With the passing of Vin Scully, we have lost a friend – Orange County Register

Southern California lost its vote on Tuesday.

Vin Scully was more than a baseball announcer. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1958, emigrating from Brooklyn with the rest of the Dodgers, and he was here because Walter O’Malley resisted local suggestions to hire a guy from LA to make the plays.

And not only has it become part of our community and our culture, it has become synonymous with it. This voice, wishing us a very pleasant good evening, wherever we were, provided us with company as well as information.

He became, indeed, a friend to millions of Southern Californians who had never met him. Those who did, more often than not, were moved by the modesty and humility he displayed, a reminder that truly great people don’t need to advertise it.

And so it was that when the news broke on Tuesday night that Vin had died on Tuesday at the age of 94, no one wanted to believe it was true.

“We have lost an icon,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a club statement released Tuesday night. “Vin Scully was one of the greatest voices in all of sports. He was a giant of a man, not just as a broadcaster, but as a humanitarian. He loved people. He loved life. He loved baseball and the Dodgers. And he loved his family. His voice will always be heard and etched in all of our minds forever.

So true.

It was an incomparable voice. He taught us the game, and he got us to buy transistor radios to listen to the radio call when we attended games – first at the Coliseum, where the seats at the top of the bowl were so far apart that the players looked like ants in white and gray uniforms, but also after the team moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962.

“People needed the radio,” he told me years ago. “They didn’t need me. They needed anyone, and I never forgot that. But the radio (transistor) was the biggest help for us, to get closer to the fans because they were all listening. And it made you sink in, because if you made a mistake, they were all watching.

Vin always maintained that it was the message, not the messenger. But consider: While it was still seven innings a night on the radio, you could sit anywhere in Dodger Stadium and hear those melodious tones. When Vin became the main voice on television and her call was simulcast for a few innings on the radio, there were fewer portable radios in the stands. And since his retirement after the 2016 season, there are hardly any left.

Vin was recounting how he first became interested in baseball, until October 2, 1936, when an 8-year-old red-haired boy came home from school in New York, seeing the score of a World Series game – YANKEES 18, GIANTS 4 – posted in a laundromat window, and becoming a Giants fan because he felt sorry for them.

Yes, he paid it up front. There are several generations of boys and girls in Southern California who, ages 7 and 8+, have fallen in love with baseball thanks to the sound of Vin Scully’s voice. You are reading one of them. The year I turned 8, the Dodgers were in a race for the pennant, and Scully and his partner Jerry Doggett became constant summer companions, thanks to a transistor radio that, if I remember correctly, was a birthday present.

That love of baseball was an even bigger gift. This has continued to this day, and I’m sure mine isn’t the only example.

Vin’s voice would become the soundtrack to a Southern California summer, whether on the car radio on the drive home when the Dodgers were playing in the East, at a barbecue or at a party in the swimming pool, or on one of those transistor radios hidden under the pillow. after what was supposed to be bedtime. (All these years later, I’m not admitting anything.)

The best thing? I grew up to be a baseball writer, then a columnist, and shared a press box with Scully, who would eventually have this press box named after him. And I can personally attest to his kindness, kindness and humility.

When he called us “friends”, it was truer than even he would ever know. Vin was a friend of the family, and his family was anyone who followed the game, even if they weren’t Dodger fans.

And there was also this: Red Barber, his mentor, insisted first and foremost that Vin should bring in, not root. Once, young Scully – that’s what Red called him, in fact, “Young Scully” – said that Willie Mays was the best player he had ever seen. Barber suggested to him that, well, maybe he hadn’t been around long enough to make such a definitive statement.

Vin remembered all those lessons. He realized that these late-night shows advertised the team he worked for, but he also believed that his ability to report, not root, provided credibility that, unfortunately, is too often missing with today’s increasingly local comments.

And it’s worth noting – yes, that’s Scully-ism – that in its final season of shows, 2016, a season in which not only visiting broadcasters but also players and managers came to his stand to pay homage to him, before each match, the referees look at the stand and wave. Maybe they liked that Vin didn’t second guess their every move.

Let’s not forget the versatility of Vin, either. He worked on NFL games for CBS with John Madden and Hank Stram. The famous touchdown in the NFC title game between Joe Montana and Dwight Clark at the start of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty in January 1982? Vin’s call.

He golfed for NBC. In the ’60s, he was doing a daytime talk show, and even a game show for a time, “It Takes Two.” He became NBC’s main baseball announcer in the 1980s, in addition to his duties with the Dodgers. Kirk Gibson’s 1988 home run? Vin’s call.

There is often a common thread in life. Vin said Willie Mays was the best player he had ever seen as a young announcer. Decades later, when he had seen enough baseball to be able to make that call credibly, he still insisted that Mays was the best.

On the day Scully called his last game — Oct. 2, 2016, 80 years to the day after seeing that World Series score posted in that window in New York — Willie Mays joined him in the visitor broadcast booth at what is now known as Oracle Park, and the plaque commemorating that moment remains in this stand.

And on Tuesday night, when the world learned of his passing, the Dodgers were playing at this stadium.

Rest in peace Vin. All of Southern California is in mourning.

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Edward L. Robinett