LOS ANGELES -- He is baseball royalty wrapped up in a kind and humble package, with legendary broadcaster Vin Scully hoping the latter is how he will be remembered.
Two weeks from calling the final game of a storied 67-year career that spans from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Ebbets Field to Dodger Stadium, Jackie Robinson to Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager, Scully took a somewhat reluctant walk down memory lane Monday.
Sharing stories certainly is what Scully is about, but the man who captivates thousands on a broadcast each night really is the most reserved of human beings. Being the subject of a conference call is not exactly in his wheelhouse, but as always, Scully handled it unpretentiously and with class.
“First of all, I attribute (the attention and accolades) to one thing and one thing only: God's grace to allow me to do what I've been doing for 67 years.” Scully said Monday morning. “To me, that's really the story. Not really me -- I'm just a vessel that was passed hand to hand, down through all those years. So I don't take it to heart as some great compliment. I just realize that because I've been doing this for 67 years, that's why everybody wants to talk about it. So I think I've kept it in proper perspective, even though it is a little embarrassing, to be honest. I'm uncomfortable with it.
“I've never wanted to get out in front of the game. I mean, gee whiz, Giants and Dodgers tonight -- I don't want people to think this is Vin's last whatever. I just want them to enjoy the Giants and the Dodgers. So I am uncomfortable having been pushed out into this spot. But again, to be repetitive, I realize the only reason there is all this fuss and fury is the fact that I've lasted 67 years, to be honest.”
A humble wordsmith to the core.
Of course, what has added to Scully’s legend is the fact that not only is he one of the greatest storytellers of the past few generations, but anyone who dares to tell him about it is met with an “aw, shucks.”
But he is also sure of mind and has never wavered after saying this would be his last season in the broadcast booth. In the spring, Scully said he likely would skip calling postseason games if the Dodgers advanced, and he confirmed that stance to the Los Angeles Times last week.
Starting Monday night with the Dodgers and Giants from Dodger Stadium, Scully will call 10 more games, and that will be it. Done. Finished. It’s time for no more Dodger baseball.
Asked if coming to a World Series game would be a possibility, Scully sounded like a man who did not want to have an emotional farewell and then return to the office a few weeks later.
“Probably not,” Scully said. “First of all, I've certainly had experience with large crowds, so probably not. I'm not sure because the last time they won was 1988. I would probably watch, however, for sure, and maybe if I was invited to the last game or whatever, maybe I would go. But basically, once I call it an end, which will be Oct. 2, I'll try very hard to kind of just stay back and be the very normal guy that I am.”
Before his finale between the Dodgers and Giants from San Francisco on Oct. 2, Scully will have another farewell when he calls his last game at Dodger Stadium on Sunday in a contest between the Dodgers and Rockies.
He will call that game from a press box that bears his name and to an audience that can hear his voice when they ready his quotes. Despite the emotions that are sure to be present, he expects to be as professional as ever for that last game.
“As far as emotions are concerned, I think I've got them in check, but you never know; you never really know,” Scully said. “And I don't think I'm going to stress anything about me. I will try to just do the game. I mean, I really will. I'll concentrate on Denver as if they're challenging the Dodgers for first place. And the game will take its place and hopefully carry me along with it to the very end. So I think I'll be OK.”