer of the story was Dick Schaap. He had asked me to call him in New York after the shoot took place in San Diego. He wanted my impression of their actual relationship, and any interesting stuff that might have come out during the shoot. I had many similar experiences over the years as I am sure you have had with NY Times photographers. It was always great to work as a team with a good writer/reporter. 1 +1 was always more than 2.
8/20/2022 06:59:31 pm
John: I mention Ken Murray in the essay. He's from the border of TN and VA and knows Appalachia well. We met at the Hyden mine disaster Dec, 30, 1970, and he wound up stringing for the NYT for a long time.Not only does Ken have a native's feel for the people and the land,but he has an ear for news...and danger. We were looking for an illegal pond of coal waste...and a couple of guards found us and brandished weapons, but Ken jollied them up as we inched our way back to the state road, which was safe. The NYT photogs often whispered stuff to me. Photojournalists are in their glory these days, what with the NYT website. Did you see the gorgeous photos of Budapest by a guy who lived their for a while as a kid? Then again, people should see the results from your jaunts to Napoli. GV
8/20/2022 07:10:56 pm
I meant, "who lived there."
8/21/2022 06:52:01 am
Thanks, George. Here is something I put together from Napoli visits this year, if anyone is interested to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzQ0sWtFK24
Edwin W. Martin Jr
8/20/2022 12:51:18 pm
Nice story written with the “Vecsey Magic.”
8/20/2022 02:32:25 pm
Alan D Levine
8/20/2022 05:52:38 pm
I continue to watch Dodger games on MLB after the Mets have concluded their evening's festivities. They are a formidable--and frightening--team in the eyes of this Mets fan. What was the thinking in selecting a play-by-guy who is so ordinary compared to Vin Scully? Did the fans or ownership want a real "homer" or was the feeling that no could ever come close to him so why even bother?
8/20/2022 07:08:55 pm
Alan, so you're on the midnight shift. I sometimes go a full Met game, either on TV or radio. The three guys on TV are a work-in-progress, so knowledgeable and verbal. And Good Old Howie Rose (as I call him) is so familiar and experienced, I love it when he starts sighing about long games, new messing with the rules, and night gamesI. He was luxuriating about day games today (Saturday).
8/20/2022 06:17:45 pm
Dear George: What a fantastic photo by Dominic DiSaia! And about the text, I agree with Ed and Randolph: Vecsey Magic! You’re a big inspiration to my passion for the game. Thank you. By the way, the Yankees are losing their substance after the All-Star Game. That’s baseball! That's life.
8/20/2022 07:01:55 pm
Dear Ed, Randolph and Altenir; thank you for the lovely words. With all its flaws, baseball is the best sport for writing because everything can be reconstructed and argued afterward. GV
8/21/2022 12:34:17 pm
We all have seen photos of the Ebbets Field scoreboard, with its “Hit Sign, Win Suit” Abe Stark ad. Often Carl Furillo or the Duke would be running toward a catch. Great shot. It inspired a favorite cartoon in the New Yorker.
8/21/2022 02:10:21 pm
Carl Furillo, with that great arm, patrolled RF. He claimed he had saved Abe Stark a bunch of suits with his catches, and asked for one suit. When he went to the store, they tried to give him a cheapo, but he called them on it. (I got that from Buzzie Bavasi, the Dodger GM for many years....Buzzie had a lot of good stories, some even true.) GV
Edwin W. Martin Jr
8/21/2022 03:13:20 pm
Good Catch, GV and “Skoonj”
8/21/2022 06:14:29 pm
8/21/2022 07:38:28 pm
Bruce: interesting. Why?
8/21/2022 07:44:22 pm
8/28/2022 05:30:55 pm
First, Mr. Vecsey, thanks for that great piece on Vin, and for your great site. I grew up a Dodger fan and originally wanted to be a baseball broadcaster from hearing Vin, and until my wedding day, the greatest day of my life was when, at age 9, I got to go into his booth and meet him. So, I'm a fan. But I'm also a history professor who has written about him, and Bruce's question struck me.
Alan D. Levine
8/21/2022 08:21:33 pm
John McDermott--Your photo montage of Naples was absolutely marvelous. My wife and I loved it.
8/22/2022 09:57:52 am
Alan, I have enjoyed John's photos ever since George introduced some of his soccer images several years ago. He always has an interesting and unusual perspective.
8/22/2022 03:37:55 pm
TRIBUTE TO ANOTHER BASEBALL BROADCASTER:
8/22/2022 03:48:01 pm
Edwin W. Martin Jr
8/23/2022 02:44:56 pm
8/23/2022 02:54:16 pm
8/28/2022 07:16:50 pm
Comments are closed.
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.