Though last week Vin Scully had his final broadcast as Dodgers announcer in Los Angeles, today is officially his retirement after 67 years as he finishes his career, flying up to San Francisco to broadcast the last game of the year, between the Dodgers and their longtime rivals, the Giants.
At the final game in Los Angeles, though, there was a moment before the hometown crowd that was so special and wonderful that I wanted to post it immediately, but it took me a while to find a proper video of what I'd seen on television live. By that point, I realized that rather than just embed it a bit after the fact it should be held for posting today. It just seemed the best way to go out.
It had been a wonderful game and celebration throughout. Unknown beforehand to Vin, when every Dodger player came to bat for the first time they all first turned to the broadcast booth and saluted him. And the game itself was a treat, the perfect way to end his career at Dodger Stadium. If the Dodgers won, they would have clinched the Division Title. Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, there were two outs with the club down by a run. But a home run tied it. And then heading into extra innings -- yes, Vin got extra time in his final game there -- the Dodgers won in the 10th inning with yet another home run.
After the game ended, the team celebrated on the field having just clinched the title. And then, for a final tribute to the fans, Scully's microphone was turned on so that he could speak directly to the entire stadium.
It's clear how moving and emotional the moment was to Scully. Throughout his career, to the end, Vin Scully was the epitome of the consummate professional. Impeccable, a magnificent storyteller and wordsmith. On the rare occasions that he fumbled -- over 67 years -- it stood out so much he'd apologize for it. But with the game over, and him saying goodbye to the fans, you'll hear more stumbles in one minute than you might have heard in a decade. It's just one of the things that made the moment all the more emotional.
But just one of the things, and not close to what did the most. Because what happened next was unexpected and pretty much moved the place to tears. As well as I suspect most of the TV viewing audience. This starts with Dodger manager Dave Roberts being interviewed on the field, and then Scully takes over. What I will say, without giving too much away, is that when the recording begins to play, that is indeed Vin Scully singing. I know because a few years back, when the Dodgers were in Chicago at Wrigley Field playing the Cubs, Scully agreed to be the "guest conductor," a tradition at the ballpark where a celebrity leads the crowd in singing, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." And I haven't forgotten it.
I think it unlikely that you will forget this.
Quite a way to go out at home. And to end his 67-year career today.
And if the Dodgers don't release this as a single, if only to raise money for charity, someone is asleep at the wheel.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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