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Los Angeles is known for many things. Perfect weather, beautiful surf and the Hollywood Strip all come think when The City of Angels is mentioned.
But for those who are lucky enough to grow up in Los Angeles and have at least a little understanding of this role sport plays in many livesthere is one person in particular, and one voice in particular, that comes to mind first.
It’s Vin Scully.
For years, it was Scully who weaved the stories of hometown Los Angeles heroes into the living rooms and cars of Dodgers fans. It was the soothing tone of Scully’s voice that taught fans the game of baseball, brought families together after dinner, and still reminds us of home.
Dodgers great Steve Garvey said it perfectly Tuesday night, describing what Scully means to the city of Los Angeles.
“Every great city has sounds”, Garvey said on MLB Network. “And Los Angeles has had one, clear sound and it’s the voice of Vin Scully all these years. I think some people have roads named after them, some people have cities or mountains or rivers , but Vin was above that.
“His voice resonated, the Dodgers have been phenomenal in keeping his voice in and out of the stadium. And to hear that every day when people walk into Dodger Stadium, it’s a feeling of comfort that they’ve come back to home as fans at Dodgers Stadium and Vin is there in spirit.”
Vin Scully died Tuesday night at the age of 94, after nearly seven decades of being the voice of the game we’ve all come to love.
For many, the loss of Scully hit the harder man than initially thought. After all, the majority of us have never met the man, let alone had the chance to speak with him. And yet, his passing was felt like the loss of an old friend.
As a kid growing up in the San Fernando Valley, not all of that how far from Dodger Stadium, the sound of Scully’s voice takes me back to another time. In a simpler time when the game of baseball was always my focus.
For those who don’t know, the weather in Los Angeles isn’t perfect everywhere. The valley is hot. And when I say hot, I mean 100+ degrees in the summer, with the beach miles away – and a terrible road on the 405 freeway – away.
Like many who grew up in my childhood, my upbringing did not include central cooling. Although I don’t want it to sound like a miserable existence – I had a wonderful childhood – the only cool place during the summer months was in my parents’ bedroom, where the only window AC unit was placed.
In this room was also a radio.
Some of my earliest memories include walking quietly into my parents’ bedroom, breathing in the fresh air, and listening to the greatest baseball newscaster of all time describe perfectly what was happening a few miles away, in Chávez Ravine.
Scully’s style was unlike any other. He wasn’t afraid of silence, of letting the sounds of the stadium slowly engulf the listener to the point where you felt like you were sitting along the third baseline, happily munching on a bag of peanuts.
Vin’s contributions to baseball will live on for many generations after his time, as those lucky enough to listen to him call games will pass on his story to their children and grandchildren.
It was like that for me, because my grandfather spoke so fondly of Scully throughout my childhood, often informing me of Scully’s yarn from the night before.
I ran a one-man booth back then, completely different from today’s shows, which often include three men vying for airtime. It was Vin’s show, and there’s no other way for baseball fans to get it.
He called 25 World SeriesHank Aaron’s 715th home run, 20 hits and three perfect plays, letting fans outside of Los Angeles realize his greatness.
But for the boys and girls who grew up in Los Angeles, Vin will always be the voice of the Dodgers, the voice of baseball, and the voice of our childhood.
While the news of his passing is sad for anyone who calls themselves a fan of the game, I remind you of Vin’s words to all of us on his last broadcast in 2016.
“Don’t be sad because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
We all smile as we remember the sound of Vin Scully’s voice and how it takes us back to a better time when all that mattered was the sound of the stadium and the slap of the bat.
Thank you, Vin, for being the voice of baseball and the voice of my city. Baseball and the city of Los Angeles will never forget you.