The Dodgers have just confirmed, to the great pleasure of their fans, the return of their most valuable asset—Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
In the middle of last season, the 60th of Scully's Dodger career, there was a lot of conjecture regarding how much longer baseball fans would be able to enjoy the unique poetic narrative Scully provides.
Often in reply to this question, Scully would talk about how the best way to make God smile is to tell of one's future plans. Tuesday brought a fresh quote from the Dodger announcer, who celebrated his 82nd birthday the previous Sunday.
"We have had two exciting seasons consecutively—getting into the second round of the playoffs—and when you get that close, you look to the next year as perhaps the one that you go all the way," Scully said in a statement released by the team Tuesday.
"I'm very excited and optimistic about 2010 and the direction we're heading and we'll take it year-to-year after that."
Dodger fans have had little to celebrate since their season ended at the hands of the Phillies for the second straight year, one step away from the World Series.
The pending divorce of the McCourts has dominated headlines. The retention of GM Ned Colletti, along with manager Joe Torre indicating his willingness to continue at the helm of the team beyond 2010, has provided scant solace.
Manny Ramirez has picked up his option for next year, the value of which has been vigorously debated. Will the Dodgers see more of the same problems from last season, or could playing for a new contract focus Ramirez to deliver numbers more along the lines what he put up for L.A. in 2008?
Will Colletti finally deal Juan Pierre in order to acquire help elsewhere, or will the Dodgers again go with four starting-caliber outfielders with only three positions available?
Questions also swirl around the catching and second base positions.
Has Russell Martin been overused and is now in a downward spiral? Will the Dodgers finally bring in someone who will provide enough rest for Martin to return to the promise shown his first couple of seasons?
Orlando Hudson was burned by the way he was handled toward the end, all but ending any chance of a return. Will Ronnie Belliard, who supplanted the O-Dog and brought a fresh bat, be retained? With all the rumors of new second basemen coming to town, when will Blake DeWitt ever get a real opportunity to take over?
Then there is the state of the pitching staff to ponder. Who will join Clayton "Chinstrap" Kershaw at the front end of the rotation? Will Chad Billingsley emerge from the fires of the second half of last year to become a dominant front-line pitcher? Can Colletti retain Randy Wolf? How will the dead dollars allocated for years to Jason Schmidt be reinvested?
Was last year the final hard lesson before Jonathan Broxton becomes a dominating closer for the next decade? Will last year's acquisition from Baltimore, George Sherrill, bounce back from his playoff disappointment after dominating the National League? Can Hong-Chih Kuo stay healthy for an entire season? How will the balance of the pen be constructed?
Answers to these questions will make themselves apparent in the fullness of time during this offseason. What is now certain will be the lead voice behind the Dodger mic, what I like to refer to as "The Voice of God."
Coupled of course with the forbearance of The Almighty, in order to allow fans to enjoy a 61st season described by the greatest announcer in this or any other sport, Vin Scully.