PALMDALE-If you had to miss a week of work with a bad cold, chances are not many people would care. If you were lucky, you might get a card, or at least a 'welcome back' when you return. When Vin Scully misses a week of work with a bad cold, not only is everyone in Los Angeles concerned, but it becomes national news. Of course, broadcasting Dodger games isn't just any job, and Scully isn't just any employee.
The 84 year-old Hall of Famer missed five home games last week, including the Dodgers home opener for just the second time in almost 30 years. It was originally reported that Scully had a cold, but there was no set date for when he would return. The home opener was Tuesday against Pittsburgh. The next night, with Scully still out and no return date set, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who wondered the severity of Scully's illness. Isn't that what the Soviet Union told its people when Mikhael Gorbachev's health started to fail? They said he “had a cold”.
Fortunately, Scully was feeling well enough to return to the microphone Sunday. He may have missed the home opener, and although he returned for the final game of the homestand, he was back in time to see Clayton Kershaw pitch, and it was also Jackie Robinson Day. It probably felt like an opener for Scully, and Dodger fans were glad to have him back to regale us with tales of Robinson and the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Scully's absence brings up another Dodger broadcasting issue. While Scully was recuperating, Charley Steiner left the radio booth and joined Steve Lyons on the television side. Steiner's radio parter Rick Monday soloed in the radio booth Tuesday, but had guests including Maury Wills and General Manager Ned Coletti. Former Dodger player and minor league manager Kevin Kennedy joined Monday on radio for the next four games.
But normally when the Dodgers are on the road, and away from the west coast, Steiner and Monday are on radio, and Eric Collins does the television play-by-play with Lyons as the analyst. So the question is where was Collins during Scully's time off? Does he not live in Los Angeles, and couldn't get out here for the fill-in assignment? Maybe he was fired. I suppose we will find out on Tuesday, when the Dodgers are in Milwaukee and Scully is back at home. After visits to Milwaukee, and Houston this weekend, the Dodgers return home next Monday, and Scully will be back. Even if was only for the final game of the opening homestand, we at least now know “It's time for Dodger Baseball”. Welcome back Vin.
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One year ago this morning (April 16), by mother, uncle, cousin, and I were in a hot-air balloon sailing over the Antelope Valley. Mom wanted to do that for her birthday, and 366 days later, it's still one of the coolest things I've ever done. Now it's hard to top a hot-air balloon ride for for your birthday, and Mom's goals for this year were not nearly as lofty, and as it turned out, not nearly as determined.
This year, Mom said she wanted to go to a hot dog stand. That's quite a come down from a balloon ride, but I do have to admit, this isn't just any hot dog stand. Mom's birthday was Friday, and since I'm not working, I came home for a week. It rained all day Friday, so we just stayed home, but the plan was to go “down below” on Saturday, make a couple of stops in Los Angeles, and then go to Pink's for lunch.
If you are not familiar with Pink's, it's been around since 1939, and is locally famous for it's really big hot dogs. Also, it's apparently not unusual to see a Hollywood celebrity or two while standing in line. There is a Bank of America commercial currently running that features the famous stand, and that's where Mom got the idea. I've never been there, and she hasn't either, so it seemed like a fun idea.
We didn't make it there, though. You'd have to ask her why, but I'm guessing she didn't feel up to standing in line. The lines are usually long, and they may have a limited seating area, but we didn't get the chance to find out. Like I said before, it rained on Friday, and on Saturday, Mom suggested that we postpone the trip until Monday. She wasn't feeling real well, but sometimes as she gets older (she's 86 now), it's harder to tell how much she's hurting, or if she's just procrastinating (a trait I unfortunately inherited). Anyway, Monday came and she still didn't feel like going, so we'll have to save Pink's for another time.
We ended up doing nothing the whole time I was here, but I got a few home cooked meals out of it, and Mom seemed to be happy that I was home.