If you were born in the New York area in 1944, and started listening to Dodger games on the radio at age six, then moved with the team to Los Angeles eight years later, where you’ve remained til now, then you would have a perfect Vin Scully attendance record. And when Scully retires at the end of the 2008 season, you would be 64 years old.
The eternally smooth Vin Scully. He’s been fumbling his words a little more than he used to, like you’d expect a man in his late 70s would do. But his delivery is still clean and clear and his voice as young as a cool mountain stream.
Scully is an advertisement for the fountain-of-youth benefits of baseball. The game is for little boys (and girls). When the players’ competitive juices get fired up, when they exhibit the uninhibited joy of a victorious moment, Scully loves to say “you have to have a lot of little boy in you to play this game.”
Baseball still brings out the little boy in him — and that brings out the little boy in me, and probably you, too, if you’re his fan.
I assume I’ll still be around in 2009 after Scully’s current contract expires, to begin the post-Vin Scully period of my Dodger fandom. I assume I’ll still follow the team. Old habits die hard. Vin already takes about a third of the games off, so I’m used to hearing other, lesser voices describe the action.
We can let go of you, Vin. We knew we’d have to some day. But this is one of those moments when the cliche encomium “immortal” seems more like a cruel deception. The immortals are merely mortal like the rest of us. The idea of Vin Scully taking his well-earned retirement makes us yearn that it could be otherwise.
(Update 2/22/06: Sorry if this post was unreadable earlier. PCs have an aspect-ratio problem now. My laptop has a wide screen, but many PCs don’t. On the narrower screen, the image of Scully & Doggett covered up part of the text.)