I have read some great tributes, stories, and memories about Vin Scully in the past days, weeks and months leading up to his retirement. So I highly doubt what I write here is breaking any new ground. IN fact, I am intrigued by how much my story is so much like others.
I became a Dodger fan because of Vin Scully. I started reading the sports page as soon as I could read and I loved the box scores. Vin’s voice coming through the radio made the game real, three dimensional. I loved Steve Garvey, mostly because Vin talked about him so highly.
I was a Dodger fan for most of my childhood. Ironically, it was the advent of Cable TV and the availability of Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs games that somewhat diminished my love of the Dodgers, or at least spread my allegiance. Currently, Dodgers fans have the same issue of not being able to see their team. Our common thread across three decades is only being able to engage with the Dodgers through Vin Scully – and by then he had already been on the air for three decades!!!
Also interesting is that the only reason I believe I started actually watching those Cubs and Braves games was because of the announcers. Vin Scully trained me what to look for and appreciate in sports announcers. So here was this father-son combo with Harry Caray on WGN and Skip Caray on TBS. I was hooked, and have always proclaimed that if I hadn’t become an accountant/finance professional (and now entertainment leader?) I would have been a play-by-play announcer. Or at worst a SportsCenter anchor.
So my story is really simple, as a quasi-only child (my brother is 8 years older than me), I often had to find ways to keep busy. Listening to Dodgers games for three hours a day/night for the entire summer – that sucked up a lot of free time. I also played little league, so I could “visualize” the game and even took to acting out the plays as Vin called them. And his voice was the one calling my make-believe game winning home runs or inning-saving diving catches.
Those times certainly seem simpler, more romantic. The amazing thing about Vin Scully is how he has transcended time. It would have been easy for him to just be that guy who called games in the Reagan era when we “just said no” but he was also calling games for the wild childs of the 60s, the grunge folks from the 90s, the Ozzie and Harriet generation of the 50s, the urban core for the 2000s, etc., etc.
There isn’t a Dodgers fan, and hardly a sports fan, who doesn’t wish we could hear just one more game called by Vin Scully. And for those of us who are lucky enough to have heard him, we will never forget that voice.