LOS ANGELES — Leave it to Hollywood to produce some World Series first-pitch magic.
Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and beloved hurler Fernando Valenzuela combined for an instant classic first pitch ahead of World Series Game 2 at Dodger Stadium.
You knew Scully was going to make a World Series return at some point, even though he had turned down the notion of returning to the broadcast booth. On Wednesday, shortly before game time, the Dodgers announced that Scully would be throwing out the first pitch. And he was greeted the same way a legendary player would have been — perhaps with even more adoration.
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“Oh wow,” Scully exclaimed as he took the field.
Since it was Scully, he emerged from the dugout area with a microphrone and immediately started delivering a charming monologue like he would have in the broadcast booth. As he paced toward the mound, he marveled at the scene of L.A.’s first World Series in 29 years.
As he got close to the mound, he joked: “You know what I’m thinking right now?” Scully said. “Somewhere up in heaven, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges are laughing their heads off. Look who’s throwing out the first ball at the World Series.”
Then Scully acted like he was ready to deliver the pitch, but realized there was no catcher. Soon enough, Dodgers great Steve Yeager came out to catch Vin.
Keeping the laughs coming, Scully said: “I worked all week playing catch with my wife. And she said I had good stuff. My problem, Steve, is that my fastball is the same as my changeup.”
Once it seemed like he was ready to throw the pitch, Scully wound up but stopped.
“I think I hurt my rotator cuff,” he said. “I can’t do it. I apologize. I’m sorry. But like all the managers in this game, I’m gonna have to go to the bullpen. I need a left-hander to come out here and help me. Is there a left-hander down here? Oh my gosh. Fernando Valenzuela.”
That’s when Valenzuela came out and threw the pitch to Yeager. It was perfectly planned and perfectly executed — a moment that, right after it happened, became something that you knew Dodgers fans will love for years to come.
Scully couldn’t leave without one more great moment for the hometown crowd. Like he did for so many years, he led them in a pregame proclamation. “It’s time for Dodger baseball,” the capacity crowd yelled with him.
Boy was it ever.
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