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My Blog

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Drop the Mic

Posted on August 14, 2022 at 10:15 PM

In the beginning, people were mesmerized when walking through the ballpark and hearing his voice. He once said, “What you hear on the air has always been me, because I made it a point not to listen to anyone else.” His sound was pleasing, and it was hard to forget that voice. This fellow preferred to work alone on the radio. He never wanted to talk to a partner; he wanted to talk with us. This guy never referred to his listeners as fans (short for fanatics); he preferred to call them his friends. He wanted his listeners to feel like they were sitting next to him. His grasp of the English language was impeccable. He always used the right phrases and nothing was ever out of place, not a hair, not a word. There is no doubt that baseball kept him young, and us too. This guy was more important to the game of baseball than anyone else who may have ever played. His calls were poetry, timeless and remembered, and his character was even greater than his broadcast skills.

A devout Catholic, he attended Mass every Sunday, before heading to the ballpark. Universally loved, he sometimes said a lot by simply saying nothing at all. This guy never yelled into his microphone; he understood the pace and rhythms of the game. For him, every baseball game was a canvas, and his job was to paint a masterpiece. His voice on the radio reminded me that no matter how much things change, some things stay the same. He took us to places near and far and told us stories of the game and its players that we never knew. Even though he was paid by the Dodgers, he was unafraid to criticize a bad play, or a manager’s decision, or praise an opponent. He always said he wanted to see the game with his eyes, not his heart. Dodger fans brought their transistor radios to the park, because they didn’t want to miss any of his stories. Everyone considered him family. There have been so many words used to describe him; and he made you think, cry and laugh, all at the same time. It seemed like he had been around forever. Not only did he connect generations of families with his words, he predated Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, the batting helmet, transistor radios, the designated hitter and the sacrifice-fly rule. In 1950, when he slid in behind a microphone for the first time, gas cost 27 cents a gallon, a postage stamp cost 3 cents and minimum wage was 75 cents an hour.

Winston Churchill once said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see.” Vin Scully must have been able to see for miles. He never acted his age in his whole life. He was born mature and remained young. The masses are weeping in baseball Heaven, because 94-year-old Vin Scully has left us. He realized that the only thing we get to decide in life is what to do with the time we are given. I believe he used his time wisely. He always knew that the best announcing does not come from your memory; it comes from living through your experiences. And he had experience in spades.

Vin Scully, the red-headed kid, had a way with words. He was a miracle on the air. Every broadcaster wanted to be Vin Scully. It’s going to be hard to think about the Dodgers without thinking about him. He will forever be linked to the fans by five simple words, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” Vin Scully dropped the mic for the last time on a Tuesday night. The date of his passing will read August 2, 2022. He was the heartbeat of baseball.

 

 

 

Andy Purvis

 

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