“Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.” That signature greeting will only be uttered on television by the legend himself Vin Scully just a dozen more times. After 67 years and something like ten thousand games, that will be it. As he puts it, he'll be riding off into the sunset.
Dodger fans have known for awhile that this time was coming. It was something, though, not to be thought about. His career was on a year-to-year basis for quite some time now, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when he would announce that he would be back for “at least one more.” Last year, he said, “one more”, and added that he “couldn't see a scenario where he would return for more than that.” We hoped anyway, but discovered early in the season that he meant it this time. Scully is hanging up the headset.
With the Dodgers' 10-2 thrashing of Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight (Monday), that leaves two more games remaining in this homestand. Scully will do those, but will not go on the long road trip to Miami, the New York Yankees, and Arizona. The Dodgers return home on September 19 for their final seven home games—three with San Francisco and four with Colorado. The four with the Rockies have been dubbed 'Vin Scully Weekend' at Dodger Stadium. Scully will call those games, and then make his final road trip to, where else, San Francisco, for the final three games of the regular season.
Scully, however, is not the only broadcasting legend to be calling it quits. Dick Enberg says he abhors the word 'retire'. He will be “graduating” on to something else after spending the last five years as TV voice of the San Diego Padres, and decades before that doing everything else from NFL Football, tennis, college basketball, and eons before that with the California Angels and Los Angeles Rams. His career is worth at least a dozen 'Oh, my's'.
Enberg's last game might be against the Dodgers. The Padres' final home game is Thursday September 29 against Los Angeles. The Padres travel to Arizona for their final three. Unlike Scully, who has done almost exclusively home games only (he did the Opening Day game in San Diego, games in Anaheim against the Angels, and has that SF trip coming up), Enberg seems to pick and choose his broadcast schedule—missing some home games, but doing some games back east. The 81 year-old Enberg, who has a Ph. D, has said he's thinking about doing some teaching, and has a book in the works.
Scully, on the other hand, says he hasn't given much thought about what he's going to do. He told Enberg he's just going to “live.” Scully will be 89 in November.
So with whatever is going on in your lives, whether it's watching football, or real stuff like work or getting the kids off to school, you might want to take a little time out. Time out to pull up a chair, and spend part of a day with Vinny. He's been there for 67 years, and although he'll likely and hopefully be around quite awhile longer, his time with us is running out, and running out in a hurry.
Must see TV: Unfortunately they've only loaded an excerpt, but Dick Enberg interviewed Vin Scully for Fox Sports San Diego when the Padres were at the Dodgers on Saturday. The clip is on foxsportssandiego.com, but hopefully a longer version can be found elsewhere.
Seeing him off: In what I guess you could call a classy move, Dodger fans in Los Angeles will actually get to see Scully's final broadcasts. KTLA (Channel 5) will air Sportsnet LA's telecast of the final two weekends—September 23-25 vs. Colorado and September 30-October 2 at San Francisco. In maybe the craziest multi-billion dollar deal ever, Time Warner Cable owns the rights to the Dodger telecasts, but most Angelenos have Comcast, and neither Comcast nor the other television providers are paying what they are calling exorbitant fees to carry Time Warner's channel. It's a stalemate that has gone on for two years.
Bay Area blackout: On the other side of that coin, because of that lack of coverage in LA, more people have been able to watch Scully outside of southern California than inside, thanks to MLB.TV and the 'Extra Innings' cable and satellite package. However, those packages allow you to get 'out of market games'. Since the Dodgers are playing the Giants, Scully's finale would be an in-market game, and would therefore be blacked out.
More farewells: He would be on the other side of the spectrum from Scully and Enberg, but Ken “Hawk” Harrelson is also retiring after 31 seasons with the White Sox. With games no longer aired nationally on WGN, it's almost impossible to hear his blatant homerism. Even with the cable package, it's hard to catch him because, unlike Scully, he does mostly road games, and usually only the home broadcasts are offered. Despite always referring to the White Sox as “us” or “the good guys”, the 75 year-old's campy calls like “He gone!” for a strikeout or “You can put it on the board, yes!” for a home run will be missed. Occasionally.
One more: Prior to the start of the UCLA-Texas A&M football game Saturday, Verne Lundquist told us this will be his last season in the booth. The 76 year-old is mostly known for SEC football, but has done the NCAA basketball tournament, and is a great golf announcer, and called many Masters. According to CBS, Lundquist will remain in those roles, and is just retiring from football. Come to think of it, maybe the choice wasn't his, but at least will always have him as Adam Sandler's golf announcer in Happy Gilmore. His football will be missed, though.