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‘It’s like your childhood … is now really over’: How Vin Scully bridged generations

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Rudy Escobar (left) and Rudolfo Escobar at the memorial to longtime announcer Vin Scully outside Dodgers Stadium.
Rudy Escobar (left) and Rudolfo Escobar look at the growing Vin Scully memorial outside Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Wesley Lapointe/Los Angeles Times)

Audrey Sandoval Gomez was watching a Dodgers Giants game Tuesday night with her daughter when the announcer interrupted her. news of Vin Scully’s death. Isabella, who was 3 when the legendary TV presenter retired in 2016, couldn’t understand why her mother started crying.

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Gomez, 40, tried to explain. An avid Dodgers fan all her life, she wanted to talk about his storytelling, his poetry, the impact he had, beyond describing ball games. But she continued to remember the beginning of her family, having come to this country from Mexico.

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Scully’s voice on the radio and TV resounded day after day in the living room, drawing generations of her family closer together as they cheered and moaned to his stories of plays and sat spellbound by the fairy tales he told.

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He named the game so beautifully, she recalled. His voice was magical, but he was also a bridge in time, connecting young and old together with life lessons that were easy to understand.

She turned to her daughter. More could be said, but so far the introduction has been simple.

Do you know these famous words? she said. It’s time for Dodger baseball.

Isabella nodded.

Well, they were his.

Isabella was taken aback. Did he say so? — and Gomez knew she’d made the first move, passing on a piece of Scully’s life to her daughter, just as her parents and grandparents had done years ago.

For almost 60 years, Scully has enchanted the people of Angelenos with stories from Dodger Stadium and from the road, but his impact on their lives is measured not by the strength of that radio signal, but by four generations who have been mesmerized by the intonation of his voice and his impromptu lyrics.

Other cities had their Red Barber (New York) or Harry Caray (Chicago), but Scully belonged to Los Angeles. Arriving when he was only 30 years old, he professionally came of age in this city.

The city, if not the region, was rapidly modernizing and growing, and it was there to take it all in – captivate, captivate, and educate Dodgers fans through 11 presidents.

He helped get Los Angeles through its tragedies, and whenever the city lost its voice—as was the case with the riots of 1965 and 1992, the Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes, wildfires, and recession—Scully could be relied upon.

Baseball was his source of inspiration, and from opening day until the fall, he let its rules and logic set the tone for an understanding of life that often went beyond sports.

“Baseball for Vinnie was so much more than just a swing and a miss,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, a former Los Angeles City Council member and county governor who remembers defying his father as a child by listening to games in the bedroom at night and falling asleep under rhythm. Scully’s voice. “He was poetic and lyrical. He had an innate ability to paint a verbal picture that was worth a thousand paintings.”

Yaroslavsky remembers listening to a radio broadcast in 1959. He was 10 years old and Scully was calling an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Yankees.

Before the start of the sixth inning, Scully described how the Coliseum had gone dark, with 93,000 fans holding matches upstairs, which they had lit. tribute to Roy Campanellaa Brooklyn Dodgers starcatcher who was paralyzed in a car accident before spring training in 1958 when the team arrived in Los Angeles.

“I can’t tell you five things about 1959,” Yaroslavsky said. “But Vin Scully naming Roy Campanella’s candle-lighting game stuck in my soul and that was the year my mother died.”

The rhythm of Scully’s speech and the simplicity of his narration filled the silence in homes when explanations were too hard to come by and when parents might be at a loss for words.

Lakewood resident Mary Alice McLaughlin, a longtime Dodgers fan, grew up in Wilmington and her father worked for Union Oil. During the summer, radio and TV were always tuned to the Dodgers, so in 1974, when she was 14 and her mother died of cancer, Scully’s voice—”that Irish tenor with a New York twist”—reassured her.

“Turning on Vinnie was like, ‘OK, maybe things will be alright,'” she recalls. “Maybe the bottom of the whole world hasn’t fallen off yet. His voice was so soothing. It made me feel like everything was going to be okay again.”

Although Scully was a historian and journalist, studying every player, even referees, he was also something of a parent to younger listeners who thought they were listening to a baseball game but learned patience and humility, respect for tradition. and evaluation of statistics and facts.

Don Cardinal, who grew up listening to the Dodgers in his Downey home in the 1960s, thanks Scully for teaching him how to divide by long numbers when calculating ERAs and averages. But there was something else he learned as well.

He too lost a parent, his father, at an early age, and as a teenager, he was angry. And Scully – in a calm and commanding voice – guided him on some level, conveying the wisdom usually shared by older family members.

“He wasn’t shy about helping us figure out how we should behave,” said Cardinal, who particularly admired the fact that Scully talked as much about players on other teams as he did about the Dodgers. “He taught me that it’s okay to take care of your team, but not at the expense of the other team – and that appreciating a good game is more important than political parties or the color of someone’s skin.”

Scully also made it clear to his audience that baseball is just a game that depends on what the players – all the players – can achieve. He was never didactic or heavy-handed, he let the storyline develop from the action, playing it right in the middle, no matter how high the stakes or how disappointing losing is.

Remembering Scully, McLaughlin began to cry. “That’s funny,” she said. “He was 94 years old. We all knew it would happen, but we all hoped it would happen later, not sooner.”

She paused to explain this feeling.

“It’s all over,” she said. “It’s like your childhood, which of course is long gone, is now really over.”

And for Angelenos, it means farewell to a man who has touched so many families over the generations.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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