Vin Scully can find his way into our hearts even during the gloomiest winter afternoons, as he proved again Thursday when he unwittingly starred in his own holiday movie.
The Ribs That Saved Christmas.
"I feel like such a dummy," Scully said with a laugh. "Only Scully could lose a ring while putting meat in a bag."
Our story begins with the legendary Dodgers announcer doing some last-minute Christmas shopping with his wife, Sandi, at the Costco in Westlake Village
The boutique of baseball voices loves Costco.
"There's so much stuff there, stuff everywhere, the first couple of times I was a little intimidated," he said. "But it's become my home away from home."
Sandi does the shopping, Vin works the cart.
"I'm the donkey, but I'm really very good at it, I can cut all kind of corners with that cart," he said. "I tell Sandi, 'Stay out of the way so I don't run this truck over your heels!' "'
Their system is always the same. Sandi points to packages the approximate size of small homes, and Vin topples or shoves or simply drags them into that cart.
"We fill that sucker up, we pile that heap as high as possible," he said.
He stacks the items so high, and cuts the corner so close, that once a fellow shopper asked him what was more exciting, going to a ballgame or Costco.
"I told him, it's Costco, because the outcome is really in doubt," Vin said.
On Tuesday, they were walking past the meat department when Sandi pointed at some ribs. With five grown children and 16 grandchildren to feed during the holidays, we're talking Fred Flintstone-sized ribs. Vin grabbed the packaged meat, stuffed it into plastic bags, and piled it on top of the overflowing cart. Eventually the couple navigated the extravaganza past the cashier, past the hot dog and pizza stand, and out to their SUV in the parking lot.
Once they had loaded the trunk, Scully climbed into the front seat, glanced down at his Costco-weary hands, and noticed something missing.
His 1988 World Series ring had disappeared from his finger.
"I said, 'Oh my God, I've lost my ring,' " Vin said.
The ring is one of six earned by Scully during his 65-year Dodgers announcing career, but the only one he has not given to his children, and the one that represents perhaps his most famous home-run description, "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!"
"I kept telling myself, 'A ring is only a thing, it's only a thing,' " Scully said. "But I felt so terrible."
Scully immediately walked back into the store and informed assistant general manager Elias Rahhal, who acted as if he had lost his own ring.
"I went into a panic, I assured him we'd do everything to help find the ring, Vin is like family to us," said Rahhal, who printed out Scully's receipt and began a painstaking retracing of Scully's steps through the tower stacks and free food samples. Meanwhile, Vin called the Dodgers publicity sage Steve Brener, who immediately sent out a tweet informing the nation that Scully had lost the ring and asking anybody with information to call the Dodger Stadium switchboard. Then Vin and Sandi drove home while Vin continued to remind himself it was only jewelry and paled in comparison to the large and loving family that awaited his 88th holiday celebration.
"You know, maybe God heard me say that," he said.
Sure enough, while Vin was unloading the stacks of items, he heard a cry from inside the house. While emptying the ribs, Sandi found the ring at the bottom of the bag.
"I'm still laughing about it," said Vin. "But you know, I think I've been laughing about things all winter."
Scully phoned Costco's Rahhal and wished him Merry Christmas. He phoned the Dodgers' Brener and wished him Merry Christmas.
"This time of year just blows me away," said Vin.
Of course, this could not be a Christmas story without a Grinch, as Brener later discovered two people actually called the Dodgers and claimed they had the ring.
Meanwhile, Scully, still laughing, said he has unique celebration plans to honor the Ribs That Saved Christmas.
"We're going to use them for a small family dinner," Vin said.
And, oh yeah, he unwrapped the gift he is giving his city, confirming he will work every home game and road games in Anaheim and San Francisco next season, which means 95 more chances to spend a few hours with a treasure.
Merry Christmas to us.