On a night when the Dodgers celebrated broadcaster Vin Scully's 65th year of service with a commemorative microphone giveaway, the team announced that the voice of the franchise will return for his 66th season. I said this last year and I'll say it again: this is the happiest day of the year. No single figure in all of baseball is as capable of bringing so many people — fans not just of the Dodgers, but of the game and its rhythms — so much comfort and joy.
In the middle second inning of Tuesday night's game with the Braves, broadcaster Alana Rizzo introduced a video on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard with Hyun-Jin Ryu making the announcement in Korean, Yasiel Puig doing so in Spanish and Justin Turner breaking the suspense in English:
The 86-year-old Scully issued a statement via the team:
"It is very difficult to say goodbye… God willing I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends including those that sit in the stands and listen as well as those at home, who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time, when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time."
A protégé of the great Red Barber, Scully has been calling Dodger games since 1950, when the team was still based in Brooklyn and had yet to win a World Series. During his illustrious career— which has also included stints at CBS and NBC, and forays into coverage of the National Football League and professional golf and tennis — he has called 19 no-hitters, including all four of Sandy Koufax's, and most recently that of Clayton Kershaw on June 18. Of those no-hitters, three were perfect games, one of them by Koufax. He's also called 25 World Series, 12 All-Star Games, and memorable moments such as the Dodgers' first championship in 1955, Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Hank Aaron's 715th home run in 1974, Bill Buckner's critical error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and Kirk Gibson's pinch-homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
To this ear, which first encountered Scully calling Don Sutton’s 50th career shutout during a car ride to California in the summer of 1979, Scully isn’t just about calling the big ones. His continued presence underscores the comforts of the game’s day-to-day familiarity. You’ve heard his story of ice skating with Jackie Robinson as surely as you’ve seen a mid-inning pitching change, but no matter.
In 1982 — like, half a career ago — the National Baseball Hall of Fame presented Scully with the Ford C. Frick Award, the highest honor for baseball broadcasters. In recent years, he has dialed back his workload such that he no longer works the team's road games outside of California and Arizona, a small concession to the grind of travel on a man in his ninth decade.
Because of a dispute between Time Warner Cable and DirecTV over the carriage fees of the team's new SportsNet LA channel, Dodgers games are currently unavailable to 70 percent of the region, a situation that led the FCC chairman to criticize Time Warner just hours before Scully's announcement. Hopefully, that dispute will be resolved in time for Scully's voice to reach the team’s entire market as well as those of us tuning in from several time zones away via the magic of MLB.tv.
On that note, we leave you with the supercut of Scully calling all 27 outs of Kershaw’s no-hitter, the first one he called since the introduction of MLB Advanced Media’s game-changing technology: