To millions of Americans, the voice of Vin Scully was synonymous with carefree summer days. It was a source of comfort; a reassurance that, despite all, things were all right. The radio voice of Dodgers baseball teams dating back to their days in Brooklyn, and often the voice of nationally broadcast games, he retired in 2016, but he hasn’t stopped bringing comfort.
Scully, now 92 years old, took to social media this week, from a winged-back chair at his home, and talked about the nation’s collective angst in the face of COVID-19. Among other things, he urged Americans to “pray a little bit more.”
We think every American would benefit from watching his 2 minute, 16 second video. The nation can learn a lot from its people who have lived the longest and experienced other times of distress, particularly ones as eloquent and insightful as Scully.
He was not just any announcer. Scully was a master of the English language, its cadence and rhythm. At his retirement, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote that Scully could describe “a baseball play as if it’s set to music, whole notes followed by quarter notes, punchy lyrics flowing into a grand finish.”
He would fill the sport’s many silent pauses with stories and anecdotes from history that had perfect application to the moment.
He was, Plaschke said, “the soundtrack of our lives, the dignified and graceful accompaniment of endless sandy summers, a daily harmonic reminder of the Southern California dream.”
But the secret to Scully’s greatness had much to do with preparation. He was well-read. He understood history as well as he understood elocution. He was, and remains, genuine in a way that instantly connects him with his audience.
And he is a devout Catholic, unafraid to talk about his faith and why he thinks it’s so important. Frankly, Americans need to hear from more people like him, and to really listen.
“These are tough times, certainly I don’t have to tell you that,” he says in the video. “But having lived as long as I have lived, I’ve seen this country — the greatest country on Earth — get off its knees, literally and figuratively. When they were down and out during the Depression, and when they were on their knees after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.”
Scully said the nation overcame those challenges by pulling together, and he expects the same today.
“And in the meantime,” he said, “spend the precious time at home with your family. Pray a little bit more, like most of us will do, and above all, try to smile. Because when you smile, that makes everybody else feel better. God bless.”
In an interview this week with Fox News, Scully said he believes many Americans will use the quiet time of sheltering in place to rediscover their faith.
“More people will be coming back to the faith,” he said. “And now that this terrible thing is upon us, people might very well get back to the center. And it’s a better world.”
Just as he once could unite Americans behind the joy of a game played with balls and bats. Scully has reminded us of what really matters in a time of crisis. America’s greatness is woven in its spiritual strength. We would do well to pay attention.