Vin Scully is returning to the Dodgers broadcast booth next season, and hopefully more than 30% of Angelenos will be able to listen to him on SportsNetLA.
I have been fortunate to have been at Dodger Stadium for some special moments. When Nomar Garciaparra hit the walkoff home run in the 10th inning on Sept. 18, 2006 to give the Dodgers an 11-10 win over the San Diego Padres. When Jonathan Broxton closed a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 NL Divisional Series for the Dodgers first postseason series win since the 1988 World Series.
But none of those moments came close to what was heard in the middle of the second inning after Josh Beckett got BJ Upton to strike out swinging to end the top of the second.
The Dodgers aired a “breaking news” video where Hyun-Jin Ryu announced in Korean that the 86-year old Vin Scully is returning for 2015, his 66th season. Then Yasiel Puig announced the same in Spanish which got some in the crowd excited. Then Justin Turner translated for everyone else, and what happened was a couple minutes of a sustained standing ovation.
“It is very difficult to say goodbye,” said Scully in a statement. “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.”
There are very few times when Dodger Stadium shakes because of the crowd, and it’s a near certainty that its structural integrity will be tested when Vin is honored. I wasn’t there tonight, but I can only imagine how it was on Vin Scully microphone giveaway night.
Now, as to whether anyone will be able to tune into Vin, that’s another question. Time Warner has recently agreed to binding arbitration after six local congressmen asked them and other local television providers to do so. Directv has refused. It’s unknown whether Time Warner’s olive branch is merely a PR move. But knowing the reputation of content providers and congressman, it’s safe to keep the bullshit meters up.
Of course, all of this serves to bury what a poorly pitched game this 8-4 Dodger victory over the Atlanta Braves was. Dodger fans tend to be spoiled with pitching. For the last two seasons now we see Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu dismantling the opposition. See what they did in San Francisco to bring the Dodgers from 1 1/2 games behind the Giants to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Giants by Sunday.
So when Josh Beckett made 95 pitches through four innings, it was a shock to the senses. He made 37 pitches in the third inning alone, 26 of which came after he gave up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman to give the Braves the 3-2 lead.
It’s clear Beckett is still adjusting with life after his dominant fireball-dealing days, no-hitter notwithstanding. His fastball has tons of movement hitting the gun as high as 92 mph which is hopeful. His problem is control which is leaving much to be desired. But as spoiled Dodger fans we should get over it. It could be a lot worse. Brett. Tomko. Mark. Hendrickson. Jason. Schmidt.
But if the offense can continue the pace they’re on, then that should ease the Beckett-Dan Haren blues. Matt Kemp golfed two home runs to the opposite field bringing back memories of his 2011 season. Meanwhile Yasiel Puig was a home run short of a natural cycle going 4-for-5 scoring two runs. And for the first time this season the Dodgers have a four-game win streak.
With the Giants losing to the Pirates 3-1, the Dodgers now have a three-game lead in the division. And to top it off, their 60-47 record leads the National League.