Scully says 2016 will be his last season
Dodgers broadcaster has been advised by friends, doctor
LOS ANGELES -- Discussing his decision to return for the 2016 season on Saturday, Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said he expects next year to be his last one in the broadcast booth.
Scully, 87, had Jimmy Kimmel announce to the Dodger Stadium crowd Friday night that he will return for a 67th season with a series of cue cards on the Dodger Stadium message board.
"I would say, realistically -- I don't want any headlines -- but next year would be the last one," Scully said. "How much longer can you go fooling people? Dear God, if you give me next year, I'll hang it up. I do feel in my bones that will be enough. I'm sure the people will feel that will be enough, too. Enough is enough. Without a doubt, next year, my gosh, what's that saying, talk about next year and make the devil laugh? I'm very wary of that."
As usual, Scully tried to downplay the importance of his announcement, if not himself as well. He said he wants no "glorified goodbye" tour and would just as soon have had his return announced with a line in the game notes as a produced video by a famous late-night talk show host.
Scully said one of the reasons he has continued working is the ballpark friendships he has developed over the decades. He's also been advised by friends and his doctor that retiring has hidden costs.
"I'm not that much for poetry, but one poem I know, by Dylan Thomas: 'Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light,'" Scully said. "In a way, that's what I'm doing. Raging against the dying of my career, which is around the corner. I've never minded getting older, but I never wanted to be old. Ever. A lot of people said to me, don't retire. My doctor said to me, 'Do you enjoy it? Do you still do it well? Then why give it up? You retire and a year from now you'll be an old man,' and that kind of scared me a little bit."
He weighed that, however, with the realities of aging.
"I'm sure after a while as a player gets older, say he's a center fielder, he doesn't quite get the jump he used to get, he's not quite as sharp as he used to be. Maybe he's a little late on the 95-mph pitch," Scully said. "What's the joke -- I'm throwing as hard as ever, it just takes longer to get there. I'm trying very hard for one more year, God willing."
Scully said he hasn't talked to the club yet about further curtailing his workload and he wasn't worried about the club trying to replace him when he finally does retire.
"I saw Mel Allen leave the Yankees, Red Barber leave the Dodgers, Russ Hodges leave the Giants, Harry Caray leave the Cubs, Jack Buck leave the Cardinals," Scully said. "You know what? Not one of those teams missed a game. They kept on playing and the fans kept on going. I know I can be replaced. They've all come and gone and I'll join that group."
Still, he concedes the fuss made over his career decisions makes him uncomfortable.
"I'm sure they're thinking, 'Oh my God, he's trying it again,'" Scully said. "I've been blessed all these years, that's the story. It's not so-and-so, 87, is doing his 6,000th season. When it all boils down -- and this is from the heart -- I am the most ordinary man you ever met.
"I was given an extraordinary opportunity. I don't think of me, I think of the person that's been blessed. I was amazed when someone told me last night there were 11 million -- is it tweets? -- whirling around about the announcement. That boggles my mind."