LOS ANGELES -- As Vin Scully walked into the interview room adjacent to the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse Friday afternoon, he smiled as he looked at the standing-room crowd of media that had assembled to hear him speak.
Earlier in the day, the Dodgers announced Scully would be returning to the booth for an unprecedented 65th season in 2014. If it were up to Scully, that would be the extent of the announcement.
"The Dodgers were the ones who felt it was the right time," Scully said. "As far as I was concerned, as God is my judge, it could have been one line in the notes sheet tonight. I didn't want any big deal. I certainly didn't care for a press conference. I had nothing to say except for the fact that I'm lucky enough and hopefully healthy enough to come back next year."
The overwhelmingly humble Scully smiled as he answered questions for nearly 30 minutes from a dais normally reserved for players and managers.
"I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I have always felt that I am the most ordinary of men who was given an extraordinary break of doing what I love to do at a very early age," Scully said. "Thanks to God, I've been allowed to do it for all these years and I pray that I'll be allowed to do it for one more year. I don't take any of it for granted. I know this miracle in my life was given to me and I can lose it in 30 seconds. I can lose it between the time I leave here and go to the booth. I don't take it for granted in any way, shape or form."
There were many reasons why Scully decided to return, but he said some of the main reasons had little to do with the game -- it was more about the relationships he had formed over the years at Dodger Stadium. He singled out Marie Meza, who always greets Scully in the elevator up to the press box, and press box attendants Robert Allen and James Mims, who are the first faces he sees when he walks into the Vin Scully Press Box before every game.
"The thought of just suddenly walking away from all those friends and this great game and this very exciting team and this fandom that is so thrilled with what is going on, I said there's just no way," Scully said. "It wouldn't be just walking away from the game. It would be walking away from all the people in the ballpark. With all the high-tech equipment we have this is still a people business and I really truly look forward to seeing the people every single day."
Scully said the Dodgers' historic summer, which saw them recently win 42 of 50 games for the first time in team history, made his decision to return a little easier.
"It became so exciting again and so much fun," Scully said. "I don't really know how I would have felt if they stayed in last place, X number of games behind with 30-some-odd games left. I probably would have come back anyway because I love it so much, but it made it pretty easy. I get goose bumps. I'm the same as anyone in the stands still. That's always been the barometer for me as to where I am. If I truly get honestly excited and as long as I feel the emotion, I think I should be here. The day that something great happens and I have a ho-hum attitude to it, I should hang it up for sure."
Scully doesn't normally get emotional when he's in the booth. He has, after all, seen it all. He has called three perfect games, 25 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star games. He was there for Kirk Gibson's Game 1 home run in the 1988 World Series, Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th home run, Sandy Koufax's four no-hitters, including a perfect game, and the scoreless-innings streaks of Dodgers pitchers Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser. Scully, however, was nearly moved to tears when the Dodgers honored him last month for his bobblehead night.
"They played that little tribute on the screen and the ovation was overwhelming," Scully said. "I was as close to crying as I've been in a long, long time. It's hard to explain because I'm just so blessed to be doing what I love to do and to have people tell me how much they enjoy me doing it, I'm just full of thanks. I'm a walking Thanksgiving dinner. God has been overwhelmingly kind to me. I don't know why. I haven't done anything to merit all of this."
Scully, 85, says he now approaches every season as if it could be his last because it easily could as he makes his decision of whether to return on a year-to-year basis.
"I think every year now, I start the year thinking I want to do the best I can and maybe this will be the last one," Scully said. "The thing that bothers me the most would be health, which you have no control of."
Scully was humble as he spoke of his place in Dodgers history and what he has meant to the franchise. Scully began his professional baseball broadcasting career in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
"My career is one of talking about the accomplishments of others," Scully said. "I haven't accomplished anything. I can't walk out and say I had four no-hitters. No, I happened to watch Sandy Koufax pitch four. It's always made me uncomfortable. To take a bow is almost scary I guess."
As modest as Scully is, there is no denying his unmatched ability to tell a story in the broadcast booth, effortlessly weaving tales of the past with current stories about players on the field. It's actually a process that requires hours of preparation that Scully undertakes before every game.
"It was the reason I studied as a little kid in grammar school, I was afraid of the punishment if I messed up and I was afraid to look like a horse's fanny if I didn't know what I was supposed to know," Scully said. "That's why I prepare, out of fear, trying to do a better job. You go on every night saying I hope I can do a good job. Some days it works better than others.
"I do the best I can. Some days are OK and some days I get in the car and think, 'You stink.'"