June 2007

Pepe's Punchout

Have you already voted 25 times for Russ with every legit email address you have and now you’re wondering what else you can do to get the most deserving catcher to the All-Star Game next month?

Come on down tonight between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., where we will be hosting Pepe’s Punchout. Spanish-language broadcaster Pepe Yniguez, who might not be well known to all Dodger fans but is one of the nicest people you could ever meet (and a very talented broadcaster), is going to host a rally where fans can punch out as many ballots as possible before tonight’s game. FSN Prime Ticket’s Kevin Kennedy will also be making an appearance and Russell is going to try and pop in to thank all you guys for what you’ve done before he has to get ready for the game. You’ll also get to see the cable cars that are featured in FOX’s TV commercials for the All-Star Game.

AllstartrolleyIn Spring Training, we took last year’s All-Stars, Brad Penny and Nomar Garciaparra up to Port St. Lucie to film these spots with several of the Mets’ All-Stars and the results will be seen all over TV for the next month. Here’s one version of the commercial, which only shows Nomar briefly but others will be far more Dodgerized.

As for Russell, it’s really amazing how much this campaign has worked to help him overcome the early deficit and raise his national profile. He’s been featured all over the country in stories by the CBS Sportsline, Daily News, L.A. Times, Toronto Star, Toronto Star again, MLB.com and the Associated Press, which will appear in papers everywhere (according to a quick Google search, there were at least 15 that ran it this morning). There are upcoming features in Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com and next week, he’s going to be on Extra as one of America’s Most Eligible Bachelors. He’s appeared on countless TV stations in Los Angeles (KCAL, FSN Prime Ticket, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) and Canada (TSN, RDS and more) and he’s been given his own myspace page, You Tube video and is the subject of countless blogs both in the States and in Canada.

Keep up the good work and hopefully you’ll all get a chance to make it out to the rally tonight or to the stadium over the weekend against the Angels, as in-stadium balloting ends Sunday.

Murray dismissed

This press release will be going out momentarily…

DODGERS DISMISS MURRAY
Mueller to serve as Interim Hitting Coach

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers announced today that they have dismissed Hitting Coach Eddie Murray and have named Bill Mueller as Interim Hitting Coach, according to Dodger Manager Grady Little.

“Change is never easy but sometimes it is necessary and we feel that this is the best thing right now to help the team win,” said Little. “Our offense hasn’t lived up to our expectations and no one person is responsible for the results we’ve had this season.  I have the utmost respect for Eddie Murray as a person and as a professional and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Mueller retired at the end of the 2006 season with a lifetime batting average of .291 in 11 seasons with the Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers. In 2003, he won the American League batting title and Silver Slugger Award and in 2004, he was a key member of the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Upon announcing his retirement, Mueller was named Special Assistant to General Manager Ned Colletti this offseason.

“Bill Mueller will serve as a very solid bridge as we look for our next hitting coach,” said Colletti. “He already has a great reputation within the clubhouse and he has a very deep knowledge of our team and the rest of the league.”

Lineup

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Betemit, 3B

Kemp, RF

Abreu, 2B

Penny, P

Cooperstown, here he comes

Still can’t get the photo of Gonzalez and Murray to post correctly, but oh well. It’s a cool shot so I’m sure it’ll be in Dodger Magazine as well as other places.

Meanwhile, another historic night at the stadium yesterday. Hong-Chih Kuo became the first Taiwanese player in Major League history to hit a homer and his batting helmet is headed to the Hall of Fame. Three homers on three pitches, capped off by Kuo’s unintended bat flip (he felt really bad when he realized he had done it, as he wasn’t trying to show up the Mets).

It’s the first time in Dodger franchise history that they’ve hit three homers consecutively that included the pitcher and only the seventh time that’s ever happened in the Majors.

Meanwhile, we’re heading to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in a couple of hours with Randy Wolf, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Frank McCourt for a visit with the patients there. Each year, we probably have about three hospital visits and these are easily the heaviest days of the season. It’s amazing to see these kids’ faces when a player walks into their hospital room and you just hope that it gives them enough encouragement to deal with unfathomable circumstances in their daily lives.

Tonight's game

A very nice win last night over a very good team and a very good pitcher. And for those who came out, they got to see a little piece of history when Luis Gonzalez doubled twice, passing Eddie Murray for 19th place on the all-time. Afterward, as we always try to do, we got a few photos for the Dodger archives and/or future museum and kept the base for the same purposes, while Gonzo kept the baseballs. It was a little weird lugging the base around the stadium at the end of the night, as those are heavier than you’d think. I’m trying to post the photo but this program is giving me fits, so I’ll try again later.

Also, one key thing to keep in mind when voting for Russell. I know some of you have mentioned that you have made up email addresses and voted with those and while your dedication is greatly appreciated and extremely impressive, those votes won’t count. They verify all addresses before the votes count so no need to fake an aol account as some of you have posted.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Vote for Martin, C

Betemit, 3B

Kemp, RF

Kuo, P

Logan White chat

Don’t forget that Logan White will be hosting a live web chat today at 2 p.m. PT to talk about all the new kids in the organization from last week’s draft.

Russell's impressive jump

I attribute Russell Martin’s unbelievable jump into first place in NL All-Star voting to four things.

1) His incredible play all year long

2) L.A.’s fans finally saying "Enough is enough."

3) The team’s campaign that has spanned two continents and involved tons of time and effort from the entire front office.

4) This You Tube video.

But your work is not yet done. There’s only 12,000 votes separating Martin from Lo Duca and New York is big enough to make a push. I’m sure most of you have voted 25 times but if you’ve got another address, vote again. And get your friends to vote. Just two weeks left!

Tonight's lineup

Yes, it’s true. Russell is now in first place in what has to be the quickest anyone has made up a 150,000 vote deficit ever. Hopefully will get to post more later but for now, here’s the lineup. Keep up the great work!

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Gonzo, LF

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Abreu, 3B

Wolf, P

Russ is in first!!!!

Keep it going…he just passed Paul Lo Duca but is only up by 13,000 votes. You guys are really impressive but our work is not yet done!

An update from De Jon Watson

It’s been a couple weeks, so as promised, here’s what De Jon Watson has been up to the last couple of weeks:

"I started in Jacksonville and had a chance to see the club for the first time. I met up with Peter Bragan Jr., the owner, so that we could talk with him about the club — what some of his needs were and our needs for some our players, as far as making public appearances and that type of stuff. We also talked about the facility itself, trying to address the hitter’s background there. Those are some of the things we covered.

I had a chance to see Chin-lung Hu who is playing extremely well there and so is Xavier Paul. Some of the pitchers like Jonathan Meloan, who we saw in big league camp, pitched very well while I was there.

I left there and went to Vero Beach, where I got to see some of the guys in Extended Spring Training. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Extended is primarily for our younger players, including those from Latin America who are here for the first time and some of the guys we drafted last year who need a little more training before they break camp with a full-season club. Some of them played at Ogden or Vero Beach (for the Gulf Coast Dodgers) last year and we feel like they need a little more instruction.

The way Extended works is, we play five games a week and we have two "camp" days. We play against teams like the Mets, the Cardinals and the Marlins and we can keep track of who is progressing and who’s not progressing or any areas we need to address. We have one kid by the name of James Peterson who is actually leaving for the Great Lakes club because his bat was so advanced, so that was a positive. There was another kid, Tommy Giles, who also went to Great Lakes and Joey Norrito, who was with a full season club last year, didn’t break camp this year but was pitching so well we moved him up to Double-A and now he’s in the rotation there.

I had a couple of the roving coordinators there with us — our pitching coordinator, Marty Reed, hitting coordinator Bill Robinson and catching coordinator Travis Barbary and I spent some time with them.

From there I went down to the Dominican Republic to evaluate the overall roster down there and see which kids were going to get the majority of the playing time. We have two kids that are going to be making it over to the States that are going to play in the Gulf Coast League that were originally not scheduled to come.  Geison Aguavisas, a left-handed starter who will be in our rotation in the GCL and Kelvin Dominguez, a situational left-hander who has a chance to be pretty good down the road with an above-average breaking ball.

The trip itself was five days in the DR and I got to spend time with staff and make sure we’re implementing the overall philosophy in the DR that we do in the States.

From the DR, I flew back to Miami and drove to Jacksonville again, spent a little more time there and then went back home to Arizona. Then last week, I came out here for the draft and my job there is really to just give an overview of what we have in place at our Ogden club and Gulf Coast League club and talk about the overall needs, if there are any, at a particular postion and then to keep track of the new players we’re getting and where they’re going to play once they sign.

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