THANK YOU, VIN
When the first report came across my Twitter feed, my heart raced. I just kept whispering to myself, no, no, no, no as I swiped and searched for sources that would confirm what I was reading was a bad joke.
But within a handful of seconds, my hopes were dashed as every media outlet flooded their feeds with the news: Vin Scully was gone. He died Tuesday evening at age 94.
Albeit, his 67-year broadcasting career is almost all Dodger Blue, it was Scully who served as the voice of summer for so many memorable baseball moments in my formative years. He called the NBC Game of the Week, the Kirk Gibson home run in 1988, the thrilling radio call of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965 (which some call the greatest call in the history of the game), but, for so many New York Mets fans, it’s Vin Scully that served as the soundtrack for the most Amazin’ moment in franchise history: Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
From his perch at Shea Stadium, it was Scully who described the ball going through Buckner’s legs — “A little roller up along first, behind the bag, it gets through Buckner, here comes Knight and the Mets win it!”
It was Scully who sat in stunned silence as Shea Stadium shook and fans celebrated. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully
When MLB began offering “The Ticket,” a full season broadcast package, I tuned in to the Dodgers on the West Coast after the Mets game just to listen to Vin Scully. He never missed a beat, serving up tales about Red Barber, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey and a cast of thousands from his memory. Only Vin could take a players number and spin it into two minutes of storytelling.
In his final season as Dodgers broadcaster, one-by-one, visiting teams and media dropped by the booth for one last chat, one last photo and maybe, just maybe, one last story from Vin.
During the final homestand of the season, the Dodgers showered Vin Scully with video tributes, first pitches and a memorable on-field ceremony. It was Kevin Costner, of course, who waxed poetically about Scully’s life and career. My eyes welled, my throat tightened and I burst into tears.
I never met Vin Scully, but I felt as I had. That is the magic of broadcasting, though. Day-after-day, summer upon summer, highs and lows, wins an losses pile up and before you know it, a lifetime has passed and a bond has been created.
It’s hard to believe, especially since it’s always been a one-way conversation. Vin Scully talked, you — we, me — listened. It’s one of the strangest and most intimate experiences a fan will ever have, most of the time without knowing it until it’s too late.
Vin Scully is gone. I will miss him. But I will carry the memories he gave me like a precious gift.
Thank you, Vin Scully, for your passion and love of the game. Thank you for the memories and lending your voice to my life’s soundtrack. Thank you, Vin Scully for the gift you gave every baseball fan.