Charley Steiner Called Vin Scully Before Game 6 of the 2020 World Series

As Charley Steiner prepares for his 17th season calling Dodgers games, he joined me on my podcast “Meeting on the Mound with Jake Reiner.” We covered a wide-range of topics, but one that stuck out was a special conversation he had before the final game of the 2020 World Series.

On October 27, with the Dodgers up three-games-to-two over the Tampa Bay Rays going into Game 6, Steiner had a good feeling the 32-year championship drought was going to end that night in Texas.

In anticipation of this, Steiner phoned Vin Scully, whom he refers to as his “friend, mentor, and hero,” that morning to discuss his potential final out call.

“I said how about, ‘in a year that’s been so improbable-‘ and then (Vin) cut me off. And he said, ‘I believe it’s already been taken,'” Steiner recalled.

What Steiner ended up saying, after Julio Urías struck out Willy Adames to secure the franchise’s seventh title, was eerily reminiscent of Scully’s Kirk Gibson home run call from Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, but Steiner’s call was nonetheless perfect for that moment.

“Finally the wait is over,” Steiner’s call began. “In a year like no other, where joy has been so hard to come by. Tonight, tears of joy, let ‘em flow.”

Both 1988 & 2020 were improbable seasons for entirely different reasons, but Steiner knew the 2020 championship was not just about baseball to Dodger fans. Keep in mind, as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Steiner broadcast every game last season from his living room couch.

“I was thinking all day what a horrible year it’s been,” Steiner said. Dodger fans “are at home, they want their team to win, they don’t care under what circumstance. So the word ‘joy,’ was just in my head going into the game, during the game and then suddenly, at least for a little while, there would be joy, because this unrelenting weight had finally been removed from our collective shoulders.”

Steiner said one of the things he learned over the years as a veteran play-by-play broadcaster is to always live in the moment and to not prepare for a call. He remembered the one time he found out the hard way in 2001. He was behind the mic with ESPN Radio for a number of Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home runs that year, including numbers 70-73.

“On the 70th, I thought I would write something that would sound more highfalutin than it should’ve and it was awful,” Steiner said. “It just didn’t work. I learned my lesson.”

This was his call:

“There it goes, there it goes! Mark McGwire has a co-owner of the home run throne. Number 70 for Bonds!”

I’d say the 2020 World Series final out call and the 2003 ALCS Game 7 “Aaron Boone” call more than made up for Bonds’ 70th.

Steiner will be back calling games in the same booth with longtime partner Rick Monday at Dodger Stadium this season. However, neither the radio nor television broadcast teams will travel with the club on the road.

While the 2021 season figures to get back to some sense of normalcy, it, too, will be improbable in its own right, regardless of which team wins the World Series.

Jake Reiner is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown, host of Meeting on the Mound podcast & co-host of The Incline: Dodgers podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Reiner_Jake.