Sure enough, Tuesday night, three days after the death of Vin Scully, the crowd observed a moment of silence that was followed by cheers from that same crowd. The team gathered around the pitcher’s mound standing motionless, some fighting back tears, some immobile with grief as the players and staff watched a beautiful tribute video play on the big screen.
And up in the press box, Dodgers play-by-play announcer Joe Davis and his partner, former pitcher Orel Hershiser unveiled a banner underneath the window of the broadcast booth that read, “Vin, We’ll Miss You!” When manager Dave Roberts was handed the microphone, he led the entire sold out crowd of over 50,000 fans in attendance and delivered a speech at the conclusion of the pregame ceremony to commemorate the Hall of Famer ahead of the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres. He ended it with Scully’s famous line: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
It was a celebration of life for a longtime and influential voice who touched countless lives with a big heart, a sense of humor and captivating stories he told that, of course, delighted those who enjoyed the richness of his voice. In an obvious homage to Scully, they painted an emblem with “VIN” written on the back of the Dodger Stadium mound. The ballpark echoed with the sounds and memories of a broadcasting great. There was a game to be played, but, surely, this was a night to remember a legendary poet who embodied everything that it meant to be a teacher, a friend, a mentor and a gentleman.
This was a night really about honoring the iconic voice of the Dodgers. It was, appropriately, a heartfelt night. What a beautiful scene and it couldn’t have been more perfect. On the night the Dodgers pummeled the superstar-filled Padres and coasted to an 8-1 victory, they made a strong statement that they’re the best in all of baseball. It was the team’s first home game since their beloved broadcaster’s death. The team played hard. The players had to commit themselves to the game. They were carrying heavy hearts and came together and found a way to grind through what is a very tough time. After all, in these times of difficulty, the game itself offered a refuge for players in which they could pull their attention away from it and concentrate on baseball.
Those grieving but strong players found comfort in the clubhouse and had much to play for in the aftermath of losing one of their very own. And, in these times of difficulty, this Dodgers team did everything possible to beat the new-look Padres on a night that winning it for Scully mattered most to these players.
The whole scene was so simple, so moving, so touching. The crowd roaring with cheers would be loud, and the joy would be real, and it would be felt around the stadium. Truly, it was really a nice way to honor a fallen legend. It brings tears to your eyes. It creates a heightened sense of emotion. It makes you embrace a man who, for years, was a Dodger Stadium landmark, an important piece of the fabric of this city and an iconic figure in the American culture.
The Dodgers organization will never be the same. Not without Scully. With all that has happened, the team still showed up to play a baseball game, and thousands of fans roared, and the stadium shook, and eventually these Dodgers ran away with the game. The game ended with them besting their division rival, then, as usual, after every win at Dodger Stadium, “I Love LA” filled the air. They brought the emotion, racing out to a 4-0 lead early to kick off the night. Will Smith, the Fresh Prince, looked fresh, slugging a two-run RBI double and then Hanser Alberto drove in a pair two batters later.
The offensive onslaught continued in the third, when the Dodgers started to pull away, getting a single from Freddie Freeman, a double from Trea Turner and a two-run double from Chris Taylor to make it 6-0. Even the inconsistent Cody Bellinger doubled home two to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 8-0.
And, as they’ve been doing all season, the Dodgers have been riding offensive outbursts. Quite honestly, this was nothing new. It would be a massive understatement to say these Dodgers aren’t World Series favorites playing like this, and against a stacked Padres team. Anything less than a championship would be a travesty, an astonishing failure. But now they have more of a WHY to win it.
This year now is all about winning the World Series. Nothing else matters. This is seemingly a big year because the voice of Los Angeles is now gone. They have to win it for Vin.