I haven't been able to go to that stadium since the brutal, opening day beating of Bryan Stow in 2011. I watched the decline of the place during the dark years of that asshole, Frank McCourt, the day I walked into my sacred childhood cathedral and saw nothing but corporate vomit, everywhere. The parking lot became a hostile environment for families and a welcome romping ground for gang bangers and other vermin. It wasn't a family place anymore...it felt...different. Colder, like a big store. I began calling them the Adelphia Dodgers, and I felt the magic leave.
When I was a boy, it was straight to my radio every game, to hear the rotating voices of Vin Scully, Ross Porter, and Jerry Doggett. And I was on my floor with the sports sections open to "results, facts & figures, devouring stats into my ever hungry, as of yet undiagnosed Tourette's brain. It was truly "brain candy." But, the rank of the three voices wasn't even close. Vin was always MY chosen voice. It felt like your favorite great uncle took a seat next to you, put an arm around you and pointed out the magic all around the stadium, while he gave you history lessons and made you laugh. When we went to a game, we always took a radio. It wasn't even worth being in that magical place if we were missing the best part...the voice. And he spanned the generations from my parents to me! We shared it, it didn't belong to just one of our eras. That was the unselfish magic of Vin Scully that reached everyone within earshot.
He would always catch the Big Blue Wrecking Crew clown princes: Jerry Reuss, Rick Monday, and Jay Johnstone, dragging the field in the middle of the game, or suddenly grouped together, sitting as a trio in the stands, eating peanuts and watching the game, not on the field, where they actually belonged. And Vin would pull their covers, and share the joke with all of us, and that was magic.
Kevin Costner puts it beautifully on his tribute. Who better? The king of deep and soulful baseball movies...spinning his prose, for the golden voice of the game. Thank you, Kevin... And thank you Vin.
"It's a wonderful feeling to be a bridge to the past and to unite generations. The sport of baseball does that, and I am just a part of it."
"That ball is going back...a'waaaaay back...to the walllll...IT'S GONE!!"
To you, Vin, I raise a glass of The Macallan 25. Nothing but the best for my favorite "uncle."
Jeff "The Guru" Gray owns Gray Area Fitness, has a BA in Biology from Whittier College, works with osteopathic and medical students at 2 universities, is an avid shooter, acts, writes, and spins fire. Animal lover, Burner, traveller, fantasy football analyst, he's just your typical Tourette's/A.D.D. kid from the suburbs. He currently looks after his codependent dog and neurotic cat. Passion and experience sums it up for The Guru, and new destinations, great shows, cars, and crazy animal adventures are always within his purvey.