San Diego

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Vin Scully: Dodgers Set for Home Opener

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully is behind the mic for the final home opener of his 67-year career

After opening the season in San Diego and San Francisco, the Dodgers are finally back in front of their hometown fans Tuesday when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Japanese star Kenta Maeda makes his Dodger Stadium debut and Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully is behind the mic for the final home opener of his 67-year career.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Scully said Monday. "I'll wear a clean shirt tomorrow, by gosh."

Many fans attending the sold out game will arrive via newly named Vin Scully Avenue, which dead-ends at the stadium's main gate. Elysian Park Avenue was renamed to honor Scully, who attended a dedication ceremony Monday with new blue street signs behind him. 

"I told people I'm relieved it's not a toll road," he joked.

In classic Scully style, he shared a story that took those in the crowd down a memory lane decorated with the kind of detail that reminded fans what they'll miss about the broadcaster. Scully told the audience about his memories of listening to the thrilling sounds of a game on the radio as a child.

"I would listen to the college football games, and I really wouldn't know anybody playing," he said. "It might be Tennessee-Alabama, and here's a kid in a fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Manhattan. But when the crowd roared -- when someone scored a touchdown, and that roar came out of the speaker head -- it literally and figuratively was like water coming out of a showerhead, and I would get goose bumps all over my head. All over. And then I thought, 'Wow, I'd love to be there.' And then I thought, 'Maybe I'd like to broadcast.' And it all came true, thank God."

The Dodgers return in second place behind the NL West-leading Giants, who beat them three times in four games last week. Los Angeles opened the season under new manager Dave Roberts with a three-game sweep of the Padres, who got outscored 25-0.

Maeda (1-0) was stellar in his debut, tossing six shutout innings and homering in San Diego.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal (right forearm strain) and second baseman Howie Kendrick (left calf strain) are expected to be activated from the 15-day DL on Tuesday. Also likely to return are outfielder Scott Van Slyke (stiff lower back) and reliever Chris Hatcher (twisted left knee), who got hurt last Saturday.

Patrick Corbin (0-1) starts for the last-place Diamondbacks (2-5). The left-hander struck out six without a walk and allowed three homers in his first start against Colorado. Zack Greinke, who bailed on the Dodgers to sign a $206.5 million deal with the D-backs in the offseason, won't pitch against his old teammates in the three-game series.

The Dodgers close out the week with three games against the Giants starting Friday.

After cruising past the Padres, the Dodgers' rotation stumbled against the rival Giants. Alex Wood blew a four-run lead in losing 12-6 last Thursday and then Scott Kazmir couldn't hold an early five-run lead in a 9-6 loss on Sunday.

"The first week or two is at least a shakedown," Scully said. "We'll see what they look like in another month or two. They still have some wonderful players, so they could hold it together."

Scully worked the Dodgers' season opener in San Diego last week and then returned to Los Angeles to await the home opener. He will be honored in a pre-game ceremony, much to his chagrin.

"The thing that bothers me is right now they're pushing me out in front of the game," he said. "They're making too much fuss over me because the game is the thing, the players are the thing, winning and losing is the thing. I pray that this is the last of these days."

Another Los Angeles icon is beating Scully to retirement. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant plays the final game of his 20-year career on Wednesday at Staples Center.

"I'm not Kobe Bryant," Scully said. "I didn't do anything that well to thrill other people. He was a magnificent player; I should be in the booth, that's where I belong. Not out on the pitcher's mound."

The team said Monday it has designated three special games honoring Scully: May 10 against the Mets with T-shirt night; Sept. 20 against the Giants with a bobblehead; and Sept. 23 against the Rockies with an appreciation night featuring fireworks set to Scully's top calls of his career.

The team's 2016 yearbook features a tribute to Scully chronicling his career starting in 1950 to the present.

Scully said he will most miss the roar of the crowd reacting to the action on the field. Hearing the cheers for him is appreciated, but it's an uncomfortable feeling for the 88-year-old whose voice has meant summer in the city to generations of Angelenos.

"It's hard to sit up there and hear people singing your name and applauding," he said. "It sounds easy but it's not. Inside of me there was a little voice -- 'Oh come on, are you kidding' -- because I really don't feel that I should be where I am now."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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