The signs of “White Only” or “Negroes get your food by the back door” have long been removed. But, the vestiges of racism remain, even in 2022. It is a systemic construct that will not disappear, at least not in my lifetime. Many of us have learned to navigate the treacherous waters that are prevalent in our day to day lives. This article is a prime example and a great lesson for those who might think racism went away when President Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation or when Dr. King gave his “I have a dream speech.”
The phrase “getting the American Dream” is tossed around as an achievable aspiration. However, history and current reality remind us that preamble wasn’t necessarily meant for us; those who are African American.
In the mid-80’s several well known fortune 100 companies were gobbling up mortgage lenders to create a subsidiary business for their well-heeled clientele who might one day become mortgage customers. American Express was a key sponsor with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Once the games ended key staff were directed to apply for post-Olympic employment opportunities with sponsors such as American Express. At the time, I had no clue what a mortgage banker was. My background was marketing. American Express had a subsidiary called Shearson-Lehman and their mortgage banking division was taking off. I jumped at the opportunity. I quickly learned how subjective staff charged with processing and underwriting a loan were; simply based on their upbringing or their societal perspectives. Of course since then a lot has changed but people are people and it is hard to strip away their biases.
Fast-forward to the article, many still swear racism is over and everybody is treated equal. The article points to a very clear, if not painful lesson that many have to endure. Just when you think you may have “made it” it is examples like this which remind you the work must continue to go forward to break the veil of prejudice and racism.
The “Great Scully” retired from the Dodgers in 2016. Die-hards like me knew at the time he was a bit ill, if not up in age. Selfishly we held out hoping he would physically be here forever or up to the end of our lives. He passed yesterday as the news came while we were watching the Dodgers v Giants game at Oracle Park. Coincidently, it was Oracle (at the time A.T.T.) where he called his last game in 2016.
Vin Scully was a genius. You can peruse the internet for all type of tidbits and facts. I’m 70 and in 1959 I believe I attended my first Dodger game at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I vaguely remember but I learned about Vin by listening to games with my grandmother. Over the years, I was guilty as charged as I took many transistor or portable radios to the games I attended, just to hear Scully. Today’s announcer’s have a lot to learn…..if they are serious about their craft and strive for excellence? Unlike today’s parody’s, he wasn’t “just” a cheerleader for the home team or some partisan hack – he called the game as he saw it. Specifically in baseball, he knew what fans wanted to hear and in listening to games there are critical elements that supersede normal chatter. With Scully you knew he was consistent in making sure you knew the inning, the count and the score. Incredible.
Scully at the Shell station
As my working career was winding down I went to work with a fortune 100 company that had a campus/office space in Calabasas. The year was 2013 or 2014 and it was either February of March. While grabbing lunch I decided to get some gas as well so I headed down to the Shell station on Las Virgenes just south of the 101. After pumping my gas I noticed a lad behind me who was wrapping up pumping his gas. Lo and behold, it was the “Great Scully.” We exchanged pleasantries and as bad as I wanted to ask him for a picture, I refrained because in my gut I knew he treasured his privacy. We briefly chatted about spring training and the prospects for the upcoming season. That brief encounter may appear nerdy or inconsequential to some but for me it was priceless and something I will never forget.
Today I wanted to pay my respect so I trekked down to the ravine and was pleased to see other fans doing to same. Also I hustled over to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and there was Vin’s start on the north side of Hollywood, JUST EAST OF 6678 Hollywood Blvd.
On August 5th, 2022 the Dodgers returned home to host the Padres who made noise earlier in the week as the trade-deadline ended and they grabbed some extra talent in their bid to catch the Dodgers or at a minimum make the playoffs. A sold-out crowd packed into the Ravine as the team honored Scully with pre-game festivities, capped by a spectacular fireworks show. As a fete to Vin, the Dodgers rolled past the Padres 8 – 1.