As Vin Scully celebrates the Dodgers’ victory on his final Sunday at Dodger Stadium, Steve Brener, above, pumps his fist as well. (Credit: SportsNet LA)
They have been Vin Scully’s colleagues in the Dodgers’ media-related front office. As a week-long tribute to Scully ends at Dodger Stadium with the last of his final seven home games, these are some of their stories:
Steve Brener’s bio as president of BZAPR.com explains how the Grant High, L.A. Valley College and Cal State Northridge grad joined the Dodgers’ public relations/publicity staff in 1970 and when he was promoted to director of publicity at the age of 24, he was the youngest at his job in MLB history. He had an 18 year run with the team before eventually creating his own PR company with partner Toby Zwikel, and his career has circled back to working for the Dodgers — this year, in particular, organizing Scully interview requests.
There’s a Vin Scully-narrated commercial that SportsNet LA will occasionally air, his words overlaid on video of him gazing out of his press box booth and strolling across the outfield grass.
“When I walk inside the walls of cathedral-like Dodger Stadium, I hear the echoes of stories that brought crowds to their feet … and let’s face it, even tears to the eyes of the faithful,” he says.
In truth, Dodger Stadium does become very cathedral-like, albeit on a much smaller scale, every Sunday morning before a home game.
Inside that very same room where Scully told story after story during a final group Q-and-A session on Saturday, he will join some Dodger players, coaches and stadium employees in attending a Catholic Mass just hours before he goes to the broadcast booth for the final time in his 67-season career.
Amidst all the places Scully has been pulled this week, he remains drawn to the Mass. It has helped him get through some personal tragedies in his life, as well as a place to celebrate and be thankful for all he has received. More at this link …
They have been Vin Scully’s colleagues in the Dodgers’ media-related front office. As a week-long tribute to Scully at Dodger Stadium for his final seven home games comes to a close, these are some of their stories:
Toby Zwikel, who spent seven years in the Dodgers’ organization as an assistant publicity director and head of publications, was a sportswriter and columnist for the L.A. Daily News at one point. Now a partner with Steve Brener at BZA public relations as they continue to work directly with the Dodgers, Zwikel shares these Scully memories:
“Having grown up in Chicago and gone to college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, I got to hear broadcasters such as Jack Brickhouse, Milo Hamilton and Harry Caray, among others. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 1973, it was refreshing and illuminating to hear Vin.
“Covering the team as a writer in the late 1970s for the then Valley News was even more special on the occasions when our paths would cross. Then I had the privilege to work with Vin from 1981-88 in my first PR tour with the Dodgers. It provided still another opportunity to gain an up close and personal perspective of the man.
“No question, from every angle, he is incomparable. Regardless of the station of the person with whom he comes in contact, he always made you feel like you’d known him forever; like you had his undivided attention, even though he had to have a million things on his plate.
Why do we revere Vin Scully so?
Nostalgia? His unfailingly polite and pleasant persona, both on the air and in person?
His poetic vocabulary and delivery with a grandfatherly lilt, never a touch overdone?
His abiding respect for the game, personified by prodigious preparation?
Those aren’t our questions. Word for word, all of the above was asked this past week by Wendy Parker, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer and editor now of the exceptional Sports Biblio Digest, a blog dedicated to sports books, history and culture.
“All of the above” was also the next line in Parker’s summarization to her inquiry. And she’s living about 3,000 miles away from all this current Vin-sanity.
We’d never pegged Vin Scully as a numbers guy.
Asked recently to estimate how many baseball games he has called since breaking in with the Dodgers in 1950, the Hall of Fame broadcaster said: “Quite frankly, I have zero interest in knowing how many games I’ve done. It doesn’t mean that much.”
You could try to do the math and come up with … does more than 10,000 sound right?
Yet here we are trying to get our head around 67 seasons with the Dodgers, and 88 years, 10 months and three days old when he plans to do his final broadcast for the team Oct. 2 in San Francisco.
Here are other digits worth deciphering as to what is being accomplished, at this link …