Vin Scully, the legendary broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, participated in a live chat on Nov. 14. The Hall of Famer spoke about the highlights of his career, Dodgers players, his most memorable ballplayer, and the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
Vin Scully: Thank you all for taking the time -- I'm delighted to be a part of this, so pull up a chair and let's get started.
mousie49: We'd love to hear what your typical day schedule is like when you're travelling. What kind of interaction do you have with the opposing team players, their broadcasters, etc.?
Scully: Well, basically when I go out on the team bus, you have a chance to visit with the players on your own team. Then after a quick trip to the other team's clubhouse, I check in with the manager on injuries, then maybe look around to see who I know to say hi. I used to have time to go to the batting cage, but with television occupying so much of my time, I have to be in the booth early to prepare, so that has taken me away from batting practice, where I used to hang out.
azdodger53: Mr. Scully, what are your feelings about the job Grady Little did in his first year as the Dodger skipper?
Scully: Oh, I think he did a fine job, an admirable job. Faced with so many injuries and loss of playing time; reconstructing the bullpen from Opening Day. To get them to win the Wild Card was an achievement.
mondesi43: Vin, of all the Dodgers games and great moments you have called, which one would be one of your favorites?
Scully: Well, there have been quite a few. First of all, I guess because I was younger and more impressionable, would be Johnny Podres pitching the Dodgers of Brooklyn to the world championship. That was extremely thrilling, exciting and memorable. Bringing it up-to-date, things like Sandy Koufax with his no-hittters and perfect game. The Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser streaks. Maury Wills stealing over 100 bases. So many great individual performances. Leading up to, I guess, the home run by Kirk Gibson in the '88 World Series. That would skim the cream off the top. And broadcasting a perfect game in the World Series by Don Larsen -- it can't get any better than that.
mondesi43: Vin, did your ever have the desire to want to manage a team either on the field or in the front office at any point during your career?
Scully: No, absolutely not. Too many headaches.
truebloo: All Dodgers fans never want to see you retire, but have you put a date on when that dreadful day will be?
Scully: No, I have not. I have the extension on the contract which goes through 2007 and 2008, so we'll wait and see. As I have said so often, if you want to make God smile, tell him your plans.
dodgrfan805: Mr. Scully, if you could have lunch with three people, past or present, who would they be and why?
Scully: Well, probably No. 1 would be Christ. Let's just say I'd rather go one-on-one with him.
dodgrfan805: Mr. Scully, have you ever been late for a Dodgers game due to traffic?
Scully: No, I never have. There were a couple of times when I was doing the Game of the Week and then jumped on an airplane to get to a Dodgers game, and it was closer than I would have liked. But no, I've never been late.
vandroogie: I have heard that you do not intend to write a book about your years in broadcasting -- is this true? If so, why not?
Scully: It is true. I just don't have the drive to do it. I don't have the ego required, nor the desire to have a book on a shelf so I'll pass.
blueblood723: What advice would you give to a young, aspiring broadcaster?
Scully: The best advice is also the most difficult and that is to be yourself. We're all inclined to copy someone who has already been successful, but you shouldn't water your wine by imitating. It is difficult to be yourself, but that sure helps.
Base_Ball: Would you have any hard feelings if the Dodgers leave Vero Beach and move to Glendale, Arizona? Being a Dodgers fan and living in Phoenix, I wouldn't miss a day here in Arizona.
Scully: I would think it's time for a move. Vero Beach was greatly associated with the Dodgers, but particularly the Brooklyn Dodgers and it is far, far away from our fan base in Los Angeles and Southern California. It would make sense in many ways, including business, radio, television and others to move closer to Southern California.
bluebleeder81: Vinnie, what player wowed or excited you the most as a broadcaster -- it doesn't have to be a Dodger.
Scully: It would probably be Willie Mays. I thought he was the best all-around baseball player I've ever seen.
dodgrfan805: Mr. Scully, how old were you when you went to your first baseball game? (I was 8 months.)
Scully: Let's see. As a guess, I would say 8, going on 9. I was in the bleachers of the old Polo Grounds.
mondesi43: Vin, when you're calling an important game like the four-homer game against the Padres, do you get tense and excited as a fan would, or does the tension on the field not get to you?
Scully: I think the biggest feeling is the honest effort to be accurate. You're more caught up. You realize the drama, you realize the excitement. I love to use the roar of the crowd more than anything. As I say, you're not a fan -- you're consumed with the desire to be accurate and capture the moment.
chris1954: It seems that there have been fewer and fewer stolen base leaders with large amounts of steals, unlike decades ago with Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock and of course Maury Wills. Why do you think there is such a decline in steals?
Scully: It seems like -- statistically I'm not sure -- but it seems like the home run really picked up in the '90s with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. The home run changed the game, I believe. Instead of hit-and-run and stolen bases, they've been going for runs by the handful. I think the home run has changed the game a bit. And perhaps, it takes an especially gifted player to steal a lot of bases and they don't come along that often.
mousie49: Since you no longer travel east of Colorado, you haven't seen some of the new beautiful ballparks, such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Any desire to see them?
Scully: Not right now, let's put it that way. Maybe if I thought I was making some farewell trip and wanted to just see them all, maybe I'd do it. But right now, no. I was looking in the paper today and they mentioned where Fred Wilpon has begun construction of the new ballpark in New York that will look a little bit like Ebbets Field with a Jackie Robinson rotunda. I'd like to go back and see that, but I believe that's supposed to open in '09.
bestballer5: Do you have a broadcasting preference -- radio or television?
Scully: At one time, I think radio gave you more satisfaction as a professional announcer because you had the entire canvas to paint. Television, the picture is already there. So I think in the old days, I probably preferred radio because I felt it was a full or different challenge. Today, not particularly.
dodgrfan805: Mr. Scully, what do you recall about your last visit to Ebbets Field?
Scully: I remember how sad and somber the evening was. There was a lady named Gladys Gooding. She was the Dodger organist and since it was the last game ever, the music that she provided as a background to the game was very, very sad. It was somewhat of a depressing evening and her music certainly added to the mood. I think the first song she played in the first inning was "My Buddy," a very sad, old song and it just went down from there.
dodgrfan805: Mr. Scully, if you could trade places with any baseball player at any time in history for a moment, who would it be and why?
Scully: I've never really thought about it. I truly don't know. I'm overwhelmed by the question because I've seen so many great players over the years.
bluebleeder81: Vinnie, what current Dodgers rookie excites you?
Scully: I guess Russell Martin because he has such a demanding position and he has done so very well with it. Last spring, before the year, I asked Grady Little of all the rookies, which one would make the greatest impact and he said, without a moment's hesitation, Matt Kemp. He had an explosive couple of weeks. Now, you see Ned Colletti saying he needs more seasoning so it's really hard to tell. But Martin, he catches a great game, he's a stalwart in cutting down the running game and he can hit. And I'd have to say Ethier, too, was quite impressive. And you also want to talk about Saito. I guess in the end, I'd say Martin, Saito and Ethier.
Robert_Socki: Hi, Vin. What was your initial reaction when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles? My guess is that you were pretty comfortable in Brooklyn. How long did it take you to warm up to Los Angeles?
Scully: It was bittersweet. It was bitter in the sense that I was leaving all of my roots, my family, my friends and everything that I had known. But it was sweet in the sense that they were moving and they were taking me with them! I was wondering about whether I would have a job or not. I would say, after a year in Los Angeles, I started to feel more at home and started to get over missing people. In those days, we'd go back to Philadelphia and if I had a day off, I would try to get up to New York and see my family and close friends. Life goes on, babies arrived out here and all of a sudden, this was my hometown.
mondesi43: Vin, how early do you have to get to the game to prepare for the broadcast?
Scully: For a 7 o'clock game, I'm in the booth at about a quarter of 4. Outside of taking time out to eat, a good portion of that time from 3:45 until 7 o'clock is used in preparation -- taping openings, doing promotions and then trying to be able to digest all the information and the lineups before going on the air.
glen_campbell: I have very fond memories of you and Jerry Doggett. My favorite Jerry memory is when he called Dusty Baker's 30th homer to give the Dodgers four with 30 or more. What is your favorite Jerry memory?
Scully: Oh, I loved Jerry as a brother. Jerry was truly remarkable in the sense that he didn't have a jealous bone in his body. Admittedly, because I had more air time than he did, I got most of the publicity, write-ups, etc. Jerry never wavered in our friendship. He was just the perfect partner. We joined in Labor Day of 1956 and we truly had a remarkable marriage. On the road, we were together constantly from breakfast in the morning to walks and shopping and then going to the ballpark and having something to eat after the game. I was much better off for it. Any success I had, coming out here, for 30 years from 1958-87, was really because I had the best partner in the world in the booth.
blueblood723: Has 57 years caught up to you at all?
Scully: I think what's happened is that I know I have to take better care of myself than when I first started. The rigors of the season are tough enough on the players, but they're also difficult for the broadcaster. The all-night flights and the three-time zone changes, the extra-inning games. I really have to make sure I get plenty of rest, eat properly, etc. I think that's the biggest difference. Just the awareness that it's not quite as easy as it used to be. But otherwise, thank God, I'm in good health and still love the job.
Scully: And on that note, I want to thank you all for taking some time out for this chat. I hope to do it again sometime.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.