Vin Scully, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hall of Fame broadcaster and play-by-play man, said Thursday his focus remains on what happens on the field, despite the turmoil of a season that has seen the Dodgers file for bankruptcy in owner Frank McCourt's battle with Major League Baseball over control of the franchise and a last-place standing in the National League West Division.
Scully, who moved West with the team when it left Brooklyn in 1958, says he remembers teams during the late 1960s that didn't play well and his approach then is the same one he uses now.
"I would go to the ballpark and I would not think of the fact that they had lost X-number of games in a row, I did not think of where they stood in the standings," Scully said during an interview on The Michael Kay Show on 1050 ESPN New York. "I'd just look with great enthusiasm at the game to be played that night. And I will bring that attitude to the ballpark tonight."
Scully was frank in his assessment of the shortcomings of the current Dodgers team, saying, "They're shy, they're shy of a lot of solid players. And it's going to take a while, let's face it, for them to turn it around."
But he said he would never comment on the off-the-field issues currently surrounding the team: "The only time I would ever comment is if all the lawyers got on the field to play."
When asked if he thought the drama over the ownership situation, in addition to McCourt's on-going divorce from his wife, Jamie, was a factor in the team's poor play, Scully had his doubts.
"No, I honestly don't, but I'm not a mind-reader," he said. "But I can just imagine, you're going up to the plate to hit a 95 mph fastball or 89 mph slider, and you're not thinking about what's going on up front, you're thinking about your job, and to hang on, or to improve and make more money and win a game. So I don't believe the front office, whatever is going on there, has anything to do with the players, no."
As the Dodgers (37-51) toiled 12 games out of first place behind the San Francisco Giants heading into Thursday night's game against the New York Mets, Scully said it was difficult to read the pulse of an entire city as to whether it has given up on the team.
"It's really hard to read into how the town is carrying on," Scully said. "As far as the media is concerned, letters to the editor, the talk shows ... you hear a lot of [negative] feelings from many of the fans. But that's the only way I could go, I couldn't really read the whole city."
When asked whether Frank McCourt still attended games, Scully described changes in the owner's routine this season.
"I understand he comes to the games," Scully said. "For the first couple of months, and for years, he sat in a seat alongside the Dodger dugout, but obviously with everything going on he does not want to be center stage and I can't blame him. I do think, and I have heard, although I can't see, he comes into the ballpark and goes into his office and when the game starts and everyone is basically in place, he walks down to an executive suite which is near third base on the press level and he'll watch the game from there. And then I assume, because I can never see him, he will then leave before the crowd leaves. And I can understand the fact that he would like to be behind the scenes, at least for a while, until they push him back out center stage."
In characterizing his own relationship with McCourt, Scully said McCourt "has been nothing but a wonderful man" and went on to describe a five-hour dinner and a couple of lengthy lunches the two have shared.
"As far as my one-on-one relationship with him -- absolutely solid," Scully said.