SPORTS AND FAMILIES
Did you know?
Children 3 and under can enter Dodger Stadium free provided they sit on a parent or guardian’s lap. Should the parent or guardian want a child age 3 and under to have their own seat, a ticket must be purchased.
Way back to circa 1936, or 1937—long before Dodger’s Stadium or Chavez Ravine was even a gleam in the eyes of the O’Malley family and clan)—in the one and only Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, I would often be located sitting on my father’s lap, learning how to cheer for what was eloquently described as “Dem Bums”. By age five, my dad explained to anyone who was close enough to where we were sitting: “My kid knows all of their names and numbers.”
Dad wasn’t completely accurate; I was able to rattle off almost everyone who had anything to do with the Dodgers—including a lady named Gladys Goodding, who was the team organist. And of course, the gal who sat way out in the left field named Hilda, ringing a large cow bell when before and after the Dodgers did something good. Hilda never missed a Dodgers game for as long as she lived.
What my Father didn’t realize was that he was the one responsible for his kid’s (little da harv’s) ability—or as his brothers put it, “Hervey’s got a real gift”—to memorize. In actuality, and unknowingly, because my dad never stopped talking to me while I was there—me comfortably sitting on his lap at the ballpark—he was teaching me how to pay attention to what was going on around me.
Long before I knew who Vin Scully was, I had my very own private and hands-on announcer for everything going on around us. He was also making comments about anyone we experienced together at the ballpark. Much of what he was saying is not suitable for me to repeat. In retrospect… I had a version of Vince Scully there with me at all times.
As I grew older, in conjunction with my dad having to pay for my seat, I began really turning into his buddy. Often, dad would answer a question while doing a variety of dialects of the many immigrants seated around us who had also fallen into a deep love affair with our Dodgers.
It was before television had arrived on the scene, and well before anything vaguely resembling instant replay. When the Dodgers were playing out of town, just about every father, son, and all of my friends were tuned in to the radio and listening to what we all felt to be a close friend named Red Barber.
If we weren’t at the ballpark, we were paying close attention to what Red had to say. I mean to tell you, Red was the gospel for all of us. In my lifetime to date, the only announcer better than Red was to become the greatest of all time and forever a Dodger. The one and only: Vince Scully. In addition, Vince is also known and recognized as having been one of the game’s best teachers.
HISTORY NOTE: It was sometime around 1920 when the tradition of the fans being allowed to keep any baseballs that were hit into the stands began, but that wasn’t always the case. During World War II, everything hit into the stands had to be returned to the home team, who then in turn forwarded on to our armed service members to be used in their service games. When WW2 came to an end, the practice of spectators keeping a game ball that went foul, or was hit into a homerun area of the stadium, became the fans to keep. The fans were truly fanatical when it came to catching one of those balls, no matter how hard it was hit.
For what it’s worth, those early days at the games with my dad were all smiles. Even when “Dem Bums” lost, my dad began saying to me, “we’ll get ’em tomorrow, Harvey”. You know, he wasn’t kidding. He wasn’t doing a strange or funny voice. He, in effect, was preparing for being part of the business I’m in; we’ll get ’em tomorrow! Won’t we?
…And yesterday [Tuesday, August 2, 2022], as I watched my Dodgers busily doing away with their archrival, the San Francisco Giants team, the outcome of the game became of secondary interest to me. It was announced by the Dodgers broadcast team: Vin Scully had passed away. For sixty-seven seasons, Vin had been the Dodgers announcer. There will never be another man like him. Vince Scully added to my life!
Leave a Reply