I lost my father this year. There is probably nothing else in life that will deliver the harsh reality of its temporary nature than losing a parent. Dad used to take me to Dodger Stadium in the 60’s. I would wear my T-ball uniform and take my baseball mitt, which I held open as I sat in the stands, in great anticipation of catching that rare foul ball that popped up into the seats. Dad said if I caught the ball, I could keep it, and maybe we could even get one of the players to sign it. I was probably more alert during those games than any of the Dodgers in the field.
I remember watching Don Drysdale warming up in the bull pen as Sandy Koufax pitched overhand curve balls to Willy Mays and Juan Marichal but my six-year-old mind had no clue that I was actually participating in an historical moment; that the legends of the golden age of baseball were performing their magic right in front of my young eyes.
Despite the fact that I have moved many times in my life, I have always stayed loyal to the Dodgers. They were my home team, and no matter the lineup, no matter the decade, I was always proud of them. When Kurt Gibson hit his grand slam home run in 1988, I was a young trial lawyer, yelling my lungs out in celebration. I remember a judge asking me the next court day why I was whispering in court. Was I sick? I mustered up a scratchy voice to address the court as loud as I could and the only audible, discernible words that came out of my mouth were: “Kurt Gibson!”
Vin Scully doesn’t know me. I never met the man. But I know him. Throughout my childhood, whether I was able to attend a ball game, watch it on TV, or listen to it on the radio, Vin Scully was always calling the plays for me. I have always lived by the mantra of “You’re only as old as you feel” and, until this year, I’ve barreled through the ups and downs of life with the quiet confidence that I will always savor it, take it with both hands and enjoy every minute. But today, after Vin Scully called his last Dodger game, I realized how far away my childhood is. The memories, though poignant, are not so crisp, and my dad is not here anymore to tell me the stories that bring those wonderful memories to life.
So, I say good-bye to my childhood and good luck to you, Mr. Scully, in whatever you do. You will always be missed by the little six -year- old in the T-ball uniform.
Kenneth Eade is an author, best known for his political and legal thrillers. He welcomes any inquiries on his web site at http://www.kennetheade.com