I have loved wine most of my adult life, but I have loved baseball for as long as I can remember. I played youth baseball from the time I was 8, and was named to the Harbor Area Baseball All-Star Team five years in a row. Hey, it’s not bragging if it’s a fact.
I was introduced to baseball not by my Dad or my older brother, but by a broadcaster. My brother would listen to Dodgers games on the radio, and since we shared a bedroom through much of our childhoods, there were many summer nights when I’d be lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of Vin Scully.
Terry (my brother) had certain players that he especially liked. Don Drysdale was his favorite. But I was drawn to that voice, a voice that not only brought me into the game being played, but taught me about the game’s rules and strategies. So many people think that baseball is too slow, but those are people who really don’t know the game and the things to look for when watching it — the positioning of an outfielder for a specific hitter, the thinking behind an intentional walk, the beauty and flow of a well-executed drag bunt.
When you can see those things in person and have an understanding of them, baseball is not slow at all. Vin Scully taught me about all of those things.
Following this Sunday’s game in San Francisco, Scully will call it a career. After 67 years of broadcasting Dodgers games — first in Brooklyn, and then since their move to Los Angeles — he will turn off the microphone for the final time.
The Dodgers honored him during their final home stand of the regular season last weekend, and I caught myself holding back tears several times while watching the games on TV. I’m sure I’ll be feeling the same way this Sunday as he broadcasts his final game from San Francisco.
Scully has been “year-to-year” with the Dodgers for several years now, signing a series of one-year contracts. That’s what happens once you reach age 80 or so.
L.A. began its long good-bye to this broadcasting legend several years ago. On Sunday, Feb. 27, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Scully was feted at the Beverly Hills Wine Festival. Among the accolades he received that day was a “city certificate” from the mayor.
And, of course, there was plenty of wine available for toasting.
It was not his plan, but leave it to Vin Scully to upstage Hollywood on its biggest day of the year — the day of the Academy Awards.