Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully to return for record 62nd season with LA Dodgers
LOS ANGELES – In the autumn of his life, Vin Scully has decided to prolong summer for another year.
The 82-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster said Sunday he'll return to the broadcast booth to call Los Angeles Dodgers games for his 62nd season in 2011 because "when push came to shove, I just did not want to leave."
Scully, whose nearly 61 years of service make him the longest tenured broadcaster in sports history, said he made the decision with the blessing of his wife, Sandy, and his five children.
"With continued health, we'll do next year," he said.
He has said that while he loves the job he's had with the team since 1950, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, it's increasingly hard to be away from his wife of 36 years.
"My wife understood, God bless her," Scully said in the Dodger Stadium press box named for him before a day game against the Cincinnati Reds. "She said, 'You love it, do it,' and so I love it and I'm going to do it."
Scully said he considered cutting back his schedule, but at his wife's urging he decided to continue calling all Dodgers home games and road games against NL West and AL West opponents. He calls all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio.
He works alone on the air and long ago reduced his travel schedule to avoid calling games east of the Rockies.
"I'm just going to try to do the best I can, certainly for next year," he said. "Please don't ask me anything about after next year. I'm lucky to look for tomorrow morning."
In March, Scully was briefly hospitalized after falling and hitting his head at home.
Scully said he is in good health and still gets excited about describing the action on the field.
"The love of the game still produces goose bumps. That might be my thermometer," he said. "Every time there's a good play, the other night when the kid at second base threw the ball to first behind his back, I had goose bumps like it was the first big league game I'd ever seen.
"I went home thinking, 'Holy mackerel, it's still deep inside of me, this love for the game.' I'm so blessed."
Besides, Scully said he has no hobbies away from baseball. He tried golf and leisurely lunches during the 1994 baseball strike, eventually finding himself rooting around the hardware store for nuts and bolts.
He thought about those idle months during the strike as he pondered retirement.
"That was on my mind and I thought not yet," he said. "As long as you feel the way you feel, not yet."
Holding a paper cup of coffee and dressed in a creme linen jacket, navy slacks and a blue-and-white checked shirt, the fiercely private Scully told a gathering of media that he was embarrassed by the attention.
"This is the last thing that I wanted," he said. "I was hoping and I think the Dodgers were it would be a little line in the note sheet before the game and that would be the end of it."
Fellow Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman, in his 37th season with the Reds and 46th overall, was set to announce Sunday's game for Cincinnati in a booth down the hall from Scully's.
"There's never been a better broadcaster in our profession than Vinny, and there never will be. He represents our fraternity better than anybody because he's without ego, he's nice to everybody and he's always got a smile on his face," Brennaman said.
"We're all known as play-by-play guys. Vinny's not a play-by-play guy. Vinny's a storyteller."
Indeed, Scully spun a story about himself as a 25-year-old who became the youngest person to ever broadcast the World Series in 1953. Before Game 1, he ate a breakfast of orange juice, eggs, bacon and toast at home with his parents and sister.
"I was as calm as I could be and then I went upstairs and threw everything up," he said. "But when I got to the ballpark it was familiar and it was the same sounds and the same smells and the same players, then I calmed down. I've been keeping my breakfast in very well since."
Former Dodger and current team broadcaster Rick Monday heard about Scully's return on the radio as he was driving to the stadium.
"It was a lot like being a kid in a neighborhood and you're kicking on the door asking Vinny's wife Sandy: 'Can Vinny come out and play again?'" he said. "And we're all delighted that he's going to come out and play next year. In my life, Vin Scully has always been Dodger baseball."
It's the same for generations of Angelenos for whom Scully's famously soothing voice has defined summer in the city.
"I'm as thrilled as our fans that Vin will be returning," team owner Frank McCourt said in a statement. "He is not only the greatest broadcaster of all time, but also a wonderful friend."
Manager Joe Torre, who is mulling his own future after this season, was glad to hear the news.
"I'm happy for the Dodgers and happy for Vinny that he wants to keep doing it," he said. "He looks great and sounds great, too."
Former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, who turns 83 next month, tweeted his appreciation: "I love you Vin. Thank God we have you for another year. The Dodgers and MLB wouldn't be the same without you."
Scully began his broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star games. He was behind the microphone for Kirk Gibson's Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series and Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th home run.
He has said his most memorable moment was in 1955 when he called the Dodgers' first and only World Series championship in Brooklyn. A year later, he called Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, and has said it is the greatest individual performance he has seen.
Scully shared the booth with Hall of Famer Red Barber and Connie Desmond in his first three years with the Dodgers.
Asked what Barber would think of his decision, he replied, "He'd probably say, 'Vinny, do you love it?' and I'd say, 'Red, I really love it.' And then he'd say, 'Then go with it,' and here I am going with it."