Sometimes when things do NOT work out, it makes for a more interesting story.
And there is no greater storyteller than Vin Scully. He is retiring Sunday…88 years young!
Vin Scully plays a very special role in my life because he narrated one of my greatest (and worst) moments.
In case you need a reference, Vin Scully has been the Dodgers’ radio and TV announcer since 1950.
On October 15, 1988, my dad took me to Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in LA. I was 15 years old and I was PSYCHED!
We were sitting in the upper deck on a beautiful evening.
It was a tough game, and the Dodgers were losing, down to their last out.
They called to bat a guy named Kirk Gibson, who was their MVP but wasn’t playing in the game because of injuries.
Kirk Gibson limped to the plate just like Robert Redford in the movie The Natural. He dug into the batters box, and fouled off pitch after pitch, barely getting his bat on the ball.
It was the bottom of the 9th inning. 2 strikes. 2 outs. The Dodgers were down to their last gasp of hope.
As a fan, I was just waiting for Gibson to strike out…
Kirk Gibson hit a SHOT deep deep deep…way back…OVER THE WALL. HOME RUN!!!!!
The Dodgers dramatically won the game and went on to win the World Series. To this day, it is one of the most famous moments in sports history.
Let me tell you where my dad and I were sitting when Gibson hit that home run: in the back seat of my dad’s car driving down the freeway.
We left the game early to beat the traffic in the parking lot.
We missed one of the greatest moments in sports history to beat 20 minutes of traffic in the parking lot.
As Vin Scully so famously said during the TV broadcast of Gibson’s home run, “In a season so improbable, the IMPOSSIBLE has happened!”
That moment is possibly Vin Scully’s most famous moment, and my most infamous moment.
It’s a story about how easy it is to MISS the important moments in life, because we leave early or we get distracted or we get too tired to be awake and aware.
My dad and I STILL take separate cars to Dodger games, 28 years later.
But missing that moment has almost given my dad and I more to talk about than if we stayed at the stadium and witnessed it firsthand.
Sometimes it’s what does NOT happen that creates the most lasting memory.
I remember my first Grateful Dead concert and leaving the arena at set break. Who knew they wouldn’t allow re-admission?! Then my buddy Lance talked the security guard into letting me back in. That’s all I remember from that concert in 1991.
I remember trying asking a girl to go steady after 5th grade and the girl asking if she could give me an answer “some other time.”
I wish I could better recall all the songs the Dead played that night at the Oakland Coliseum, and I wish the girl said “YES,” and I wish we stayed for the Kirk Gibson home run.
But life doesn’t always work like that, nor do we. We screw up. We get distracted. Things go awry. And those carefully made plans are splattered and scattered.
I have learned, and maybe you have too, to enjoy what does NOT happen, just as much as what does.
That’s what was so special about Vin Scully. He has been narrating the story of baseball (and life) for so long, that he is the Master of making it interesting.
Most of the time, baseball is very boring.
But if you listened to a Dodger game some time in the last 67 years, in all those slow moments between pitches, you would hear Vin Scully tell stories and share quotes and recount history.
He showed us that you don’t always need the excitement of a big moment. Sometimes, it’s even better to just listen… and enjoy..