Rockies pay visit to Scully's booth, gift in hand

Rockies pay visit to Scully's booth, gift in hand

LOS ANGELES -- Rockies catching coach Rene Lachemann is 72, but remembers being 13 when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn. Famed broadcaster Vin Scully's voice flowed from his transistor radio and filled his summer evenings.

By 1960, Lachemann was a Dodgers bat boy, who was learning to play like the big leaguer he would become and becoming well-versed in big league-sounding words of four or more letters. But the vocabulary changed when he would have the honor of running a hot dog to Scully in the broadcast booth at the LA Coliseum.

"Just out of respect -- he was always too squeaky clean for me -- you didn't want to use any vulgar words around him," Lachemann said, laughing.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss can laugh about one of Scully's most famous calls -- when the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson hobbled to the plate on two bad legs and parked a ninth-inning homer to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Weiss was the shortstop for the Athletics, who lost the game and eventually watched the Dodgers win the Series.

On the field, he didn't hear Scully. He noted that in the A's clubhouse, all he and his teammates could hear was thunderous applause for a half-hour after the game. But thanks to replay after replay, Scully's call sent him into cold sweats.

"There was a little while there where it was my biggest nightmare, and Vin Scully was my Freddy Krueger," Weiss said. "I can hear that call …'She is gone!'"

Former Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs doesn't have to dream Scully's voice into his head. He still has the DVD from June 10, 2006. It was the first time Spilborghs played against the Dodgers -- he walked and scored as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of a 12-9 Rockies victory. He often plays it, not to bask in the glory, but just to listen.

"His call for me?" Spilborghs said before going into a flattering imitation of a thrill of a lifetime. "Ryan Spilborghs from 90 miles north of Los Angeles, from Santa Barbara. He went to UC Santa Barbara with Skip Schumaker."

Scully, who turns 89 in November, of course, is winding down a career that started in Brooklyn in 1950, and this weekend's four-game set with the Rockies will be the final home series he will call. So, the Rockies joined all of baseball in celebrating Scully.

All of the Rockies' players, staff, broadcasters and club owners signed the "LAD" plate from the out-of-town scoreboard at Coors Field. Weiss, Lachemann, bullpen coach Darren Holmes, and players Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley and Adam Ottavino made the presentation in Scully's TV booth.

Arenado is just 24, having grown up in Lake Forest, Calif. Even today, when he and his family and friends get together during the offseason, he admits engaging in the activity children in Southern California are doing today.

"The call with Kirk Gibson, when we play Wiffle ball sometimes we'll make the call," Arenado said. "It's pretty awesome."

Arenado discusses Scully

Worth noting

• The Rockies scratched Gerardo Parra from the lineup about 90 minutes before Thursday night's game because of illness. Stephen Cardullo started at first base in Parra's stead.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.