May 2008

Rain…

It’s coming down pretty hard outside so I’m guessing the first pitch will be delayed, if the game gets in at all. Most talk is that we’d play a day-night double header tomorrow if we don’t get this one in, but as I type this in the clubhouse, everyone is preparing to play at 3:55 as scheduled. I guess that’s how you have to do it to stay ready to go.

Speaking of rain (this is arguably my worst transition ever), tickets for the Madonna show at Dodger Stadium on Nov. 6 go on sale tomorrow. She once had a song called “Rain.” Anyway, she’ll join a long list of incredible musicians to play at Dodger Stadium as part of the “Sweet & Sticky Tour”…what else can I say? I figured maybe some of you are big fans, right?

Moving on…it was 31 years ago today that Joe Torre the player became Joe Torre the manager and in fact, he was both at the same time for a few weeks. He’s gone on to become the only person in big league history with 2,000 hits as a player and 2,000 wins as a manager, which is a truly impressive feat.

For the Dodger history buffs, that same day J.R. Richard threw a complete game against the Dodgers in a 5-2 Houston win.

As for today’s game, same lineup as yesterday, with Billingsley on the bump. 

Pierre, LF

Kemp, CF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

DeWitt, 3B

Maza, SS

Billingsley, P

Youth is served

It’s pretty amazing that we’ve lost four in a row and haven’t managed to lose a game in the standings. Guess we should just say thanks and not wonder why.

Here’s the lineup tonight, which has six guys age 26 or less.

Pierre, LF

Kemp, CF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

DeWitt, 3B

Maza, SS

Kershaw, P

Put a tent over this place…

It’s a circus! We just got finished with the 40-plus media outlets that jammed into our dugout to talk to Joe Torre about his return to New York. I certainly understand why it’s a big story, but it certainly tells you how much this man was beloved here.

Of course, for all of us, the four World Championships and 12 straight playoff appearances are not something that comfort anyone while we’re losing. That was as frustrating a series as I can remember and I know that everyone knows we have to play better. I think we just have to feel fortunate that we didn’t lose any ground in the standings.

Meanwhile, despite arriving at 4:30 a.m., we popped over to Yankee Stadium today for a tour of the old and new stadiums and both are pretty cool for different reasons. Hard to believe that after this year, Dodger Stadium will be the third-oldest in baseball. As for Shea Stadium, barring a postseason return, this is our final series here and safe to say, I don’t know many who will miss this joint.

On the bright side, Jeff Kent is expected to play tonight so let’s hope he’s back on track with his three-hit game on Monday. Here’s the lineup:

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Maza, SS

Penny, P

Lowe down

Anyone else remember this game? Derek allowed an infield single to start the game at Wrigley Field and retired 26 of the next 28 guys for a complete-game one-hitter. I’d sure love to see that tonight before a late night departure for Manhattan.

Jeff Kent’s back is still tight so it’s a similar lineup to last night but with Russell back in the lineup so no in-game interviews with him today!

Speaking of Russell, safe to say that I’m pretty surprised he’s fourth in NL All-Star balloting. I’m fairly certain that putting on a full-bore campaign for him this year shouldn’t be necessary. The country knows who he is…now it’s up to Dodger fans to get out the vote up to 25 times each.

And, for all the Joe Beimel fans (and clearly there are many of you based on the Fans’ Vote Bobblehead), there will be a live chat with the lefty next Tuesday, June 3 at 2 p.m. PT.

Game’s on KCAL in Los Angeles, with the pregame show starting at 4:30 p.m. Larry Bowa will have his regular segment, plus plenty more from Eric Karros and Gary Miller. Here’s the lineup:

Pierre, LF

Maza, 2B

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Lowe, P

Brrr…

Wow. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a city go from so nice to so cold in a shorter amount of time. It’s 40 something degrees with 20 mph winds here, so it should make for an interesting game. Of course, both teams face the same elements, so it’ll come down to who handles them better and can get some offense going. I’d imagine that getting jammed with a pitch tonight won’t feel very good on the hands.

One lucky guy who doesn’t have to play in this weather is Russell Martin, who has tonight off. Right now he’s actually got my cell phone and is doing an “interview” with LA native Tyson Chandler, the center for the New Orleans Hornets. It’s part of an ESPN the Magazine piece that will be coming out soon, so keep a lookout for it.

As I type this, I’m also in the Wrigley Field visitor’s clubhouse, where it is easily the smallest locker room in the National League (and probably the Majors, though I’ve never been to Fenway). With ESPN here tonight, plus a ton of Japanese media to cover the big matchup between Kuroda and Fukudome, it’s a little tight in here. But, it’s the big leagues, so you won’t hear me complaining.

Actually, being in this clubhouse reminds me of a game here several years back when we lost 20-1 and poor Jose Antonio Nunez, who was a Rule 5 pick, had to just take the beating for the team. Afterward, there was tons of media on site (myself included, as I was covering the team that year for dodgers.com) and the tight confines of this clubhouse did not make for a happy group of Dodgers. Here’s hoping we’re the ones scoring 20 runs tonight.

I’d also like to send out get well wishes to Andruw Jones on behalf of the entire organization. He had his surgery this morning back in Los Angeles to clean up the tear in the meniscus of his right knee. I’m certainly hoping that the time away will fix him physically and get him back in a positive frame of mind when he gets back in four to six weeks.

As for tonight’s game, we are on FSN Prime Ticket and Blake DeWitt will be wearing a mic, so that should add a fun element to the broadcast. Here’s the lineup:

Pierre, LF

Maza, SS

Ethier, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Ardoin, C

Kuroda, P

Memorial Day

I hope everyone gets a moment today to stop and think about the significance of today. I know we’ll all be doing it at 3 p.m. at Wrigley Field, where the game will stop and everyone will pay tribute to those who have lost their lives fighting for our country.

Courtesy of retrosheet’s Dave Smith, here are some notes about Memorial Day in Dodger history:

In Brooklyn: 65 wins, 56 losses, 1 tie

In LA: 28 wins, 21 losses, 0 tie

All Dodgers (1890-2007): 93 wins, 77 losses, 1 tie

- Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 through 1970 (it started after the Civil War). From 1971 to now, the date changes as it is the last Monday in May. These records are for the official holiday dates from 1971 forward.
- The Dodgers played 58 doubleheaders on Memorial Day from 1890-1957 (68 seasons) and have three in Los Angeles. The last was 1980 in Cincinnati.
- The Dodgers have failed to play on Memorial Day in 8 seasons from 1890-2007.  These were: 1897, 1909, 1915, 1948, 1986, 1996, 2003, 2007.
- Of those 8 seasons with no games, the first three were Sundays and Brooklyn often did not play on Sundays in those years, especially at home.  In 1948 they were rained out and the four seasons in LA were years they were not scheduled. 

Here’s today’s lineup:

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Sweeney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Maza, SS

Billingsley, P

Suddenly on the radar

When we arrived at Spring Training in mid February, neither Clayton Kershaw nor Blake DeWitt was in big league camp and here it is, May 25, and they will both play key roles in today’s game and potentially, the course of the 2008 season for the Dodgers.

With Andruw now going down and joining Furcal, Nomar, and Schmidt on the DL, it’s a very different team than the one that showed up in Vero just three and a half months ago. It just goes to show how quickly things can change, when you consider that three and a half months from now, we’ll be in early September, hopefully gearing up for a pennant race. I guess it’s also a reminder of just how long the season is and how each game is extremely important, but is just one part of a huge puzzle. I think that’s how I manage to remain positive after tough losses and not get too excited after big wins. It’s a big picture, and hopefully we can all see it ending with a celebration in October.

Speaking of DeWitt, he’s the subject of Ken Levine’s blog entry as a write-in candidate for the All-Star Game. For those who do not know Ken, he’s one of the two hosts of postgame DodgerTalk on KABC 790 and the Sunday Night Sports Final, which airs tonight from 6-9 p.m. Josh Suchon, the other host, is set to fly with us to Chicago tonight, so Brian Kamenetzky will host alongside Ken this evening and there’s some good stuff coming your way.

In the eight o’clock hour, they’ll be interviewing Roy Gleason and for those who don’t know his story, check this article out from a few years ago.  In the nine o’clock hour, Maury Wills will be a guest, as we wind down the 1960s celebration and head toward the 70s for the month of June.

That’s the past. The present and future will be on display today at the stadium, with Clayton Kershaw taking the mound backed by Loney, Martin, Kemp, Ethier, DeWitt, and Hu. Here’s the actual lineup:

Pierre, LF

Maza, 2B

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Kershaw, P

 

Public Enemy No. 1

That’s what Vin Scully called Clayton Kershaw’s curveball back in Spring Training and it’ll be on display tomorrow at Dodger Stadium in his big league debut.

To make room for him, Esteban Loaiza was designated for assignment and Yhency Brazoban was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas…

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s the start of a very special career and tonight is the start of a nice winning streak. More for the park in a bit…

UPDATE:

Pierre, LF

Maza, 2B

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Penny, P

The latest…

beimel.jpgProps go to Joe Beimel, whose fivesome took home first place at yesterday’s Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational with a score of -17 under. As for the media groups, we did okay but were hardly contenders. A fivesome of myself and Mark Rogoff from our office was joined by Yahoo’s Tim Brown, KABC’s Josh Suchon and LA Times.com blogger Brian Kamenetzky and finished 10 under par. Joe Jareck from our office led a group with FSN’s Michael Eaves and Lya Vallat, KFWB’s Bill Seward and our TV stage director (Vin’s right-hand mand) Boyd Robertson and they were five under par.

But more importantly, we raised six figures again for the foundation, which is what really matters.

Some good chatter yesterday regarding Blake DeWitt’s year-end projections and not surprisingly, there were three “off-day” stories on him, as his hometown Cardinals are here for three games. Tony Jackson’s Daily News piece, Diamond Leung’s article in the Press Enterprise, and Dylan Hernandez’s feature in the L.A. Times. They’re all good reading about a very humble and talented third baseman.

As for today, Raffy is not yet ready to come off the DL, so no moves will be made today. And nothing new yet on the Kershaw front, though speculation is certainly running rampant.

Here’s the lineup:

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Lowe, P

Sweeping feeling

Now that was a pretty solid series all around…I’m sure there are naysayers who will point out that the Reds’ record is four games under .500, but it’s important to remember that they were the hottest team in baseball when they arrived, winners of six in a row.

In any event, I also wanted to make sure that all of you knew about this weekend’s luncheon where you can meet and get autographs from the Dodgers’ stars of the 1960s. You can purchase online, if you’re interested, but for more information, visit this page.

And finally, as we head out tomorrow for the Dodgers Dream Foundation Golf tournament, I’ll leave you all to ponder this thought, which I’ve been wondering the last 24 hours or so.

Given how well Blake DeWitt is playing (.325, 4 HR, 23 RBI), he’s on pace for 14 homers and 81 RBI, not to mention the fact that he’s yet to make an out with the bases loaded (6-for-6). The question is, what is your reasonable expectation of him for the season, given all that you know. Is it fair to think he’s going to hit .325 all year? If not, what is fair for a guy who has never played over Double-A and wasn’t even on the 40-man entering Spring Training. And do you think he’s going to hit more than 14 homers and drive in more than 80 runs, or is it more likely in your mind that he’ll experience some growing pains this season?

Just some food for thought on an off day…no right answers and I certainly hope he can keep up the incredible offense and defensive contributions. Curious to see what you all think.

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