Vin Scully is kind of like a grandfather. Like most people growing up in Los Angeles, I grew up listening to Scully on the radio or television and I was always comforted by how he never got too high or too low, how he never took any loss to hard, how I always knew there was a game the next day and Vin would be there with me to explain it.
Chick Hearn was kind of like that crazy drunk uncle that your mom doesn't like but you think is hilarious. He was biased as hell and you were never quite sure what he was talking about, but he was fun and vibrant and he made you excited to be watching basketball.
Keith Jackson always reminded me of an extended cousin, because I only saw him a few times a year (usually on holidays) but he was always really great and I felt like I had known him for a long time.
Bob Miller... doesn't feel like a family member. Bob's more like your dad's work friend; you know he's a funny, pleasant guy, but he never really shows that around you.
Those 4 are the giants of Southern California, the Mount Rushmore of announcers, and I grew up listening to all of them. 2 of them are gone now; Chick Hearn is dead and Keith Jackson is pretty much retired. Vin's retiring next year (and he only does division games now anyway), so Bob's pretty much the only one left. I never really gave much thought to the idea that Bob is going to be gone soon but this recent illness kind of reminded me that yeah, Bob doesn't have too many years left. He's starting to flub a few more names than he used to and he's starting to confuse numbers more than he used to. I'm conflicted between feelings that I don't want Bob to ever leave and my feeling that I don't want to see him mess up anymore. I don't know, it's tough. Ultimately I want him to stay just because I don't know what a Kings game, or even a Kings team, would be like without him.
Probably my favorite thing about Bob, and this is true of pretty much all 4 announcers I mentioned above, is that they always put the action first. Announcers today generally talk about story lines and give their own opinion a lot more than they used to and I'm not a big fan of it. Compare Bob and Jimmy to, say, Drew and Randy up in San Jose. Bob and Jimmy rarely talk to each other during the period. Bob will do the play-by-play, Jimmy will mention something he's picked up during a break in the action, and then Bob will start doing play-by-play when the puck drops. Very rarely do they ever actually have a conversation. (It's probably because Bob Miller secretly hates Jim Fox.) Drew and Randy, on the other hand, have conversations regularly, some times while the action is going on. I know why they do that more now (it engages the audience more, it allows them to create a clear narrative) but I'm just used to it the other way. Whoever the Kings hire to replace Bob will likely follow that newer style and I probably won't like it.
I hope Bob is around for longer purely for selfish reasons but I know the day is soon going to come where he doesn't want to do Kings games anymore. Whether he's on the air or not, I hope Bob can one day see the Kings win a Cup. More than anyone, he deserves it. But for now, I guess I'll just pop on the TV and enjoy him for a little while longer. I hope.
Prediction: The Kings score late and Bob does that thing where he yells, "He Sco-ores!" and his voice cracks halfway through scores. I love it when he does that.