I wish you a very pleasant afternoon, wherever you may be.
Being a sportswriter has sorta beaten the fun of sports out of me. I still take great joy in watching sports and love having to think about things while watching. The emotional part of sports is mostly gone, however. I get happy when my teams win and sad when they lose, but not like I used to. Yet, this has been a strangely emotional sports year for me.
It started during Kobe Bryant’s last game. I was an emotional wreck watching all his highlight videos leading up to his final game. During the game, I was mostly fine until the final three minutes. That’s when Kobe started going off, and that’s when the tear ducts in my eyes did the same. I started thinking back to pretty much every major moment in my life, and realized that from my first little league homer to my college graduation, Kobe had been in my life in some way.
I was fully expecting/prepared to tear up watching Vin Scully call the final six games of his 67-year career. Then, I woke up one morning to the news that Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident. That really put things in perspective for me.
To me, Vin’s final week isn’t a thing to be sad about at all. It’s a celebration. Vin would be the first to say it, he’s been blessed with the health and opportunity to have the same job for 67 years. At 88 years old, he’s still working the job that he got at 21. I had a job at 21. I quit like, three weeks later (long story that’s not really relevant). Scully had the opportunity to remain with an organization for as long as Archie Manning has been alive.
This season (and mostly last week), we’ve been celebrating Scully’s legacy. He’s the gold standard for what it means to be a broadcaster and really what it means to be a man. However, that’s exactly what it should be- a celebration.
Jose Fernandez turned 24 on July 31st. Five days before his tragic death, he announced that his girlfriend was pregnant. And now he’s gone. That’s something to be sad about. Fernandez wasn’t a Dodger and he often dominated my favorite team, but he was an impossible player to root against. “The sky is the limit” is an overused cliche, but with him and his talent level the sky really was the limit. And I can’t find myself caring less about the Cy Young awards he won’t win and the championships he won’t win, as his talent doesn’t make this any less sad. It’s always jarring to me when someone younger than me dies, especially in such a tragic way.
In a way, Fernandez’s death is helping me not be sad about Scully’s retirement. Fernandez leaves you with an awful feeling of “what could have been”. Scully has lived more life than 10 men, and he gets to ride off into the sunset in the most poetic way possible.
Us Angelino’s have been so spoiled when it comes to broadcasters. Bob Miller has been with the Kings for 43 years. Chick Hearn was the Lakers’ announcer for 42 years. Scully was the Dodgers’ announcer for 67 years. I’m only 25, so those voices were there for me when I first started watching sports. Miller’s still doing his thing at 77 years old. We’re getting the chance to say bye to Vin. We never got that with Chick, who passed away in 2002.
This isn’t to say I won’t be sad thinking about the Dodgers without Vin Scully. We don’t know what the Dodgers are without Vin, and it’s really going to kick in at the next home opener. As much as I love Joe Davis and hope he’ll be around for as long as Vin, there’s only one name synonymous with the Dodgers.
Scully’s legacy will live on forever, and that’s what we’re celebrating this week. There has never been another Vin, and there will never be another Vin. But instead of being sad about it, let’s celebrate all that he gave to us and all those times he was there for us during our lives.