Baseball's all-star game began in 1933 and quickly became a midsummer tradition, a star-filled night for 40 million Americans or so to pull up a chair and watch the grandest exhibition of them all. Yet Vin Scully, baseball's grandest announcer of all for countless summers, will tell you that he can't remember the first all-star game he worked, that he once turned down an all-star assignment and that he's rather glad his network only carries the game every other year.

Scully and NBC Sports, which did the first televised all-star game in 1950, will be there again Tuesday at the Oakland Coliseum. Scully, whose objective outlook has been his most enduring trait during 38 glorious years of doing Dodgers broadcasts, again demonstrated his personal truth-in- broadcasting standard when he admitted that he wouldn't mind the all-star break as a break from the long season.

"Fortunately, it's not every year {on NBC}, it alternates {with ABC}," Scully said from St. Louis this week. "And I can remember back in 1961, when the game was at Candlestick Park and there was a mix-up. I had made plans to take a short vacation with my wife. NBC had told the Dodgers I was going to do the all-star game. Well, Buzzie Bavasi, the Dodgers' general manager at the time, had forgotten to tell me, as unlikely as that sounds.

"Anyway, I mentioned the fact to Buzzie that I was really looking forward to the all-star break because my wife and I were going down to the shore. He turned pale. 'Didn't I tell you? We told {NBC} you were going to do the all-star game.' I said, 'Not now.' So I turned it down, and I missed the game in which {Orioles pitcher} Stu Miller was blown off the mound {by the wind}."

Scully said the all-star game "is not that memorable, it doesn't mean anything . . . It's a great tapestry without any particular design to it."

And, from a broadcaster's standpoint, the game seldom can generate the drama of a game that counts in the standings. The broadcaster, in fact, is little more than a roll-call sergeant for much of the night. "The problem remains a constant one," Scully said. "With all the players shuffling in and out of the lineup, it's a bookkeeping responsibility more than anything else."

But Scully, naturally, is more than just a bookkeeper. His objectivity, accuracy and storytelling virtually are unmatched in the business; the sound of his voice can cut through a hot summer's night and soothe the soul.

It all began for him in 1950, when Red Barber had Scully join him as the No. 3 man on Brooklyn Dodgers broadcasts behind Barber and Connie Desmond. By 1952, Scully was the No. 2 man after Desmond left. By 1954, he was the No. 1 man after Barber left. By 1958, he was entrenched as the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. And by 1982, when he was inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Scully was a Dodgers institution more so than any player, manager or executive.

Along the way, he has developed a distinct style -- often imitated, seldom matched.

"I don't listen to other broadcasters," Scully, 59, said. "When I first started, Red Barber advised me not to listen to anyone else. He said, 'If you do, you'll change the one thing you bring into the booth that no one else has -- you.' "

So Scully will bring Scully into the booth Tuesday night and the rest of us will pull up our chairs. And although the game might not mean much of anything, just listening to Scully can make it worthwhile.