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Alexander: One more salute to Dodgers Spanish broadcaster Jaime Jarrín

The world according to Jim:

• It’s been an interesting question all these years: Was Jaime Jarrín the Spanish Vin Scully, or was Scully the English Jaime Jarrín? The answer probably depended on which Dodgers broadcasts you listened to.

Nearly two months after all of Southern California and points beyond mourned Scully’s passing at the age of 94, Jarrín will receive the living legend treatment Saturday night at Dodger Stadium as he heads into retirement at age 86, after 64 seasons of broadcasting Dodgers games. …

• He absolutely deserves the grand sendoff, not just because of his Hall of Fame caliber work but, if this makes sense, because of his presence. Every room he enters is better because he has entered it, improved by his class and graciousness. And I’m guessing – as one who has enough trouble with English and never was able to learn Spanish despite multiple attempts – that his broadcasts reflect that elegance. …

• When we talked in September, 2018, before he was inducted into the Dodgers’ Ring of Honor, he reminded me that “everybody should speak at least two languages.”

I informed him that I was, unfortunately, an exception to that rule – and not for lack of trying, given the number of years of Spanish classes I struggled through – and he said: “Don’t feel bad. I took English for eight years before coming to this country, and believe me, when I arrived here I was totally lost. It was so much different, the English on the streets and the stores and the restaurants, than the English that I learned in the classrooms in Ecuador.”

I really should have tried harder. …

• And if there are similarities between the way Jarrín narrates a game and the way Scully used to do it, specializing in storytelling and historical perspective, there’s a reason. For the first eight years that KWKW did the Spanish broadcasts, Jarrín and his broadcast partners would recreate road games from the studio by listening to Scully and Jerry Doggett’s English broadcasts.

Once the Spanish broadcasters began traveling, Jarrín and Scully spent a lot of time together on the road. “I think the same way he thinks,” Jaime said in 2018. “He appreciates life the same way I appreciate life, and I have been able to follow his advice because he’s always in my corner.” …

• At one point, he said, he talked to Scully about cutting down his travel schedule. He’d planned to cut back in 2019, but when his beloved wife Blanca passed away, he reversed course and did a full schedule. But he said Scully “advised me to cut down. They’re going to play the games anyway. It doesn’t matter if I am there or not.” …

• His devoted fans – and there are many in this multilingual and multicultural community – would respectfully disagree. Saturday at 5, before the 6:10 game with the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers will honor Jarrín, and the guess here is that the ovations will be long, loud and heartfelt. …

• Elsewhere, it’s nice to see the family of Roger Maris was again in the limelight as Aaron Judge chased Maris’ Yankees home run record.

The hype – spurred, as usual, by the Eastern-based media – has referred to Judge’s pursuit of the “American League record,” but that was code. The underlying message, vocalized by many, was that this would be the “real” record, untainted by PEDs, yada, yada, yada. …

• The reality: This isn’t the NCAA. Baseball doesn’t vacate records. Just as the Houston Astros are still able to hang a 2017 World Series banner, the official record book still lists the top home run hitting seasons in history as Barry Bonds with 73 in 2001, Mark McGwire with 70 in 1998, and Sammy Sosa with 66 in 1998, 64 in 2001 and 63 in ’99.  And like it or not, Bonds still has the career home run record, 762, as well as three of the five best offensive seasons in baseball history according to Baseball Reference, as calculated by OPS+.  (The only two better were by Negro Leagues legend Josh Gibson.)

We can reasonably speculate that Bonds, McGwire and Sosa artificially enhanced their performances. But keep in mind that during that wild, wild west period before drug testing, both pitchers and hitters were using PEDs, and I don’t recall anyone ever publicly debunking the late Ken Caminiti’s estimate in 2002 that maybe half of all major leaguers were using.

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