No one had a better run, than Vin Scully
You don’t mourn a person who lived the life of Vin Scully, you celebrate it. Vin was 94 when he passed away last night, his beloved wife had left him a few years before and he was ready to join her. He had one of the great categorical runs of all time. He had nothing left for this plane, and being that he was a man of God, I hope he found peace when he left us.
I’m not a man of God, but I count my blessings that Vin Scully was not only a large part of the fabric of my life, but that he was a large part of the fabric of so many lives. My life, and many of our lives would be so much poorer if Vin Scully had not come West with the Dodgers.
In the mid 1960’s my maternal Grandparents came to visit us when we lived in Germany, and with them came the knowledge that something was awaiting me when our family would come back to Glendale, Ca. That something was Vin Scully and the Dodgers. They were about 65 at the time and she couldn’t stop talking about Vin and the Dodgers. As someone who had never lived in California even though I’d been born in Pasadena her stories about Vin captivated this young boy, and probably was the basis for my becoming a Dodger fan long before I’d ever seen a baseball game or even know what a Los Angeles Dodger was. When they left I started listening to Armed Forces Radio major league baseball games and though I don’t remember Vinny ever doing one of the broadcasts my love for baseball grew from that experience.
Our family moved from Germany to Alexandria, VA in 1968 and I instantly became a huge Washington Senator fan, listening to Warner Wolf do the radio broadcasts with the transistor tucked under my pillow late at night when they made their West Coast trips. Warner was adequate, He was all I knew. Little did I know that my future would involve listening to the very best.
In the spring of 1970 we moved West, to Glendale, Ca where we initially settled in to live with my maternal grandparents. At the time it was just my Mom and one brother. My Dad, and my other two brothers were finishing up work and school before joining us. My grandparents had moved from Wisconsin in the 1950’s and settled in Glendale on a street called Carlton, just a block from Glendale High School in a two story Duplex and they had the bottom unit. It was cramped with three bodies being shoved into the small space but that worked out well in one respect. My grandmother had Dodger baseball on all the time. Dodger Talk, Dodger PreGame, Dodger Game, Dodger Postgame, More Dodger Talk, With the close quarters you could hear the beat of the Dodgers anywhere in the house. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958 they were excited that the Dodgers were coming to Los Angeles, but Vin Scully made them love the Dodgers. I feel very confident in saying that if Vin Scully had not come West with the Dodgers, my grandmother never would have fallen in love with her Dodgers they way she did. It was Vin Scully and the Dodgers, not The Dodgers and Vin Scully.
I gobbled it all up and Vin Scully was the main meal while Jerry Doggett was the solid side of mashed potatoes.. Later in life you would hear stories that if you walked a block in Los Angeles you’d never miss the game because Vin was on in all the houses and you could hear him narrating the game as you took your walk. That was all true in 1970. So true.
That spring went fast with Vin on the dial and Billy Grabarkewitz turning heads with his All-Star season. My Dad showed up, and took me to my first Dodger Game. Just as you have heard, in 1970 everyone had a transistor radio on, and Vin could be heard everywhere. It was the best way to learn the game of baseball, watching it unfold before your eyes, and having Vin letting you know what was happening if something wasn’t apparent. Fans didn’t jump out of their seats on long fly balls now as they did then, because Vin let you know very quickly if a ball had a shot or not. Vin had a secret that he told us all. Watch the outfielders, they will let you know. We didn’t need a smart phone to let us know what was going on while at the game, that was Vin’s job, and he did it better then anyone before or since.
Much of what I’ve heard last night and today was about Vin Scully the storyteller, but I think many are missing the mark. Vin was a brilliant storyteller but you know what Vin was best at? Painting the picture of the game. When Vin did radio or simulcast he was at his best. He knew he had an audience who couldn’t see what was happening and he made sure you did. He was never confused, you always knew he was focused on the action and while he was interweaving some detail about the player, he didn’t sacrifice the story for the play by play. It would all end up fitting perfectly.
Later in my life, one of my great moments was being able to enter the Vin Scully Press Box via the Blog seat provided by the Dodgers to one blogger per game. I did about ten of these total between 2009 – 2012 and I’d get to the stadium as early as I could. Several times I was one of the first people in the press box but Vin Scully was always there first. I never had the courage to introduce myself as he did his pre-game humming in his deep baritone. It was enough just to watch him prepare. The closest I would end up to Vin was opening the door for him after he and Mo had gotten their ice cream. He of course thanked me. Of course he did.
Deuces Wild, Perfect Games, No-hitters, Gibby greatness, so much more, but for me, I can remember three things that really stand out.
Fernandomania – we were so lucky to have Vinny be our narrator through what I still think was the most exciting regular season experience of my life. Later in Fernando’s career, Vinny capped it off when Fernando threw his no-hitter with “throw your sombrero to the sky”
Puig – I have to honest, this shocked me. Vinny was pretty old by 2014, and Puig was something he’d never seen before. I kind of expected Vin to do a bit of old guy syndrome but instead Vinny fooled me ( I should have known better) and helped turn Puig into the momentary folk hero he would be become with his “Wild Horse on the Loose” commentary of Puig’s exploits.
Charlie Culberson – I don’t think I was ever more emotionally attached to a regular season game as I was for this one. We all know how it turned out, it really was a Hollywood ending to the greatest sportscaster in history.
We all will have specific moments that tie us to Vin, savor them, we were lucky to have them.