There is no person more fitting to be the Grand Marshal of the 125th Rose Parade than Vin Scully, who may be the most important and beloved figure in Southern California. Scully, who will also toss the coin at the beginning of the 100th Rose Bowl between Stanford and Michigan State, arrived in California when the state was about to experience its glory years when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles before the start of the 1958 season.
Scully is to announcers what John Wooden was to coaches. Simply, the greatest ever. He not only taught a region the game of baseball, he would ensure that subsequent generations–of all ethnicities–would love baseball–and America. He was that teacher everyone remembers and credits with impacting their lives. That gravitas and spirit are needed more than ever today, especially as those who can truly be described as legends in all industries are being replaced by mediocre and “mechanical” figures like Joe Buck. Call it the “Pajama Boy” culture.
Recently, Scully recalled that he and his wife went to Reagan’s 1981 inauguration and said that experience was “really one in a million.” And he did it on Twitter.
Scully donated to Reagan before it was cool to do so. When Reagan, a California icon like Scully before he became President, was taking on the GOP establishment during the fateful 1980 Republican primary, Scully donated $1,000 to Reagan on November 27, 1979.
Reagan and Scully, besides being Irishmen who could tell stories with the best of them, had much in common and represented an America here patriotism and exceptionalism were embraced, taught, and the norm.
I lived in Ronald Reagan’s neighborhood and went to the White House for his 1st inauguration with my wife.That was really one in a million.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) December 16, 2013
Scully has so much gravitas, not even Keith Olbermann would dare to mock him for having donated to Reagan. And any person who would do so would be condemned by Olbermann. That’s how transcendent Scully is. And we need more figures like him, of both political affiliations.
Having had the privilege of listening to Scully for nearly 200 days or nights a year growing up in Southern California (at least 82 more days were devoted to listening to the late Chick Hearn calling Lakers games), I do consider him a second father and my favorite–and greatest–teacher. And even though Scully does not know it, he also taught my father English and helped him assimilate, as he did with millions. Scully not only taught Southern California the game of baseball, he taught many immigrants–whether they were of Hispanic or Asian descent–about America.
Here is Scully broadcasting the 1989 MLB All-Star game at the Big A in Anaheim with Ronald Reagan. A memorable moment for the ages that was made more so with Bo Jackson’s home run, which is arguably one of the greatest moments in the history of the midsummer classic.
Below are clips of Vin Scully honoring Neil Armstrong on his passing and Jackie Robinson. Just sit back and listen–and learn from the all-time great. This is how it’s done.
Photo: Sports Illustrated