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Dodgers’ iconic broadcaster Vin Scully captivates audience during speech

As Vin Scully neared the end of his speech, his adoring audience started to chant.

“One more year! One more year!”

Scully smiled.

“I’ve given it a lot of consideration,” he said, “and, no, thank you very much.”

The crowd laughed.

You can’t blame the fans for trying. And you can’t blame them when they try again, which they certainly will do this season, the last of Scully’s Hall of Fame broadcasting career. Scully, 88, will call his final home opener Tuesday, when the Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Scully’s mastery extends beyond the calling of games.

Who else could make something as disgusting as a Dodger Dog sound delicious? Who else could elicit laughter at an event as mundane as a street dedication ceremony, as he did Monday?

Addressing a crowd that assembled for the official renaming of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue, he said what he would miss most in retirement was the roar of the crowd. To explain why, Scully described himself as an 8-year-old boy in his family’s Manhattan apartment.

“I used to crawl underneath the radio … and the loudspeaker was directly over my head,” he said. “And the only thing on the radio in those days was a college football game on a Saturday afternoon. There was no television. Heck, it was shortly after the discovery of fire.”

More laughs.

“I really wouldn’t know anybody playing,” he said. “It might be Tennessee-Alabama. ... But when the crowd roared, when someone scored a touchdown, and that roar come out of the speaker head, it literally and figuratively was like water coming out of a shower head and I would get goose bumps all over.

“When you folks are at the ballpark and something happens and you let out a roar, I sit in there in the booth and I don’t say a word, for during that 40 seconds, whatever, I’m 8 years old again. … I mean, how many times can you go back to when you’re 8 years old?”

The crowd responded with a roar.

“I’m 8 again,” Scully said.

He smiled again.

“Easy to go back, tough to go forward,” he said.

Fans will learn that, too.

Many of them already have. The majority of households in the Los Angeles are have lost Scully to the Dodgers’ television blackout.

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Scully on playing stickball as a boy: “We played in the street with a broom handle, a tennis ball and we had manhole covers and they were the bases. And at one time, I was known in my neighborhood as ‘Two Sewer Scully.’ ”

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Scully on his longevity: “When you say 67 years doing the same job, I also think, ‘Sure, sure, no advancement.’ ”

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Armed with a fastball that averaged only 82 mph, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver gave up only one run over six innings in a victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

What’s it like to face major league hitters with that kind of stuff?

“I don’t think a lot of the league would go out there throwing 80 mph,” Weaver said.

Doing that requires courage.

“Any time you take the mound with 80 mph, you have to have some kind of [guts],” he said. “Regardless of what sabermetrics say … it doesn’t measure the size of your heart, the way you compete. It’s one of those things where you have to go out there and feel like you’re throwing like you used to.”

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Major League Soccer teams have spent considerably more on attackers than defenders, which has created an imbalance in the league. It’s common to see a center back on a $40,000 salary marking an established foreign striker being paid millions of dollars.

The Galaxy’s addition of defense-inclined midfielder Nigel de Jong was supposed to counter this trend. This would have been a positive development for the league, except for one thing: De Jong is one of the dirtiest players in the world.

De Jong’s reckless studs-up tackle Sunday night on Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe was nothing out of the norm for the former Dutch international. De Jong apologized to Nagbe, but that doesn’t excuse what he did. There’s a line between dirty and hard-nosed, and De Jong is unquestionably on the dirty side of it.

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De Jong broke the legs of two players in 2010, including U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden. However, neither incident counted the hatchet man’s most memorable act of savagery that year. That distinction went to a play in the World Cup final, when he lifted his right leg and thrust his cleats into the chest of an oncoming opponent.

Nagbe, 25, recently became part of the U.S. national team player pool. It’s not as if MLS has a surplus of promising young players and the league doesn’t need a butcher such as De Jong threatening their livelihoods the way he did Nagbe’s.

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