FACE IT: An L.A. Girl and Vin Scully

As we speak, Los Angeles is celebrating the long and dazzling career of Kobe Bryant. Well deserved, of course. But as his light dims, attention moves to the much longer and storied reign of the Dodger's play-by-play man Vin Scully, who is beginning what will be his last year in the booth.

I still remember when my older brother had to write a story in middle school about a hero of his choosing. He selected Vin Scully. The teacher was so impressed, she managed to get the essay to the announcer himself. Amazingly, Scully received it and wrote back a lovely thank you note. My brother is now 70 and did not ultimately try to emulate Scully. I think he knew even then that no one could.

As for Vin Scully, he is, gulp, 88. Many of us Boomers look at Bernie Sanders and impose our own physical and mental limitations and fears upon him. ("Yikes, he's going to forget what that interviewer's name is!" "He's going to doze off at the podium"!) We may do that with Scully as well, but damn if he not only doesn't forget a player's name or stats, he keeps coming up with new ones. Just this week, he couldn't resist musing on one named Socrates Brito, even finding a way to compare the outfielder to the philosopher himself.

I grew up in a sports loving--and playing--family in Los Angeles. I feel like I spent half my youth downing Dodger Dogs. Our father let us miss school when they made the World Series. And I will never forget being at the stadium the night of Sandy Koufax's perfect game.The crowd grew progressively silent with every pitch. The only sound we wanted to hear was Vin Scully's voice, and I believe every one of us had our transistors glued to our ears. We needed to hear how Vin was reacting, when he chose to say something, and when he knew not to.

Scully started with the Dodgers when they were in Brooklyn, in 1950, and of course followed them to Los Angeles. He watched and knew them all: from Jackie to Duke to Campanella to Kershaw. His voice is undiminished by time and neither, amazingly, is his excitement with every new season. How many people do you know who still love their job after doing it for 67 years?

This will be a long year of tributes to Scully, including bobblehead nights and more. His final farewell ceremony, on September 23, will likely make Kobe's look like a brushoff. He is a modest man who truly doesn't care about the accolades but he better get used to them.

In fact, i think the ones that matter most to him are from young fans, like my brother was when he wrote that essay. They had one real encounter a few years back, each picking up pizza in the Pacific Palisades. My brother debated whether to say anything and decided he could not resist. He introduced himself and told his former idol the story and about Scully's nice response.

"Oh, I am so relieved to hear I wrote you back," said the best announcer that American's pastime will ever have.