Scully, FanFest crowd excited over Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers concluded a weeklong community outreach initiative with an annual FanFest in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, the highlight being remarks from Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
"I don't know about you," Scully said, "but I'm starving for baseball. After the Super Bowl, it will be all baseball, all the time."
Scully, 86, and entering his 65th season at the microphone, said he's eager for 2014 because of what he saw in 2013, and not just on the field.
"The different thing about the crowd last year -- and I feel the crowd, believe me -- is that last year was the happiest crowd I've ever seen," Scully said to a roaring crowd. "And one reason is that when you looked into the dugout, it was probably the happiest team I've seen in years.
"That team came within one pitch, within one cracked rib and within two wins of the World Series. I'm looking forward to seeing an exciting team and, I pray, the happiest crowd I've ever seen." Scully was preceded to the stage by general manager Ned Colletti, who credited the club's brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a key to the team's midseason turnaround after beanings of Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke.
"Our guys took the field and went after them," Colletti said. "As much as I don't condone that, it kind of galvanized our club and got us together and brought friendship in the room and we got closer. In a bizarre way, it was a defining moment for the building of inside the room."
Colletti later told reporters that he expects to sign a utilityman to a Minor League contract in the next five days, and he continues to listen when agents for available starting pitchers call. The one most closely linked to the Dodgers is Bronson Arroyo, but Colletti said the team is interested only in a short-term deal for what would amount to be the fifth starter.
Colletti and manager Don Mattingly both mentioned concern about keeping the team healthy considering a short offseason and an unusual Spring Training.
The Dodgers played through a six-game National League Championship Series that ended Oct. 18 and will report to Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 8, because their season starts earlier than the rest of baseball with two games in Australia against Arizona March 22-23. Then a three-game exhibition Freeway Series against the Angels March 27-29 before the regular season resumes Sunday night on March 30 in San Diego.
"It's coming quick," Mattingly said. "We have to get the pitching ready and after we come back, keep them ready. It's a little worry for me. We start the season [in Australia], then don't play games that count for eight days. Guys know the games don't count and you worry about bad habits."