It was quite a week for careers in sports coming to an end. Tamika Catchings. Kevin Garnett. Vin Scully.
Doing the same job for 67 years sounds daunting; leaving most in a state of a bit of disbelief. But, imagine what Scully's streak sounds like to millennials. Sixty. Seven. Years!
"Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon/evening to you, wherever you may be," was the way he began every broadcast (after opening with his signature "It's time for Dodger baseball!" of course).
In a game played on a diamond, Scully was a gem; often offering up the kind of artfully articulated announcing and play-by-play that would inspire and/or make even Ian Darke jealous.
As Confucius said (err, says): "Choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life."
Looking at or listening to some of Scully's best calls, it would seem he may have personified that statement (for 67 years!).
From Sandy Koufax's perfect game in September of 1965, to Kirk Gibson's home run in 1988; and for the 28 seasons that followed, Scully always displayed a certain je ne sais quoi with his words; ones and in ways that displayed his love for the game of baseball and a respect for the men that played the game.
In his own words, Scully said that, "Football is to baseball as blackjack is to bridge. One is the quick jolt. The other the deliberate, slow-paced game of skill, but never was a sport more ideally suited to television than baseball. It's all there in front of you. It's theatre, really. The star is the spotlight on the mound, the supporting cast fanned out around him, the mathematical precision of the game moving with the kind of inevitability of Greek tragedy. With the Greek chorus in the bleachers." (1976)
"Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day. (Pause) …Aren't we all?" (1991) Aren't we all?
"As long as you live, keep smiling because it brightens everybody's day." True.
"All year long they looked to [Gibson] to light the fire and all year long he answered the demands. High fly ball into right field. She's gone! (Pause) In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened." (1988)
"Good is not good when better is expected." Take that, Yogi Berra.
"[Tom Glavine's] like a tailor; a little off here, a little off there, and you're done — take a seat."
"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away."
"I really love baseball. The guys and the game, and I love the challenge of describing things. The only thing I hate — and I know you have to be realistic and pay the bills in this life — is the loneliness on the road."
"It's a mere moment in a man's life between the All-Star Game and an old timer's game." (1980) Again, not quite "aren't we all." But, can't we all agree/identify?
"It was typical of [Ted Williams] to become a Marine Air Corps pilot and see action and almost get shot down. He was a remarkable American as well as a remarkable ballplayer. His passing so close to a national holiday seems part of a divine plan, so we can always remember him not only as a great player but also as a great patriot."
"I would come home to listen to a football game — there weren't other sports on — and I would get a pillow and I would crawl under the radio, so that the loudspeaker and the roar of the crowd would wash all over me, and I would just get goose bumps like you can't believe. And I knew that of all the things in this world that I wanted, I wanted to be that fella saying, whatever, home run, or touchdown. It jus really got to me."
Mission accomplished. Well played. Goal achieved.
"Losing feels worse than winning feels good." Voted as the one who talks the least but says the most, for sure.
"Three times in his sensational career has Sandy Koufax walked out to the mound to pitch a fateful ninth where he turned in a no-hitter. But, tonight, September the ninth, nineteen hundred and sixty-five, he made the toughest walk of his career, I'm sure, because through eight innings he has pitched a perfect game. ... A lot of people in the ballpark now are starting to see the pitches with their hearts ... I would think that the mound at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world. ... And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a flurry. He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that 'K' stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X."
Take that, Ernest Lawrence Thayer.
Catchings' star shined bright in the WNBA for 14 years. Garnett was a game- (and rules) changer in the NBA for 21.
But, 67 years!?
For 66 years, if you asked Scully about retirement he'd likely respond the same as he did to a home run: "Forget it." (Albeit for different reasons.) But, father time, as they say, is and remains undefeated.