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Vin Scully gets the OK to return to the Dodgers

Hall of Famer will be back for a 63rd season. Matt Kemp joins 30-30 club with a homer in Dodgers' 6-1 victory over Rockies.

August 26, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium in March.
Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium in March. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

The Dodgers could be even worse next season. Their ownership situation could remain unresolved and their stadium could remain half-empty.

But fans can take solace in at least this: Vin Scully will return for his 63rd season as the team's broadcaster.

On a Friday night when Matt Kemp became the second player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season, Scully shared his future plans with the Prime Ticket audience watching the Dodgers' 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

"God's been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do," Scully said on the telecast. "I asked him one more year, at least, and he said OK."

The Dodgers issued a news release soon after, confirming the 83-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster would be back. The team said Scully would again call all home and select road games.

Scully said he made the announcement on the air to avoid the kind of news conference he held the previous year to declare his intentions to return for the 2011 season.

"I hate to make a big deal out of it," he said. "I'm not trying to be a Brett Favre or whoever else."

Scully said he was lured back in part by the familiar faces at the ballpark.

"I enjoy the people," he said. "I really like newspapermen. I enjoy talking and visiting. The winning and losing doesn't bother me. I think it's just the love of people. I just don't know what I would do without it."

Scully handles the play-by-play for all nine innings of his Prime Ticket and KCAL telecasts. The first three innings of the games are simulcast on KABC 790 AM. His 62 years with the Dodgers is said to be the longest tenure of any broadcaster in American sports history.

"He's the face of the Dodgers," Kemp said. "If he was to leave, I think everyone would miss that voice."

Scully's announcement came on the week that Times columnist T.J. Simers reported that the Dodgers asked their season-ticket holders to evaluate the Hall of Fame broadcaster.

The ensuing uproar resulted in Current TV political analyst Keith Olbermann showcasing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on his "Worst Person in the World" segment.

Scully revealed his decision in the sixth inning, when the Dodgers were trailing, 1-0. The Dodgers scored six runs an inning later.

"Can he announce it again tomorrow?" Manager Don Mattingly asked.

The Dodgers' six-run inning included a bases-loaded balk by Rockies starter Esmil Rogers, a two-run single by Justin Sellers and a two-run home run by James Loney.

Kemp capped the surge with his 30th home run.

With 33 steals, Kemp joined Raul Mondesi as the only Dodgers in the 30/30 club. Mondesi accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1999.

"I'm pretty happy at the moment," Kemp said. "It's something I worked hard for in the off-season, trained for. To do it at home is even more special."

Kemp said he thinks the 40-40 plateau is within reach. "We'll see," he said. "I can hit 10 home runs in a month. I think I can do it. Nothing is impossible."

Ted Lilly held the Rockies to one run and three hits over seven innings to lower his earned-run average from 5.02 to 4.43 over his last five starts. Limited to 42/3 innings in his last outing because of a stiff neck, Lilly credited his recovery to the acupuncture treatment he received from massage therapist Ichiro Tani.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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