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Vin Scully Was My Hero, And There Will Never Be Another Like Him

Few people have ever been better at their profession than Vin Scully at calling baseball games. For a man who lived to the ripe old age of 94, it somehow feels like we didn't get enough time with him. Even when we know that death is inevitable, there are still those we believe will never die. Vin Scully was one of those people. Even in death, there are some voices that should never be silenced. Some stars should always shine no matter what. Vin Scully was my hero. And writing a blog about the impact of Vin Scully is nearly impossible. I could write a million words, and it wouldn't be enough. I'll try to do my best. 

Vin Scully redefined what it meant to call a baseball game. No one was capable of weaving in and out between exceptional play-by-play and fascinating storytelling. He was able to be both an incredible play-by-play man and a remarkable color commentator all in one. Baseball games were better when he was calling them. You always felt like you were learning something when you listened to Vin Scully call a game. I don't believe there has ever been a broadcaster who came to a game more prepared. In the down moments, he'd tell a story that could inform you and even make you laugh.

Scully was good until the very end. Even when he retired at the end of the 2016 season, you felt he still had more to offer. His energy and voice were captivating. You never felt he wasn't invested in the game he was calling. One of my biggest regrets as a baseball fan was that I fell asleep early in June of 2014 following my high school graduation open house. When I woke up the following day and saw that Clayton Kershaw had thrown a no-hitter, I was kicking myself for not staying up later. But when I watched the highlights, I was still invested even though I knew the results. Vin Scully was the reason for that.

I could probably post about 500 more examples of Vin proving himself to be the GOAT, but I'll just leave you with a few more.

What Vin Scully did not just for the sport of baseball, but for the world was transcendent. As I said earlier, it's impossible to do him proper justice. But there are a few stories that always stand out to me. In 2014, Scully lost his 1988 World Series ring while at a supermarket with his wife. What happened next? They shut down the supermarket until he found it. This story comes from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times

"I said, 'Oh my God, I've lost my ring,'" Vin said.

The ring is one of six earned by Scully during his 65-year Dodgers announcing career, but the only one he has not given to his children, and the one that represents perhaps his most famous home-run description, "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!"

"I kept telling myself, 'A ring is only a thing, it's only a thing,'" Scully said. "But I felt so terrible."

Scully immediately walked back into the store and informed assistant general manager Elias Rahhal, who acted as if he had lost his own ring. 

"I went into a panic, I assured him we'd do everything to help find the ring, Vin is like family to us," said Rahhal, who printed out Scully's receipt and began a painstaking retracing of Scully's steps through the tower stacks and free food samples. Meanwhile, Vin called the Dodgers publicity sage Steve Brener, who immediately sent out a tweet informing the nation that Scully had lost the ring and asking anybody with information to call the Dodger Stadium switchboard. Then Vin and Sandi drove home while Vin continued to remind himself it was only jewelry and paled in comparison to the large and loving family that awaited his 88th holiday celebration.

"You know, maybe God heard me say that," he said.

Sure enough, while Vin was unloading the stacks of items, he heard a cry from inside the house. While emptying the ribs, Sandi found the ring at the bottom of the bag.

"I'm still laughing about it," said Vin. "But you know, I think I've been laughing about things all winter."

I've worked in the broadcasting industry before, and the idea of running into an utterly egoless person is essentially an impossibility. And if any man had the right to have an ego, it was Vin Scully. This was a man who called more baseball games than probably any human being who ever lived. His voice is a part of some of the greatest moments the sport has had to offer. And yet, by all accounts, he was a gentleman. "Good guys finish last" never applied to Vin Scully. His longevity and innate ability to always say the right thing at the right time earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2017. His reaction was very fitting.

There's so much talk nowadays about what's wrong with baseball. I'm not going to sit here and act like it doesn't have its problems. But sometimes, we get so caught up in what's wrong that we fail to see what's right. Vin Scully was everything right with baseball. He was everything that a baseball fan should strive to be. He was honest, hopeful, optimistic, and most of all, he was passionate, and passion is infectious. Passion makes life worth living, and no one was as passionate about calling baseball games as Vin Scully. 

Thank you Vin. Heaven finally has a play-by-play man.