Scully downplays fuss over farewell season

Dodgers legendary broadcaster will miss roar of the crowd

Scully downplays fuss over farewell season

PHOENIX -- Fans dreading the day when they can no longer hear Vin Scully should know the feeling is mutual.

"I'll miss the fans and the sounds of the fans," Scully said Friday, before broadcasting the first Spring Training game of his 67th and final season at the Dodgers microphone.

Speaking at a media gathering, Scully told a story about being an 8-year-old crawling under his family's radio and hearing the roar of the crowd at a college football broadcast "wash over me like water out of a showerhead. I used to get ecstatic over the roar.

"To this day, when the crowd lets out a roar, I shut up and I'm 8 years old again under the radio. When it's over, that's the first thing I'll miss. The roar of the crowd, the goose bumps you get."

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Scully, now 88, has devoted his life to broadcasting -- and the fans -- ever since.

An icon in the eyes of baseball, Scully wants the impossible -- no fuss over his farewell.

"I'm just an announcer; I belong in the press box," he said. "Believe me, from the bottom of my heart, I'm the luckiest person in the world. To allow me to go this far is fine, but it's not really me. I'm not going to bring me on a tour like I'm some Stradivarius.

"It bothers me making it sound like because it's my last year I'm almost more important than the game. That scares me to death."

That said, Scully is willing to take credit for getting an injured Kirk Gibson off the training table in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Scully said Gibson wasn't in the dugout and wouldn't pinch-hit; Gibson heard the comment and forced himself into the game and into history with the greatest walk-off homer in club history.

Gibson's pinch-hit HR

Otherwise, Scully is reluctant to take credit for anything other than longevity.

"I get credit for one thing -- that I lasted this long," he said. "That hasn't been anything I had anything to do with it. They give you a lifetime achievement award. I don't have control of my lifetime. God's in control of my life. The second word is achievement, but when I die, and they write an obit that he broadcast so many no-hitters and perfect games and 85,000 All-Star Games, I didn't achieve it, but I was there to witness it."

Scully this season will broadcast home games, Opening Day in San Diego and the final three games of the regular season in San Francisco. He said he's eager to get the season started as always, comparing this one mostly to his second season of 1951, and left the door open to possibly broadcasting postseason games if the Dodgers get there. He missed last year's postseason because of a health issue he said is resolved.

On the Dodgers television stalemate, Scully said the recent offer by Time Warner Cable to reach a settlement with DirecTV and other carriers "looks like a reasonable offer." Scully said it was embarrassing to be mentioned as a factor in the impasse.

Scully remembers Joe Garagiola

"My first thought is, I really want the fans to see all the games, that's the main thing," he said. "I realize I just happen to be in the position I'm in. I don't think of myself as important to the production. I'm just the broadcaster."

Scully reminisced about Joe Garagiola, his former network boothmate who died this week, calling him one of the many people whose paths he crossed who could make people laugh. His death, Scully said, is a "huge loss."

But Scully said Friday night's broadcast was special because one of his closest friends, 82-year-old former Dodgers coach Joe Amalfitano, was coaching third base for the Giants in his honor.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.