After 67 years broadcasting baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, tonight vocal legend Vin Scully called his last home game for the boys in blue.
In true Hollywood fashion, the final home game was quite the event. <Deep breath>
The ballgame was tied up in the bottom of the ninth and taken into extra innings before a non-roster season player faced his expanded roster opportunity at the show by knocking one out of the park for a walk-off homerun win – clinching the National League West Division for the Dodgers.
Did anyone really expect anything less for a farewell from the City of Angels?
Among players and fans alike, Scully is a god among men. Quite simply, he is the voice of baseball.
Vin Scully Night opened with a touching speech in Scully’s honor by prince of the baseball movie, Kevin Costner. The “Bull Durham” and “For the Love of the Game” actor dramatically began his tribute with the theme to Field of Dreams playing in the background.
From the film:
“The one constant through all the years, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”
In turn, Vin has been that constant through the generations.
Scully was there for the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. He was there for the L.A. Dodgers World Series championship seasons in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988. He called Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run with the Atlanta Braves and Bill Buckner’s error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
He was the color commentator of radio who bridged us into the modern era of television – teaching us all that the stories behind the players are what really mattered.
Through changes in media, the introduction of free agency, MLB expansion, a striking union, and the new millennium, Vin Scully reminds us of all in the game that once was good and could be again.
A legend and Hall of Famer undoubtedly, Scully is also human. He errs and cheerfully corrects his mistakes, providing yet another tale to tell as a result.
As Costner said in his homage, “For 67 years you managed to fool us into believing you were just a sports announcer, when in fact you were really a poet, a wordsmith. It was a nice trick, and after almost seven decades, you might’ve thought we would’ve caught on. But now the masquerade is over and the jig is up. We’re all taking deep breaths Vin, and we’re all struggling with our own emotions as we admit we’re down to our last three outs with you.”
I love baseball. I was raised with America’s pastime. Of the game Robert Frost said, “Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things. Substitute “writers” for “poets” and perhaps that’s why I’m so enamored with the man myself.
I had the opportunity to meet him in 2001 while serving as the marketing intern for the Oakland Athletics. It was after an interleague game; I made my way through the visitor’s dugout and saw Vin Scully chatting on his cell phone at the other end. I loitered a while, in order to approach him after he hung up, profusely apologizing for bothering him at the end of a long day.
I shook his hand and told him it was an absolute honor to meet him. “I’ve listened to you since I was a little girl.”
He laughed and with the trademark calm of a story in his voice, he smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet *you* my dear. Although if you’ve been listening since you were a little girl, that certainly can’t have been very long.”
Whether 6 years, 20, 35, or 64 – it will never be long enough, Vin.
When he addressed the stadium on Friday night he shared, “Well you know if you’re 65 and retired, you may have 20 years of life or more, you better have some plans. When you’re 89 and they ask what your plans are… I’m going to try to live.”
What a wonderful idea – no matter our age. And such sage advice. Try to live.
Ladies and gentlemen – it’s time for Dodger baseball!
And if we can take this division championship and parlay it into the seventh Dodger World Series win – well there’s no better excuse to extend Vin’s commentating days. I’ll take him in the playoffs over Joe Buck any day.