© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Nearly 7 Decades Later, Vin Scully's Long Broadcast Will Soon Come To A Close


The regular season for Major League Baseball ends Sunday. So does a great baseball career. It's the last day on the job for Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. He's retiring after captivating baseball fans for 67 years. NPR's Tom Goldman recently spent some time with Dodgers fans as they prepare for life without the man they call Vinnie.



SHAPIRO: How are you?

Claudine Cababa and I had a date last week - a final date with Vin Scully. I picked her up at her home near downtown LA. A dispute over the Dodgers' current cable contract prevents many Angelenos, such as Cababa, from following Scully on TV. But across southern California, he's still on the radio, calling games for the first three innings. So we drove to nearby Echo Park and dialed up AM 570.


VIN SCULLY: Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant Wednesday evening to you.

SHAPIRO: Claudine Cababa has been listening to Vin Scully for about 40 of her 46 years. You can't blame her for thinking it would go on forever.

CABABA: I have not accepted the fact that this is his last year. I'm having a hard time because we haven't known anything else, and what we have known has been wonderful.

GOLDMAN: He has been, Cababa says, everyone's grandfather, calmly calling baseball with language that's direct and descriptive and unbiased. Scully's emotions are always in check, unless there's a really good reason for them not to be.


SCULLY: Holy mackerel. What a throw by Yasiel Puig. I thought he would concede the run. Instead, he made a great throw, and Ruiz - unable to handle it. Wow.

CABABA: He doesn't get excited like that unless it was a good play. Now I'm thinking in my head - I was like, I wish I was watching that throw. I want to see that throw.

GOLDMAN: For nearly seven decades, Dodgers fans have loved to how Scully mixes straight-arrow play-by-play with wildly unexpected jaunts. During a 2014 broadcast, Scully described an incident involving St. Louis manager Mike Matheny on Matheny's first day of college.


SCULLY: Anyway, Matheny showered, ready to go to class for the first day, walked out of the dormitory, stomach knotted. And a pigeon desiccated directly on his head.

GOLDMAN: Trust me - there was a point to the story. There's always been a point, and it's kept Cababa and others glued to every word.

CABABA: I learned all that stuff from Vin. Even some of the players I've mentioned - how does he get this information? I didn't know that about myself. And so that's what we're going to miss.

GOLDMAN: After three innings, Scully finished his radio duties and shifted over to TV. We said goodbye to Claudine Cababa, drove 30 miles and joined Nick Takis in his living room in La Habre. Scully was there, too, continuing his conversation.


SCULLY: Come to think of it, I've said goodbye to three Braves teams. Talk about that in a minute. Let's go back to the game.

NICK TAKIS: There is great announcers in the league, but Vinnie just has that special niche.

GOLDMAN: Scully's imminent departure from the Dodgers has fans like Takis sifting through personal memories. Now 66, he remembers going to games as a kid in LA, but still listening to Scully in the stadium.

TAKIS: They didn't have the speakers at the stadiums like they do now, so everybody had a transistor radio with them, and we listened to Vinnie call the game.

GOLDMAN: Scully calls the transistor radio his greatest single break in a life full of breaks. It allowed him to talk directly to the fans, which he did last week in a letter given to fans at Dodger Stadium. One sentence read, I have always felt that I needed you more than you needed me. Scully says he won't call the playoffs in order to avoid saying goodbye over and over, like a grand opera. He'll call his last game Sunday in San Francisco, home of the Giants, the Dodgers' oldest rivals, and that, he says, will be that - easy for Vin Scully to say. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.