Sharing my favorite story about Vin Scully requires me to make a confession: When I was traveling around the country in my mid- to late-20s as the Dodgers beat writer for this newspaper, I liked to go out.
Almost every night on the road was a party, and more than once I showed up to the ballpark the next day in some degree of physical discomfort.
I had one particularly painful experience in Colorado. I was severely hungover, some colleagues teasing me while others were offended that I would show up to work in that condition. With my head pounding and my eyes feeling as if they had knives stuck in them, I didn’t want to hear any of it.
I was in the media dining room at Coors Field with a tray of untouched food when Scully sat down in front of me.
He took one look at me, smiled mischievously and asked, “Mr. Hernandez, were you overserved last night?”
I laughed, and for a few seconds forgot about how much I hurt.
Vin Scully died on Tuesday at 94. Countless words have been written about how he was a one-of-a-kind broadcaster, how he was kind and gracious. All of that was true. But when I think of him, what comes to mind is his sense of humor.
The first time I spoke to him was in 2007 shortly after The Times hired me to cover the Dodgers. I ran into him in the bathroom of the press box bearing his name. While I thought it would be weird to introduce myself to him there, it occurred to me that it might be weirder to not.
When I told him who I was, he said he had heard of me and started doing that Vin Scully thing where he narrated the details of a person’s life.
“You were born in Los Angeles,” he said. “Your father is from El Salvador; your mother is from Japan. I speak a few words of Japanese myself: Konnichiwa. …”
He went on and on like this. The voice I used to hear on my transistor radio was talking to me, about me. I would have been intimidated if not for his warmth. He insisted that I called him “Vin” instead of “Mr. Scully.”
But, as Scully mentioned, I’m part Salvadoran, which means that when someone tells me to do something, I’m genetically predisposed to want to mess with him or her by doing the exact opposite.
So, the next time I saw him, I again called him, “Mr. Scully.”
“Dylan,” he sighed, “I told you to call me Vin.”
The time after that: “Mr….