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Magic of Vin Scully never takes a night off, on the air or not

September 22, 2011 |  7:21 pm

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The best part of covering the Dodgers happens about 30 minutes before first pitch. That’s when Vin Scully normally stops by the Dodger Stadium media dining room to visit with the local corps.

Sometimes it’s just for a brief greeting, but this season it’s more often turned into a lengthier visit, one where the inimitable Scully will end up sharing a story. And I’m certain, Scully has never told a bad story.

Here’s one he shared Thursday, on the final home game of the year, instigated by Tom Lasorda returning to the Dodgers dugout on his 84th birthday and involving former Dodger Don Zimmer, when he was managing of the Cubs:

"One year we’re in Chicago to play the Cubs, and for some reason, we’re not broadcasting the game. And Tommy asks me if I’ve ever sat in the dugout for a game. I tell him 'no' and he says, 'You have to try it.'

"I said as long as it’s cleared by the umpires beforehand. I don’t want them throwing me out. So I put on a uniform –- spring training tryout No. 76, but not for Union –- and wait until almost before the game starts and walk through the Wrigley hallway, sit on the dugout and pull my cap down all the way to my eyes. I don’t want anyone to even notice me.

"After the Dodgers are retired in the top of the first, (first base coach) John Vukovich yells over at me, 'Hey, Scully!' And he throws me a baseball. I catch the ball and written on it is, 'If a fight breaks out, I want you.' And it was signed Don Zimmer.

"All the Cubs are in their dugout, laying down laughing."

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Vin Scully sings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning of a game between the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 14. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

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