Despite being around baseball for 63 seasons, Vin Scully can still be wowed by the game. The legendary announcer officially gave word of his 2013 return on Sunday, and praised the Dodgers and their new ownership group.
The Dodgers' new stewards have extended right fielder Andre Ethier for $85 million, signed 21-year old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a $42 million deal, and have added nine major league players via trade with over $300 million combined in future salary commitments. Scully was impressed.
"What they have done is revitalized the city, the team, the fans, and myself. I realized that if you give a toy to a little child, especially a boy, he's going to start asking questions: how far will it go? How fast will it go?" Scully said. "I think like Roy Campanella said, you have to have a lot of little boy in you to play this game. I think you have a lot of little boy in you to love this game, and I still have that little boy in me.
"I wondered with the new ownership, how fast would they move? How high would they try to take the team? It worked out as everybody knows, they want to win and they want to win now, so I'd like to hold on with both hands and see just how far they can take this ball club, because I really think they're going to take it as high as it can possibly go."
Next year Scully, like this year, will call all Dodgers home games as well as road games in California and Arizona, excluding games reserved for exclusive national broadcasts. But Scully also wants to add to that schedule in 2013, as the Dodgers will make their first ever regular season trip to New York to play the Yankees.
"There is a temptation, and if Sandy promises to go with me, I really would like to see Yankee Stadium, and the Dodgers and the Yankees," Scully said. "That really gets my imagination stirring."
Scully, 84, cited his love for the game as a reason for his return, and said he was truly blessed to be able to do something he loves for so long.
"I have always felt that I'm a very ordinary person who has been given an extraordinary opportunity," he said. "I'd just like to squeeze it and hold onto it a little bit longer."
Scully ended the press box press conference on a lighter note.
"I have to go to work. I have go over my carefully crafted ad libs."
The Dodgers won't be able to do another MRI on Chad Billingsley's right elbow until the swelling goes down, which means it likely won't happen until the team returns from a brief three-game road trip in Denver. Manager Don Mattingly said the first MRI showed enough to know Billingsley would need to be sidelined, but that it's impossible to know how long the right-hander will be out until doctors can fully examine his elbow.
Andre Ethier suffered his blister over the weekend in Atlanta, and his first method of coping was to move his hands down on the but, such that his right hand was actually hanging below the knob. But after his slump slipped to 0-for-16, Mattingly suggested the opposite approach, that Ethier should choke up on the bat so he could have more control. That night, after two outs to stretch his slump to 0-for-18, Ethier had two hits and he hasn't made an out since.
But the manager wouldn't take credit for The Mattingly Method™, as I dubbed it, for Ethier going 10-for-12, including hits in a Dodger-record 10 straight at-bats.
"It's not the arrow, it's the Indian," Mattingly joked.
Shane Victorino is back in the lineup after missing Saturday with lower back tightness. Mark Ellis gets a day off, with Nick Punto making his first start as a Dodger.
Game Time: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket