Aug 29, 2015 7:21 PM
Vin Scully: 2016 will be final season in booth for Dodgers
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) Vin Scully said Saturday that 2016 will be his last season in the broadcast booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers, which would mark the end of his record 67-year tenure with the same franchise.
The Hall of Fame announcer turns 88 in November. The team revealed Friday night he would be back next year, but Scully took it a step further while speaking to the media a day later.
"I would say realistically I don't want any headlines but I would say next year would be the last one," he said, joking, "How much longer can you go fooling people?"
"I would be saying, 'Dear God, if you give me next year, I'll hang it up.'"
As self-effacing as ever, Scully said, "I do feel in my bones that will be enough for sure and I'm sure the people will say that will be enough as well."
Scully has yet to discuss with the team how much he will work next season. He currently calls all nine innings of home games and road games in California and Arizona for the Dodgers' television home on SportsNet LA, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio.
A dispute between Time Warner Cable and other cable subscribers now in its second year is keeping a portion of the Los Angeles television market from seeing Scully. Only customers of Time Warner, Bright House Networks and Charter, which added SportsNet LA in June, can watch the team's games. Scully can finally watch road games because Charter was added where he lives.
Subscribers of major providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon and AT&T remain shut out.
"I would hope somehow it all works out," he said.
While he continues to enjoy good health, Scully feels his age at times. He watches his diet and enjoys a glass of wine at dinner when he's not broadcasting, but he doesn't sleep as well as he used to.
"It's a fight some days to really kick myself and get going," he said, wearing a pale blue tie that matched his eyes, a cream shirt monogrammed with his initials VES and a yellow, gray and blue plaid jacket.
His elixir is coming to Dodger Stadium, where he thrives on his friendships with longtime employees, including the elevator operator and press box security, along with his off-the-air team in the booth and friends in the media.
Scully couldn't imagine saying goodbye to those folks just yet.
"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light," he said, quoting Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' famous verse. "I'm raging against the dying of my career, which has to be around the corner now, but at least for the God-given time that I have left, I'll be raging."
His doctor encouraged Scully to stay on the job because he still loves it.
"You retire and a year from now," his doctor counseled him, "you'll be an old man."
"That kind of scared me a little bit," Scully said.
His wife, Sandi, weighed in too, telling him she didn't want him home babysitting her.
"I know if you're home you'll become an old man just waiting to do something around the house," he said, quoting her.
"I've never minded getting older," he said. "But I never wanted to be old, ever."
Scully credits his mother's genes for his own long life. Bridget Scully, a red-haired Irishwoman, lived to age 97 and believed in eating dessert first.
"That was her whole attitude and maybe that's helped as well," he said.
The Bronx-born Scully marvels at his announcing longevity, recalling his first Dodgers game as a 22-year-old sharing the booth with Red Barber during a spring training game in Vero Beach, Florida. The Dodgers turned a triple play and Scully watched in awe as Barber smoothly and quickly described the rare feat.
"For a year, at least, I was terrified," he said. "That's really how I broadcast, hoping that I wouldn't make some monumental mistake."
Over six decades later, Scully's soothing voice is as much a part of Los Angeles as celebrities, sun and surf. He downplays his status as a beloved icon.
"I am the most ordinary man you've ever met," he said. "I was given an extraordinary opportunity and God has blessed me for doing it all these years."
Unlike many athletes who are farewell feted before retiring, Scully doesn't want a glorified goodbye.
"When I leave, I will leave," he said. "I will not be hanging around."