Sunday is an important day at Dodger Stadium. Not only is the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, starting for the team with the best record in baseball, but it is also Jackie Robinson Day, a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Dodger legend breaking the color barrier.
But most importantly, Sunday also marks the 2012 home debut of Vin Scully, who has missed the last five games while recovering from a bad cold. Scully met with reporters before Sunday's game against the Padres, and reminded us why he is so revered in the first place.
"I was terribly sick Saturday night in San Diego," Scully said. "I did the game but couldn't stop coughing and did not sleep a wink. I knew I was a lot of trouble. Tuesday there was no chance. The doctor told me on I was a click away from pneumonia. I feel good now."
Scully missed his second home opener in 63 years on Tuesday, and his reaction displayed the selflessness and humility of the legendary announcer, who is literally the nicest person I have ever met.
"I guess I went through all the human emotions. I was so angry at myself for being sick, that I was going to miss opening day. I wanted to be here for that," Scully said.
"My gosh. It's their opening game of the season and here they are saluting an announcer," Scully said. "I'm just another guy, the most ordinary person you ever met.
"I was overwhelmed. We had the TV on opening day and my face was in my pillow. I heard the crowd and the introductions. It was almost heartbreaking to want to be here that badly and not be here, then hear everybody say 'we miss you.' That really was an emotional uppercut.
"In the eighth inning, they said Matt Kemp Twittered and said something to the effect of 'Mr. Scully please get well,' and then went up to the plate and struck out," Scully said, with a laugh. "I thought, how fitting is that? That's what he gets for hanging around with me."
Scully stayed away the last few nights because of the cold weather, as doctors didn't want him relapsing or perhaps catching something new in his weakened state. Which made Sunday's series finale, a day game under perfect sunshine, a perfect day.
"Give me a nice sunny day at Dodger Stadium, and Sunday would be the day," Scully said. "In my own private little world, this is my opening day. I have Kershaw. Ain't no bad crowd to hang around with.
"This is a very good day to come back on Jackie Robinson Day. I traveled with Jackie for seven years, including Japan. I saw him play every day, and got to know him pretty well. It's good to come back and get my mind off myself," Scully said. "All I want to do is think about the game, and Jackie, and how grateful I am to be back."
Scully is happy to get the focus on the field, though he also recognized the specialness of this day.
"I'm not going to be serving Baccarat Crystal in the way they dressed up opening day. My little opening day will be a used jelly glass with some water in it. Hopefully I'll have some fun and stop feeling sorry for myself and get back to work."
Scully was also asked about the new ownership group, and he dropped the bombshell that he has actually never met Magic Johnson. If only there were a way to rectify this some time soon...