In a recent Los Angeles Times article, the conclusion was drawn that Vin Scully will retire after 61 years as the Dodgers’ announcer following next season.
Since this is Scully’s 60th year it had been speculated he might retire after this one. But Scully made it clear that won’t be the case.
“In my conversation with Bill Plaschke the subject of one more year came up and I said ’that makes sense,’ Scully told me Sunday. “But I regret that I said that.”
The fact is Scully hasn’t made a decision on how much longer he’ll work.
“And if I did make a decision I wouldn’t reveal it,” Scully told me. “It would be proper for the Dodgers to make the announcement.”
I watched several Dodger telecasts carefully last week searching for any hint the 81-year-old Scully may be faltering. I didn’t find any. Quite the contrary, in fact.
So when I went to the Dodgers’ game against the Atlanta Braves Sunday, I hoped to have a private chat with Scully in the press box. I’ve known him through the years and felt comfortable bringing up the topic.
As always, he was gracious with his time. And as we talked, it became increasingly obvious that he hasn’t reached a decision to walk away.
His health isn’t an issue and so I told him my impression of his current work.
“Some people reach an advanced age, they lose a step and retirement becomes the obvious decision,” I began. “But you haven’t lost anything.
“And it’s not just the announcing talent. It’s your knowledge of the game. You still point out small things and educate your audience about baseball, like you always have. I understand there could be family matters to consider, but I hope you realize the caliber of your work isn’t suffering at all.”
Scully thanked me and tried to mention he missed a fine point in Saturday’s telecast, but if that happened, it was so small only he would have noticed.
Scully said family concerns would be a factor in his decision. He and his wife, Sandra, have 18 grandchildren, and most of them live in Southern California.
Before writing this story I ran it by some Dodger employees and they said, to their knowledge, Scully hasn’t told the Dodgers of his plans.
“It’s a year to year matter and when the time comes Vin will make the decision,” I was told.
If and when Scully retires, the Dodgers will have a difficult decision to make. Do they go after another big name in the industry? Do they use a two-man team as they’re doing now for the road games Scully misses?
How do you replace a legend? It’s pretty likely the next Dodger announcer will suffer by comparison.
Paul Sunderland replaced Chick Hearn, but his contract wasn’t renewed by the Lakers and Joel Meyers replaced Sunderland.
For now Scully is still working, and my impression is strong the Dodgers won’t have to deal with this matter for awhile.