It has been an eventful week at Dodger Stadium.
Last Tuesday, Vin Scully began his 67th and final season as a Dodgers broadcaster. Many people, including me, consider Scully the greatest sports broadcaster who ever has lived. His incredible command of the English language has educated and entertained us for many generations. Scully has an incredible knack of relating everything to baseball. During the series with Arizona, Scully told us about Socrates since the D-backs have an outfielder named Socrates Brito.
Although Scully prefers to use old-fashioned research techniques, he has always been one of the most prepared broadcasters ever. Using a few statistics, he can convey how a player performs better than most modern broadcasters who use the most modern statistics. Scully never badmouths a player. When something exciting has happened in a game, he usually lets the crowd tell the story instead of trying to talk over the roar.
Scully is a very humble and religious man. He dislikes any attention focused on him, so he must have hated the pregame ceremony during the home opener at Dodger Stadium. The organization honored Scully with a beautiful presentation emceed by Al Michaels. The Dodgers had a relay of old players to help Scully get the first pitch to home plate. Seeing the relay brought back great memories for all Dodger fans.
Scully is one of the last links to the Brooklyn Dodgers. For many of us, he has taught most of the Dodgers history that we know. Although we can read a lot about the racial struggles Jackie Robinson faced, through Scully's stories about Robinson, we can gain a better understanding what one of the most courageous men who ever walked the face of the earth experienced to integrate Major League Baseball.
Every year on Jackie Robinson Day, Scully explains where the idea of everyone on the field wearing No. 42 came from. Robinson regularly received death threats, but one time when the Brooklyn Dodgers were going to Cincinnati, the threats were particularly bad. There were FBI agents on every roof surrounding Crosley Field.
During the Dodgers' pregame meeting where the players were briefed about the potentially dangerous situation, the stress was incredible. To lighten the mood in the meeting, a Dodgers outfielder suggested that every Dodger on the field could wear 42, so the person threatening Robinson couldn't determine which player was Robinson. Since the 2007 season, on April 15, every Major Leaguer wears 42 to commemorate Robinson's contributions to baseball and society.
Anyone who has tried to change the status quo can identify a little with what Robinson experienced. He worked to combat racism before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and Dr. Martin Luther King began protesting peacefully to integrate society in the United States. Robinson always wanted to see an African-American manager in the Major Leagues, but he died almost three years before Frank Robinson became the first. This year, nearly 69 years after Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, his team, the Dodgers, hired their first manager of color, Dave Roberts.
In his first two weeks, Roberts has demonstrated a deep understanding of the game. He has guided the Dodgers into first place in the National League West with an 8-5 record despite having many challenges. Being a fabulous communicator, Roberts has conveyed the importance of never quitting on a game. When the bullpen struggled, Roberts has adjusted which relievers to use in certain situation. Although the Dodgers have several players on the disabled list, Roberts has made a point to rest all of the regulars to keep them fresh.
Hopefully, the Dodgers can give Scully one more opportunity to broadcast a World Series.