During the highly publicized farewell tour of legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, I kept hearing him mention God.
And I'm not talking about the baseball gods.
For example, as he was honored at Dodger Stadium, Scully said:
I had a child’s dream, and the grace of God not only gave me the fulfillment of my dream, he gave it for 67 years.
In a letter to fans before the team's final homestand, the broadcaster wrote about falling in love with the game of baseball 80 years ago:
God has been very generous to that little boy, allowing him to fulfill a dream of becoming a broadcaster and to live it for 67 years.
And his final sign-off included this poetic message:
May God give you for every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.
So — what do you think, dear GetReligion readers — is there a potential holy ghost in the news coverage of Scully?
In story after story, I saw quotes about God from Scully. But I never came across any elaboration. I never noticed any information on Scully's religious background or affiliation. Perhaps those who have followed Scully's career more closely than I have already know the answer, but I started Googling.
A CNN opinion piece offered this hint:
So many tales to tell, so many things to see. But the grind took its toll. Years and years of trains and planes and buses and gridlocked cars. A lot of memorable moments, mixed in with thousands that blurred and bored. Scully lost a 35-year-old wife and a 33-year-old son along the way, one from a medical drug overdose, the other from a helicopter crash. His faith and family endured, including second wife Sandra, still by his side a week ago when Scully mentioned their grandkids and said on TV, "God has been so good to me."
Faith and family, huh? Now we're getting somewhere.
My web search also turned up Scully's Wikipedia page (as Michael Scott noted on "The Office," "Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.") In Scully's Wikipedia bio, he's described as a "devout Roman Catholic." OK, so there's another term to add to my search.
From there, I found an extremely insightful piece from the Los Angeles Daily News:
I encourage you to read that whole column, but here's a revealing chunk of it:
There’s a Scully-narrated commercial that SportsNet LA will occasionally air, his words overlaid on video of him gazing out of his press box booth and strolling across the outfield grass.
“When I walk inside the walls of cathedral-like Dodger Stadium, I hear the echoes of stories that brought crowds to their feet … and let’s face it, even tears to the eyes of the faithful,” he says.
In truth, Dodger Stadium does become very cathedral-like, albeit on a much smaller scale, every Sunday morning before a home game.
Inside that very same room where Scully told story after story during a final group Q-and-A session on Saturday, he will join some Dodger players, coaches and stadium employees in attending a Catholic Mass just hours before he goes to the broadcast booth for the final time in his 67-season career.
Amidst all the places Scully has been pulled this week, he remains drawn to the Mass. It has helped him get through some personal tragedies in his life, as well as a place to celebrate and be thankful for all he has received.
A white altar cloth will cover the long table where Dave Roberts holds his postgame press conference, and a visiting priest will be invited by Catholic Athletes for Christ organization to celebrate.
Scully takes his seat in the front row, often next to his wife, Sandi. A chair to his right is left vacant and a Dodgers jacket is draped across the back. It is there to remember Billy DeLury, the former team traveling secretary who traveled from Brooklyn to Los Angeles with Scully in 1958 and died at age 81 just before the 2015 season began.
And when it comes to the Bible readings, Scully will often volunteer to act as the lector.
Really, if you want to make God smile, let him hear Scully read the Book of Wisdom. Chapter and verse.
So there you have it. There's a reason Scully kept mentioning God during his farewell tour.