Late again, but only in the second inning:
Rather than come to San Francisco for the off day, Ken Gurnick went to Salt Lake City to catch up with the 51s in their home opener and was rewarded by watching James Loney hit the first pitch he saw for a 440-foot homer. Here’s Ken’s report from Utah and as expected, James is handling himself like a professional so everyone can step back off the ledge now!
Most of the other news of the day was about Jason Schmidt’s return to San Francisco, though he won’t pitch this weekend. There were good stories in the Riverside Press Enterprise, L.A. Times, Orange County Register and Sacramento Bee, the last of which comes from veteran baseball scribe Nick Peters.
The Daily News’ Tony Jackson took a very interesting angle this morning, too. He talked to Juan Pierre about almost becoming a Giant during the offseason, which was closer than most people realize.
As for the team, it was a quiet day in San Francisco, as we didn’t land until 3:00 a.m. PT (5 a.m. body time), so most people slept in or just relaxed on the off day. A few of us escaped to see Will Farrell’s movie, Blades of Glory, and now it’s off for some morning Dim Sum in San Francisco.
As some of you might have heard Vin Scully announce on the broadcast, the entire Dodger team will wear No. 42 on April 15 in a tribute to Jackie Robinson. There are all sorts of great events planned for that day, but given that Jackie was a Dodger, it is most fitting that we honor his accomplishments in this fashion. We’ve been planning how best to do this for quite some time and this is just one of the great things in store for April 15.
Additionally, in response to the comments regarding Ken Gurnick’s story on James Loney but without speaking for anyone in baseball operations, I can say this: It is completely understandable that when a player gets sent down to the minors and feels as though he’s ready to be in the big leagues, he’s going to be disappointed. It’s also a very good thing for a team to have more big league caliber players than you have spots on the roster. Sometimes baseball, like life, isn’t fair.
That said, I think the quotes from James’ agent make it pretty clear that he is not demanding a trade (nor does he really have the ability to do so) and there’s no one here that is looking to ship him off in exchange for nothing in return. I’m hopeful that Ned will address this publicly in the near future should one of the reporters ask him, but since you’ve asked for a response from me, this is the best I can give in the middle of the game. In short, my advice would be not to panic or believe that just because there’s a story about this means that it’s going to happen.
Just took a cab over to Miller Park and sure enough, it’s snowing outside. Makes you really appreciate living in Los Angeles, though I’m guessing many of you are outside of LA and dealing with cold weather, too. Good thing there’s a roof on this park.
In regards to Russell’s music, he said he’s open to all suggestions. Last year he had hip hop and I asked him if we should keep the requests to that and he said no, so feel free to suggest whatever you think fits. Again, there will be a page on the site where you can suggest them, so for now just give it some thought.
Today’s lineup is the same as Opening Day:
And, in the organization’s continued effort to make parking a little easier on Opening Day, keep this in mind.
In order to accommodate as many fans as possible, the Dodgers are offering an Early Bird Parking/Carpool Special to fans that carpool (at least 4 fans per automobile) and park in Lot 15. These fans will receive a free ticket for each passenger to a future game if they arrive at Dodger Stadium at 9:30 a.m. and park in Lot 15, which is the lot located above the Think Blue sign.
This offer is limited to the first 600 automobiles. Lot 15 is a special access parking lot that is only utilized during sold out games. Fans will need to enter via the Academy Gate (off of Academy road across from the Police Academy) between 9:30 am and 10:15 am. In addition to the free ticket for a future game, fans that carpool and park in Lot 15 will have early access to Opening Day batting practice via the Left Field Pavilion.
You must have tickets to Opening Day in order to participate in this special offer. Additionally, the lots on Stadium Way near the LAFD Training Facility will cost just $5.
Still getting back into the swing of posting the lineup before the game. Doesn’t do much good at this point, but it is:
Pierre, Martin, Nomar, Kent, Gonzalez, Kemp, Betemit, Martinez, Wolf
Russell’s already 2-for-2, which is good to see. I guess I don’t need to point out that equaled yesterday’s hit total in the first four batters today.
Also, I talked to Russell today and he’s going to have you guys recommend song ideas for when he comes up to hit, so be on the lookout for that on the site. Strangely, one of my side jobs has become the liaison between the players and the Dodger Stadium DJ, so I was asking around today to see what songs guys want. Can’t say I thought this was what I’d be doing when I was growing up…
One final thought on the one guy who seems to like posting ridiculous things in the comments section. If you keep replying to him, he’ll keep doing it. If you ignore him, he will go away just like he did last year.
Most of you watched what I watched today, so there’s no real need to recap. Ben Sheets is pretty darn impressive and that’s going to happen from time to time this year, so we’ll chalk it up as a tough loss and start anew in the morning.
Opening Day is always special, but it’s definitely different when you’re on the road than when you’re at home. It seemed mellow today — usually we’re crazy busy and running around, but with less media, less fans and less work to do on the road, I’ll anxiously await the home opener next Monday.
To answer the question about what’s planned, there’s actually quite a bit coming your way. Taylor Swift, who is one of the most popular up and coming country music stars, is going to perform a short concert as well as the national anthem. Steve Sax, who was my favorite player when I was growing up, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in honor of the 25th anniversary of his rookie season. There will be a flyover and other military involvement and several other interesting elements to the pregame ceremony, so be sure to get there early. And, if at all possible, try to carpool, as everyone knows that Opening Day is the toughest day of the year to park. That’s because everyone is coming from work, so there are far less cars that carry entire families and more people driving just themselves.
In response to the question about Dodgers Live and the Scully/Uecker interview, it was definitely a treat to see those two together on the screen, but that won’t be able to be put on Dodgers on Demand, as FSN doesn’t send their content to Time Warner on Demand. All of what you’ll see on Dodgers on Demand is original content from Tony Kinkela and his crew, who have worked incredibly hard to bring you original programming all spring and will continue to do so throughout the year.
Speaking of Bob Uecker, someone drew the comparison to the movie "Major League" from today’s game. It started with the first play of the game, the dribbler in front of the mound for a hit. And then someone joked in the end that Charley would turn to Rick and say, "Two hits? All we got was two @#$%! hits?" Like I said, it just wasn’t our day.
But, in classy fashion, Ned Colletti took the entire traveling party to dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. All of the baseball operations staff, coaches, trainers, broadcasters, PR guy and photographer were treated to a very nice dinner to celebrate the start of the season.
And speaking of the photographer, I’m assuming most of you realize that the photo album is updated almost every day by Jon SooHoo or one of his great photographers. We are basically the only team in baseball whose site has a daily photo album, so please be sure to take a look after each game.
On the plane, about to take off and Grady just gave me tomorrow’s lineup.
Hopefully you’ll be watching from one of the bars or restaurants in the Home Base Network.