It is September, we enter the fall season, and what may be Vin Scully’s last month in the broadcast booth.
Scully has filled our ears, encouraged our souls, and broadened our minds for sixty-seven years. He will leave a lasting legacy and memories beyond many lifetimes. When we think about Scully’s departure, the thought is too much to bear.
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Last fall, in November 2015, in “Our National Treasure: Vin Scully,” we wrote about Scully and his ability to become so important and memorable to baseball players, coaches, front office executives, sports professionals in all disciplines and generations, radio personalities, and of course the fans.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be a bridge to the past and to unite generations. The sport of baseball does that, and I am just a part of it.” Vin Scully
His influence and the impression left on the game and those he has met has been no more on display than during the 2016 season. Players and managers have stopped by the Vin Scully Press Box in droves to say hello and goodbye to Vin Scully.
In an interview with Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times in May 2016, New York Mets Manager Terry Collins, who started his baseball and later managing career with the Dodgers in 1974, shared this about Vin Scully before his visit to the booth:
“He’s one of the finest human beings on the face of the earth, to me. Who he is, and he treats you like you’re something special when he’s the one who’s special.”
Vin Scully is the voice of Dodger baseball and more than that, he is the voice of baseball and sports in general. What can we do knowing that he will not be with us much longer? We can hope and pray that we remember his contributions to the game, while emulating his life and the dedication to his passion behind the microphone, by following our dreams, being honest, and uncompromising in our values and ethics.
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In a culture of social media promotion and spotlighting self, remember his humility, grace, and thankfulness in all success and failure. In Tom Verducci’s Sports Illustrated article entitled “The voice of baseball: Get to know Vin Scully, the man behind the mic” from May 10, 2016, Verducci wrote:
“Scully, class of ’49, returned to Fordham to give the commencement address to the class of 2000. It was the first time he had returned since he and the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles in 1958.
‘I’m not a military general, a business guru, not a philosopher or author,’ Scully told the graduates in the adjacent Vincent Lombardi Fieldhouse. ‘It’s only me.’”
Scully has kept himself humble despite his successes and the admiration he receives from millions. He could easily be the most confident person in the room. Instead, he humbly walks through life, dedicated husband, father, and radio voice. Always perfecting his craft in life and business.
“I’ve told several writers this, and, again, I get back to it, but if you want to make God smile, tell him your plans.” Vin Scully
God has indeed blessed Scully’s life with longevity and he never hesitates to give credit where credit is due. There have so many stories and wonderful memories with Vin Scully. In the last month of the season and two days into October, he will certainly end his career with memorable calls from AT&T Park in San Francisco. His calling of that final Sunday game on October 2, 2016, will be an anniversary of his own, not just an ending. He grew up attending Giants games in the Polo Grounds in New York, but he has never been a home-team announcer for anyone. He only told the story, not the politics or personal feelings. We love him because he is honest and trustworthy. His consistency, unmatched. His thankfulness, admirable.
What better way to bring our time together with Vin Scully to a close than in his own words.
“And you know Steve [Lyons] you get the feeling that Billy Chapel isn’t pitching against left handers, he isn’t pitching against pinch hitters, he isn’t pitching against the Yankees. He’s pitching against time. He’s pitching against the future, against age, and even when you think about his career, against ending. And tonight I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time to push the sun back up in the sky and give us one more day of summer.”
-Vin Scully describes the drama in the movie, For the Love of the Game (1999).
Funny how Scully’s words spoken from a movie seventeen years prior to his final 2016 season in the broadcast booth could not be more timeless and fortuitous. Scully pushing his voice into the audience one more time, again, and again. This is his perfect game, 9th inning, and World Series Championship walk-off home run.
“I really love baseball. The guys and the game, and I love the challenge of describing things. The only thing I hate – and I know you have to be realistic and pay the bills in this life – is the loneliness on the road.” Vin Scully
Mr. Scully, now all those who have enjoyed listening to you for sixty-seven years are having their roles and emotions reversed. It is our turn to be lonely on the proverbial road of life in missing the one and only Vin Scully. Thank you Mrs. Scully and family for letting us borrow him for a while.
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