Vin Scully rocked back into his windup on the Dodger Stadium mound, arms high overhead, emulating Christy Mathewson (or Paul Byrd, if you’ve never seen grainy film or photos of Christy Mathewson), ready to unleash a southpaw splitter. Suddenly, Scully stopped mid-delivery.
The 84-year-old broadcaster-turned-hurler walked from the mound to the third-base line, where his grandchildren were lined up in a row. He handed the baseball to the first of his progeny, who handed the ball to the next one, right on down the row until the ball came back to grandpa. Scully, back on flat ground, barely wound up before delivering a 45-foot strike to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly at home plate.
And that’s how Vin Scully’s first ceremonial first pitch of the season got to home plate Thursday night.
“Squeeze the juice out of life before life squeezes the juice out of you,” he said, quoting a famous phrase. “Well, I’m squeezing.”
It’s not every day that the entire Scully clan shows up at the ballpark, but it’s not every day that the first 50,000 fans in attendance get a Vin Scully bobblehead. In fact, it’s never happened before Thursday.
“One of the reasons is the 50th anniversary of the ballpark,” he said. “If they ask me (this year) I’m going to have more problems explaining why I didn’t do it than why I did.”
Scully recently announced that he will return for a 64th season with the Dodgers.
Scully began his career in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. During his unmatched career, he has called three perfect games, 25 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.
In Los Angeles, Scully called Dodger World Championships in 1959, ’63, ’65, ’81 and ’88 and he was elected the top sportscaster of the 20th century by the non-profit American Sportscasters Association.
Scully’s granddaughter, Mackenzie Luderer, is singing the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
In an unplanned tribute, multiple rainbows surrounded the field beginning in the afternoon.