Goodbye, Chick

Chick Hearn died last night. I grew up in LA listening to Chick calling Lakers games. Heck, he’d already done every game for a decade by the time I was born. He was one of the all-time greats, not just for his durability but for the quality of his witty, intense, engaging, fast-paced game commentary.

We Angelenos were privileged to have two such giants. Over at Dodger Stadium, Vin Scully is still turning baseball into poetry after half a century at the mike. The funny thing is, LA isn’t a sports town. Some five years ago, both football teams packed up and left… and no one seemed to mind much. Sure, everyone roots for a winner. And the Lakers have managed to turn themselves into an entertainment product, which LA can relate to. But LA has never had the intense identification with a team you see in places like New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

Furthermore, Hearn and Scully are legends for that most un-LA of virtues: longevity. LA is a city without a history. (The closest thing it has, appropriately enough, is the movie Chinatown.) It’s the first post-industrial metropolis. How we wound up with two guys who epitomized everything LA transcends, I’ll never know. I’m just thankful for it.

Goodbye, Chick. This one’s in the refrigerator.