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Vin Scully: memories and thanks from the BtBS staff

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Vin Scully is truly an American Treasure. He is an icon of the game and personifies everything that is great about baseball. Scully is a living-history of the game and has an exemplary and unique way of explaining it.

I subscribed to MLBTV about six years ago, and really only then discovered the greatness of Scully’s announcing. He became a friend to millions of people, a vast majority of whom will never actually interact with the man, and yet, we are all going to miss him greatly.

The Dodgers gave Vin a fond farewell via a ninth inning comeback and a walkoff home run at Dodger Stadium last weekend. As a boy he rooted for the New York Giants, so it seemed only too fitting that his career in the booth end with a Giants victory over the Dodgers.

As a celebration of the career of Vin Scully, some staffers at BtBS put together thoughts, anecdotes, and a congratulations. The sun has set on Scully’s amazing career and I’ll certainly miss his melodic play-by-play as a I drift in and out of sleep on a lazy summer afternoon.

Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us!

Steven Martano

***

In the introduction video that ran before the Dodgers honored Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium, Bryan Cranston said “I was always able to listen to Vin call a game, and even if it was just for the three hours, he just seemed to make everything alright.” I identified with this sentiment more than any other tribute that night. Through my entire life Vin has been there for me.

As a kid growing up in Southern California I would settle in to watch the Dodgers, glove in hand, tossing a ball up and down in my living room making what in my mind’s eye were gold glove worthy catches. I patrolled the couch like Raul Mondesi patrolled right field. During all of this I would hear two voices; my mom telling me to be careful, and Vin Scully describing the game.

I’m going to miss the stories about players we watch day in and day out. Stories that allow us to learn who these guys are beyond just the numbers they produce. This season I lost count of how many times Vin mentioned Alexei Ramirez’s car that changes color depending on the weather. He got such a kick out of it. And hey, did you know Uggla means Owl in Swedish? Of course you did, most likely because of Vin. These anecdotes are more important than you might think because sometimes we get so wrapped up in on-field minutiae that we forget the players are people, with families and lives outside of the game. Vin humanized the characters of baseball like no one else.

I was alive, but too young to remember the 1988 World Series. My life as a Dodgers fan has been filled with Hall-Of-Famers getting traded away or leaving, a corrupt owner who treated the team like his personal piggy-bank, and plenty of playoff heartbreak. Things have turned around for the Dodgers organization in recent years, but the fact remains that the next World Series I get to celebrate will be my first.

That’s okay though, I wouldn’t change a thing because through it all Vin Scully has been there, instilling in me an extraordinary love of baseball.

In those formative years I learned more about the game from him than I did from any little league coach. In more recent years I’ve been able to observe a man handle acclaim with the kind of egoless grace and class that we should all aspire to.

I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Upon being introduced I nervously said something to the effect of “Hi, Mr. Scully, it’s nice to meet you.” He replied, “Hi Chris, call me Vin.”

I think more words were said, but honestly I can’t remember, it was all a blur. This man who had been a part of my entire life, 57 years my elder, instructed me to not be so formal. We were friends after all.

Thanks for everything, Vin.

Chris Anders

***

One of my favorite things about Vin was how always he called players with their middle names, whether they’re on the Dodgers or the opposing team - Clayton Edward Kershaw, Russell Nathan Coltrane Martin, Shawn David Green, Gerald Dempsey Posey, Larry Kenneth Robert Walker, to name a few. With his encyclopedic anecdotes, every plate appearance Vin called on mic brought the back of a baseball card to life.

There are some things I wished Vin would have said never came true; for example, he never got to call Bronson Sardinha, the Hawaiian utility infielder whose middle name is Kiheimahanaomauiakeo. Nor did he unveil the mind-boggling fact that “Madison Bumgarner” anagrams to “Bang me, Mr. Dinosauer”. But those omissions are small enough not to leave a mark on the career of the greatest broadcaster in the history of sports.

Thank you for the amazing 67 years, Vin.

Kazuto Yamazaki

***

I grew up in the Bronx, where Vin Scully was born, on the opposite side of the country from the Dodgers played. Yet there have been plenty of late nights where I found myself watching the Dodgers just to listen to Vin Scully. No one has ever articulated a baseball game the way Vin Scully does. It has been a pleasure to listen to the greatness that is Vin Scully on the microphone and I will forever be grateful to be able to tell my children I was able to hear Vin Scully call a baseball game.

Carl Triano

***

The combination of Vin Scully’s smooth, soothing voice, relaxed, conversational manner, and uncanny ability to weave a story into a game made him such a joy to listen to. For 67 years, when you turned on the radio or flipped on the television and Vin Scully was calling a baseball game, you were about to experience a broadcast that spanned further than the game right in front of you. Maybe Vin was going to share the history of beards, or tell a story about Madison Bumgarner killing a snake, or have a great story about riding the team bus with Pee Wee Reese.

Vin had a knack for making it seem like he was talking directly to you – he’s not at the ballpark, he’s sitting on the couch or riding in the car next to you having a conversation. Just like when most of us are at the ballpark, Vin didn’t keep his monologue to just baseball, or sports – he would share most anything.

For baseball broadcasters everywhere, Vin was, and still is, a major source of inspiration. We all strive to sound as natural as he did, but few of us do. Instead, we just listened to him at every opportunity in awe. I know broadcasters who put the Dodgers schedule up in the booth so they knew when there would be an opportunity to catch a few innings. No one has ever been better than Vin Scully, and I doubt anyone ever will be.

Joe Vasile