Some of my personality traits include being negative and cynical. I not only have described myself this way, but others have brought this to my attention. The thought of good things happening to me just seem so rare sometimes that it is hard for me to actually believe that something positive may come my way.
I just returned from my annual family trip to spring training to watch some Dodger baseball, get a tan, and drink a beer or two while getting back into the baseball experience. I was expecting a nice weekend of fun with the family while getting to check out some new Dodgers like Yasiel Puig and Hyun Jin Ryu. I have never seen these dudes play baseball before getting to watch them over the weekend. Both players were a joy to watch especially Puig, who seems to be able to do everything well such as hit bombs, steal bases and run with the speed and power of a running back.
Getting to watch the Dodgers play some exhibition games is usually the highlight of my spring training trips. This year the highlight was something more holy. Baseball doesn't have too many living Gods that walk around with us mere mortals. There are maybe a handful of these types of baseball figures around. The type of people that all baseball fans respect no matter their team allegiance.
Some of the living Gods are Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and a legendary fellow named Vin Scully.
Vin Scully seemed to be following me around this weekend or you can say that I have been walking on his footprints. I had several Scully sightings over the weekend and I am not just talking about seeing him at the ballpark, which would be expected.
The first Scully sighting I had was at the LAX airport after my sister and I passed through security. We were walking passed a security line after we made it through the gauntlet and my Doyer sense kicked in. I grabbed my sister's arm and exclaimed, "There is Scully"! We looked on in amazement as a God was standing ten feet away from us collecting his belongings after they had been scanned by the airport security. My sister was snapping photos of Scully, TMZ style, and we waited for him to walk past us.
I had an odd sense of calm when seeing him. Scully feels like a relative to many Dodger fans including myself. I have been hearing his voice even before I was born and have probably heard him speak to me more often than I have heard my own mother speak to me and she is quite a talker.
Anyways, Scully eventually passed by my sister and I. I told him that I was a big fan and extended my hand for a shake. Scully also extended his hand and shook mine and told me thank you. Scully not only shook my hand but he responded to my typical, "I'm a big fan" line with a "Thank you". I was in shock that a God touched my hand and said two words to me.
He walked away probably to do something Godlike and we went to our gate. While we waited for our plane to arrive so, we can get to Phoenix, we spotted Scully again. Scully was boarding our same plane! I was able to fly on the same plane as someone so holy. I felt honored to be on the same plane, breathing the same air as someone that means so much to baseball and specifically Dodger baseball.
That was also not the last time that I would have the chance to see Scully throughout this weekend. My family and I happened to be staying at the same hotel as the legend. We spotted him several times at our hotel. Scully was doing the same things that a mere mortal like myself was doing. He was dining at the same hotel restaurant, he rode on the same elevators that I used and even walked through the same doors. It was unbelievable.
On one of these numerous sightings, my father spotted Scully eating breakfast at the hotel one morning and called me to see if I wanted to try for an autograph. I was across the street from the hotel at some outlet stores and didn't have anything for him to sign. I didn't have a pen or a ball or even a tissue for him to sign. The baseball Gods directed my sights to a sports wear store. I ran in with the hopes of purchasing a baseball. I needed something. I found a baseball and the cashier was kind enough to give me a pen. I sprinted across the street in the hopes of seeing Scully as he exited the dining room. I peered into the restaurant and didn't see him. I thought that I had missed a good chance at getting a white whale signature.
Then, I heard the voice. The voice of God himself was coming from down a hallway. I spotted the God speaking to his wife or travel partner. No fans were around him. I asked politely for his autograph and he obliged.
This was bigger than when I met Hideo Nomo or the time I pulled an autograph of a former president out of a hobby pack of Ginter. I never thought that I would get a Scully auto unless I shelled out a few hundred bucks. Scully is such a large figure that if my first encounter with him at the airport would have been a pleasurable experience. Then adding up all the other sightings plus a signed baseball, made this one of the most memorable weekends ever.
Hideo Nomo signed baseball. Check. Vin Scully signed baseball. Check. One more white whale signature is left as part of my baseball trifecta that will be buried with me when I die and that is meeting Sandy Koufax. With the luck that I have been having with meeting my heroes, maybe a Koufax run-in is in the cards.
Getting to shake the hand of Scully and getting his signature has made me a slightly less cynical person than I was just a few days ago. Maybe just a smidgen of Scully's positive vibes have seeped into my bloodstream and has made me a better overall person. This was a baseball religious experience for me. This must be what some people feel like when they attend church and mention how they are blessed.
A friend of mine does refer to Scully as the Dodger Pope by the way.