Baseball = players, coaches, a stadium, cheering fans, and Vin Scully
I am an L.A. Dodgers fan. I was an avid baseball fan from 1988 until 1992 (the strike). My favorite players back then were mostly Dodgers (obviously), and not necessarily famous or long-term ones either: outfielder Stan Javier (recently retired; finished his career with the record-breaking 2001 Seattle team), pitcher Ray Searage (whatever happened to him?). Of course I also liked the more well-known names: Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser, Steve Sax and Mike Marshall. Non-Dodger faves included Nolan Ryan and Paul Molitor. I didn’t really follow the game again until 1995 (thanks to the fabulous season by Hideo Nomo), but then lost interest once more until 1999. This might sound odd, but even if the Dodgers never win another title in my lifetime (don’t get me wrong…I would be thrilled if they did!), I’m very grateful to have had the experience of a home team winning the series, and it happening during a time when I was such a big baseball fan.
The best thing about being a Dodgers fan, for me anyway, isn’t about the players or the city, and it’s definitely not the current Rupert Murdoch era. The best thing about being a Dodgers fan is the amazing, eloquent Vin Scully. I could go on to spout about why I feel so strongly about this, but suffice it to say that for me and for countless other fans, he has been the mainstay, the consistent element to our baseball experiences, the voice of the Dodgers for over 50 years. And yet, I didn’t fully appreciate his talent and his dedication and significance to the franchise until a year ago.
A few days before graduating from college, I was in the middle of packing one morning when I happened to switch on the little TV in my room. Instantly, before the picture even showed up, I heard Vin Scully’s voice calling a Dodgers game. It had been a few years since I’d tuned into a baseball game, and my immediate reaction was to smile. It reminded me of when I was younger, when my life seemed so different, and experiencing the thrill of a home team’s World Series. That era seemed so far away; yet there was Vin Scully calling a game, 11 years later. At that moment, I felt a very strong connection to the past, and the feeling was extremely moving, and almost surreal.
Now, I’ll listen to him announce and laugh at his jokes and puns, and appreciate his wit, whereas I don’t recall ever noticing his wordplay in my youth. And every so often during the course of a game, I’ll find my attention drawn not to the action on the field, but to the familiar timbre and poise of his voice — grateful to have at least one constant in my life, and wishing that "The Voice" would be there forever.
[Read more about Vin Scully’s amazing career]