Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Vin Scully surprises Bob Miller
By Ramona Shelburne
They each have families and friends. And all of you who've listened to them over the years probably feel like they're part of your lives, even though you've never met.
But for eight minutes or so Tuesday afternoon, we got to hear something rare and remarkable as Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully called into 710 ESPN radio in Los Angeles to congratulate longtime Kings broadcaster Bob Miller on the Kings Stanley Cup championship.
What followed was a brief glimpse into the world of two legends. Their guards were down, their emotions were up. The conversation felt private, yet it was shared with millions.
Scully asked Miller whether he'd prepared a call for the end of the game.
Miller said he had, then joked about worrying some stoppage in play would interrupt what he'd written out and step on the grand moment.
Scully laughed and said he knew just what Miller meant.
They reminisced about old times and old friends like Lakers Hall of Fame broadcaster Chick Hearn.
But mostly they just shared in each other's joy.
Though we couldn't see them, hosts John Ireland and Mark Willard seemed to be grinning from ear to ear as Scully and Miller carried on. Both were savvy enough not to interrupt.
I've listened to it four or five times already. I might listen to it 10 more. You realize, every once in a while, how important men like Scully and Miller are to your life. Those of us who get to see them on a regular basis try and tell them every time we see them. They understand on some level, but most of their nights are spent in a broadcast booth with a microphone either alone (Scully) or with a partner (Miller).
There's a select few who know what it feels like to talk into that microphone and never have anyone talk back to you. To have a city collectively fall in love with you but never be able to wrap your arms around anyone or anything.
Tuesday afternoon, two of the men who know what the air up there is like sat around and compared notes. It was a conversation that could've happened in a bar or a quiet room some place, but instead happened over the air for all of us to share in.
Here's a few of the highlights:
SCULLY: Last night when the Kings put this town on its ear, and we had pictures on the television screen [at Dodger Stadium] of all the players in ecstasy, I was thinking more than anything of a very precious picture that I have at home. One that I truly treasure and will continue to treasure down through the years. It's a picture of Chick Hearn, God rest his soul, of Bob Miller, and of me. It's one I would not trade for all the ice in the Stanley Cup
Well you know Bob, I remember very well that Chick and I were saluting you because we had already had our championship years and our rings. We were talking how difficult it was for you to have a team that could never quite make it to the championship. That's why I think, when the Kings did what they did last night, my first thought was the picture and my second thought was of you finally getting that ring.
MILLER: I no longer have to show that wedding ring. I'll be getting a championship ring soon.
Vin, it means a lot for me to hear from you today because you've had so much success and championship rings, such a great long career and everybody is happy that you're still at the top of your game.
SCULLY: One other thing: Because of that major penalty involving the blood and the fact that the Kings scored three goals in that period, from then on, did you have the feeling? Three goals in hockey makes it just about a fait accompli?
MILLER: No, I said coming into the game I was hoping we'd get a four-goal lead and I could relax. Well we did get a four goal lead, but it was so early I couldn't relax. We've come from down 5-0 to win a game back in 1982 and last year the Kings were up 4-0 and got beat 6-5 in overtime so I didn't relax until the Kings got that fifth goal and led 5-1.
SCULLY: And at that time you still had some minutes left in your descriptions, did it affect you knowing no matter how much time was left, no matter if the ice melted, the Kings were going to win the Stanley Cup?
MILLER: I just had a little something I wanted to say at the end of the game and I was trying to time it out right. My fear was 'I'm going to get right down to when the horn sounds and they'll stop the game with a minute seven seconds to go and this is going to be ruined.'
SCULLY: (Laughs) I know what you mean, there's always a worry.
You did prepare to say something right?
MILLER: Yes, I did. I had it written down. I didn't want to stumble over it. I did that when Wayne Gretzky passed Gordy Howe in points and then goals, just had a little something to say to put a capper on the moment. Just didn't want to commit it to memory and then stumble in the emotions of the moment.
SCULLY: Well it was a special moment and I'm sure a special man had something special to say.
MILLER: Well Vin, than you very much. Continued success this year. You've got a great ballclub there. It's fun to see you win.
What I said at the end there was:
'This is for you. Kings players who have ever worn the Kings uniform and Kings fans, wherever you may be, all the frustration and disappointment of the past is gone. The 45 year drought is over. The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the kings of the National Hockey League, the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions
SCULLY: Now you see, I finally heard it. Way to go!
IRELAND: What was the atmosphere like at Dodger Stadium last night?
SCULLY: They went bananas when they put the final 10 seconds up on the Diamond Vision board. In fact, in the dugout I caught a quick glimpse, I think Matt Kemp had a Kings jersey, not on, but holding it up. And many of the fans were wearing Kings shirts. So yeah, the community enjoyed every moment of it. Even though it was a vicarious moment at Dodger Stadium, they made the most of it.
MILLER: I think it's great how all the teams in this city all come together and wish each other luck when they get into playoffs and championships.
SCULLY: Yeah, well what do they say? L.A. is 480 square miles and like the President said about Oakland, 'There's no there there.' Well the there is Dodger Stadium and Staples Center and it's been put there because of the Lakers and the Dodgers and now the Kings.
MILLER: And as Jack Kent Cooke said, 250,000 Canadians live in Southern California and they moved here because they hate hockey. Well they were all watching last night.
SCULLY: That's a great line. I know there's people who would like to have the privilege of talking to you. So again allow me the permission to interrupt what's going on and extend a warm handshake and a big hug to you Bob and my heartiest congratulations.