and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.”
– Vin Scully, his traditional opening line at the beginning of broadcasting a game
We have too few heroes, people we can look up to and admire. Folks who encourage and inspire us to be more, do more, love more.
I hadn’t planned it but it just happens that I’m following up my last post about David McCullough, a man I greatly admire, with this post about another living hero of mine.
Last weekend Vin Scully, the Dodgers play-by-play announcer for 66 years, said “I’ll hang it up,” he won’t be back after next season.
Like my Aunt Peg, to whom I paid tribute in a post when she passed away in May of this year, Vin Scully is someone I just felt would always be around for me. Yeah, always be around for me, and a few million other baseball fans.
Of course, Vin Scully isn’t gone. The Dodgers announced last week on Friday that he’ll be back next season. Then the next day Scully said it would be his last season with the Dodger organization. (Here’s a great article and video of part of Scully’s Saturday press conference)
“I would say realistically — I don’t want any headlines — but I would say next year would be the last one . . . I would be saying, ‘Dear God, if you give me next year, I’ll hang it up.'”
If you are a Dodger fan like I am you know what a treasure Vin Scully is. Any baseball fan or even sports fan knows about the most beloved announcer in sports. And the description is well deserved.
The 87 year old Scully doesn’t just broadcast the game. He broadcasts the life stories of the players on the field, and where it fits into the rhythm of the game, he shares stories of players long gone (many of whom he knew). All this and so much more along with calling the details of the game.
I’ve never met Vin Scully, but my daughter has. Although she doesn’t remember it. She was five years old at the time.
As is my duty, I was raising my daughter as a Dodger fan. She’s been going to Dodger stadium since she was an infant. We used to hang around after the game near the player’s parking lot, hoping to get a baseball autographed by which ever players were willing to sign.
On that day my wife and I, my wife’s sister, and my daughter got to the park a little early. As we walked past the entrance behind the Press Box we said, “What the heck,” and we asked at the door if someone would take our baseball in to Vin Scully to see if he would sign it. My daughter, Stephanie, was holding the ball. The gentleman at the door came back a moment later and said we would have to wait outside but Stephanie was allowed to go in and bring the baseball to Mr. Scully.
We couldn’t see but we could hear the conversation. Vin asked Stephanie what her name was. Then he asked her if she was married. She replied, “No silly, I’m only five years old.” After a minute or two Stephanie came out with her signed baseball.
For us it’s a sweet memory of a man we have always admired.
My daughter Stephanie is married now, and we are fortunate that she lives nearby. She and I usually try to take in a game each year as part of our getting together every few months for a Daddy/Daughter Date night.
I’ll have to make plans for us to go to a few games next year. Spend some time hanging out behind the Press Box, and maybe catch a glimpse of the man, the icon, the most beloved “Dodger,” Vin Scully.
“Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch.”
– Vin Scully