Vin Scully to go one more year; Plaschke, sadly, not going anywhere

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A lot of folks thought Vin Scully was going to retire after this season, but he’s got one more in him, he says:

Vin Scully, thought to be retiring this winter after 60 seasons,
said this week he is planning on coming back for one more summer.
Scully, 81, said if he continues to feel well he will work past his
landmark year and retire after the 2010 season.

“God willing, I will probably come back for one more year,” Scully
said in a phone interview. “At this moment, my health is excellent, and
I’m leaning toward one more year.”

And then retire?

“Yes, that makes sense,” he said.

The L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke, of course, gets this all wrong,
going on about how the Dodgers need to take the next 15 months to think
really, really hard and come up with some sort of special, spectacular
sendoff. After describing a tribute video the team has been playing on
the scoreboard and how Scully himself, while honored, felt rather
uncomfortable with the whole thing, Plaschke says this:

This was the Dodgers’ first attempt at a farewell, and it was a good
one, but now it’s time to get serious. If they could build a Mannywood
in a couple of weeks, surely they can use the next few months to figure
out a way to permanently honor Scully in a way that no Dodger has been
honored before . . .

. . . Turn this Dodgers monument into a statue. Sculpt Scully
sitting in a booth, with a microphone and headsets and his ever-present
scorebook. Fill the desk with dozens of ports where fans can plug in
headphones and listen to tapes of Scully’s calls. What greater tribute
than having Dodgers fans gathered at his feet as one, listening to his
voice forever? Place the sculpture just beyond the Dodger Stadium
center-field fence, in the area currently populated by autograph booths
and fans chasing batting practice fly balls. Lay down some grass like
they do at Yankee Stadium for the center-field Monument Park. Call it
Scullyville.

Apart from the fact that Scully himself is probably reading that this
morning and spitting coffee across the table due to just how
horrifyingly opposed it is to everything he’s ever stood for as a
broadcaster, it’s a fabulous idea.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”