Vin Scully Day
September 25, 2016
I have a wide range of emotions coursing through me at this moment. I have had this since I awoke early this morning to hearing of the tragic death of Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident. Plus, being Vin Scully’s final home game added to the plethora of emotions. My condolences go out to Fernandez’s family, teammates, and the entire Marlins organization. May he rest in peace.
The Dodgers’ final home game of the season (and of Scully’s career) started out as a pitchers’ duel. The Dodgers had runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings and failed to score. The Rockies scored twice in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers cut the Rockies’ lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on a Yasiel Puig sacrifice fly. It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh when Corey Seager hit a paint-the-line triple down the right field line to tie the game at two. All seemed lost when David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers NEVER make anything easy! Enter Corey Seager. With two outs, he CRUSHED a mid-90’s fastball that stayed over the plate deep into the Rockies’ bullpen to tie the game at 3, sending Dodger Stadium (and this Dodgers fan) into bedlam. Free baseball as a result, and Vin stays a little longer.
Baseball is such a wonderful, unpredictable game. It has its twists and turns and ups and downs, much like a roller coaster. We were just getting started on this wild ride. The Rockies mounted a threat in the top of the 10th, but Charlie Culberson made a great stop on a ground ball up the middle that would have plated the go-ahead run for the Rockies and barely beat the base runner to the bag for an inning ending force out. We go to the bottom of the 10th still tied at 3.
Leading off the bottom of the inning, Chris Taylor hit one on the screws but right at Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies’ center fielder. After a Kiké Hernandez strikeout, up stepped that man Culberson.
Coming into the game, Culberson had ZERO home runs, and hadn’t hit one since the 2014 season. Ironically, he was with the Rockies that season. On an 0-1 pitch, CRACK! Culberson crushes it, sending the ball on a majestic orbit deep into the left field seats for some very happy fan to catch. WALK-OFF! DODGERS WIN! THEY WIN THE NL WEST! I was both excited and teary-eyed as he was rounding the bases, knowing that the Dodgers clinched the division and sending Vin off fittingly. (He actually has three games at San Francisco next weekend, then he rides off into the sunset.)
Culberson etched himself into Dodgers lore with the walk-off blast. He will be forever remembered as the man who gave the Dodgers the walk-off win on Vin Scully Day. Even if he is no longer a Dodger after this year, he will always have a very special place in Dodgers fans’ hearts. This is why baseball is so beautiful: the unlikeliest of suspects can come through in the most clutch and pressure-packed situations. If you had told me before the game that Charlie Culberson would come through with a walk-off HR to give the Dodgers the NL West title on Vin Scully Day, I’d have given you a “you’re crazy” look. Precisely BECAUSE no one expected him to walk off, that is why he walked off! WTG Charlie! GO DODGERS! Win it all for Vin!