SAN FRANCISCO -- Minutes before the San Francisco Giants’ biggest game of the season, a video tribute on the scoreboard started with what typically would be considered fighting words at AT&T Park: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.’’
It’s measure of Vin Scully’s immense popularity that nobody seemed to mind him uttering that sentence in enemy territory.
Quite the contrary, fans cheered and waved signs – both home-made and mass-produced – proclaiming their appreciation for the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasting legend as he was introduced before calling the final game of his iconic 67-year career.
Fittingly, it’s a game packed with significance, though not so much for the Dodgers, who are already assured a spot in the National League Division Series by virtue of winning the West. A victory Sunday would clinch a wild-card berth for the Giants, who at one point were Scully’s team of choice.
In a conference call with news reporters two weeks ago, Scully told the story of how he became a New York Giants fan when, as an 8-year-old returning home from school, he spotted a sign showing the score of a game in which they were routed and decided to follow them.
“My last game with the Giants will be Oct 2, 2016. That will be exactly 80 years to the minute from when I first fell in love with the game,’’ said Scully, still at the top of his game after all these decades. “It seems like the plan was laid out for me and all I had to do was follow the instructions.”
And Scully was in top form early, noting that Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is so jumpy, "he makes coffee nervous."
Following Buster Posey's two-run single that gave the Giants an early lead, he said: "The sun has broken through the clouds, and it is shining on the Giants at the moment."
Scully worked the third inning from the Giants' booth, an inning that was simulcast on CSN Bay Area. “It is a big deal to me," Scully said. "I really do appreciate the opportunity.’’
Later, Scully was visited in the booth by San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer and Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who presented Scully a plaque commemorating his final broadcast that will hang in the visiting booth at AT&T Park. Baer gifted to Scully a photo of New York Giants slugger Mel Ott – Scully's favorite player growing up – and ticket stubs from the game when Ott hit his 500th home run.
Then, Scully said to himself and the world, “Now, stop jabbering Scully and get back to the ballgame.’’
Greatest Living Ballplayer, Greatest Living Broascaster. pic.twitter.com/a77M8eAeQ2— Gabe Lacques (@GabeLacques) October 2, 2016