Bob Costas joined MLB Network on Wednesday to celebrate Vin Scully’s life, and he offered an emotional story about the legendary broadcaster receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.
Scully passed away Tuesday night at the age of 94. After the legendary broadcaster’s death was announced, it prompted a sharing of countless stories about Scully, who was a master storyteller himself and called some of sports’ biggest moments. But if Scully isn’t available to broadcast a game or tell a story, Costas is a pretty great backup. And as Costas spoke about his late friend on MLB Network, the usually even-keeled broadcaster was overcome with emotions.
“When Vin received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 2016, he was kind enough to invite me and my wife Jill to the ceremony,” Costas said. “And it was Barack Obama’s last Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony.”
Bob Costas tears up on MLB Network remembering Vin Scully receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama pic.twitter.com/hszMr1j06z
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After the ceremony, Costas said Scully went into the White House Rose Garden for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning. At the same time, the Marine Corps Band was in the White House performing a variety of songs.
“When Vin Scully walked back out of the Rose Garden and back into the White House, the conductor of the Marine Corps Band spots him and immediately he cues the band to play Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Costas said. “But then he hands Vin the baton and Vin steps up on the podium and he’s at least figuratively conducting the Marine Corps Band.”
As Costas recalled seeing Scully’s wife, Sandy, watch her husband conduct the Marine Corps Band at his own Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, Costas began to tear up.
“Someday I’ll share this picture with you,” Costas said. “Now I’m getting emotional, just the pure love and connection was so touching. I can’t believe I’m choking up. You’re not supposed to do that. Be professional, Bob.”
The rare display of emotion by Costas echoed the sentiments felt by much of the sports world as news of Scully’s passing was shared Tuesday night.
Prior to telling his own story about the legendary Dodgers broadcaster on MLB Network, Costas referred to Scully as “the king” of anecdotal material.
Perhaps the most incredible aspect of Scully’s career is the fact that he mostly worked as a solo artist in the booth, without an analyst. There might not be another play-by-play announcer who can control the booth enough to simultaneously entertain and inform the audience with such ease. Working solo was also a gift for the fans, because it allowed Scully to ingratiate himself to the audience as a master storyteller and universally beloved personality.