Dave in the City out West (DITCOW)

Dave in the City out West (DITCOW) header image 1

Blog: My Baseball Buddy, Vin Scully.

October 3rd, 2016

vinscully-springtraining.jpg

Vin Scully meant a lot to a lot of people, and I was no different.   My story of how I became a Vin Scully fan and how he became a friend to me without my ever meeting him. 

When I was very young I remember Vin Scully's soothing voice telling me about Dodgers games on Channel 11.  I used to watch at least some Dodger games because it pre-empted Small Wonder, so it was a trip to be sure.

Man, he is great.  In the very early days of my lifetime, it was just this jolly sounding guy on TV, he had a remarkable way of keeping me excited about every game.

Every time I pulled up a chair to watch the Dodgers, it was less like just watching a game on TV and more like sitting next to Vin in the booth and us watching the game together.  Unlike anyone before, during, or since, he really had a knack for connecting with his fans.  Much of this is his personal side, his very joyful enthusiasm during the games, his colorful language, and those moments where he opened the fourth wall.   The human side of Vin Scully made me sympathize with him over the good times and bad.   You could tell that, 67 years later, he truly *loved* his job.

The other aspect that connected him to fans like me was that he did games alone.  A lot of guys from out of the LA area must wonder about that: why doesn't he have a broadcast partner?  It's not ego, or some kind of thirst to micromanage the telecast.  It's simply the environment he was brought up in.  Before the year 2000, Vin Scully switched off with two other guys, Ross Porter and Rick Monday, or the late Don Drysdale before Rick, or Jerry Doggett before Don.    When Vin was on radio, Ross or Rick took over on TV for about three innings and vice versa.   When the game wasn't on TV, Vin would do six innings and the others three.  The third man helped to fill in when Vin was away doing National TV games.  So it was, in the 80's and 90's, before YES had five man booths at Yankee Stadium, and before there were 150 games on Sportsnet LA.   

Eventually, cable TV gave way to more specialized broadcasts, and the Dodgers decided to maximize Vin's TV prowess and simulcast his first three innings rather than give away the middle three to his partners.   Vin did away with national broadcasts, and he could dedicate more time to the Dodgers.   Suddenly, you had entire evenings with Vin Scully, just him and you watching the Dodgers together.

It was who Vin was, from day one, he cared about the people around him.  He cared about us, the viewers, and put that attention into every syllable.  Vin didn't talk to some opaque object or to the guy next to him, instead he talked *to* me, and to you, whoever was watching the game.  Vin even would react to things you might think up reacting to his fun stats and stories. So, naturally, without ever meeting him, Vin Scully felt like a friend I had my whole life.  Without that broadcast partner, Mr. Scully had more time to share stories from his own life or the lives of other people in baseball, either in the game or around it.

That was really cool.  So -- the relationship between viewer and broadcaster was formed.  

That relationship was my lifetime as it turned out.  The first half of my life was him in the background while my Dad obsessed over the games and I played with tinker toys and blocks.  The second half of my lifetime brought Vin to the forefront.  I needed something to talk to my fellow students in high school about, so I watched more sports.  I watched everything, and Vin Scully's Dodgercasts found their way into many summer evenings.  It was great.

Now it is leaving my life, and it is another sad reminder that I'm growing up.  Time can't go back, and seeing a legend such as him call his last game reveals his and my mortality.  It's very sad to see him go, but he said to us all that he's just as sad if not more so to leave all of us.  As he said a week ago, it was that roar of the crowd that gave him life, and really put energy into his heart.  He also quoted the line, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."  I understand completely!

With all of that I say goodbye, farewell, and thank you, Mr. Scully for being a part of my life.  I know in your mind you were merely talking about baseball, but for California, it was far greater than that, and some days it was as great as life itself.  May the years ahead treat you well and with kindness, and I hope your family and the earth we share can bless you with the same care that you shared with each of us.

I was going to write some added nonsense, but I think this is enough.   Thank you, Vin.  You're my buddy.  I'll miss you.