Dodgers fans have just a few more days to enjoy Vin Scully as announcer
The final days of Vin Scully’s career are upon us. On Monday, he is set to call the first game of his last Dodgers-Giants series at Dodger Stadium.
He will call it a career in San Francisco on Oct. 2, one last Dodgers-Giants game for Scully. The Giants plan to honor Scully with a brief tribute between innings — Scully wants no part of a grand farewell ceremony there — and to air the third inning of Scully’s call on their radio and television outlets.
Scully has called Dodgers-Giants games in eight ballparks: Ebbets Field in Brooklyn; Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, N.J.; the Coliseum and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; the Polo Grounds in New York; and Seals Stadium, Candlestick Park and AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Candlestick Park had a particularly colorful history. The Giants rarely won there, and in 11 seasons they drew fewer than 1 million fans to the cold and windy bunker by the bay. The visiting team had to walk across the field to get from the clubhouse to the dugout, and Dodgers Manager Tom Lasorda dodged relentless boos and occasional objects. In 1981, Dodgers outfielder Reggie Smith charged into the stands to confront an unruly fan.
In 2000, the Giants moved into AT&T Park, where they have enjoyed success and civility.
“It’s completely different,” Scully said Monday, on a conference call with the Baseball Writers Assn. of America. “The fans are good-natured. They’re happy. They’re fair. They’re wonderful.
“Although I certainly know nothing about mass psychology and all that stuff, I think the weather at Candlestick kind of embittered the fan. The weather at AT&T has made it a wonderful party atmosphere. No meanness at all.”
That is far different than the Dodgers-Giants atmosphere in New York, where both teams shared the city. Scully grew up rooting for the Giants, and at one point he took a seasonal job at the post office, making a few extra bucks by sorting Christmas mail.
“We would spend all the time slotting and arguing about who was better, Duke Snider or Willie Mays,” Scully said.
With three hometown teams, including the Yankees, you might root for one team, your neighbor or co-worker for another. That intensity did not survive the move to California, when the Giants landed in the northern part of the state and the Dodgers in the southern part.
“The borough of Brooklyn had an atmosphere of, it’s us against the world,” Scully said. “The Giants were the lordly team over on the Harlem River. In the olden days, they tell me that [Giants Manager John] McGraw would bring the Giants over to Brooklyn in horse-drawn carriages. The people in Brooklyn, the real fans, would throw things down on top of them. So the rivalry was somewhat bitter.
“At least now, you have several hundred miles separating the cities. It’s not quite the bitter rivalry they had in New York, and I’m delighted for that. I really am.”
Scully appreciated, and then dismissed, the notion that Dodgers games could not possibly be so grand without him. He had the same sentiment when Mel Allen left the New York Yankees in 1964.
Vin Scully, with wife Sandi at his side, waves to the crowd during a ceremony honoring the Dodgers broadcaster before the game Sept. 23, 2016, at Dodger Stadium.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Vin Scully and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax embrace during the pregame ceremony honoring the Dodgers broadcaster on Sept. 23, 2016.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts (30) joins MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, right, in presenting a check to Vin Scully to be donated to the Dodgers broadcaster’s favorite charity during a pregame ceremoney Sept. 23, 2016.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Fans wipe away tears during the pregame ceremony honoring Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Vin Scully with Jerry Doggett in the announcer’s booth at Dodgertown during spring training in Vero Beach, Florida on April 8, 1985.(Jayne Kamin / Los Angeles Times)
Vin Scully has broadcast Dodgers games since before the team moved to L.A. in 1958.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Hall of Fame Dodger announcer Vin Scully before the start of a Dodgers - Reds game at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2010.(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers announcer Vin Scully takes the stage to speak about his decision to come back for a 66th season in the broadcast booth during a news conference at Dodger Stadium on July 30, 2014.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Vin Scully is applauded on the field at Dodger Stadium, by family members, as he is recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the “longest tenured sports team employee” on September 23, 2015.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully talks to members of the media at Camelback Ranch before a spring training game Friday.(Tom Tingle / Arizona Republic)
But Allen came and went, and so did Russ Hodges with the Giants, and Jack Buck with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Harry Caray with the Chicago Cubs and Red Barber — Scully’s mentor — with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“A year or so, however long it takes, you’ll be history, and I know that,” Scully said. “Someone else will hopefully rise and have a great career in your place.”
Scully said last week he would not call the Dodgers’ playoff games on radio, as he had in previous years. He said he would “probably not” attend the World Series if the Dodgers get there and would prefer to watch on television.
“Maybe, if I was invited to the last game, maybe I would go,” he said. “Once I call it an end, I’ll try to stay back and be the very normal guy that I am.”
That end comes very soon. Although Scully is awash in national acclaim in these last weeks of his career, he said he would be “uncomfortable” focusing on himself and his career during the final broadcasts, much as fans might relish hearing his greatest stories one more time.
“I don’t want people to think this is Vin’s last whatever,” he said. “I just want them to enjoy the Giants and the Dodgers.”
He retold the story of how he walked past a laundry as a boy, saw that the Yankees had whipped the Giants in the World Series that day, 18-4, and felt so sorry for the Giants that he became a fan of theirs on the spot. The date: Oct. 2, 1936. He will end his career exactly 80 years later, with one last Dodgers-Giants game.
“Eighty years to the minute from when I first fell in love with the game,” Scully said. “It seems like the plan was laid out for me, and all I had to do was follow the instructions.”
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