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Sunshine and Scully

Sunshine and Scully
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An afternoon with the greatest play-by-play man of all time.

It was the moment I had been waiting for since I stepped foot onto the Rose Hill Campus four years ago. While I’ve interviewed countless Fordham athletes, coaches and alums, there was one Fordham Ram who fascinated me more than any of the others. That man was Vincent Edward Scully.

I didn’t grow up listening to the 1949 Fordham graduate on the radio, but there was always something about him that intrigued me. While his smooth baritone voice and unmatched storytelling ability deeply resonated with me, it was his connection to Fordham and WFUV that stood out the most. Scully is a major reason why I’m able to enjoy the wealth of opportunities FUV has to offer.

Just like me, Vin called Fordham football, basketball and baseball games on the radio as a student broadcaster after his two years as a centerfielder for the Rams.  There was so much I wanted to ask the Dodgers announcer, and I finally had the opportunity I had been hoping for.  Plus, it was not over the phone like I had anticipated, but instead, in person in the great City of Angels.

Last weekend, I flew out to Los Angeles to broadcast the Fordham baseball series against the USC Trojans. While the Rams lost all three games, I returned to the Bronx with an experience I would never forget. On Friday afternoon, Vin came to the team hotel to have lunch with the Fordham baseball team.  For as excited as the team was to meet Mr. Scully, Fordham’s most iconic broadcaster may have been even more enthusiastic to meet his Alma Mater’s players. Vin took the time to meet every player, coach and announcer on the trip, treating each person like a grandchild. Vin Scully is a great broadcaster, but an even better human being. He has the spirit of a 30-year-old in the body of an 87-year-old man. Scully’s fervent passion for the Rose Hill Campus and the Maroon and White became immediately clear through the stories he told.

As if he held a microphone in his hand, Vin recounted the epic conversation he had with high school classmate Larry Miggins. Larry wanted to play professional baseball and Vin wanted to announce America’s pastime at the highest level. The odds were stacked against them both, but that didn’t stop the two Fordham Prep graduates. Years later, their paths crossed again, when Scully called Larry’s first Major League home run; a dream come true for a man who has been living the dream for almost seven decades.

While Vin has called countless no hitters, perfectos and World Series games, nothing will ever top his eight years at the Hill and the Prep as a Fordham Ram. For these reasons alone, I decided our interview would be heavily Fordham focused. Scully has been asked the same questions for years. I wanted to hear new answers; an exciting challenge for an up-and-coming broadcaster like me. I didn’t want to learn about Scully the broadcaster, I wanted to learn about the man away from the booth and the boy who started his career at the same radio station and school as me.

For eight minutes, Scully lifted the veil and gave me an exclusive look inside the not always seamless journey of his life. It was an honor, considering how private he is away from his very public profession. As the interview began and the words came spewing out of my mouth, the moment felt surreal. Here I was, a 21-year-old college senior sitting two feet away from the greatest announcer of all-time. The best at the job I hope to have one day.  It felt like a dream even though it was my reality. Those eight minutes felt like a lifetime. We talked about Scully’s days in a barbershop quartet, his short-lived college baseball career and the impact of faith on his life. We chatted as if we’d known each other for years. That’s the type of feeling you get when you have a conversation with this man. 

The Fordham family runs deep in the sports media world and Vin Scully will forever be the founding father of that legacy. I feel great pride to be connected to this announcer and man through the ties of this university and its radio station. Vin has taught aspiring announcers everywhere how to eloquently tell stories and describe game action, but his most telling advice to me came at the end of our interview. With a twinkle in his eye, the elderly Fordham Ram grabbed my right shoulder and said, “DJ if you want to make God smile, tell him your plan. Squeeze life for everything it’s worth. Don’t let life squeeze you.”

Vin Scully has been making God smile and squeezing the most out of life for almost 90 years. Last weekend was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is something I will never forget no matter where I go in my sports broadcasting career. I have never met anyone like Mr. Scully and probably never will. There is not a bad bone in his body.  Sunshine and Scully: I couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up an incredible journey at Fordham University.