March 2007

Medical updates

It was a tough day yesterday in Vero, with Furcal and Repko both going down to injury. Furcal’s ankle is a little less swollen today, but he’ll have an MRI in the next day or so to gauge the extent of the damage. He’s optimistic that he’ll be back by Opening Day, but it still remains to be seen. Tomorrow in Ft. Lauderdale, Grady is going to give Tony Abreu the start at shortstop, as both he and Wilson Valdez would be the key possibilities to replace Furcal, if necessary. Valdez already had a walk, two hits and two stolen bases today here in Jupiter.

As for Jason Repko, he’s getting an MRI right now and hopefully we’ll know more later today. We’ll continue to cross our fingers that he’s okay, but fortunately there are guys like Bigbie looking for a spot on the team so if Jason has to miss time, at least there are options.

The other bit of news is that Hong-Chih Kuo felt some pain in the back of his shoulder in his last outing and had an MRI yesterday and he’s going to be out for a little while. We’re not sure of a timetable, but it’s unlikely at this point he’d be the fifth guy in the rotation.

That’s about all from here right now. Since I got back to Vero Beach on Monday morning, we had been outscored 36-3, so I’m glad to see we’ve put five runs on the board already today. Derek Lowe looks great and hopefully the team is getting back on track at the right time, with the Freeway Series less than a week away.

Oh, one more thing. Compliments of Josh Cumming, our radio engineer/producer for KFWB, the Marshall McDougall whose name you have seen in a few box scores this spring is the same one who played for the Rangers in the big leagues, briefly, and who once went 7-for-7 with six homers, 16 RBI and 25 total bases in a collegiate game for Florida State.

A Wish Granted

Another busy day in Dodgertown yesterday, but it was one of those where you really get to appreciate how much this organization means to the fans. We had a 15-year-old fan from Torrance named Anthony Abramson visiting us with his family as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His wish was to come to Vero Beach and meet Vin Scully and we were able to do that for him, as well as provide them with a private tour of Dodgertown and tickets for the next few games. Make-A-Wish also sent them to Disneyworld for several days before they got here and it’s really great to see how much this visit meant to Anthony and his younger brother, Peter.

Unfortunately, the results of the game didn’t turn out so hot for the second consecutive night (it figures we’ve been on TV the last two games), but I’m not terribly worried. I do believe that by the time the real games start, we’ll be playing a lot better than we have the past few days.

As for today, it’s another busy schedule, as The Today Show from NBC is here to do a feature on Kim Ng. We’ve got a day game against the Orioles and since I got the lineup very early, here it is…pretty close to the expected Opening Day lineup.

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzalez, LF

Repko, CF

Ethier, RF

Betemit, 3B

Tomko, P

Grady Little Signs an Extension

I’m very excited to let you all know that we will be shortly announcing that Grady Little’s option was picked up for 2008 and we added another option for 2009.  As someone who gets to watch his leadership every day, I can attest to the fact that this is a great decision and a big day for the Dodger organization.

You can talk to Frank McCourt about this announcement and any number of other topics during today’s live web chat at 2 p.m. PT

And I will do my best to get answers to all of your parking questions sometime very soon, but rest assured that we take all of the comments to heart and appreciate the fact that you are all taking the time to write in with your thoughts.

The Dodgertown Family

I’m back in Dodgertown for the duration of the spring and as I was heading from Orlando’s airport to Vero Beach this morning, I thought of another interesting side of Spring Training that many of you probably don’t get to hear about, so I figured I’d pass it along.

As many of you may know, Vero Beach is somewhat of a retirement community and therefore, we have a lot of longtime Dodger fans who have moved here and take part-time jobs during the spring in various roles. One of those jobs is that of the drivers who shuttle back and forth to the airport to pick up players, staff and families and bring them to Dodgertown.

Today, my driver was Jerry, a lifelong Dodger fan from Texas who spent 30 years in the oil industry in Texas before moving here and taking his dream job working with the team. Apparently, he’s also a regular reader of Inside the Dodgers and it’s people like him who have the passion for the team that really make this place feel like a family. They’re all around Dodgertown, as ushers, security, receptionists, drivers…you name it, and they are all greatly appreciated by those of us who call Vero Beach home for more than a month each year.

Meanwhile, for those who want a small taste of Dodgertown from a distance, tune in tomorrow night for our game against the Cardinals on KCAL 9. The next two nights are actually both televised at 4:10 on the West Coast and 7:10 here in Florida.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I hope everyone got a chance to watch the game on KCAL this morning and that some of you even got a chance to stop by Dodger Stadium for the Open House.

Given that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, it’s somewhat fitting that walteromalley.com launched a story today written by former Dodger Director of Broadcasting and Publications, Brent Shyer. The article is about Bump Holman, the team’s former pilot and the son of Bud Holman, the local businessman who convinced the Dodgers to move to Vero Beach so many years ago.

As for today, Tomko had another impressive outing and has really got a lot of people talking about his new delivery and how well he hides the ball. Let’s hope that will lead to great things for him this season, as he’s definitely deserving of a big role on the team.

That’s about it for now. Heading back to Vero tomorrow night and very much looking forward to being back where all the action is.

This weekend in Los Angeles

A few things for you guys to be aware of coming up…

Photo_1_l_to_r_a157515Tomorrow night is the opening of National Pastime, a play about the life and times of Jackie Robinson that is being held at the Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy. It will run through March 24th and tickets can be purchased online at www.laccfoundation.org/events/index.asp.

On Saturday at Dodger Stadium, there are two events going on. The first is the annual Job Fair that we hold here for the local community. It goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features training providers, government agencies and employers including: Bally Total Fitness, Federal Express, Macy’s, NBC Universal, Sears, Primerica, Southern California Gas Company, United States Secret Service, University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Also at the stadium on Saturday is our open house event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where you can take a look at some of the seats that are still available for the season.

Of course, starting at 10 a.m. is the first telecast of the spring on KCAL 9 and Sunday night on KFWB 980 is DodgerTalk at 8 p.m., followed by FSN Prime Ticket’s "Dodgers Live" at 10 p.m.

And I don’t know about all you, but I personally think too much pitching is a good problem to have. I’ve seen all the posts about Hendrickson vs. Tomko vs. Kuo, but it’s really great to see these guys thriving in competition — it will only make the team better.

Yes, it's him

The D.J. Strawberry on Maryland is, in fact, Darryl Jr., son of the former Dodger outfielder.

A real off day

From what I understand, it was a very quiet day at Dodgertown today, with everyone but Randy Wolf getting a day off. I’m still away from Vero Beach until the weekend and I head back on Sunday night, but things will pick back up again tomorrow with a split squad game, followed by the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka (and 100 media members in tow).

With the first telecast on KCAL 9 coming on Saturday, Vin Scully arrived in Dodgertown today, as did Frank and Jamie McCourt. Be sure to watch the game that day, as St. Patrick’s Day will be highlighted with green jerseys, green bases and plenty of good baseball, we hope.

The rest of the front office is back here in LA, getting things ready for Opening Day. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly this creeps up and how much has to get done before the Freeway Series. But, without sounding too corny, it’s something we all take pride in doing because we really do want to make this the best fan experience in all of baseball and hopefully you will all agree that it is…

March Madness

For some reason, there were hardly any comments on the last post and I think I know why. Everyone is trying to figure out who to pick in the NCAA Tournament and therefore they too preoccupied to waste away the day on Inside the Dodgers. So I’ll save you time by saying this: It doesn’t really matter who you pick – we’re all basically guessing anyway, so just put your picks in and get back to posting on the blog.

I actually find it very funny that at this time of year, everyone starts to pretend like they’ve been watching college basketball. Most sports fans can name the five top players in the country and can usually contribute a coach’s name when a team goes up on the board, but otherwise there isn’t really anyone I’ve ever met who could actually tell me whether Davidson actually could beat Notre Dame. Heck, most people can’t even tell me where Davidson is, let alone who plays for them. But for the record, I’ve got them upsetting the Fighting Irish (and I’ve finished fourth out of about 125 entries in the office pool two years in a row).

And then there are my beloved Indiana Hoosiers, who just might surprise some people this year. Then again, they might not. I know the whole team backwards and forwards and I still can’t tell you if they have any shot of holding off Gonzaga in the first round.

What does this all have to do with baseball or the Dodgers? Nothing, I guess. I just figured it was time to start a new post to get people talking again. So take this fun fact to the bank: Three different Dodgers all went to the University of South Alabama – Luis Gonzalez, Marlon Anderson and Juan Pierre. Too bad the Jaguars didn’t make it to the big dance.

Then there’s the random connection between Mark Hendrickson and the NCAA tournament – he actually played in it! Mark was at Washington State and played for Indiana’s current coach, Kelvin Sampson. (By the way, I have Oral Roberts upsetting Hendrickson’s Cougars in the first round).

As for the rest of the 40-man Dodgers, none of the other college guys have teams in the tourney. No Georgia Tech (Nomar), Pepperdine (Wolf), U. of Pacific (Houlton), Cal (Kent) or ASU (Ethier). But you better believe the non-rosters will be paying close attention, especially Travis Smith (Texas Tech) and Jonathan Meloan (U of Arizona).

Now get back to work…

Dodger Baseball, All Day

You can listen live to today’s game right now.

Tonight at 8 p.m. PT, DodgerTalk on KFWB 980 will have Andre Ethier as the guest.

Tonight at 10 p.m. PT, FSN Prime Ticket will air its show from Vero Beach.

In between the end of the game and DodgerTalk, entertain yourself with podcasts from KFWB or spend some time checking out the new community section of dodgers.com.

And don’t forget that Time Warner Cable subscribers can get regular updates on Dodgers on Demand and they’ve been really cool so far this spring.

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