More bad news: The Scooter has left us for bigger and better things.
When my wife told me a few minutes ago that Phil Rizzuto had passed away earlier today, my heart sank. He was in terrible health, which had been in decline for many years. Yet, even in that terrible physical state, he was still in good spirits and as funny as ever.
When I was young, the New York Yankees stunk. It may be hard to believe for younger fans, or for bandwagon riders, but there truly was a time when there wasn’t a Steinbrenner around to throw money at holes in the team, a time when their farm system wasn’t up to par, and when the lineup didn’t include seven or eight current or past All-Star players. During this time, there wasn’t much to root for, and even less to watch at the Stadium or on television.
Yet unless I was doing something really important, I never missed watching a game.
Why? Because The Scooter was always on, always calling the game and steering the minds of viewers away from the less than enchanting happenings in and around Yankee Stadium. He was funny, wacky, and a great diversion from a terrible team. He did unorthodox things on the air, like read fan mail and announce viewers’ birthdays. He made you remember that there were more important things in life than a baseball game. And the ability to do that while announcing a baseball game is quite remarkable.
Holy cow, Scooter! We’re gonna miss ya!
A few links to some great Scooter-isms: