Directions to Dodger Stadium: Take Vin Scully Avenue
LOS ANGELES (AP) On their way to Dodger Stadium, fans can now take Vin Scully Avenue into the main gate.
The city of Los Angeles renamed a section of roadway running from Sunset Boulevard to Stadium Way in honor of the 88-year-old Hall of Fame announcer Monday.
Signs replacing the old name of Elysian Park Avenue were already posted when Scully appeared in front of a few hundred fans to accept the honor. He drew cheers when opening with his familiar greeting of ''Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon to all of you.''
Scully is set to broadcast the final home opener of his 67-year career on Tuesday, when the Dodgers host the Arizona Diamondbacks. He plans to retire at season's end after having called games since the team's early days in Brooklyn.
''I have to thank almighty God to be this old and continue to do something I love and have done all my life,'' Scully told the crowd.
He had resisted previous efforts to change the street name.
''I didn't want it to be there and me coming to work for five years or whatever with that sign,'' he said later inside the stadium before a luncheon. ''This way, it can go up and at the end of the year I can make the great escape.''
City Councilman Gil Cedillo, whose district includes the stadium, said the team spruced up Scully's street by planting over 40 trees and repairing sidewalks.
Scully will be missed by fans like Beth Robinson of Whittier, who grew up doing chores with her father on Saturday afternoons listening to games on the radio.
''Every time I hear his voice I'm with my dad,'' she said, clutching two paper plates of chocolate chip cookies she had baked and unsuccessfully tried to give a security guard to pass to Scully. ''It's a bittersweet memory.''
Moises Flores, a season ticket-holder from Echo Park, the neighborhood near the stadium, carried his 3-year-old son on his shoulders to see Scully.
''The cool thing is, my boy is getting the memories now,'' said Flores, explaining the sentimental effect Scully has on him. ''If the game is not holding you in, it's his voice, his stories and his outlook on the game that you listen to.''
Gustavo Vasquez of Covina brought along a multi-colored painting he did showing Scully now and as a young broadcaster. Others held up their artistic visions of Scully, including one painted on black velvet. One thrust bobblehead versions of Scully in the air and some wore T-shirts touting him.
Fans showered him with affection, chanting his name and that of his wife Sandi.
''I don't know you and I miss you,'' Scully told them. ''You have been so kind and gentle, and I'm overwhelmed.''
They shouted their love for him - someone suggested ''Vinny for President'' - and tossed out a hopeful plea of ''One more year!'', causing Scully to throw his head back and laugh.
No chance, he said.
''I know it's the perfect time,'' he said inside the stadium. ''I kept thinking, `I'll be 89 when the season ends. If you go one more year, you'll be 90.' I don't think that's fair to the listeners. This will be it and I'll be grateful.''