Vin Scully’s last game at Dodger Stadium went about how you would expect. Just a walk-off win for the Dodgers to give the team a division title, and a love-fest for Scully. There was “Thank you Vin” gear all over the park. Dodgers players, young fellows totally focused on their game and about the last folks you would suspect of even knowing who is broadcasting the game, all tipped their batting helmets toward the broadcast booth as they came to the plate for their first at bat. A nice touch, one that Vin acknowledged with appreciation.
Vin gave his usual fine performance, describing the game in his patented soothing manner, with a great deal of information about each player and plenty of entertaining stories and asides. He humbly acknowledged and deflected the tributes from fans, saying that it was he who is appreciative of their support and enthusiasm for all the decades he has been broadcasting Dodgers games (nearly seven if you’re keeping score). He repeated this in remarks after the game, calling the fans the wind beneath his wings. He begged indulgence of the fans to play a recording of the song of the same name, sung by Scully himself. With anyone else this would have been saccharine. With Scully it was perfect. The 52,000 and change on hand at Dodger Stadium roared their approval. But such is the affection Scully is held in, they would have roared their approval of anything he said or did.
The game’s 4-3 ending in 10 innings was dramatic, even improbable, Hollywood being right down the road from Dodger Stadium after all. The Dodgers clinched the NL West division title on a walk-off home run by utility infielder Charlie Culberson, playing second base in place of regular Chase Utley. Culberson had one home run in 57 ABs this season going into this afternoon’s game. He has six in his entire career. To say he was an unlikely hero is a world-class understatement.
Vin has six more games to broadcast, three in San Diego and three in San Francisco. Then the most remarkable career in sports broadcasting — in broadcasting of any kind — will be over. Vin called Dodgers games for 67 years, and at nearly 89 is entitled to a peaceful retirement as much as anyone in the republic. But it would be hard to find anyone who is tired of hearing him yet.