Richard Justice

Scully happy to be riding off into retirement

Scully happy to be riding off into retirement

LOS ANGELES -- Regrets? He has none. In the end, it couldn't be simpler than that. Vin Scully said he's prepared to go happily into the next chapter of his life.

"The Lord has blessed me," he said Saturday afternoon. "He gave me this job at such a youthful age and allowed me to live and do it 67 years. What am I going to say? `Darn it, why didn't I get No. 68?' I'm totally at ease. I'm so thankful."

Scully sat down one more time to speak with reporters and to attempt to put his wonderful ride in some kind of perspective. He'll work his final game at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon, then finish up with next weekend's Dodger-Giants series in San Francisco.

And then what?

"I have no idea," Scully said. "Maybe the first thing I'll do Monday morning is take my watch off and put in the drawer and think I can do anything I want, which is probably have a nice breakfast, read the papers, maybe take a walk and get a good book. That's the first thing I'll probably do."

For his final game at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, he said he would attempt to keep it as normal as possible.

"I'm trying very hard not to think about me," he said. "I want to think about the game and the importance of the game. When it's all over, my family will be here, and I'll probably go and sit with them for a little while."

His broadcasting style has been one of optimism and of crafting phrases carefully and thoughtfully. He loves the Dodgers, but he also loves baseball, the games, the strategy, the people. He said his work behind the microphone has been an extension of himself.

"If you had to scrape away everything, I'm a very happy person," he said. "I love people."

Scully honored at Dodger Stadium

He ran down a list of the people he greets each day at Dodger Stadium, from elevator attendants to press-box personnel to the men and women who cover the Dodgers. Those relationships, he said, set a tone for his day.

"When I go on the air, I'm happy," he said. "Will I miss the games? Yeah, but I can turn on the radio or the TV and catch the games. The people, that's what I will miss. They've made me feel so much at home, and I think I've carried that right out onto the air."

Is that why he has lasted 67 seasons?

"The only thing that has helped me go on for 67 years is the grace of God," he said. "Let's face it, that's out of my hands."

The Dodgers honored him on Friday with an hour-long ceremony filled with laughter and tears. Scully said the ovations he received were the loudest he'd ever heard, and when it ended, Dodger players created a receiving line of sorts to escort him off the field.

Scully whispered to his wife, Sandi, that "it feels like we're getting married again" as they walked between the players.

"Last night was overwhelming," he said. "I started to cry at the beginning. I say this just as fact. I've been in a lot of stadia, big crowds cheering, roaring, pennants and World Series. I've never heard the noise I heard last night, and it kept building and building. You could feel it. There was love coming out of those stands. That's an overwhelming feeling."

Scully reflects on the evening

When the ceremony ended, Scully returned to the broadcast booth and worked the game same as always. He signed off by saying he guessed people were tired of hearing about him.

"People say, `How would you like to be remembered?'" Scully said. "I'd like to be remembered as a good and honest man, a good husband, a good father, a good grandfather. I'm not even thinking about sports announcing."

He was again asked about his decision not to work any Dodger postseason games. What if, say, the Dodgers were playing Game 7 of the World Series? Wouldn't he be just a little bit tempted to return?

"No," he said, "but I would share in the celebration with the guys and the organization. I would lead the cheering. It won't be painful at all. I'll be thrilled for 'em. I just love [Dodgers manager] Dave Roberts and his people. I love Dave's approach to the game. The players have always been accommodating. "

When asked about his career highlights, Scully said the Brooklyn Dodgers winning the 1955 World Series would always be unique. He was close to the players, and after losing the World Series four times in eight seasons, Scully understood the meaning for Brooklyn and for the Dodgers.

Scully on his amazing career

"I was younger and more emotional," he said. "On the last out in Yankee Stadium, I said, `Ladies and gentlemen, the Brooklyn Dodgers are the champions of the world.'

"That was the end of it. I didn't say another word. All that fall and winter, people would say, `Hey, Scully, how can you be so calm?' The truth is, I could not have said another word without breaking down. I knew the anguish and suffering. We'd come so close. That was the biggest moment for a young broadcaster."

He joked that he would soon be forgotten. He'd seen other great broadcasters -- Mel Allen, Red Barber, Harry Carey, Jack Buck -- leave their teams, and those teams had survived just fine.

"It's all part of life," Scully said. "I know I'm just another pebble on the beach. I'll give it a year. Then someone will ask, `Who is that Vin Scully on the sign?' That's okay. That's life. I don't mind it at all."

Richard Justice is a columnist for Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.