No description necessary. Photo courtesy of yoursportsfeeder.com
SAYING A MOST HEARTFELT GOODBYE AND SHOWING LOVE TO THE GREATEST SPORTSCASTER OF ALL TIME
To: Mr. Vincent Scully, (Former) Broadcaster, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sadly enough, I honestly can’t remember the first time I heard you calling Dodger games as a young kid.
I guess it was a sort of osmosis thing as I was living with my grandparents fifty miles outside of Los Angeles in Riverside, CA, listening to you as I listened to the Dodgers on KABC Radio 790 and watched them on Channel 11, playing Spring Training games in Vero Beach, FL and on the road in places like Candlestick Park in San Francisco and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati; KTTV not televising any home games in those days.
My mother remembers you well. She often told the story of how your voice was blasted all over the house as a young girl in the 1950s and 60s whenever the Dodgers came on, both in Brooklyn and (with delight) in L.A., my grandparents being huge fans.
Along with Charlie Brown and the rest of his Peanuts friends playing the game (badly), the classic movie The Bad News Bears and the 1977 World Series, where Reggie Jackson hit the three home runs in Game 6 to beat our Dodgers, you are the reason why baseball became my favorite sport.
You are a significant reason why I embarked on a (sort of) life in baseball; playing Little League, Pony League, and Colt League during my adolescence in Santa Monica, CA, coaching Little League and girls softball for much of my adulthood, and visiting Dodger Stadium over fifty times dating back to my 11th birthday in 1978.
Not to mention seeing many UCLA baseball contests at a place named after a guy you know quite well, Jackie Robinson, and even going to see a minor league game in Las Vegas when the Dodgers’ Triple A club was based there, a few days after my 40th birthday.
Which is a little unusual for a guy vacationing in Vegas, but still…
And you are a significant reason why baseball – along with college football later on (at least to watch) – remains my favorite sport as I liken the game to wrapping myself in a warm blanket on a cold day.
Vin Scully’s final words in signing off after his final game, courtesy of YouTube.
You are certainly the reason why I remained a Dodger fan through the nearly four decades I have followed baseball as your voice and down-home welcoming charm kept me from permanently switching my allegiances during some of the dark days; I’ll never forget that 1992 season when those Dodgers barely avoided losing 100 games.
As well as the fact that 1988 was the last time that Chavez Ravine-based club saw the Fall Classic.
Speaking of that Fall Classic, I distinctly recall where I was when you eloquently talked about how “…the impossible has happened,” after that Kirk Gibson home run: In a hotel room in – of all places – Oakland with some of my fellow members of the UCLA Marching Band after our Bruin football team had beaten Cal in nearby Berkeley and earned the nation’s number one ranking earlier that day.
Many of us in that room were from the Bay Area and were shocked at seeing Gibson limp around those bases; I was surprised myself, feeling glad that the Dodgers had won the pennant but picking the A’s to win in five games – I’m truly sorry for that, by the way.
Anyway, you are the reason I have never really abandoned the Dodgers in my heart as like I’m sure countless millions of others, I see you as the best friend I have never met.
The greatest sportscaster of all time, sharing a laugh with Willie Mays, the greatest baseball player of all time, during his last broadcast in San Francisco on October 2nd. Photo courtesy of lohud.com
It was a pronounced thrill seeing you up close at a function for the Toberman Center in San Pedro in 2009; I was playing in the band and for a mini-second shook your hand as you walked by as I couldn’t help myself.
And of course I made it a special point to tape your final broadcast in San Francisco yesterday.
Strangely enough, I wasn’t crying when you made your final speech at the end of that game. I was both sad and happy – sad that your career was ending but happy that I had the privilege to see and hear you for well over half of my life.
It goes without saying that I will miss you desperately; it’s like having your lifelong best friend move away.
I join roughly a billion other sports fans – not just baseball fans – in saying thank you for 67 years (forty in my case) of pleasure to my eyes and ears.
And like those billions of sports fans, three words sum up the feelings of a guy from the upper reaches of the reserved section at Dodger Stadium, where I usually sat for games:
I love you.
And I hope you have the happiest retirement of all time.
Sincerely, Derek Hart
Vin Scully standing in center field at Dodger Stadium, “The House That Scully Built” much like Yankee Stadium was “The House That Ruth Built”. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com