Tuesday afternoon, before batting practice, Drew Storen felt nervous as he ascended an escalator inside Dodger Stadium, headed toward a place he rarely visits. Storen hopped off and walked into the press box, where one of his favorite people in baseball awaited. Storen was going to meet Vin Scully.
Storen watches the opening innings of every game on television from inside the Nationals clubhouse, which at Dodger Stadium brings an extra perk. He gets to listen to Scully, the legendary broadcaster with who has called Dodgers games for 65 years.
“I’ve always loved what he’s done,” Storen said. “His voice is beyond soothing.”
Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo arranged for Storen to meet Scully and accompanied him to the booth. Storen came prepared. He had always wanted Scully’s autograph. Before the Nationals came to Los Angeles, Storen scoured eBay for a 1957 model microphone, just like the one he saw Scully using in an old picture.
Storen handed Scully the microphone, and he signed it. Storen told Scully he was honored that Scully had called the first save of his career, on Aug. 6, 2010. And then he listened.
“I was just trying not to talk, because I wanted to listen to him tell stories,” Storen said. “He just blows me away every night. I told him he teaches me stuff about guys on the team that I don’t even know. He just tells stories. He’s like the emcee of the game. When he says your name, it means you’ve made it.”
Storen may have a keener awareness of Scully’s status than most players. Storen’s father, Mark Patrick, made his living as a television and radio broadcaster in Indianapolis. “I’ve always realized how highly he spoke of [Scully],” Storen said. “I feel like I appreciate what he does because of that.”
Tuesday afternoon, high above the field, Storen could look over Dodger Stadium, all yellow seats and green grass, the San Gabriel Mountains in looming in the distance. He listened to Scully’s stories about old Dodger bullpens, hearing a familiar voice in a way he never had before.
“It was just really cool,” Storen said.