This past Tuesday evening, while watching the Dodgers play the hated San Francisco Giants, there was an announcement during the broadcast that Vin Scully had died. I was in immediate shock…as was probably all of Dodger nation and the professional sports world. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: listening to Vin Scully call games.
How I first came across this moment? My earliest recollection of Vin Scully calling baseball games was back as far as 1992. I remember listening to him call the 1992 World Series on radio alongside Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. I was on punishment for the first few games of the Fall Classic so I couldn’t watch on television but the punishment didn’t cover the radio.
What it meant to me then? As a young baseball fan, I appreciated how he described what was happening. It was simple. As I grew as a baseball fan and started listening to Dodger games on national radio, Scully became a legend. It only grew with me when I started listening to XM Satellite Radio in the mid-2000s. I started subscribing to MLB TV in 2014 so that I could watch the Dodgers every night via their SportsNet LA feed. That allowed me to “see” games that Scully called live…and I often stayed up until midnight and beyond to see him call the final out of games on the West Coast.
What it means to me now? Like almost everybody in the baseball world, I saw Scully’s last game call at San Francisco to close out the 2016 regular season. It was somewhat of an emotional moment…kinda like Keith Jackson’s last call during the 2006 Rose Bowl. A part of me felt like I was losing a key piece of sports. Today, I feel as if I’m a better student and fan of the game because of his calls. He certainly made the painful losses to the Giants more acceptable as his calming presence spared me fury. He was the ultimate professional and he always called it as he saw it. I always respected that from him and I’ll always remember that from him.