LOS ANGELES — Well, that was amazing. The pregame tribute to Vin Scully on the field before Friday night’s Dodgers-Rockies game was an hour long, and full of goosebumps, cheers and tears.
The pregame ceremony began with a video narrated by Bob Costas and tributes from dozens. Then, master of ceremonies Charley Steiner introduced those present in the flesh, including Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, Sandy Koufax, Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, and Kevin Costner.
Here is Scully and his wife Sandra getting introduced.
There were several highlights, including:
- Sandy Koufax saying, "As many times as I've been on this field, I've never been this nervous."
- Walter saying that Scully would join the Dodgers retired numbers — he called it “the ring of honor” down the left field line — in 2017. Walter said to Scully, "This is your house. We expect you to come home and see us often."
- Manfred presenting a $50,000 check from MLB in Scully’s name to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
- Scully’s all of Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series was revealed as Scully’s top call in his career, as voted by fans. The Dodgers played a video of the call interspersed with video of Kirk Gibson remembering parts of the call, which was amazing in its own right.
- I thought Costner’s speech should have ended with this: "You're our George Bailey, and it has been a wonderful life."
- But then he added this later, which was great: "Shame on us if you ever have to pay for another meal in public."
Scully took the microphone last and was gracious as always, as fans were giving him a standing ovation he implored them, “Aw, come on. It’s just me.”
Vin added, “Welcome to my Thanksgiving,” and said, "I have tremendous respect for every single man who has worn a major league uniform."
Asked what he would do in his retirement, Scully said he would spend time with his wife and their grandchildren, then had the line of the night.
“When you’re 89, and they ask what your plans are — I’m going to try to live!”
Scully then joked, “I’m looking for a much smaller house with a much larger medicine cabinet.”
After the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by composer John Williams, played the national anthem, Scully himself announced “It’s time for Dodger baseball” to deafening applause, then walked off the field on a blue carpet flanked by rows of Dodgers players.
That was quite a ceremony.