Shortly after I went to prison I started a list on the back of a letter I received because it was the only paper I had at that time. I’m a notorious list maker — in my head, on scratch paper, on my hand, if necessary — about virtually any topic that comes to mind. I have to-do lists everywhere.
I’m not sure what compelled this list, but I recall what was first on it: “Listen to a Dodgers- Giants game called by Vin Scully on a sunny afternoon.”
It started a type of bucket list, things I wanted to do once I regained my freedom. On the list are some items I can’t do like have a Sam Adams with my son in those new glasses they made specifically for their beer. I wasn’t too interested in sobriety back then as I am now. Some will take years to cross off. Some have already been removed. But the list grew. About a year later I shared the idea with my brother who came to visit in me in prison. I told him about Vin Scully. He winced.
“He’s retiring this year,” my brother said.
My heart dropped. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of not being able to recapture my youth and listen to the magical verbal stylings of Vin Scully call a baseball game.
As it turned out, he decided to delay his retirement, much to the delight of all Los Angeles and baseball fans everywhere, but none, I suspect were more thrilled than me.
When the baseball season started this year, my first since freedom returned to my life, it was a sunny day and my Giants were visiting Chavez Ravine. I tuned into Vin Scully and delightedly crossed the first thing off my bucket list.
Freedom has rarely felt so fine. Knowing more moments like this lay ahead, I wake up each day with a profound sense of gratitude, determined to do just a little bit better each day, be a little bit better person each day, make a little bit more of a positive contribution in a small attempt to atone for past mistakes each day.
Today, I tip my cap to Vin Scully, the greatest baseball announcer the game has ever known.
“There’s 29,000 people in the ballpark and a million butterflies,” Vin Scully said way back when during Sandy Koufax’s perfect game.
Many call this the greatest baseball call of the greatest pitched game ever. A maestro on the mound, described by perhaps the greatest artist of play-by-pay to ever paint a verbal canvas. (I used to have this whole transcript up on my office wall… enjoy).
It’s amazing the baseball Scully has seen. I think if I had one of those wishes to meet anyone in history, it would be to watch a Dodger-Giants game in the sunny outfield with Vin Scully to hear incredible stories like these:
Vin was the theme music to some of sport’s greatest moments, from the Gibson home run to the “The Catch” at Candlestick (with a football, not a baseball). Scully is a poet who has painted American sports, like these:
Vin, I’m glad you came back to make this one item on my bucket list come true.