The commercial opens with an old man talking on a land line, the cord extending from the telephone on the desk to the man in the chair. The desk and chair are ordinary, but the voice is extraordinary.
“I think it’s a great idea, Commissioner,” Vin Scully says to start the commercial. “I mean, it used to be opening day, not opening days.”
For one minute — technically, one 60-second ad — the best baseball broadcaster in history came out of retirement.
Scully, Johnny Bench, David Ortiz and Noah Syndergaard starred in an ad celebrating the first time in 50 years that every major league team is opening the season on the same day. That day is Thursday, and the Kingsford Charcoal ad pitches fans on taking the day off to celebrate and barbecue.
“It’s like an overture to a great symphony,” Scully said. “You’re going to have 30 teams, 15 games, and what a kickoff that is for the rest of the season. So I thought it was a great move, and I only hope the weather holds up, so that all 15 games can be played.
“If we go 15 for 15, what a tremendous charge that is, going into the season.”
Scully said he vividly remembers the first opener of his career: 1950, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. He was 22. He was nervous. He would not take the microphone until the fourth inning, so he focused his preparation on Dodgers starter Don Newcombe.
“I thought, well, I’ll be breezing along with Big Don,” Scully said. “He was knocked out of the game before I got on the air.”
Indeed, Newcombe faced eight batters, gave up four doubles and was chased in the second inning of a 9-1 loss to the Phillies.
Newcombe, 91, might well be at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Scully, 90, plans to watch the Dodgers’ opener at home, with his wife Sandi.
This is the second season of the rest of his life, after 67 years as voice of the Dodgers. He is not upset in the least that, after three decades of waiting, the team finally got back to the World Series in the first year after he retired.
“I am completely content. I think I certainly have been directed to be at the right place at the right time. I have no regrets that I left.
“I have no thoughts of, you know, maybe I should have stayed another year, because they got into the World Series. None of that. None whatsoever. Content is the best word I can say. I really and truly am enjoying it.
“I’m not doing very much. I thought I’d have read 10 books by now. But I haven’t.”
Truth be told, Scully said, his wife enjoys watching baseball on television more than he does.
“Sandi is the one who would watch every game, every day, every night, every afternoon,” he said. “She loves watching the game.
“After 67 years, I have really had enough ice cream. But I certainly can’t turn her down.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin