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Blue Heaven: Dodgers, fans pay tribute to Scully

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Published in Baseball
Saturday, 06 August 2022 05:35

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ended a pregame ceremony honoring broadcaster Vin Scully by running the crowd through a chorus of Scully's famous line, "It's time for Dodger baseball."

Scully, who called Dodgers games for 67 years and retired in 2016, died Tuesday at age 94.

"It speaks to how much love the Dodger family has for Vin," Roberts said. "It was a special moment."

Behind a beautiful blue sky, there was a moment of silence at Dodger Stadium on Friday for the lovable Scully, followed by a video narrated by Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner and accompanied by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole's memorable version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Scully once described a beautiful night as "a cotton candy sky with a canopy of blue." He was the soundtrack of baseball games for generations of Dodgers fans and a masterful storyteller.

Roberts said Scully wouldn't have liked all the attention.

"Vin, as he's looking down on us right now, well, he hated the spotlight on him," Roberts said. "Well, this is going to be a very uncomfortable moment right now, but he deserves it. Vin was a man of character and integrity and class, a true gentleman. He wasn't just a Dodger. He loved the game of baseball that we all love and care about."

Dodgers and San Diego Padres players stood along the first- and third-base lines during the ceremony. Los Angeles' uniforms featured a circular patch on the sleeve with a microphone below the name "VIN." The same logo was painted onto the back of the pitcher's mound. Highlights of Scully's career were played throughout the game.

Some of Scully's belongings, including his World Series rings, will be featured at the stadium this season. The "Welcome to Dodger Stadium" sign outside the ballpark was engulfed with cards, flowers and tokens of affection from hundreds of fans.

When Scully called his last game at Dodger Stadium in 2016, he had a banner that hung from his booth that read: "I'll miss you."

Scully told the crowd he needed them far more than they needed him. His last visit to Dodger Stadium was June 9, 2021.

Later during the ceremony, the Dodgers gathered at the mound for a photo with the broadcast booth in the background. There was a new banner, unveiled by broadcasters Joe Davis and former Dodger Orel Hershiser, that read, "Vin, we'll miss you."

Fans gave a standing ovation when the video concluded with a picture of Scully waving from the field with a rainbow behind him.

"He's the connection, the fabric from the fans to the organization," Roberts told fans during the ceremony. "Players change; teams are different. But he was the one constant. And so every night, when you turn on the game, hearing his voice was consistent. And he was the conduit for many to share stories, paint pictures and call a ballgame."

The umpires gathered at home plate and looked up to the broadcast booth and tipped their caps in honor of Scully. Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin, who never had the opportunity to meet Scully, did the same from the mound.

"Being able to have the start today on the first day back with the ceremony, just wanted to show my appreciation for Vin," Gonsolin said.

The Dodgers won 8-1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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