They have been Vin Scully’s colleagues in the Dodgers’ media-related front office. As a week-long tribute to Scully begins at Dodger Stadium for his final seven home games, these are some of their stories:
Joe Jareck, the current senior director of public relations for the Dodgers, has been with the organization for the last 11 years. He shares these stories:
“When I was hired in January of 2006, I picked up and left my whole life in New Jersey to come to L.A. and really didn’t know anyone outside of Josh Rawitch, who had just hired me. Now, I know you hear stories about how when we hire someone, they always have the story, ‘Then Vin Scully called me …’ But really, the first day I got here, I’m meeting people and really just pinching myself as to what’s going on. It’s finally about 4:15 or 4:30 in the afternoon, the day is winding down, and the phone on my desk rings. I haven’t given this number out to a soul yet. I’m thinking, ‘How did my dad get this number already?’ I pick up the phone and hear, ‘Joe, it’s Vin Scully and I just wanted to welcome you to the Dodgers.’ I could barely breathe. I have no idea what I said back to him. There were these things I was ready to tell my family about my first day, but all I could get out was that Vin had called me. It kind of tells you what he means to people who are fans of the game. He may have seen a press release that went out about my hiring, and he could have called later, but that’s why he is who he is.
“In the days when Vin was still traveling a little more with the team, he would always sit in the front row of the plane – Seat 1A – and Billy DeLury (the longtime Dodger employee who had been with the team before his passing in 2015) was in his usual Seat 1B. On a trip Billy didn’t make in 2014, Vin was on a road trip with us, I think it was a flight from Phoenix to San Francisco, and Scott (Akasaki, the traveling secretary) put me in the front row for this trip, next to Vin. I didn’t know what Vin would want to do – maybe read a book, go to sleep. We spent the entire time just talking – and very little about baseball. About his move from Brooklyn to L.A. from his personal standpoint, people who used to be around the team in the 1960s. I had been working for the team eight or nine years and never got that kind of one-on-one time with Vin before. I will never forget any of that. I remember the next day we had off, so I made a trip to Napa with (MLB.com writer) Ken Gurnick and I remembered Vin telling me about the different kinds of wines he and his wife liked. It somehow became important to me to find one of those wines. He was so grateful when I gave it to him that when we were back five days later, Vin brought me a bottle of wine from one of his son’s wineries in the Santa Barbara region.
“One other thing I’ll never forget, from a broadcasting standpoint … I’ve always been a baseball nerd from the time I was 7 or 8 or 9 years old, watching every game on TV and loving to hear him – but it never registered with me about what a great broadcaster he was. All I really knew him for were the Farmer John references. A lot of people will say his greatest call was from the 1988 World Series Game 1, the call of the Gibson homer, but any true fan probably didn’t hear it because they were jumping up and down and yelling and not believing what they just saw. Vin’s call probably wasn’t a focal point of all that until hearing the replays. To me, the 1986 World Series Game 6 was his greatest call. That last inning … it was a broadcasting masters class in just letting pictures tell the story. I’ve studied that game. As it unfolded, Vin would set the story by talking about Carter getting on first, Mitchell was 1 for 5 in the series, and the Red Sox were looking increasingly worried. Vin let the director tell the story and the crowd and he just filled the gaps. It was all about pacing and the buildup. People talk about his call of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run and how Vin was silent. But it’s the same thing here. After he says, ‘Little roller up along first, behind the bag, it gets through Buckner, here comes Knight and the Mets win it!’ he doesn’t talk for another four-and-a-half minutes. It’s not until you hear that Marv Albert is ready for an on-field interview that he drops the line: ‘Not only are the Mets alive, but they’re well, and there’s a Game 7 tomorrow.’ I just remember as a kid being like, ‘Wow, Scully is the best.’
“And at that moment, I was watching the game in New Jersey. We were living in La Crescenta from 1982 to ’86 and we got a flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York the day of Game 6 as my family was moving back East again. When we landed, it was probably the third or fourth inning and I was listening on a headset. When we got to my aunt and uncle’s house in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, my cousins were in bed because it was already late and they school the next day. It’s now the 10th inning, and I talked my way into staying awake because of the time difference. So I was on the couch with my dad and mom and uncle. So it’s my first night in New Jersey and I remained there until I came back to work for the Dodgers 20 years later.
“And now this year, nearly 30 years after that game, here we are. It’s been a blessing to get to share a small space with Vin these last 11 seasons. A dream-come-true for a lifelong Dodger fan. I’ve given him his space this season with all of the demands on his time, but it’s tough…I’m starting to feel the emotion of it now…I just can’t believe he won’t be in the booth after next week.”