I didn’t know when it was coming, but I knew it was coming.
When he fell in his home, I didn’t know when it was coming, but I knew it was coming. I could only try to ignore that he was vulnerable.
When his beloved wife Sandi — seen above, in what he once told me was his favorite photo — passed away, I didn’t know when it was coming, but I knew it was coming, I knew that his will to endure departed with her.
When the ceremony to retire the number of his beloved Gil Hodges passed this summer without his participation, even in a voiceover for a video, I didn’t know when it was coming, but I knew it was coming. And coming fast. There was no other conceivable reason on earth that he wouldn’t be there for Hodges, except undoubtedly in spirit.
I knew it was coming.
And I couldn’t prepare.
Over the past several weeks, I gave thought to crafting an obituary here, only to avoid it. I didn’t have it in me. I couldn’t make myself sit down and do it. Whatever I had written in the past was going to have to stand on its own.
I’ve probably published more about Vin Scully than anyone else in my life. I have a chapter of him in my book that was my best effort in capturing the man and the joy and meaning he brought to millions. I have a million blog posts about him. My final Dodger Insider magazine with the team is singularly devoted to him. (I’ve always enjoyed the fact that we both left the team after the 2016 season, his tenure just a bit longer than mine.)
Hell, about a dozen years ago, I actually did write an obituary for him, when I was working at Variety, that was updated with tonight’s news and published. But I wrote that obituary when he was vibrant, when he was still at the pinnacle of his profession, when it still seemed like he could broadcast forever. When I didn’t know when it was coming.
I suppose this summer, I tried to imagine what my reaction would be. But I didn’t try very hard. Who would want to know?
Anyway, I underestimated.
I’ll cry harder tears over others someday, but I can’t imagine I’ll ever cry hard tears like I did tonight — that I’ll scream in my car like I did tonight — for anyone who wasn’t family. I guess that means he was family.
Good lord, Vin has been there my whole waking life. He broadcast my first baseball memory, Henry Aaron’s 715th home run, when I was 6 1/2 years old. By the time I was 10, I knew I wanted to be him. Then I wanted to succeed him. Then, when I knew that wouldn’t ever happen, I tried to emulate him, in my words, in my relationships with others. Failed, but tried.
When my father’s mother passed her 100th birthday, I looked within myself and decided that I hadn’t been the best grandson, that I hadn’t been the worst grandson, but I had offered her the best that I could, and when she did die, I would feel loss but not regret.
That’s how I feel tonight. This loss is beyond comprehension, but I put in and drew everything out of my (almost entirely one-way) relationship with Vin that I could possibly could.
So I could write thousands and thousands more words about him, but what’s the point? That’s blunt. But I can’t find much more I can say.
Vin left it all on the field. With the greatest generosity and preposterous humility, Vin gave and gave and gave. You know this. You feel this.
He has gone to the heavens, while we remain earthbound. But for decade upon decade, he could speak into a microphone and make us feel weightless. He came on the air and we floated.
He made each of our lives better.
We are blessed to have been in his presence, and we will carry his memory in our souls.
With tears, I say, goodbye Vin, and with all my heart, thank you.
Photo: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers