When I was a little kid I wanted to be Harry Caray when I grew up. I thought he had the greatest job in the world: talking about Cubs baseball for millions of fans. As I got older and learned the game better I still loved Harry Caray, but I shifted my idolatry a bit. I don’t know how many years ago I wrote my Facebook intro, but it’s still accurate so I haven’t changed it. It is one line: “I want to be Vin Scully when I grow up.”
Vin Scully is a national treasure, that rare personality that transcends a single team or a single sport. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the man is synonymous with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He began calling games for the team in 1950 in Brooklyn. He moved across the country with the team and continued to call their games through 2016. No one will ever surpass his record as the voice of a single team for 67 years. But he’s much more than just a Dodgers treasure, or even a baseball one.
Scully called games for 67 years alone. He spoke about why with PBS Newshour in 2009:
Well, first of all, I have to make people understand, it’s not an ego thing. It’s not that I just want to be on all by myself. This goes back to Brooklyn, where Red’s philosophy was simply this. If I want to sell you a car, is it better for me to talk to you about the merits of the car or talk to so-and-so and have you listen to our discussion about the merits of the car? Red always felt that it was better to talk one on one.
So what I’m doing, I’m talking to the listener. And I will talk. I’ll say, “Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you,” or…
It created a unique tone and space for Dodgers games. I used to listen to a lot of them because of the time zone differences. I needed a late night team to fill my baseball obsession, and there was not better way to do that than to turn on Vin. I don’t know how many nights I spent listening to Vin Scully describe a game at Dodger Stadium as I fell asleep.
Since his retirement there have been some wonderful moments celebrating Vin Scully and his legacy. This moment where then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest informed him he was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom stands out:
This morning I woke up, took my walk, and got my coffee as I listened to a cacophony of concerns on the news. Everything about the messaging of this moment seems disjointed, uncertain and chaotic. And then my heart sank as I saw the Vin Scully was trending on Twitter. I was terrified a national treasure had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
I was pleasantly surprised to find he was trending for an entirely different reason. The Los Angeles Times reached out to Scully to get his thoughts and reflection on the moment we find ourselves in. Like every other word Scully said in 67 years of covering the Dodgers, this was perfection [VIDEO].
Vin Scully offers words of comfort during the coronavirus
Vin Scully, 92, has been out of the Dodgers broadcast booth for three seasons. But, he can still connect and comfort in a manner unmatched by any other sports figure in this town’s history. And, man, do we need some connecting and comforting. Scully chatted with our columnist Bill Plaschke about coronavirus and how he gets through tough times. Here's the audio from the call. Read Plaschke's column: https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2020-03-22/vin-scully-singing-dodgers-amid-gloomy-times-coronavirusPosted by Los Angeles Times on Sunday, March 22, 2020
Baseball will indeed be the rainbow after this storm, and I still want to be Vin Scully when I grow up.