Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

A landslide of emotion for Vin Scully at LADF gala

By Jon Weisman

Stevie Nicks said she was backstage Thursday during the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s Blue Diamond Gala when she began to think about time. Nicks started performing with Mick Fleetwood nearly 50 years ago, and the years were something to contemplate.

And then her thoughts turned to Vin Scully, the night’s honoree whom the members of Fleetwood Mac met before their performance began, and his 67 seasons of service to the Dodgers, and she was blown away.

Nicks then dedicated the ballad “Landslide” to the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame announcer.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

Next to the pre-concert appearance of Scully himself, it was the most special moment in a unique event at Dodger Stadium that served many other purposes — pure entertainment, mingling of stars from different worlds (Matthew McConaughey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Taylor Lautner, John Mayer among others) with the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager and critically, major fundraiser for the LADF’s efforts on behalf of the underserved people in the Dodger universe.

“We always talk about how Dodger fans give so much to this team throughout the year,” LADF executive director Nichol Whiteman said, “that it is our duty, our huge responsibility, to give back to fans and give back to the community. Night after night, you’ll see families in here, it’s been tradition in their family to be at Dodger Stadium over and over again. Sometimes, those families don’t have everything they need when they leave the stadium. We dig deep into those communities to be able to provide resources as well.”

Dave Roberts said that the Dodgers “have a platform and an opportunity to help a lot of people,” and inside the clubhouse, there was no issue with spending their second off night of the week back at the ballpark.

“Once we heard that the Dodgers and the Foundation were putting this gala on, I think for the players and the coaches, it was a no-brainer,” Roberts said. “So we have 100 percent attendance, and obviously when you’re honoring Vin Scully and you’ve got Fleetwood Mac, it’s gonna be a great event.”

Former player and current announcer Orel Hershiser was pleased that the Dodgers were continuing their longstanding tradition of public service, and said it was something players could take pride in.

“Baseball has been given a great responsibility to the community,” Hershiser said. “I think our organization has done an amazing job.”

For those who grew up as fans of Fleetwood Mac, and maybe for those (probably many among the team’s age 37-and-under players) who came new to the band Thursday, it was special to see such a major performance of classic songs in the intimate setting of center field at Dodger Stadium. After all, in the 1970s, the “Rumours” album was about as ever-present in Southern California as the Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey infield.

And yet, as one’s mind travels through the path of the evening, the road returns back to Scully.

When he took the stage to speak, he began with a score update from the Giants game — the pennant race has begun, after all. Then, he settled in to tell a story, a narrative that evolved over 10 minutes from Al Capone’s murdered lawyer, “Easy Eddie,” to the World War II hero Butch O’Hare, for whom the Chicago airport is named. In true Scully fashion, there was a unifying revelation at the end, with Easy Eddie having given evidence against Capone in the hopes Butch — Eddie’s son — could have a future.

It was a tale of sacrifice, and a tale of life. Nothing more, nothing less, yet a remarkable thing, Scully seemed to be saying.

He then connected the day he was walking home from school and heard about a World Series game that cemented him as a baseball fan (a Giants fan at the time, to be honest) and changed his life.

“That little boy saw that World Series linescore — October 2, 1936,” Scully said. “My last game, my wonderful last game after 67 years with the ballclub, will be against the San Francisco Giants. It will be October the 2nd, 2016. Exactly 80 years from when that little kid saw that Giants score.”

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

“I can sum up the love affair I’ve had with the game of baseball, and the love affair I’ve had with the Dodgers, in two words: ‘Thank God,’ ” Scully said. “I will thank you until the end of time, and I will thank you tonight for this wonderful honor, but more importantly, for you coming here tonight to contribute to the Foundation. It takes time, and it took money for you to be here tonight.

“I wish I could swing with Fleetwood Mac — that would be a sight and sound, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I don’t know how I can say ‘thank you’ any better after this wonderful evening for me, so again, thank you God, and thank you, so very, very much.”


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1 Comment

  1. A couple of the announcers Vin has encountered over the years are Joe Castiglione, who’s been with the Red Sox for nearly 35 years, and Ken Coleman, who did the Indians, Red Sox, and Reds for so long. Coleman was hawking the Red Sox yearbook and citing information about the players, including that Roger Clemens’s favorite singer was “Steve Nicks.” Castiglione said, “That’s Stevie.” And on the air, Coleman, who hadn’t listened to anything new since the Sinatra-Riddle albums in the 1950s, replied, “No, it’s Steve. I know him.” Castiglione paused and said, “Stevie is a girl.” They laughed about it for years, especially after Clemens sent a Fleetwood Mac poster to them and they put it up in their booth. None of which has much to do with last night, but it’s a story, and it’s hard to think of anyone who has ever been better at telling a story on the air than Vin.

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