Vin Scully watches impatiently as Dodgers inch toward elusive World Series title
Former Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully speaks during a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium. (Harry How / Getty Images)
Baseball connects generations like no other sport. Watch Game 5 of the World Series when inches separated Manuel Margot from history. The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder came so close to becoming the first player to score a direct home theft in the World Series since Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson in 1955.
The video of the Robinson theft is a window into history: the pictures are in black and white, the fans are wearing ties and suit hats, and the World Series game is played in daylight.
Vin Scully was there, of course. He named the game and 65 years later his memory of Yankees catcher Yogi Berra's reaction is as vivid as the images in this video.
"Berra said Jackie was outside until the day he died," Scully said.
These 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers won the first World Series title in franchise history. If the Dodgers win Tuesday or Wednesday they'll get their seventh title - and their first without a Scully vote.
Scully, 92, is happily retired. He and his wife Sandi saw this World Series on television.
"Any place," he said.
He admits that he thought the series would be done now. He chose the Dodgers in five.
"I thought they were way superior, at least on paper," he said. "I thought," What takes so long? "
That's exactly what so many fans have in mind that the Dodgers win eight straight titles without a championship. But then, historian, Scully recalls the first and last teams in Los Angeles to win - in 1959, a year after the Dodgers finished seventh in the National League with eight teams; and 1988, when the Dodgers were to be slaughtered by the New York Mets in the championship series and by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.
"The Dodgers have always been the Dodgers," he said. "That's really one of the charms: only if you expect them to do something they won't. And if you expect they can't, they win. It's all part of the Dodger mystique. There aren't any another way to explain why it took you so long. "
A similar chorus has surrounded Clayton Kershaw, the waiting Hall of Famer, whose two wins in this World Series mark the first time he has won two games in a postseason series.
“I've been thinking,” Scully said, “how glad he took the victories because it's so hard to forget. Do you remember when they got him in against Washington and he gave up two straight home races? [The Dodgers were eliminated from last year's division streak that day.]
Vin Scully and Magic Johnson in cardboard cutout form behind the Dodgers dugout in Game 2 of the NLCS. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
“It takes a very great man to get out of it and continue to be a successful pitcher, and that's exactly what he is.
“To me he was the same, won or lost, and I think the players respected his professionalism. And finally he got his reward. He is the hardest working man and ultimately all this hard work has paid off. I was very happy for him. "
The one World Series moment that Scully thinks of? Watch as Brett Phillips of the Rays ends Game 4 with what Scully called "the base hit that started all problems" - the hit, the field mistake, the catch mistake, the winning run of a man who fell and got up, and the The sight of Phillips running madly around the field with his arm as if he wanted to fly.
"When he was walking around, almost beside himself, he was representing all the kids who were standing in the back yard, throwing a ball against the wall and thinking they were in the World Series," Scully said. “Every kid in America who played baseball always got themselves into a World Series position and they always got a hit and they always won the game. And seeing how he actually does it hit me really hard.
“It was overwhelmingly beautiful. I understand Dodger fans had to be confused or angry, but that's the image I'll hold for a long time. "
The Dodgers haven't won the World Series at Dodger Stadium since 1963. If the Dodgers win Tuesday or Wednesday, they'll win the series as the home team while playing in Arlington, Texas.
"It's just another uncomfortable moment in a painful year," Scully said. "We can all sum up exactly what was wrong this year and that will top it off, the fact that the win - if it actually comes - will be out there somewhere."
"But I know the fans will still celebrate wherever they are - even if they're locked in at home, which might not be a bad place to party." It will be nice. But it's a head-shaking moment again: no Dodger Stadium, no 50,000 going wild, no players feeling all the excitement. "
There is no asterisk for a championship in a pandemic year, but neither is there a parade.
There is a sense of normalcy, at least for the few hours a day the Dodgers can offer an escape.
"I think baseball itself was a great cure-all for all the pain, frustration and everything else," Scully said. "It's good for someone who works hard at home, can't go to the office, the kids can't go to school, and the only outlet for their feelings is on the sports side."
This sports site likely has a headline "BLUE HEAVEN" which has been up and running for 32 years. It is indeed time for Dodger Baseball.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
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