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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 4/15/16

GOAT is an acronym used in the sports world. It stands for Greatest Of All Time.

For a knowledgeable fan, trying to determine the GOAT for a particular sport is an opportunity for heated debate with other fans who disagree with your choice.

In football, who is the greatest of all time? Jim Brown or Jerry Rice? Joe Montana or Tom Brady?

In basketball, the consensus choice is that Michael Jordan is the GOAT. But an argument could be made for other stellar players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, or LeBron James. I know Warriors fans are ready to give the award to Steph Curry but even he knows he has a long way to go to even be considered for the title.

However, in the sport of baseball, there is one transcendent figure who towers above all others. I am not talking about Babe Ruth or Willie Mays. Without a shred of doubt, the Greatest Baseball Broadcaster of All Time is Vin Scully.

In case you haven’t followed baseball the past 65 years, Vinnie has been the voice of the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn, and since 1958, in Los Angeles. Growing-up in Southern California, I was a rabid Dodgers fan. At every opportunity, I listened to Vin’s broadcast. What vivid images he painted game after game! Hearing Scully I felt a part of the home crowd, rooting on Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale; Maury Wills and Tommy Davis. Many a night I went to bed with a transistor radio hidden under my pillow so I could follow the game way past my bedtime.

My life’s journey has taken me far away from Southern California and the Dodgers. Over time, I disengaged from following my old favorites and became a fan of the local team. In Cincinnati and Dayton, I cheered for the Reds. In Denver, I saw the birth of the Colorado Rockies and rooted for the Purple and Black. While living in Houston, I followed the Astros and the Killer B’s of Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman. Now that I live in the Bay Area, I am an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants (personal note: thankfully, I have always lived in a city where there is a National League team and baseball is played the right way with no DH).

There were capable baseball broadcasters in Cincinnati, Denver, and Houston. Here in the Bay Area, I consider Jon Miller, Dave Flemming, Duane Kuiper, and Mike Krukow superb announcers. However, they, along with their peers, all tip their hat to Vin Scully as the Greatest Of All Time.

It’s not just his longevity – at the age of 88, he has determined that this will be his final year calling Dodgers home games. It is the fact that even now, in the so-called sunset of his career, he still brings passion to the game and an unparalleled knowledge of the sport. His warmth and vitality still resonate. Above all else, his humility is endearing. He considers it a privilege to be able to share his love of the game with his listeners. And generations of Dodgers fans; as well as baseball fans; love and appreciate him for what he has shared.

Vin Scully is an inspiration for all of us who aspire to excel in whatever field we choose. Though he is retiring after this season, may he continue to be involved with baseball in whatever way he chooses. What an amazing career. What a wonderful man. What an extraordinary accomplishment to be the Greatest Of All Time.

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