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Vin Scully will be back in the booth next season

The legendary Dodgers broadcaster has been the sound of summer in Southern California for more than half a century. We are blessed to be able to pull up a chair and spend part of another year with him.

August 25, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Vin Scully has been the sound of summer in Southern California for more than half a century.
Vin Scully has been the sound of summer in Southern California for more than… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

In a year that has been so improbable, the incredible has happened.

Not Magic. Not Hanley Ramirez. Not Adrian Gonzalez. Better than all of that.

Vin Scully is coming back. The Dodgers are expected to announce Sunday that Scully will return to the Dodgers' broadcast booth next season.

Scully has been the sound of summer in Southern California for more than half a century, from transistor radios to Twitter. We are blessed to be able to pull up a chair and spend part of another year with him.

He will call it a career after one of these summers, and a city will lose its voice.

It could have been this summer. He is 84, after all. The travel gets old. The grandchildren get older.

But Scully is healthy, and he is energized by the Dodgers' new ownership group. The Dodgers just might win again soon. He would hate to miss out, and we would hate for him to miss out.

He is our history teacher, the storyteller for this storied franchise.

In 1955, when the Brooklyn Dodgers won their lone World Series championship, Scully was there, the voice of the Dodgers even back then. He called Game 7, with Roy Campanella, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese in the Dodgers lineup at Yankee Stadium.

The Dodgers are scheduled to play at Yankee Stadium next season. What could be better than Scully making a rare trip to the East Coast, weaving stories of Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle in between pitches to Matt Kemp and Derek Jeter?

He told a wonderful story the other night, bemoaning the relative tranquillity of the current Dodgers-Giants rivalry and pivoting adeptly to a tale involving Jackie Robinson.

The Dodgers were playing the Giants in New York, in the old Polo Grounds, and Reese and Robinson were two of the three people left in the Dodgers clubhouse. Scully was the other one.

"Pee Wee said to Jackie, 'I'll bet you I get more boos than you do.' And Jackie said, 'You gotta be kidding.'

"So Reese opened up the door as he started down the wooden steps. I mean, they booed him out of the ballpark.

"And Robbie sat there in the dressing room laughing. And finally he said to me, 'Now watch this.' He said, 'I'm sure that the Giants fans check off the name of each Dodger player who has left the clubhouse. I'll guarantee you they know I'm the only player left in the clubhouse.'

"And I swear to you, the door didn't crack open six inches — you couldn't see who was coming out — but the crowd knew it was Robinson.

"And they went wild."

That is not Scully's best story, not even close. Think about it, though: In a sport that introduced the annual Jackie Robinson Day because many players had no idea who Robinson was, Scully can share his personal conversations with Robinson.

One of the blessings of technology is that Scully's stories need not vanish into thin air. The Sons of Steve Garvey website maintains a "Vin Scully Repository," with transcripts of his best stories over the last five years.

Twitter is at your service too, to collect Scully's best one-liners. Check out @vinscullytweet.

Scully himself is not active on Twitter, but he is aware of it. With A.J. Ellis at bat earlier this month, Scully told how he had just learned what a tweet was.

"I called it a 'twit.' But I thought it was a twit, since it's Twitter.

"A drive to the gap in left-center, there's nobody there. It'll drop for a base hit, and holding with the single is Ellis.

"So anyway, I'm really up to date now on Twitter. But I do think for all of you folks who are tweeting out there, we gotta get something trending.

"Whoa! So maybe we ought to get something trending about A.J. Ellis. And if you do that, you know what? I'm cool. I'm really cool."

A.J. Ellis was trending within minutes. Really cool. Welcome back, Vin.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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