Bob Miller had resisted the notion of trimming his broadcast schedule, fearing he’d lose the continuity of calling Kings games throughout the season. But the combination of quadruple-bypass surgery last Feb. 2 and the approach of his 78th birthday — on Oct. 12, the Kings’ season opener — persuaded him this is the right time to lighten his workload.
Miller, a Hockey Hall of Fame honoree, will return for his 44th season with the team but is scheduled to do TV play-by-play of only 58 regular-season games, plus first-round playoff contests. He said he has not decided if this will be his final season because he wants to assess his health after he calls back-to-back exhibition games Oct. 7-8 and after the season begins to unfold.
In reducing his schedule Miller follows the path of Hall of Fame Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who gradually cut his broadcast work over the last decade and will wrap up his 67-year career Oct. 2.
“I did talk to Vin about that a little bit,” Miller said in a phone interview. “What he said, and I agree and I think it’s the situation with me, it’s not so much the flying, because we’ve got charters and it couldn’t be nicer as far as the actual flying, but it’s getting in at 2:30, 3 in the morning and play the next night and fly and get in at 2:30, 3 in the morning. That was difficult on the body and everything else. So I told the Kings I’d like to cut back on some of those longer trips, especially to the Eastern time zone, and they said that’s fine.”
Most important is that Miller said he feels good after cardiac rehab and daily walks with his wife, Judy. “Without having done anything since Feb. 2, I want to just see how it’s going to be,” he said. “I feel pretty good energy-wise. We walk every morning a couple of miles. From that standpoint things are good. It’s just a little different going in and doing two telecasts night after night and see how it goes, but I really don’t anticipate any problems.”
He also paid tribute to Scully by calling Scully’s departure “the end of an era” and said he’s often asked if he will match Scully’s professional longevity. “I say, ‘Forty-four years for me, 67 for him, I’ll tie him when I’m 101,’” Miller said, laughing.
There’s no telling where anyone will be then, but at least Miller will return next season.
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