June 2006

Random Ramblings

I’m sure you’ve noticed that at times I tend to throw the lineup up and don’t get much time to comment on it. Your comments were correct…Lofton had a scheduled day off today. Guzman was Grady’s decision and is okay after last night’s HBP. Drew is available to pinch-hit.

Before the game, when Grady addressed the media, I was in the visitor’s dugout and managed to sit down in day-old red gatorade. Fortunately, with Grady’s relaxed dress code, it only messed up my khakis, not a suit, but the visiting clubhouse manager was kind enough to wash them for me. I had to borrow a pair of shorts from someone inside the clubhouse and not surprisingly, I took quite a bit of grief from our reporters, announcers and players for my dress shoes, brown socks and shorts. It was a sight not to be missed, but fortunately the pants came back clean before first pitch.

Finally, with nothing much to discuss on a Sunday morning, the topic of quotes came up among the beat writers. For those who read every article in all our papers each day, you might have noticed that Grady had a similar quote in the Daily News, L.A. Times and O.C. Register regarding our starting rotation. The words were only slightly off in each version, but it might have made fans wonder if Grady actually spoke to all three writers about the same thing but at different times. In reality, these sorts of minor differences come from the normal shorthand notetaking that each writer uses. In this case, Bill Plunkett’s quote that said, "The changes we’re going through with our starting rotation now are about all we can stomach at this point in time," was the correct quote.

It’s little things like this that keep everyone entertained at a high altitude. Of course, each quote is basically the same, but one person used the verb "stomach," one used "stand" and one used "handle." At the end of day, it doesn’t mean much, but in case you all were curious…

Back to the game, where Matt Kemp just hit his second homer of the game…his family drove out from Oklahoma to watch the series and are being rewarded handsomely.

Today's lineup

J.D. is still a little too sore for today’s game after getting a knee to the quad.

Here’s the lineup for the series finale:

Furcal, SS

Cruz, RF

Nomar, 1B

Kemp, CF

Aybar, 3B

Ethier, LF

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Lowe, P

An Inconvenient Truth

First pitch: 6:07. Game time temperature: 82 degrees. Days until summer actually starts: 11

It was a warm day in Denver and has turned into a picturesque night. So after waking up early today and getting my game notes done by about 10:30, I decided to avoid the heat and went to go see a movie that I had been wanting to see for awhile.

An Inconvenient Truth is about global warming and dangers that we’re facing as a society. At the risk of offending one or two people who might read this blog entry (and I truly apologize if it does), I have to say the movie today will probably be the highlight of my road trip, even if we go undefeated from now through the end of next weekend.

Let me assure you that I have no plans to turn this into a political blog and truth be told, this movie actually should mean as much to Democrats as it does to Republicans and as much to both as it does to Independents and those who couldn’t care less about politics. There really isn’t a political theme to the film, so if you are turned off by the fact that its main character is Al Gore, I would think twice before staying away from the theatre.

I also want to be clear that I’m not on a soap box here because I have to say that up until recently, I hadn’t really given much thought to the issue and I’m guessing that many people don’t. Therein lies the problem.

Sure, I bought a Prius a year and a half ago, but that had more to do with the fact that I’d be able to drive in the carpool lane from Redondo Beach to Dodger Stadium every day without a second passenger. That and the fact that 44 miles per gallon sounded pretty good to my wallet. Helping the environment only played a small role in that decision.

But having watched this movie and feeling like I have a much better grasp of the problems we’re going to face in our own lifetime, I felt it was my duty to spread the word to those who read this blog. If I convince just one or two of you to see the film or visit the website climatecrisis.net, I feel like I’ve done just a little bit to help the cause.

After all, as a baseball lover and student of the history of the game, I think it’s equally important to be a student of the world we live in. It’s often said that those of us who work in baseball and more importantly, those who play in for a living, are caretakers of the game and have a responsibility to maintain its integrity for the people who come after us.

The same can be said for the environment and at the end of the day, if we don’t take care of that, there won’t be any baseball in the future, either.

Today's lineup

Working on an interesting post for later tonight. In the meantime, here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Kemp, LF

Aybar, 2B

Guzman, 3B

Martin, C

Tomko, P

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Aybar, 3B

Ethier, LF

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Penny, P

Features

Three great off-day features in today’s localpapers:

One on Matt Kemp by Steve Henson in the L.A. Times and another on Terry Collins by Tony Jackson in the Daily News.

Also, a very nice piece on Kemp by Amanda Branam of dodgers.com, though I think that’s been up for a day or so.

More to come from the park later today…

Touchdown in Denver

No, it’s not a Mile High salute to my favorite football team, the Broncos. Just a weak title for our arrival in Colorado.

The plane ride in was a bit bumpy and it was raining here when we landed, but we’re no worse for the wear. With several hours left in the evening, everyone is about to scatter for some good dinner. The hot spot seems to be Rodizio, a Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse) down the street from the ballpark. Hopefully the day off will help, as the team is 5-1 in games after an off day.

People talk about Grady being a player’s manager and it’s the little things that continue to impress me. As is the case with most baseball teams, when we travel, we’re all required to wear sport coats or suits so that we look like a professional organization. I think that’s a great rule and it is important that we project ourselves in a professional manner. But for this one trip, Grady relaxed the dress code and allowed guys to pack a little less than normal because we’ll only be gone for three days.

I know, it seems like a meaningless change to most people, but it just shows that Grady is thinking of ways to mix it up a little and show his players that he cares. Of course anyone would be more comfortable in nice jeans or khakis (and in Brad Penny’s case, a cowboy hat), but I think the gesture meant more than the actual ability to pack lighter for Denver. Anyway, just one of those little things that people seem to enjoy reading about on this blog.

I haven’t forgotten about the draft day contest. We had eight winners and all of them will be getting the baseline seats, as we decided it’s not fair to penalize those that got in late (as long as they got their picks in before the draft). An email will be coming your way shortly if you picked Clayton Kershaw and Bryan Morris.

And for you history buffs, here’s an interesting note. It was on this day in 1955 that a young left-hander named Tommy Lasorda was optioned to Montreal to make room for another young southpaw named Sandy Koufax, who had been on the injured list.

Today's game

A quick update on Eric Gagne for you all. He did have some discomfort in his elbow last night after the game, so we got a precautionary MRI on him today and it showed no structural damage. There was some swelling though, which they hope they can control in 2-3 days. He won’t pitch tonight and will be reevaluated on Friday.

Today’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kemp, RF

Guzman, 3B

Cruz, LF

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Perez, P

Today's game

A very busy day around here. We had the draft and just got back from the Boys & Girls Club with Brad Penny and Matt Kemp. Matt didn’t promise any sick kids that he’d homer for them, but he did hit one off a young kid in the Playstation video game. We’ll see if he can duplicate it again tonight on the field…

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Nomar, 1B

Drew, RF

Kemp, LF

Aybar, 3B

Martinez, 2B

Martin, C

Lowe, P

Draft results

Our first three picks were Clayton Kershaw, Bryan Morris and Preston Mattingly, the son of Don Mattingly. Incredibly, several people got the first two right, but no one had Mattingly in the mix. We’ll sort out the winners shortly.

In the meantime, a quick word from Logan White on our new Dodger draftees:

Overall, we got two power arms with the first two picks and we wanted a high ceiling overall athlete with the third pick.

Kershaw: He’s a big, strong power pitcher with a power arm. He reminds me a bit of Dave Righetti. He’s got an excellent delivery and great makeup.

Morris: He’s a great competitor with a plus fastball and a late power curveball. He reminds me of John Smoltz.

Mattingly: Obviously he comes from a great bloodlines but he is his own person. He’s a fantastic athlete with a chance to be a great all-around Major League player.

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