Lamenting a World Without Scully

by on September 27, 2016 · 6 comments

in Culture, History, Life Events, Ocean Beach, Sports

vin-scullyPart I – The End of an ERA

By Scott Stephens

In this unstable and unpredictable world, Los Angelino’s have always had one consistency since 1958. Vincent Edward Scully has called Dodger games every season since the team came to Los Angeles. His 67 seasons with the Dodgers (1950–present) is the longest tenure for any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history. He is little more than a year away from his 90th birthday!

Scully never had an RBI; never scored a run and never hit a home run for the Dodgers. Despite not being on the playing field, he was the most recognizable sports personality in the history of Los Angeles. He was bigger than the Dodgers; bigger than baseball. Through the years players came and went but there was always Vinny. It is difficult to comprehend what he meant to this city.

Personally, I dreaded this day. And I suspect my story is not unlike that of many Dodger fans. For those of you who are not fans of baseball or the Dodgers, it may be difficult to understand the emotions felt by those of us who have followed this team over the many years since they moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. And the longer someone has followed the team, the more trying this goodbye will be.

The connection between Dodger fans and Scully runs so much deeper than the sport of baseball. This is really a human interest story. It’s not a stretch to call it a love story.

His longevity is certainly a big part of the story. The consistency of having the same voice and personality for so many years is astounding in and of itself. But there have been other sportscasters with great longevity and with deep roots to the history of their cities. But the connection Scully had with the City of Angels is unprecedented.

Unlike most of today’s sportscasters (and newscasters) Scully rarely allowed his personal opinions to enter into his broadcasts. He described the action on the field factually and added color with his well-researched details on the games, players, stats and related stories. He was the consummate professional. In the first half of his career (50’s-70’s) it was the norm to broadcast sports (and news) factually. And while the media changed in the 80’s and 90’s with class and dignity being one of its casualties, Vinnie never wavered. He continued to do what he had always done and allowed audiences to formulate their own opinions.

Scully was respectful of everyone from the umpires to the biggest stars of the game. He never said a bad word about anyone. He understood that we are all human and there has never been anyone in sports broadcasting so forgiving in regards to mistakes and errors on the field. And he treated opposing players with the same respect he treated the home team. His research and knowledge of opposing players was typically at a much higher level than that teams own broadcasters.

Through the years the Dodgers fielded some great teams and some that were not so great. Vin Scully never had a bad year; a bad game or a bad inning. When on occasion a game got “out of hand” his style and intensity never wavered.

For many of us, the departure of this man of class and dignity is an ominous sign of the changes we are seeing in our nation and the world around us in this 21st Century. Vinny was so much more than a sportscaster. He seemed to represent everything that was good and decent about America.

And about the Dodgers: They’ve worn the same classic uniforms since the 1930’s. They’ve occupied their current home since 1962 and haven’t opted to sell the naming rights thus the name remains (thankfully) Dodger Stadium. They’ve won six world championships and one sportscaster has called all six; Vin Scully.

On the date of his final home game on Sunday, September 25th, 2016, many tears were shed in the hallowed ground of Dodger Stadium as well as around Southern California and the world. I knew I could not be able to hold back. When he signed on for that final broadcast, it was the last time we heard:

“It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi everybody and a very pleasant good afternoon to you, wherever you may be.”

Thank you to the friend I’ve never met. The world will not be the same without you.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar triggerfinger September 27, 2016 at 11:45 am

And what a way to end it! I’m not a dodger fan anymore, and I never watch baseball these days. (I guess Vinny outlasted me too.) But by chance I tuned in for the 9th and 10th inning of that pennant clinching game on Sunday. For me it will be no less memorable than his call of Kirk Gibson’s walkoff / limpoff homerun in game 1 of the ’88 series.

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avatar Scott September 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I’m also no longer a big fan of baseball and it was only for Vinnie that I occasionally listened. Thanks for your comment!

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avatar jim September 30, 2016 at 1:37 pm

classic Vin last Sunday calling Giants v Padres and Rockies v Dodgers at the same time Nobody does it better!

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avatar Scott September 30, 2016 at 7:56 pm

That correct Jim. I was surprised he didn’t just finish up with the pennant winner and walk off home run. But we get one more chance to listen.

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avatar Michael Vangerov October 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Nice tribute to a true legend. Much like the Beatles, he was one of a kind and will live on in the hearts and minds of Dodger fans forever.

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avatar Nikki Green October 7, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Very nice article. Agree with every word. Vin will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

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