Thank you Vin for blessing us with your 67 years in the booth.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Vin Scully makes no bones about his faith in God and man…with baseball somewhere there in the middle.

He came to the end of his 67-year career in San Francisco Sunday, calling the final game for his beloved Dodgers against the Giants, the team he rooted for as a youth growing up in Brooklyn. He was serious and cautiously funny and ever faithful, promising between pauses that life will go on without him in the booth.

It certainly will, but that doesn’t mean it will ever be quite the same.

Though the rest of us listening could barely hold back the tears — he went out as he worked for almost seven decades, without sentiment or pretense — and with just enough of a grin to leave us ever to wonder about all he’s seen.

His descriptions, pristine and sparse. His disposition, flushed with the mystery of summer. And his wit, dry as the Santa Ana winds.

Below, a few highlights from Scully’s last few innings behind the microphone:

Top of the 7th: High fly to left, Hunter Pence, however, has that on his screen.

Top of the 7th: That fattens up the count at 2-2.

Top of the 7th: Washington should go into the division series as an underdog which should put a smile on Dave Roberts’ face (as the camera pans to a smiling Dave Roberts in the dugout.)

Top of the 7th: All they (the Nationals) have to do is check the history books. Remember that wonderful year in ’88 when the Mets had that wonderful season and then the Dodgers came to town.

Top of the 7th: It is the 7th, and the Dodgers running out of innings (followed by a long pause.)

Middle of the 7th, Giants fans hold up signs and Giants’ broadcaster Mike Krukow sings Take Me Out to the Ballgame (barely holding it together) to Scully: Boy I’ve been to a lot of ballgames (pause, heavy sigh) …That’s about the best thing I can say right now.

Bottom of the 7th: Hunter Pence is one of my favorite players, because he tries so hard. But he’s been trying too hard, swinging and missing 12 times in this series. Twelve times.

Bottom of the 7th: The Giants got the job done early …and then the offense went to sleep.

Bottom of the 7th: First base umpire “Cowboy” Joe West is going to call Pagan out…and they’re going to protest and ask for a review.

Bottom of the 7th: And the fans here are eating him alive (after Yasiel Puig took a chance on a single and let it pass him in left for a double.) That’ll be an error charged to Puig.

Bottom of the 7th: Any ball hit in the air brings back the memories of Candlestick Park. It’s a threat. It’s a challenge. And few are up to it, or, underneath it.

Top of the 8th: We were talking off the air about the Giant-Dodger rivalry which on the West Coast goes back to Dodger Stadium opening up and the Giants spoiling the year.

Top of the 8th: Then there was 1982, Joe Morgan, got a home run off Terry Forster — that eliminated the Dodgers from a possible one game playoff with the Atlanta Braves.

Top of the 8th: Remember 1993, the Giants needed a victory to force a one game playoff with the Braves. The Giants sent a 21-year-old Salomon Torres to the mound and the sky fell in on Torres and Dusty Baker. Torres lasted three innings. Mike Piazza, who would be rookie of the year, hit two home runs. The Giants would win 103 games a year, a record. But the Dodgers pulled the rug out from underneath them.

Middle of the 8th: It was so dark, so gloomy, so gray it was almost black early this morning. Since then lots of clouds are all white only in the backdrop and plenty of blue skies. You’d almost think it was a different city and the day thus far has belonged to the Giants.

Bottom of the 8th: And the pitch from Pedro Baez is taken high at 96 mph. It says 97 on the stadium scoreboard. Tony Gwynn always thought the speed numbers they put up on the park were incorrect — but it made great theater for the fans.

Bottom of the 8th: Why the double steal with the pitcher coming up? Well, if you can get away with it you take away the force play.

Bottom of the 8th: A trio of Dodgers and there is Corey Seager who makes the catch…and promptly sits down.

Bottom of the 8th: The Giants now lead 6 to 1 on a single by Hunter Pence, who finally joined the party.

Coming into the 9th, a photo of Scully and broadcast partner Jerry Doggett with Sandy Koufax is displayed: Oh what a great picture, Sandy and my pal Jerry Doggett. We worked together 32 years, and interviewed everyone in sight. But it was always a thrill to talk to Sandy Koufax.

Top of the 9th: The Giants are having a ball now and the whole city is as well.

Top of the 9th: Again, Bochy has gotten this team the Wild Card and his club has won two championships from that position.

Top of the 9th: Sergio Romo has assumed the role of closer by default.

Top of the 9th: I always thought it was attributed to Dr. Seuss, but it’s not. But it’s a great line… “Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile that it’s happened.” And that’s really how I feel, that I was given the opportunity and kept it rolling all these years.

Top of the 9th: AJ Liebling, an old sportswriter, once wrote, “The world isn’t going backward, if you can just stay young enough to remember what it was really like when you were really young.” So how about that?

Top of the 9th: 41,445 are ready to bust loose down here.

Top of the 9th, no outs, Denard Span makes a diving catch in center: Denard Span, boy it’s tough out there in center field. They’ve seen some great play by Peterson and Span and that was a dandy tumbling and rolling over, rolling on the ball.

Top of the 9th, a foul ball goes screaming into the crowd: A foul ball hat sharp toward an unsuspecting customer. Instead of black and orange, he’ll be black and blue after that one.

Top of the 9th: This crowd is bursting at the seams, two balls, two strings, two outs. Boy, 489 consecutive sell-outs.

Top of the 9th, two outs: A slider hit in the air to left center. Coming over is Pagan and he puts it away. And the Giants are the Wild Card team and the city is going wild. They are heading for New York.

Just after the final out: The umpires have turned around and said goodbye and I am too. I have said enough for a lifetime and for the last time I wish you a very pleasant, good afternoon.

Postgame:

My modest wish for you:

May God give you…

For every storm, a rainbow,

For every tear, a smile,

For every care, a promise,

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends,

A faithful friend to share,

For every sigh, a sweet song,

And an answer for each prayer.

I needed you more than you needed me and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, it will be: Time for Dodger Baseball! So this is Vin Scully for the last time wishing you a pleasant afternoon, wherever you may be.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky” and feels, not by a little but by a lot, that we all needed Vin more than he needed us.

 

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