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A Touch of Joy Amid the Pain of Dealing With Death of a Son : LARRY STEWART

February 04, 1994

One of the tragedies of life is losing a son or daughter, and one of the joys of life is the arrival of a grandchild.

Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully experienced both within a two-day span.

The call came on Jan. 20. Michael Scully, 33, a supervising engineer with a subsidiary of Arco, had been involved in a helicopter crash that morning. He was inspecting a crude-oil pipeline that runs from the San Joaquin Valley to Southern California, looking for earthquake damage.

The news was the worst possible. The helicopter had exploded upon impact with the ground. Michael Scully and the pilot were killed instantly.

Scott Loll, a spokesman for Arco, said the helicopter had somehow become entangled in power lines, but the cause of the crash is still being investigated. The crash occurred close to a landing area near Ft. Tejon on the northwest side of the Interstate 5 Ridge Route.

Michael Scully, who had an MBA from Pepperdine, had worked as a civil engineer for ARCO since 1986 and had lived with his wife, Kathy, in Bakersfield since September 1992.

Mike, as he was known, was often described as a "great kid," and Loll said he was very popular among co-workers.

"The description you heard a lot was, 'If you didn't know he was Vin Scully's son, you'd never guess he was the son of a celebrity,' " Loll said. "Those who were close to him say he was proud of his father but he never talked about who he was. He was just a regular guy who was very comfortable with himself."

That Thursday afternoon, Arco sent a jet to pick up Vin and his wife, Sandy, at Burbank Airport and take them to Bakersfield to be with Kathy and her son, Matthew Vincent Scully, 3. The jet brought them all back to Southern California the next day.

While in the air, Kathy, who was pregnant, went into labor. After the plane arrived in Burbank, she was taken to St. Vincent Hospital, with Vin and Sandy Scully accompanying her. A little later, Chad Michael Scully was born. Although premature, he is doing fine.

Three days after the birth, Kathy Scully attended her husband's funeral services in Brentwood.

For Vin Scully, it was the second tragedy in less than a year. He lost his friend and colleague, Don Drysdale, July 3.

*

Kerrigan on ice: Two days after being declared fit to skate, Nancy Kerrigan will perform in an exhibition at Northeastern University in Boston tonight, and CBS will show it at 9 p.m. Saturday.

CBS commentator Scott Hamilton will be among those taking part.

Included will be an interview Greg Gumbel taped with Kerrigan.

Kerrigan tells Gumbel she is fine but has some scar tissue and a lump on her knee. She says she is "pretty close" to being back to where she was before the attack.

Asked her reaction to the unfolding story from Portland about Tonya Harding and associates, she says: "I always like mysteries, so it's kind of like reading a book--you can't wait to get to the end."

*

Big-time sport: Suddenly, figure skating is hot. With the Kerrigan exhibition being added to the CBS schedule, all three major networks will be featuring the sport Saturday, with ABC offering two programs.

At 8 p.m., ABC will show "IBM Skates of Gold," an event taped last October at Boston Garden. It stars past Olympic gold medalists, and even Peggy Fleming takes to the ice for this one.

ABC's "Wide World of Sports" at 4:30 p.m. will include special performances by the winners of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, including Harding. The exhibitions were taped on Jan. 9.

At 1 p.m., NBC will show highlights of the European Championships held Jan. 18-23 at Copenhagen.

*

Coming back: Attention, Keith Olbermann fans. After a stint at ESPN2, he is returning to ESPN on April 3 and will be reunited with Dan Patrick.

An ESPN spokesman said the Olbermann move was mutually agreed upon.

Also starting on April 3, most of ESPN's "SportsCenter" shows will be expanded from a half-hour to one hour.

Scott Stuart will replace Olbermann on ESPN2's "SportsNight."

*

Different perspective: Britain's Oxford Television produced a six-hour look at American sports for airing in Britain last spring.

The series, titled "Power Plays," will be shown on KCET, Channel 28, Monday through Wednesday, 9 to 11 p.m.

Although somewhat outdated, the six one-hour segments are well done. They are more in-depth than most such programs on American television, but the down side is they may be too drawn out.

Michael Jordan is featured in the first segment Monday night, and Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall in the final one Wednesday night. But maybe the best two segments are on Tuesday night--a piece on the sports-agent business and the Norby Walters case, followed by a look at Marge Schott.

TV-Radio Notes

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