Once in a great while, you know a phone call is going to be enjoyable long before you reach for the handset.
Could you have a bad phone call when it’s directed to Los Angeles’ greatest treasure?
Vin Scully picks up his cell, sees my name flash on his screen and is giving me the warmest of greetings long before I can even get around to the reason for the call:
Happy 85th birthday, Vin.
Scully has been receiving phone calls all day Thursday at the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, Sandra. In between he is, no surprise, immersed in a hardback.
“It’s quiet and peaceful, and I’m reading a good book -- 'Unbroken,' by Laura Hillenbrand -- on this soft day,” Scully said.
And, yes, he really did say “soft” day. Scully said he’s celebrating the 45th anniversary of his 40th birthday.
He wants to know what I’ve been doing, wants to know anything new on the Dodgers, what’s up with that team contract with Fox that calls for a 25-year deal at more than $6 billion.
“It’s way over my head,” he said. “It’s hard to fathom.”
See, he still is like the rest of us, just seemingly ageless. I mention how difficult it is to know what the market might be like 25 years from now, and I hear a belly laugh.
“That’s the last thing for me to be concerned about -- what’s going to happen in 25 years,” he said. “I barely worry about what’s going to happen in the next 25 minutes. If people talk about next week, they lose me.”
He said they had a great Thanksgiving, hosting 44 family members. Said there have been some trips of four or five days in the off-season, but his days of exotic travel are behind him.
“We don’t travel like we used to,” he said. “It used to be as soon as the season ended, we’d take off for Scotland or Australia.”
It's a rare concession to age. I would have been selfish and tried to talk to him all day, missing our press-room dinner chats, but his home phone rings and it’s Don Newcomb.
Someone else calling to wish him a happy 45th anniversary.