Vin Scully returns to Dodgers booth

Updated: April 15, 2012, 10:00 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Vin Scully, the Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said he was profoundly disappointed at missing the team's home opener for just the second time in his 63 years in the booth last week, especially because of a pregame ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium.

"I wanted to be here so badly, especially to see all the guys who were here from the '62 club," Scully said Sunday, about two hours before calling his first game after missing five games due to a severe cold. "I was so angry at myself for being sick. But then I thought, I didn't do anything to make myself sick, so I could just be angry at the fates. There was disappointment and, of course, a little self-pity.

"Finally, I decided that was enough of the emotion, let's see if I can get myself well."

Scully, 84, said he began to feel sick during the April 7 game in San Diego.

"I couldn't stop coughing," said Scully, who still had one more game to work in that season-opening road series. "That night, as God is my witness, I did not sleep a wink. I didn't want to keep coughing because when you cough, it makes you hoarse. So I packed the pillows up to try to prevent the coughing, but when I packed the pillows, I couldn't sleep.

"I went to the ballpark (on Sunday) and thought, 'Oh, Lord, if I can somehow get through this one.' So I did the game, and I went home. I was asleep in the car on the way back, or at least trying to sleep. That was the lowest point."

Scully said he couldn't even get out of bed by Tuesday, the day of the home opener, and that his doctors later told him he was "one click away from pneumonia." He also said he felt good enough to return earlier than Sunday, but that his doctors told him that because of the cold weather, he was in danger not only of suffering a relapse but of actually catching something additional because of his weakened immune system.

"So I thought, OK, give me a nice, sunny day at Dodger Stadium, so Sunday was the day," Scully said. "In my own, private little world, this is my Opening Day. They won't be serving up any baccarat crystal, but my drink will be a used jelly glass with some water in it."

Scully said even while terribly ill, he was humbled by the outpouring of support and the on-air mentions during telecasts of the games he missed. He also mentioned a tweet by Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp in support of him that actually was posted during one of those games.

"I was overwhelmed," Scully said. "The TV was on, my face was in the pillow, and I heard the crowd during the intro. It was heartbreaking not being here. I had all kinds of emotions, many of which were humility, because I am just a regular guy. I am the most ordinary guy you could ever meet in your life, and I was given a gift, that gift being to call the games. And so I cherish every day on this earth."

Fittingly, Scully returned Sunday, which was Jackie Robinson Day around the major leagues. He watched Robinson play daily with the Dodgers for more than seven years and became friends with the man who broke baseball's color barrier.

"All I want to do is think about the game and Jackie and how grateful I am to be back," Scully said.

He had already decided this season to scale back his workload by not calling Dodgers games in Colorado. He will broadcast all home and road games in California and Arizona, which adds up to more than 100 games.

Scully calls all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio. He works alone on the air and long ago reduced his travel schedule to avoid calling games east of the Rockies.

He began his broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was behind the microphone for Kirk Gibson's Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series and Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th home run.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE MLB HEADLINES