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Dodgers' golden voice deserves a bronze statue

September 10, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

SAN DIEGO -- The idea came in an e-mail, then became Tuesday's Last Word, someone asking, why not a statue of Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium?

Thought about it much of the day.

A better question: Why hasn't it already been done?

The Dodgers are getting ready to close out another season, the news as good as it gets for everyone in L.A., Scully announcing he will be back for another year behind the microphone.

That's now happened 60 times over, so you begin to take it for granted, because where else would the guy be?

But then Scully says something like, "If I'm still alive I'll be back," and what kind of talk is that? He's got at least 17 more years to catch up with Wooden, and Wooden isn't going anywhere.

But the time to honor someone is while he's still here and able to be touched, as he has touched others. Scully should be standing beside a red-headed statue, which is about to be unveiled -- the one to pull the rip cord.

The Vin Scully Press Box at the stadium carries a little extra meaning for those who were there when Scully participated in the naming festivities.

It was a proud day for Scully and no one wears their pride with more humility than the eloquent one. For everyone else, it was another chance to just listen to him talk.

The Dodgers spent much of this season wheeling out former players, some even with recognizable names, while the best known Dodger went about the business of keeping the team in the public eye as he has done for fans -- generation after generation.

Players, GMs and owners come and go, while Scully is always there to remind everyone to drive safely while arriving late to the game.

Ask Scully if there should be a statue in his honor, and I wouldn't dare, already knowing the answer. Sometimes the great ones have to be hog-tied before taking a bow, or the last to know of such plans.

Scully said it was a tough decision to return this time. He's taken to calling his wife two or three times a day, and every day because he feels so guilty about being away.

"One more year," he said, and whether that means just one more year, or one more year on the way to making it 70 years behind the Dodgers microphone, I didn't press.

He said he's back because, "I just really enjoy it," the passion in his voice jarring in its youthful enthusiasm.

How many people at age 80, doing the same thing over and over for 59 years, still get so pumped going to work?

"The other day when Arizona attempted a squeeze," Scully said, and with a great deal of animation, "I just loved it. I was watching the situation, Manager Bob Melvin, the play, and I don't know why, but I'm still excited about such things."

Why not a statue honoring Scully outside Dodger Stadium as a reminder of such passion -- passion for the game, his job and the Dodgers?

What a great way to begin his 60th year on the job.

TYPICAL DODGERS victory, Arizona loses again and a case can be made Manny Ramirez is the National League MVP after only 37 games.

Ramirez has helped the Dodgers climb into first place by 2 1/2 games, has loosened up the clubhouse and has bought valuable recovery time for Brad Penny, Rafael Furcal, Jeff Kent and Takashi Saito, who figure to make the Dodgers a more legitimate playoff threat once they return.

Ramirez's home run in the sixth cut the Padres' 2-0 lead in half, and once again energized his teammates. In the dugout, Andre Ethier was spotted wearing dreadlocks and yukking it up with Ramirez.

Two innings later Ethier tripled home the tying run, Ramirez following with a 390-foot sacrifice fly to put the Dodgers ahead. Later Ethier made it a rout with a three-run double.

Pretty soon everyone in the dugout will be wearing dreadlocks. Keep in mind, Jeff Kent is not here, so it's possible.

IN A continuing effort to weed out the wackos who take sports too seriously, several hundred took the bait in San Diego.

Amazing the amount of anger down here until reminded they are rooting for the Padres and Chargers. Most of those responding to Page 2 couldn't do so without the aid of obscenities, which makes you wonder how many folks moved here from Philadelphia.

Others thought they were breaking news, pointing out L.A. doesn't have a pro football team -- obviously forgetting USC.

TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Zion Hilliker: "I knew the L.A. Times were filled with writers that used poor grammar and spelling. I was not aware the writers were this moronic. I can't wait to see Bread Penny back I think the only reason he went on the DL is due to the embarrassing losses he faced when he played the Padres."

Write on.

---

T.J. Simers can be reached at

t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

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