Vin Scully

Vin Scully vows to 'never watch another NFL game' due to anthem protests

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USATSI

Vin Scully vows to 'never watch another NFL game' due to anthem protests

Vin Scully has no desire to call anymore Dodgers games and now he has no plans to watch anymore NFL games.

The 89-year-old retired Dodgers broadcaster made his opinion known about national anthem protests while speaking during an event dubbed "An Evening with Vin Scully" on Saturday night.

“I have only one personal thought, really. And I am so disappointed. I used to love, during the fall and winter, to watch the NFL on Sunday. And it’s not that I’m some great patriot. I was in the Navy for a year. Didn’t go anywhere. Didn’t do anything. But I have overwhelming respect and admiration for anyone who puts on a uniform and goes to war. So the only thing I can do in my little way is not to preach. I will never watch another NFL game,” Scully said at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium when asked about the protests by NFL players.

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Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

Notes: Span ends on high note; Giants honor Scully

Notes: Span ends on high note; Giants honor Scully

SAN FRANCISCO — Denard Span signed a three-year deal with the Giants in part to play in games like the three against the Dodgers. Through the first two games over the weekend, Span was mostly a spectator. 

The leadoff hitter and center fielder most of the season, Span didn’t start Friday and didn’t play at all Saturday. He did, however, make the most of Game 162. 

Span had three hits and scored three runs in the clincher, driving in a pair with a triple to right in the second. His run in that inning gave Matt Moore a 5-0 lead, and in the eighth an insurance run made it 6-1. Span also tracked down Joc Pederson’s threatening fourth-inning fly ball at the wall and he helped Sergio Romo through the ninth with a spectacular diving catch. 

“I woke up this morning locked in,” Span said on Sunday. “Obviously I’m fresh. I haven’t played in two days. I was just locked in.”

That freshness showed in the ninth. Statcast had Span reaching a top speed of 20.4 mph on the ninth-inning play, and he had a route efficiency of 98.2 percent on his way to the grab. As for the reason Span felt fresh, well, it’s clear that the playing time alteration hasn’t always been easy to swallow. 

“I haven’t been in a platoon situation in my career,” Span said. “It wasn’t easy, but I talked to (Bruce) Bochy about it and he told me he needs me to buy in and trust him.”

A few minutes earlier, Bochy had used the same phrase to describe Span’s performance: “He bought in to what we’re doing,” he said. 

Span is hitless in six at-bats against Noah Syndergaard, but it’s a good bet that he’ll be in the batter’s box for the right-hander’s first pitch Wednesday night. If the Giants advance, Bochy will be in for an interesting decision. Gorkys Hernandez became a fixture against left-handers down the stretch and he played well, and Jon Lester will start Game 1 for the Cubs.

That’s a topic for Thursday if the Giants advance. For now, before the wild card game, let’s put a bow on the regular season finale …

--- Span was one of several veteran players who went out of his way Sunday afternoon to compliment Ty Blach, Saturday’s star. Asked about the strong pitching over the final week, he went right to the rookie. “Ty Blach, nobody knew who the heck he was (before) yesterday,” he said, smiling. 

Blach is a household name for Giants fans now. He might have pitched his way onto a playoff roster, too. Remember how valuable Yusmeiro Petit was in the NLDS in 2014? You always need a long reliever. 

--- Several Giants reached out to Ryan Vogelsong on Saturday to provide some good-natured encouragement for the final day. Vogelsong’s help ultimately wasn’t needed, but he did his part anyway, ending his season in style by allowing five hits and one run over five innings. The Cardinals rallied after Vogelsong departed, winning 10-4. They fell a game short of hosting a Monday night tiebreaker. Jeff Samardzija would have pitched for the Giants. 

--- The always-quotable Sergio Romo, as beer dripped down his beard: “Now we get a chance to dance. We like our chances once we get in.”

--- Jake Peavy got the microphone after the game and represented his teammates. He told fans, “I know this season hasn't been what you thought it would be. That being said, we're in." Peavy also promised one more game at AT&T Park, noting that he was one of several free agents standing on the field. “I’m not done playing in this ballpark,” he said. 

--- Here’s my game story from the final game and a notebook leading with Conor Gillaspie’s spectacular catch. And here’s Ray Ratto, getting to the bottom of the best part of the clubhouse party: Some marketing firm probably got paid an absurd amount of money to come up with postseason t-shirt slogans and Bochy celebrated in a 2013 Cactus League shirt. 

--- Regular readers of my post-game “instant replay” stories know that I have taken a few shots at the sellout streak. The math on sellouts is fuzzy, but it just seems pointless to keep that number going (it’s nearing 500) when there were so many nights down the stretch where the ballpark was like 20 percent empty (and don’t get me started on the odd-year Septembers). 

But, credit where credit is due: The Giants handle most things the right way, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park with the Vin Scully tributes. Scully received about a half-dozen standing ovations and was honored with a plaque in the radio booth, presented by Willie Mays. He tapes a video introduction for every game at Dodger Stadium and the Giants showed a special version before Sunday’s game. Between innings, they showed highlights from Scully’s career and tributes from other broadcasting greats. 

Scully signed off for the final time right after 3 p.m. "I have said enough for a lifetime,” he said. “And for the last time, I wish you all a very pleasant good afternoon.”