By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) It wasn’t a growling and bedraggled Mike Ditka, nor Jim Belushi trying to exude Chicago-ness out of his pores while bellowing “Play ball!”
It was merely the great Vin Scully and a couple friends, in a pregame production befitting Hollywood just down the road.
The 89-year old legend ambled to the mound with a mic in one hand and a baseball in the other, ostensibly to throw out the first pitch of Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night and while providing a self-deprecating commentary befitting a man who has never been comfortable making himself the center of attention.
Upon reaching his destination, Scully realized there was nobody out to receive the ceremonial toss, so he said, “I need a catcher.” Out came former Dodger Steve Yeager, the co-MVP of the 1981 World Series. Scully rocked back to throw, only to hesitate and claim a rotator cuff issue. “I need a left-hander” was his next entreaty, and there appeared Fernando Valenzuela in relief. The pitch was thrown, and the three men gathered for a shared chorus of Scully’s signature invocation, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
It could have come off as cheesy, mawkish or contrived, but it didn’t because of the grace, professionalism and note-perfect stage timing of Scully himself. He made it work, a fact noted poetically by Joe Buck when he observed that Scully “still has his fastball.”
Any time with one of the best broadcasters ever should be savored.