Vin Scully passed away last week. He lived a good life. He lived a charmed life. He lived a life that touched tens of millions of people.
As the 90s wore on, I got away from baseball. I was busy with music and my teens and college. Yet during my childhood and tweens I was in love with the game. When I wasn’t playing on a youth traveling team, I played solo games in my yard every single day of the summer. My evenings found me listening to the Minnesota Twins game on my bedside clock radio, often scratching out the action in a scorebook that I kept beside me. Baseball was my sport, and the radio announcers were my eyes and ears.
In the 2000s I started to revisit that love, though it had turned into the softer, conditional joy of adulthood. The Internet was growing exponentially, and that meant I could relive a bit of what I missed. Though it turned out to be a drug-fueled resurfacing of the game atop the public consciousness, I was saving pictures of Cal Ripken’s consecutive-game record and the home run races between Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds. History was happening now and I wanted these artifacts on my computer so I could share them with grandchildren someday. Some of these items probably still reside on a hard drive somewhere in my home, but they are tainted by steroids and business such that I’ll never have that gather-round-grandpa moment down the road; at least not about baseball.
One thing survived, coming through without tarnish, and that is my saved audio recording of Vin Scully calling Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game (text version). While it wasn’t about the 90s, it was about the baseball I had missed. It is a work of art. I love it.
In the 2010s I found myself with access to an MLB.TV account. While I couldn’t watch my own team because business means they were blacked out, I could turn on the Dodgers feed just to listen to Scully talk. It was a soothing way to wind down from a day. It was a background soundtrack that none of us deserved, but we were thankful nonetheless. Even in his eighties we were treated to the results of his tireless research. His stories could touch any player, veteran or rookie. I enjoyed so much learning about the school exploits of the opposing team’s Orange County prospect. Scully could make tangible the incredible excitement that must be fluttering in the kid’s stomach as he took the mound against his childhood-favorite team.
Scully was a legendary storyteller who would teach the fans of opposing teams about their own players. He also taught us about Greek legends, staging perfectly a game moment that he couldn’t have known was coming. While I don’t believe Scully was ever political, he also made sure to react properly when discussing the evil in the world.
I cannot understand why we do not seem to have even a low-rent knock-off of Scully. People who have a love for an activity tend try to emulate their heroes. There are certainly people who are passionate about broadcasting, but I’ve yet to run into an announcer who appeared to do a fraction of the research Scully must have done to prepare for his work. Maybe there are business things at play here that don’t allow it to happen. That’s unfortunate as I’d be angry if suits out there are suppressing someone that is working their butts off to do what Scully did.
Hopefully there are filmmakers working on a documentary on Scully. Maybe one already exists? I don’t really want a documentary about his life so much, though I would watch it. What I want is a documentary highlighting his top moments. All levels of moments, whether they be about Hank Aaron’s homerun or role players like DeWayne Wise. What I want is for Apple TV+ or whatever network to have a Vin Scully channel that plays all day every day forever.
I’m thankful to have lived in a time where I could listen to Vin Scully describe the game I so enjoy and I’m happy to shower you with applause one last time.