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Vin Scully, the Voice and Soul of Baseball

I don’t know a single Dodgers fan who doesn’t have a story about how Vin Scully touched their lives.  Here’s mine.

I used to run my own one-woman leather working business, so I spent a lot of time alone in a garage I rented from a friend in the Valley.  Summers were hot and brutal, so I often scheduled my time there in the evenings, trying to beat the heat.  Tired of the same old podcasts and music, I spotted an old radio in the corner and on a whim put on the Dodgers game on AM 570, desperate for something new and entertaining.

The sound quality was awful.  At times I could barely hear Vin’s voice, and if I moved in the wrong direction, a piercing wail overlaying static would take over the broadcast.  So I stayed put, rooted to my chair, and listened.   

I don’t remember what game it was.  I don’t remember who won.  But I remember the feeling that Vin Scully left with me.

As a chubby girl growing up in Tennessee, baseball wasn’t exactly welcoming to me. My grandmother was a Braves fan, and during the nineties, it was a good time to be a Braves fan.  I remember listening to games in the car with her, sitting in the hot sun, waiting for an inning break before we’d dash into the house to put on TBS.  I loved watching Greg Maddux and John Smoltz mow down all hitters. Seeing David Justice and Andruw Jones at the plate. Watching my grandmother live and die on every pitch, hang on every word.

Yet the boys in their Braves hats with their fishhook jammed onto the brims never wanted to talk to a girl about baseball, and at the time there didn’t seem to be any other girls my age who liked it.   Add in some vicious bullying on the softball field and I was ready to leave diamond sports behind for good by the time I hit high school.

But on those sweltering summer nights in that Burbank workshop, listening to Vin Scully, it all came back:  the drama, the heartbreaks, the soaring joy of the sport.  I joined Twitter and lucked into following a passel of funny, brilliant Dodgers fans, most of them women.  I got my non-baseball friends involved and some of them now come to games with me regularly.

Without that reminder, without that rekindling of joy, my life would be very different.  When the pandemic hit and my business dried up overnight, it was baseball that got me through it, emotionally and financially.  I did work for a sports union and wrote for pay on various baseball websites.  I started a podcast and met amazing fans across the country. And after a chance encounter on a plane with the right woman, I ended up working on a few film projects. Those projects led to my current day job of restoring historical baseball equipment.

None of this happens without Vin Scully reigniting my love of baseball.  None of it.  And I cannot help but feel anything but grateful.

Of course there is sadness, too. My first instinct was to call home, to call my grandmother, who loved it when Vin called playoff games. But I can’t call her; she died earlier this year. Our last conversation was about Freddie Freeman, how if he couldn’t be a Brave, then she was glad he was one of my Dodgers. The passing of Vin is also a reminder to us of those who have passed on before, the ones who shared their passion with us, who showed us the way. Vin was our link to the past, to Brooklyn and Jackie and Campy and Gibby and all the rich history of the Dodgers. But he was also a personal link to loved ones, to shared passions and lifelong fans now lost to us.

My story is a drop in the ocean compared to the swell of love and admiration from baseball fans around the world.  If we are rewarded for the good things we bring into others lives, then Vin Scully’s Blue Heaven is rich indeed.  I hope he rests well under cotton candy skies.

The only thing left to say is that we’ll miss you, Vin. And a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be.

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