“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”
By Alden Benton
About 58 years ago, a skinny kid with geeky glasses went with his Dad and his cousin Chuck to see his first major league baseball game.
We walked for what seemed to be miles and climbed thousand steps before we arrived at our assigned seats, seats in a section so high and far away from the field that they were in the nosebleed section.
We settled in to our seats to watch the game. There I sat at what seemed me to be the top of the world. Filled with excitement, I sat at the ready with my heavily padded catcher’s mitt hoping that a big-league foul ball would find its way that far up in the seats.
My Dad turned on a heavy little transistor radio so we could follow the action on the field. Through the tinny sounding speaker, cutting through the static, came the play by play.
I don’t remember who won that game that beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Los Angeles Colosseum between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, it was the day I fell in love with baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Vince Scully.
Now that skinny kid with the geeky glasses is 58 years older, but the geeky glasses, the love of baseball, the Dodgers and Vince Scully remain.
In the intervening years, I learned all I know about baseball from Vince Scully. I was witness, whether in person, via the radio or television, to the highlights of his career. I was indeed one of the people he referred to on his last broadcast as going to sleep with my transistor radio listening to him.
Vince is more than the ultimate play-by-play announcer, he was also a story teller.
Vinny has an immense store of knowledge about baseball, the players, and its history. It always amazed me how he can tell a story and call the game at the same time.
My favorite Vince Scully story was told years ago.
It was a televised game. The game was a blowout and the remaining innings were meaningless exercises in futility. In between batters, the camera scanned the stands and focused on a little blonde girl who was sitting on her Daddy’s lap enjoying cotton candy. For the next inning, the camera remained on the little girl while Vinny told stories about children and baseball. In the midst of his story, Vinny never missed a pitch or an out.
In addition to learning about the game, I learned much from Vinny about being a professional, and about how to be gracious and humble. Lessons about how to live one’s life, lessons which need to be taught to so many younger Americans.
October 2, 2016 was Vince Scully’s final broadcast. An era has ended. I will miss his voice. I will miss his knowledge and his stories.
In a 1980 broadcast Vinny said, “It’s a mere moment in a man’s life between the All-Star Game and an old timer’s game.”
For 67 years, you belonged to baseball and your fans. You have been a timeless beacon for generations of players and fans. Now it is time, as Vinny candidly put it, to enjoy the roses and his family.
On behalf of everyone you touched, thank you.
Thanks for the memories. Because of you, it will always be a good afternoon for Dodger baseball.
“As long as you live keep smiling because it brightens everybody’s day.” ~Vin Scully
© 2016 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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