The Dodgers announced their broadcast schedule earlier today, and the big news was Vin Scully no longer calling any games from Colorado. Scully, in his 63rd season calling Dodgers games (let that number sink in for a moment), wanted to cut back on his travel a little bit, which resulted in the change.
"It was no big Earth-shattering reason, just to cut back a little bit more on the traveling," Scully said before calling Saturday night's Cactus League game against the Giants at Camelback Ranch. "I remember telling Frank McCourt years ago, 'I would like to disappear like the Cheshire Cat, all of a sudden the only thing left is a smile.' That's just another disappearing act."
Scully will call Dodgers home games, plus their road games in California and Arizona. While we lose nine games from Denver with Vin, we also gain three over last year as the Dodgers travel to Oakland this year in interleague play, so we aren't talking about a drastic reduction of games.
Scully was originally not on the spring broadcast schedule until April 3, the Freeway Series in Los Angeles, but decided to add two games in Arizona to his schedule, calling games tonight and Sunday.
"The last baseball game I did was September 28. I thought, my gosh, all these highly talented players, they have to come here and practice for a month to get ready. I want to do a couple of games just to get the feel for it again," Scully said."It's batting practice for me really."
Scully went on to say he felt the 2012 Dodgers can be competitive, and doesn't see the pending ownership change as any sort of distraction for the players, or him.
"The things that happen in the front office I don't believe have any affect whatsoever on the players or on us. It's like on a ship, we're down here shoveling coal and the big discussion is up on the bridge with the captain. It's the same thing; we're not involved with them so I can't see any change in ownership having any affect at all.
"The team finished up the last third of the season 41-25, 16 games above .500. That's pretty good baseball. If they can come up with two thirds like that in this division, they are going to be very highly competitive. I don't think the new ownership matters at all. In fact the only difference perhaps, and I'm only guessing, with a new ownership not as hard pressed for money because of the bankruptcy situation, maybe that will help Ned Colletti later on because he certainly hasn't had much to work with.
"Ballplayers, they are remarkable. They have such an unbelievable sense of concentration. I've seen players going through such terrible divorces and scandals and God knows what, and everything is screened out. That's why I don't think what's going on with the front office has anything to do with the players at all."
Scully went on to talk about Dodger Stadium, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and had a story about the early days of the ballpark and the old dugout seats at the stadium.
"They played in 1956 in Japan in Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo and that stadium had dugout seats. The seats were eye level to the field, and Mr. O'Malley thought that was a great idea....Milton Berle, the old comedian, was sitting in those seats. It was a Giants/Dodgers game with a big crowd and the Giants were rallying in the eighth inning, and they had a couple of men on base with Willie Mays on deck, which put him fairly close to those dugout seats. Now it's a turn for Mays to come to the plate, Willie gets up off his knee to walk to home plate and Berle said, 'Willie, come here.' Instinctively, Mays actually started to walk over to Berle and then realized, 'what am I, crazy?' They were that close."