[Nfbc-info] {Spam?} Vin Scully embarks on final season, ready to 'squeeze the juice out of life'

Nancy Lynn freespirit.stl at att.net
Thu Apr 14 03:28:54 UTC 2016

I'm going to try to paste this into the email itself in case anyone has 
trouble getting the attachment.
BlankI know this has nothing to do with blindness, but I thought you’d like 
to see this, particularly Dodger fans in SoCal. Enjoy.
Vin Scully embarks on final season, ready to 'squeeze the juice out of life' 
Bob Nightengale , USA TODAY Sports Did you know that Arizona has a Socrates 
on the team? Excuse me. Yes, Socrates Brito, he's an outfielder for the 
Arizona Diamondbacks. Can you imagine? Socrates, who drank the hemlock, is 
playing baseball. It's Vin Scully, the voice from the heavens, already 
gathering his material for the Los Angeles Dodgers' home opener Tuesday 
against the Diamondbacks. Really, he's preparing us for the last opening 
game of his exquisite, eloquent and extraordinary career. This is Scully's 
67th and final season as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and never 
again will baseball sound the same. Once Scully signs off his final game, 
Oct. 2 against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco, one 
of sport's greatest legends will finally recede into silence. There's one 
difference between Scully closing his scorebook a final time and Babe Ruth 
in his last at-bat, or Muhammad Ali in the ring for one more round. Scully, 
even at 88, with 16 grandchildren and two great-grand children, is still in 
his prime, still the greatest of all time. "His calls are so embedded in our 
brains,' said Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner, entering his 49th year in 
broadcasting, "they will live forever. We are all reporters in the booth 
running real fast. He's a poet that glides. "He's the best who's ever done 
it, and the best who will ever do it. He's the poet laureate of baseball. 
Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon to you, wherever you may 
be. "People ask me what my favorite call for Vin is,' said Dodgers 
broadcaster Rick Monday, who has been in the booth for 23 years after a 
19-year playing career, "and that's it. His opening. He owns the English 
language to begin with, and how he finds words, and presents the words to 
perfectly fit the occasion, is phenomenal. "You can talk all you want about 
the great Dodgers in history. Jackie Robinson. Sandy Koufax. Gil Hodges. 
There's been no one greater than Vin Scully. Scully, a private and religious 
man of Catholic faith, is embarrassed by all of the accolades and tributes 
that started in earnest Monday when they re-named the road leading into the 
main entrance of Dodger Stadium: Vin Scully Avenue. A throng of fans showed 
up for the midday ceremony, reluctantly accepting Scully's refusal that he 
go one more year beyond 2016. "It's very humbling,' Scully told USA TODAY 
Sports. "I was a street kid in New York. We didn't have Little League. The 
only place to play after school was on the streets. We played stick ball. We 
grabbed a broom handle and a tennis ball, the manhole covers were the bases, 
and we played every day until midnight. "I was a rabid Giants fan. The Polo 
Grounds was about 20 blocks from our grammar school. I would get out of 
school during the week at 2:30, walk a mile, get in free, and watch the 
Giants play. My idol was Mel Ott. I would hit like him, raise my leg above 
the ground like him, everything. "So for a street kid from New York to have 
a street named after me, it's so overwhelming. Scully, who rarely watches 
baseball broadcasts, preferring to fall asleep with a book by his bedside 
instead of TV, and hoping one day to visit Niagara Falls for the first time, 
and maybe Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, too, reflected on his career last 
week in an exclusive two-hour interview with USA TODAY Sports. As Scully 
takes stock of five very special decades, it's the people, and the moments 
away from the diamond that resonate. Scully says he'll always be grateful to 
the late Red Barber for giving him his start out of Fordham. He'll cherish 
an impromptu Christmas Eve invite for drinks at the home of President Ronald 
Reagan and Nancy, will remember a stranger by the name of John Wooden 
opening the gate to his apartment complex when he moved to Los Angeles, ice 
skating with Jackie Robinson, and playing golf with President George H. W. 
Bush. "I actually played baseball (in 1947) against President Bush when he 
was at Yale and I was trying to play center field at Fordham,' Scully said. 
"I told him, "Mr. President, as long as you're in the White House, you can 
say anything you want about your baseball career. "But remember, the day you 
step out of the White House, we both went oh-for-three in that game. "He 
howled. Scully, who began broadcasting Brooklyn Dodgers' games in 1950, has 
seen it all. He was the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series 
game in 1953, and was behind the microphone for the Dodgers' first title in 
1955. He called Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Three of 
Koufax's no-hitters and perfect game. Twenty no-hitters. Hank Aaron's 
historic 715th home run. And Kirk Gibson's dramatic homer in the 1988 World 
Series. Perhaps nothing was ever more poignant than his call the night of 
April 8, 1974. "I have never prepared verbally for a call,' Scully said. "I 
remember George Plimpton was in Atlanta, he was going to write a book on 
Aaron's home run. He interviewed everyone, and got to me, and said, "Do you 
have anything prepared? He told me (Atlanta Braves broadcaster) Milo 
Hamilton had the whole thing prepared. I said, 'Well, good for Milo, but I 
can't broadcast like that. "When Henry hit it, I described it: 'It's a high 
drive into deep left center field. Buckner goes back to the fence It is 
gone. Then I just shut up. For a long time. "I always let the crowd roar. It 
was like when I was 8 years old, and we had this big four-legged radio in 
the living room, and the only sports on Saturday was a college football 
game. I would crawl under the radio, put my head under the speaker with 
saltines and a glass of milk. And when someone scored, the crowd would go 
crazy, and that crowd noise would come down and wash over me like water out 
of a shower head. "To me, it is absolutely a symphony. I was completely 
enamored by the crowd noise. "So I waited, and it gave me time to think, and 
then I said, 'What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment 
for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the 
country and the world. "A black man is getting a standing ovation in the 
Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. Vintage. "It 
was the most IMPORTANT homer, and you can put that in capital letters, that 
I ever saw,' Scully said. "It was more than just a home run. More than a 
game-winning home run. What it did was provide a lift to the whole country. 
While Aaron's home run was the most historic of Scully's career, the most 
famous in Dodgers history belonged to Gibson. He was hobbled before Game 1 
of the World Series, and wasn't even on the bench during the game. During a 
commercial break, Scully - working the national TV broadcast for NBC - asked 
the producer to show the Dodger dugout when they returned. "As the camera 
panned the whole thing,' Scully said, "I said, 'He's not there. Obviously, 
he's not going to play tonight. Gibby is sitting in trainers' room, with 
bags of ice on his leg. Gibson, watching the broadcast, jumped off the 
trainers' table, grabbed a bat, and told the batboy, Mitch Poole, to tell 
Lasorda he could pinch hit. "And, look who's comin' up," Scully said. Gibson 
stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth off Oakland Athletics Hall 
of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley, swung at a backdoor 2-and-2 slider, and: " 
High fly ball into right field, she is gone ,' Scully said, the final word 
coming with an incredulous emphasis rare for the veteran broadcaster. 
Silence. "In a year that has been so improbable,' Scully said a minute 
later, "the impossible has happened. Scully, 28 years later, still calls it 
the most theatrical home run he's ever called. "In all of my years with the 
Dodgers,' Scully said, "that was my greatest contribution, getting Gibson 
off the trainer's table. Scully laughs. He hasn't sat down and figured out 
his all-time team, but easily calls Willie Mays the greatest player he's 
ever seen, and quickly determines his outfield: "Mays, Aaron and (Roberto) 
Clemente. Anybody want to argue? Oh, and I'll put Stan Musial at first base. 
Certainly, of all of the tens of thousands of players Scully has covered 
with the Dodgers, no one has come close to the historical significance of 
Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947. Scully was aware of 
the enormous stress Robinson endured during his career, and vividly 
remembers a whiskey bottle being thrown from the upper deck in St. Louis, 
nearly hitting Robinson and first baseman Gil Hodges. "You were always 
aware,' Scully said, "there was more going on than just a baseball game. His 
most favorite memory of Robinson has nothing to do with him on the 
ballfield, but in New York's Catskill Mountains. They found themselves at 
Grossinger's Resort in the dead of winter, 1951. Scully happened to bring 
along his ice skates. "Well, Jackie sees my skates,' Scully said, "and his 
eyes get real big. He said, 'Oh, you're going ice skating? I would love to 
skate with you. Rachel, who's probably five or six months pregnant, says, 'I 
want to go ice skating, too. "Well, we go back to the dressing room, Jackie 
gets a pair of skates, and he says, 'Vinny, when I go out, I'll race you. "I 
said, "Wow. Race me? I know you're a great athlete, but I didn't know you 
ice skate. Robinson: "I've never been on skates in my life. Scully: "Jack, 
I'm not a great skater, but there's no way you can beat me racing. Robinson: 
"That's the way I learn. "His competitive spirit was such, just by 
competing,' Scully said, "he would learn how to skate. Well, he fell down 
immediately, and when he got up, he was walking on his ankles. It was 
hysterical. "I still have a picture of Jackie and me lined up like we were 
at the Olympics and the gun was going off. Scully has kept little 
memorabilia over the years, saying if he were a serious collector, he would 
need two houses. His favorite piece may be the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World 
Series ring. Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, who Scully calls, "as nice a man 
who's ever been put on this earth,' had it produced from the original mold 
when he discovered nearly 35 years later that Scully never received the '55 
ring. It was only given to the players at the time. Now, Scully has rings 
from all four of the Dodgers' World Series championships. "That was the most 
amazing day when the Dodgers won it in '55,' Scully said. "I went to the 
Lexington Hotel, picked up my date, and we go through the tunnel into the 
borough of Brooklyn. It was like V-J Day. Thousands of people were dancing 
in the streets. It was unbelievable. "My date, the poor girl, was just 
shocked. I guess she got over it. She went on to invent Sesame Street. Joan 
Ganz. Vin and Sandi Scully, says close friend Dennis Gilbert, "still hold 
hands when they go out to dinner. (Photo: Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports) 
"He lives his life,' Dennis Gilbert said, "to please his wife. His favorite 
pictures in the house are the ones with him and his wife, Sandi, and the six 
kids they raised together. Vin and Sandi still hold hands when they go out 
to dinner together, close friends Dennis and Cyndi Gilbert say, calling the 
couple, "America's greatest love story. Vin and Sandi would travel together 
over the years, but this season, Scully will do only home games. Yes, games 
that most of Los Angeles won't see due to Time Warner Cable's dispute with 
other TV providers, now going on three years. Scully, wanting to make sure 
Sandi could at least watch his final season, ordered an additional TV 
provider for their home, but stays out of the nasty dispute. He cringes when 
his name is used as reasoning for the games to be shown on other TV 
providers. "Gee whiz, come on, that embarrasses me,' Scully said. "I don't 
belong in that. That's a discussion between powerhouses, not me. Besides, 
Scully says, he's got enough to take care of in this new era of technology. 
He still prefers newspaper clips and computer printouts for his broadcast 
research. He has no Twitter account, Facebook, Snapchat, or any social 
media. Want proof? How about the uproar Scully caused when he informed the 
audience that outfielder Shane Victorino broke the news on his Twitter 
account that he was being traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the 
Dodgers. "I was saying on the air,' Scully said, "Victorino used the Twitter 
and he sent a twit to tell the fans he was coming. Well, the city went 
hysterical. The sky nearly fell down from laughter. "I always thought that 
if you are going to use Twitter, it's going to be a twit. Why would it be a 
tweet? Oh, and the fans still love the kid in Scully when he broadcasts 
Dodgers' games against the Los Angeles Angels. Whenever first baseman Albert 
Pujols comes to bat, Scully can't help but call him Prince Albert. "Every 
time I see his name, I think of 'Prince Albert,' the chewing tobacco, when I 
was a kid,' Scully said. "A bunch of us in the neighborhood would call up 
our local tobacco store, and we'd say, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can? 
"They would say, "Yes, we do. "And then we'd say, "Well, will you please let 
him out? "We thought that was hilarious. As dumb as it is, every time I say 
Albert, I think of Prince Albert when I was 11 years old. It brings the 
11-year-old out of me. Scully's voice brings the youth out of all of us, and 
although Scully was taught by Barber to be careful getting close to the 
players he covers for fear it would cloud his judgment, every player in 
baseball is his friend. Minutes before every broadcast at Dodger Stadium, 
Vin Scully and the night's umpires exchange salutes, one of his many quiet 
traditions. (Photo: Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports) If you don't know 
Scully personally, you certainly know the voice. The umpiring crew even 
points up to Scully's broadcast booth before every game when they gather at 
home plate, and Scully always stands up and salutes them right back. Chicago 
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, in full uniform, even came up to Scully's booth 
before a game last August, simply to introduce himself. "I had never met him 
before,' Scully said, "and was blown away. He must have stayed with me for 
20 minutes. He's as nice a man as I read. I was broken-hearted to see what 
happened when their left fielder, (Kyle) Schwarber, got hurt. Just like when 
A.J. Pollock, who's such a wonderful player for Arizona, got hurt sliding 
head first into home plate in an exhibition game. "I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, 
life can be so cruel. Scully has had his own heartbreaks. His first wife, 
Joan, died, in 1972, when she took an accidental overdose of medication for 
bronchitis and a severe cold. His eldest son, Michael, 33, a supervising 
engineer, died in 1974 in a helicopter crash while inspecting oil pipelines. 
He lost one of his best friends last year when Billy DeLury, the Dodgers' 
long-time traveling secretary who joined the Dodgers one year after Scully, 
died at the age of 81. The four of them, Scully, DeLury, Monday and Steiner, 
would have dinner together in a private room before every game, talking 
about anything and everything in life, a time Scully says that he'll use to 
catch up on the latest baseball news. "I don't watch other teams on TV,' 
Scully says, "and I watch the Dodger games sparingly. I like to refresh my 
mind at night, so I like to read. "For me watching baseball at night, it 
would be like an insurance man reading actuary tables. I like to escape. So 
what will our escape become without Scully, his golden voice coming over the 
airwaves during those summer evenings, and the man who introduced baseball 
to Southern California when the Dodgers moved in 1958 from Brooklyn? Scully 
is six months away from saying farewell, and there will never be another 
like him - a broadcaster whose grace and excellence will forever be 
identified with franchise, yet somehow transcended his market to become the 
voice of ihs sport. "It's been a marvelous journey,' Scully said. "Now, want 
to share everything that I can with Sandi. That's one of the reasons I have 
no regrets leaving baseball. God willing, when the season ends, I would like 
to cherish each day that I'm left with. "There's that old saying: Squeeze 
the juice of life before life squeezes the juice out of you. "I will try to 
squeeze the remaining juice out of life. 

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