Vin Scully: All class, all the time
Heroes, idols, they're easy to find in youth. Difficult to hold onto as the years advance.
For those able to actually meet a great figure from their formative years, disappointment often awaits. An almost inevitable letdown.
When I started out as a sportswriter, I was able to meet several sports figures I had always held in high esteem. A precious few withstood the test of unrealistic expectations. One, though, surpassed every improbable hope.
Listen to Vin broadcast a game and you begin to believe you know him. And the crazy thing is, you actually do. He is every bit the gentleman, the kind soul, the warm and sincere man you think he is.
He is intelligent, but never condescending. He's the people's aristocrat. Both warm and professional, friendly and respectful, outgoing and yet somehow still private.
An avid reader, he turned me onto Elmore Leonard's westerns during an Atlanta bus ride to the ballpark. Shared stories of starting out frightened in Brooklyn. Would speak pointedly on team failings.
A man who always seems to know the right thing to say on the air and off. When I saw him for the first time last summer after being out of work for several months, he stopped me and said simply: "I miss reading you.''
Every time I enter the Vin Scully Press Box at Dodger Stadium, it feels like an honor. Vin's "soundtrack to summer'' has left a lasting impression on generations. And it's a very real one.
-- Steve Dilbeck