That’s what might have happened a few weeks ago when Vin Scully went to heaven and looked for some of his old friends. Among them will be John Wooden. They had put in their time. Wooden died in 2010, four months short of his 100th birthday; Scully died on August 2, three months shy of her 95th birthday.
They would have something to talk about.
Vin: “John, you look beautiful. Not a day over 70.”
John: “You too Vin. I’ve been telling some of my friends up here that you’re coming soon. I told them they would hear the voice before they saw the person.
Vin: “There just wasn’t time for Dodgers baseball anymore, I guess.”
John: “Keep me posted on what’s going on down there. I haven’t held back. Things are busy here. You’ll get a kick out of it. I think I’ve told you several times that my favorite sport has always been baseball. So, I got here and before I knew it, Mother Teresa was after me to coach her softball team. This is in the Division I Pearly Gates League. How could I say no to her? I told her I probably wasn’t cut out for the job because I’d never be able to swear like Tommy Lasorda. She immediately tested me by asking what I thought of Kingman’s performance. I said “damn”. I accepted the job. It turns out she’s a five-tool player — hitter for average, hitter for power, fastball, gold glove and rocket arm.”
Vin: “After I settle in, I might be able to play a game or two. How about this – “It’s Sky Softball Time”. “
John: “Perfect. For everyone here, it would be like a gift from… well, you know. Our stadium is not huge, it only holds about one hundred million seats. But three times as many have transistor radios. And some guy at ESPN dropped a cable to Purgatory.
Vin: “You wanted me to update you on things down there. I have some surprising things to tell you.
John: “Did they fix the highways?”
Vin laughs, “No. More sports related. Colleges now have something called a transfer portal. It’s a really big deal. It was created, they say, to make the transfer less cumbersome, with less paperwork. Everything is now done on computers, and at first it sounded like a reasonable way to help busy college administrators. But it seemed to open the door wide for students who weren’t happy with their coaches or their playing time, or maybe just the size of their alumni’s monthly check. So they would enter this portal. It’s like putting yourself on the shelf in the store so the buses can drive by with shopping carts and take you out.”
John: “Wow…sounds like you’re talking about free agent college sports. Is everyone trying to recruit Scott Boras? There were always unhappy children and transfers. Are there more now because of that and, I guess, they still have to sit for a year?”
Vin: “Yes, much more. And no, they get a one-time transfer without having to waste a year.
John: “Holy sweaty socks. There must be good reasons for allowing a transfer, right?’
Vin: “Well yeah. There are some. Health and injury and family matters are listed. But most interestingly, it states that a transfer waiver can be granted “on the allegation that there is no opportunity to participate in the previous school.” ”
John: “Well, that’s a good reason. If a player does not see a chance to play, he or she must have the right to play elsewhere.
Vin: “There seems to be a lot of loose interpretation of this. A school you know well just acquired a new quarterback through the transfer portal and he was the star quarterback at his previous school, even an All-American candidate. So it is very likely that he had many opportunities to participate there.
John: “I’m speechless. Except maybe “Fight On”. “
Vin: “There’s more. A few years ago, long after you were gone, the NCAA finally had to back down and now student-athletes have the right to make money by endorsing products and advertising themselves. It’s called NIL (Name, Image and Likeness).’
John: “You mean while they’re playing college sports they can be like self-marketing agents and personal billboards?”
Vin: “That’s one way to put it.”
John: “We’re mostly talking about a few hundred dollars for the star players, right?”
Vin: “Some reports predict six- or even seven-figure payouts to many players.”
John: “I have to sit down. My heart was pretty strong when I was alive, but now I’m not sure. I appreciate you keeping me posted, Vin, but I’m just stunned. I hope that’s all you have.
Vin: “Just one more thing. Starting next season, your UCLA Bruins will be playing in the Big Ten Conference.”
John (collapsing with laughter): “Vin, you’re the best. What a sense of humor. You caught me. It had me all the way to the Big Ten. The other things may be possible. But UCLA in the Big Ten! Come on. … Let’s find Mother Teresa and start with the lineups. Devil, you.