Vin Scully rang in the New Year with a full day.
The legendary Dodgers broadcaster served Wednesday as grand marshal of the Rose Parade and the 100th Rose Bowl game, an honor that began at 4 a.m. and concluded with the pregame coin flip.
“It’s been absolutely thrilling and heartwarming,” Scully said after offering a visitor a chance to pull up a chair in a Rose Bowl suite. “One of the great things about it is I was able to share it with my wife with our grandchildren, most of them, and children. So the thought that they were enjoying it as much as I made me feel even better.”
Scully, immaculately dressed in a blue blazer — what else? — and gray slacks, was not fazed by the early morning start.
“I don’t think we would have slept much anyway thinking about it and relishing the experience,” he said. “It’s been really somewhat overwhelming.”
Scully, 86, said he also was initially overwhelmed when R. Scott Jenkins, president of the Tournament of Roses Assn., called to invite him to be grand marshal.
“I’m not being falsely modest, but I didn’t know why,” Scully said. “The more people talked to me, they said, ‘It’s all the years you’ve been out here. It’s your association with the Dodgers.’
“Once I kind of grasped the idea that it wasn’t that I was unworthy, and I shouldn’t be doubting myself about being unworthy, then it became somewhat of a comfortable fit — like a new pair of shoes.
“Now as we come to the end of it, it’s just a marvelous treat.”
Scully had once co-hosted the television broadcast of the Rose Parade in the late 1960s. In 2008, he rode on a Dodgers float that celebrated the team’s 50th year in Los Angeles.
But traveling down Colorado Boulevard as grand marshal was a new experience.
“Anyone who’s heard me do a ballgame — I love the roar of the crowd,” he said. “So you can imagine, today, going down Colorado, it was a field day just to hear the roar of the crowd.
“And the one thing I tried to do, and I did it until, really, my shoulders were sore, I wasn’t just waving — I was applauding a lot. I kept applauding and gesturing to the people, ‘I’m applauding you. I’m thanking you for all the years,’ and they’ve been so good and kind and generous to me.
“That was the real point out of the whole parade, to applaud the fans.”
At the stadium, before the coin flip, Scully was intrigued by the size of the players.
“I just said to them, ‘Congratulations and Happy New Year,’” he said.
For an announcer accustomed to describing the action on the field from the press box, the spectacle of being on the field was breathtaking, Scully said.
“Ninety-four thousand people, colorfully attired on a brilliant, brilliant day,” he said. “And the bands, and then the teams running on the field and the fireworks.
“And then we were at the end of the field with the grandkids. And don’t you know, Stanford comes down and scores in our area. It’s just been perfect.
“I said to the kids, ‘Well, there you’ve seen it. You’ve seen a touchdown. How much better can it get than that?’”
Scully thanked Jenkins and his wife for making him and his wife, Sandi, feel “like old friends.” He also expressed gratitude to Heidi Hoff of the Tournament of Roses and “all these nice people” that made his experience so memorable.
“I will say, in all honesty, God’s been so very good to me, and I really have never understood why he’s been so generous,” he said. “And this was just another case of his generosity.”