Last night, toward the end of the PBS Newshour, I watched a segment about the retirement of long time Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer, Vin Scully. The segment honored the eighty-eight-year-old man’s sixty-eight year career. Despite my lifelong disinterest in sports, the segment on his career mesmerized me. I had heard the man’s name on newscasts or sportscasts before, but I hadn’t paid much attention. I wasn’t interested in sports. But listing to a several-years-old interview of Scully by Jeffrey Brown, I learned how sports, at least baseball, can represent both joy and hope in ways that, I think, other sports can’t. Hearing Scully speak in reverential awe of listening to the roar of the crowd, after the team rewarded fans’ loyalty, was an emotional experience. It made me want to enjoy baseball. Actually, of all the sports, the only ones I have actually enjoyed watching are baseball and soccer. Baseball, though, seems more refined, better suited to people who think. Why? I have no idea; it’s just my self-serving emotional response to questioning myself about why I favor baseball.
Watching and listening to Scully last night, I felt time slip away. I felt like I was living in the 1950s, when innocence was, or seemed to be, more prevalent. If I could recapture that sense of innocence and joy and purity that Scully’s remembrance brought rushing back last night, I’d watch baseball every night. Hell, I’d become a bat boy.