Filed under: Vaya with Dios, Vin Scully – a beacon of opportunity in Los Angeles

When the legendary broadcaster of the Los Angeles Dodgers Vin Scully passed away yesterdayI didn’t have to turn on the TV, check social media, or go to sports bars to find out how much mourning there is in Southern California.

I just checked my text messages.

My brother sent a bunch of crying emoji. My cousin Vic admitted that he had tears in his eyes when he broke the news to his wife. My cousin Plas – somehow an Angels fan – added a video of someone pouring whiskey from a flask, captioned “rest in peace”.

My good friend Bobby texted a black and white photo of Scully – nothing else. My sister Elsa, who has a Yorkshire named Winnie, told me to mention in everything I can write that Scully died on the feast day of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels – the religious title of the Virgin Mary, namesake of Los Angeles. And my sister Alejandrina, an Angels fan for some reason, responded with a link to a YouTube video of Scully, a devout Catholic, reciting the Rosary, which all of us Arellano children immediately listened to, praying for his soul.

The sobs you hear are hundreds of thousands of Hispanics in Southern California mourning the loss of one of ours. Along with the late Kobe Bryant, another local sports legend. with a huge Latino fan base No other non-Hispanic Southern California luminary will ever evoke the same emotion in us.

Vin Scully was more than just the soundtrack to our lives. Have wash our lives.

Vin Scully holding a microphone in front of a baseball field.

Vin Scully rehearsing in July 2002 before the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

(Paul Connors/Associated Press)

He was the son of immigrants, like many of us. He came from the working class, like many of us. He succeeded, as did all of us.

When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Scully left everything he knew for a foreign country. He arrived in what was then one of the whitest big cities in the United States and saw it grow into the multicultural metropolis it is today, thanks to newcomers like him. He was there, as were five generations of my family – from my 99 year old grandmother to the grandchildren of my cousins ​​who settled in Southland, raised on his gospel.

Like many Hispanics, Scully came to a city full of opportunity and made the most of it. And he did it humbly, always greeting others before him, always preferring family to the center of attention.

From the very beginning, he accepted Hispanics from the very beginning, which the rest of LA had too much to learn: as people. He could have carved out the names of many Latino players who have come through the franchise for decades or on opposing teams, but he made sure to pronounce them correctly. He could have left his Dodgers colleague Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Harrinat arm’s length, but hugged him like a brother and insisted that the rest of the world recognize Jarrin’s magnificence, though few did.

“He is not a Spanish Vin Scully,” Vinnie told my editor Hector Becerra back in 2013. “He is what he is, Jaime Harrin. He stands on his own feet. He’s a Hall of Fame announcer and a wonderful person.”

Vin Scully smiling with Jaime Jarrin

Retired Vin Scully joking in 2018 with Spanish Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Harrin during a pre-game ceremony to induct Jarrin into the Dodger Stadium Ring of Honor.

(Jane Kamin-Onsea/Getty Images)

Whenever he said a couple of Spanish phrases, your ears would sharpen and a wide grin would appear on your face. When he counted former Dodgers player Yasiel Puig “Wild Horse,” you would laugh because his gentle accent was the same tone our grandparents used to address our wayward cousins. One of the many clips now shown on local television is from 1990, when Fernando Valenzuela – another icon of the Latin American Dodgers club – threw without attackers. As the southpaw and his teammates celebrated, Scully exclaimed, “If you have a sombrero, throw it in the sky.”

Anyone else said it, you’d wince. But he was our redhead thio.

He was the scaffold around which many Hispanics built their identity in Southern California. His long, looping tales, delivered in that unforgettable troubadour voice, were like what our aunts and uncles might tell a group of our cousins ​​in the dead of night, taking us in history, triumphs and tragedies, and connecting everyone to something greater. Many of my peers learned English from Scully. than me boss Hector once wrote, there was no better teacher than Warner Bros. cartoons.

Scully was even a rite of passage. At some point, you began to prefer Scully to Jarrin – not because one was better than the other, but because English became a language that you now understood better.

I will always associate Scully with family, and not just because nearly all of my cousins ​​are Dodgers fans. As a child, I watched games on TV in the living room with my father, then did the same with my younger brother when I was a teenager. As an adult, few things I enjoyed more than returning from a mission from afar—Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, San Diego, or Coachella—so I could listen to the entire Dodgers game on the radio. radio, from his signature opener: “It’s baseball time for the Dodgers!” to what an eloquent conclusion he could suggest on a particular night, wherever I was.

When Scully announced his final season back in 2016, my friends pestered me to see if I could get them a private audience with him, even though I don’t cover sports, and at the time I covered Orange County exclusively.

They asked even though they knew I wouldn’t because Scully meant so much to them. Instead, we reveled in the stories of my colleagues and friends covering baseball, and they all said that the broadcaster was in every way the gentleman we imagined him to be.

It was all my friends needed.

We all mourn Scully today and for the rest of this baseball season, just as we mourn the loss of our elders – the loss of an era, the loss of our innocence. The realization that life goes on and that our heroes are not immortal, but the time spent with them has changed us for the better, and it’s time to continue their legacy. We can’t all be TV presenters, but we can fucking be good people like Scully.

Vaya con DiosWinnie.