Scully back in '10, maybe longer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Vin Scully said Tuesday he will continue in the broadcast booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 2010 season, then decide whether he will walk away.
The Hall of Fame announcer told The Associated Press that he still loves the job he's had with the team since 1950, but that it's hard to be away from his wife during a long season.
"I'm trying to figure out if I can walk away," he said. "I'm the horse pulling the wagon with a lot of people on the wagon, so I'm really not sure. God willing, I'll do next year and then we'll just have to wait and see."
Scully, who turns 82 on Nov. 29, and his wife Sandy celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary Tuesday. He spoke to the Hollywood Radio & Television Society, while she stayed home because of a bad back.
Ultimately, Scully said his decision to retire will be made by him and his wife, who has tolerated his absences that stretch some years from spring training in March to October, depending on whether the Dodgers make the postseason.
"It's a wonderful job, but it's not glamorous," he said in a pre-speech interview. "There's nothing glamorous about your wife sitting alone having dinner in the kitchen while you're in the ballpark, so we're trying to work that out and then we'll just have to wait and see."
Scully's 59-year tenure with the Dodgers is the longest of any current sports broadcaster with the same team. He calls all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio.
"When the team takes the field and the crowd roars, it triggers something in me," he told the audience at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. "Forget about where they are in the standings, I think that's the secret. You just do the game and enjoy the game."
In July, Scully told a reporter he would retire after the 2010 season and he said he immediately regretted saying so, explaining that when the time comes, he would let the Dodgers make the announcement.
Scully works alone on the air and long ago reduced his travel schedule to avoid calling games east of the Rockies, although he calls road games against the Dodgers' NL West and AL West opponents.
His dulcet voice remains strong, instantly recognizable within the first few words to generations of Angelenos, and he appears in good health and humor, with only his red hair dulled by the passing years.
Still, it's clear Scully carefully considers his working future more than ever.
"You get to an age in life where you realize the wolves are getting closer to the campfire and you start measuring, how much do I want to be away?" he told the AP. "Then again, I look at our large family and in this particular economic time, they could use some help, so that factors into the decision."
Scully has five living children (oldest son Michael was killed in a 1994 helicopter crash) and 18 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 18.
Known for being intensely private away from the booth, Scully provided a glimpse into his offseason life, when he embraces his role as a self-described family man.
"I enjoy it, especially because during the year, we live by a schedule. You really are under a gun for a long time," he said in the interview. "Now, I cherish the time at home. I push the cart in the supermarket and I do all the things that a man normally does as the so-called head of the household."
Scully avoids the ballpark and other sporting events when he's not working, saying, "I've had enough of crowds."
In the booth, Scully has built a legacy by seamlessly weaving anecdotes with balls and strikes. But he keeps his play-by-play between the lines, especially on such hot button issues as slugger Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension last season for violating baseball's drug policy.
"The world knew Manny had a 50-game suspension," he told the audience. "There wasn't any reason for me to talk about they were fertility drugs or whatever. I just felt it was not my role."
Scully is equally hands-off on the pending divorce between team owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie.
"As someone who holds a great sanctity for marriage, it only breaks my heart," he told the crowd, who saluted him with two standing ovations.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press