May 2008

Team Travel

As many of you have been reading, one of the regular contributors to this blog is Scott Akasaki, our manager of team travel. Some of you know about him, but now the whole world does, as he was featured in recent article of Forbes magazine.

His latest post is below…

For a couple of years, our team would not stay at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee because of rumored ghost visitations to our players’ rooms.  I recall hearing a story about a former third baseman on our team who left the hotel in the middle of the night because he woke up after all the lights in his room were turned on.  Problem was he distinctly remembers turning all the lights off before falling asleep.

On our most recent trip to Milwaukee, we checked in to The Pfister Hotel once again simply because hotel is probably the best hotel in Milwaukee.  At the end of our brief stay there, I did not hear of any visitations from the supernatural but there might have been a few player pranks in the works.  One player who did not make the trip told me yesterday that if we stayed there again next year, he already wants a room in a different hotel.

There are actually enough ghost stories in baseball that there is a book titled “Haunted Baseball” and a website that shares the same name.  Some of our players have stories themselves from their minor league days to urban legends that they have heard over the years.

UPDATE

Today’s lineup is the same as yesterday’s, but since I never got around to posting that one, here it is…

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Kuroda, P

Catchers…coming and going

As you might have heard by now, Mike Piazza officially announced his retirement today and all of us at the Dodgers wish him the best of luck. There’s never been a better offensive catcher in the history of the game – you can make an argument that a few might have been as good, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one better. The fact that he was a 62nd-rounder for the Dodgers tells you a lot about the player development system and his desire to reach the Major Leagues. He clearly became one of the fan favorites during his time in Los Angeles, which came to an end 10 years ago last Friday. His rightful place in Cooperstown awaits him in 2013 and we all wish nothing but the best for him and his family.

As for catchers coming and going, Gary Bennett is headed to the disabled list today and Danny Ardoin’s contract has been purchased from Las Vegas, sending Jason Schmidt to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Ardoin on the 40-man roster.

No medical update that I’m aware of on Andruw Jones’ right knee as of right now, but you can tune in after tonight’s game to see FSN’s Before the Bigs on him, as they traveled to Curacao during the winter and spoke to everyone who knew him before he became a teenage World Series hero. The series they’ve done includes Russell Martin, Bill Mueller, Brad Penny, Randy Wolf and several others, and it shows the “other” side of these guys that we see in uniform night after night.

Lineup to be posted as an update later this afternoon…

Dusty, Sutton, Lefebvre…it's like a reunion at the yard

All sorts of former Dodgers here, between the Reds’ manager Dusty Baker, Nationals broadcaster Don Sutton (who is here promoting awareness for his cancer foundation), Jim Lefebvre (who is here with the Chinese National Baseball Team)…throw in Ron Cey, who walked by my office a few minutes ago and it’s quite an impressive lot. I think it’s something we take for granted, sometimes, just how many former players are involved in the organization in one way or another, so it’s cool to see so many here at one time.

In fact, there will be a lot more this weekend as we celebrate the 60s, with a luncheon at the stadium that fans can purchase tickets to (email fanfeeback@ladodgers.com for info), the photo day on Sunday which will inclue 60s guys and even a 60s themed fireworks show on Friday…break out the tie-dye shirts and come on down to the yard.

Meanwhile, Andruw Jones is out of the lineup with a “crank right knee” as Joe Torre put it, though he said he could play if he had to. Furcal is eligible to come off on Wednesday but Joe thinks it’s more likely to be on Friday.  Here’s the group taking the field tonight against the Reds…

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Penny, P

Rubber game

I figured after posting back-to-back lineups that got changed minutes after I put them up, there was no point in posting yesterdays. It seems to have worked, as the lineup stayed the same and the team came through with a nice win.

It’s pretty amazing that there are nine different nationalities on the team and yesterday was the first time in baseball history that a Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese pitcher appeared in the same game. The globalization of baseball is really something that’s hard to fathom.

No lineup to post yet, but in case I don’t get to it later, don’t forget to tune into the Sunday night show on KABC 790 from 7-10 p.m. tonight. Wes Parker is the 60s guest of the week, as we gear up for next weekend’s 60s celebration at Dodger Stadium. I wasn’t around then, but for those of you who were fans in the 60s, what’s your favorite memory of that decade?

Tonight's lineup

Down in Anaheim, here’s what’s doing…DeWitt with another day off so Russ returns to the hot corner again.

Pierre, DH

Jones, CF

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Martin, 3B

Loney, 1B

Ethier, LF

Maza, SS

Bennett, C

Kuroda, P

Day game…brat, anyone?

The worst part about missing the Milwaukee trip (other than not seeing last night’s come-from-behind clutch victory), is that they have some of the best press box food in the game, including bratwurst that can only be enjoyed in Wisconsin.  So in honor of it, last night I watched the game on TV while BBQing burgers and dogs. Not quite the same.

Luis Maza gets his first big league start today. Kemp gets the day off…should be back in there tomorrow, as Torre said he thinks Pierre or Sweeney will DH in Anaheim. Here’s the lineup against Ben Sheets:

Pierre, LF

Jones, CF

Ethier, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

DeWitt, 3B

Maza, SS

Billingsley, P

Tonight's game

Pierre, LF

Jones, CF

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Lowe, P

Blue Crew vs. Brew Crew

Read a very interesting article today on Andruw Jones, lest anyone believe that his horrible start to the season isn’t bothering him. I know that a lot of people would like for him to snap and run renegade on a Powerade container a la Carlos Perez, but I think we all know that it probably won’t help him raise his batting average.

I’m as bummed about it as any fan out there and I’m guessing the only person who feels worse is Andruw himself.

In any event, he’s out of the lineup for tonight and here’s who is in it…

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

DeWitt, 3B

Hu, SS

Penny, P

Furcal medical update

A heads up to all that Rafael Furcal did not make the trip to Milwaukee and instead, saw spine specialist Dr. Robert Watkins. He had an MRI which showed no change from last September – in fact, it looked better. However, he will get a cortisone shot tomorrow and will start rehab here in Los Angeles on Wednesday with our physical therapist, Sue Falsone.

Assuming Raffy is put on the DL tomorrow, we’ll have a corresponding move at that time.

On a lighter note, check out these hilarious spots from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier for Easton. I guess this might have made the rounds already, but I hadn’t seen it until today.

Midwest Air

As the team heads to Milwaukee for three games, I’ll be staying in Los Angeles preparing for the upcoming homestand, as well as a number of other events on the calendar.

For those of you Hollywood fans, we had quite a few celebs show up this weekend, including Matthew McConaughey and Pamela Anderson and Kristi Yamaguchi, among others. If you’re into that sort of thing, be sure to mark your calendar for Hollywood Stars, which is June 21 this year, and will actually be after the day game instead of before a night game this year. It’s always a pretty cool event and we’re looking to add a few twists to it this year.

The day before that (June 20), we’ll be getting our Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the morning, which is open to the public and definitely worth seeing if you’ve never witnessed one of those ceremonies. Yeah, I know that if you live in LA, you usually only venture to the Walk of Fame when you’re with tourists, but having seen two of the ceremonies for Jim Hill and the late Stu Nahan, it’s a cool thing to check off on life’s “to do” list.

And finally, I know there was some chatter in yesterday’s comments about Joe Torre’s pregame statements on Andre Ethier. For what it’s worth, I actually think he was talking about Andruw Jones when he said what he said. I was there when the discussion took place and it was a little confusing at the time…I think the reporter said “Andre” but Joe heard “Andruw” and it resulted in the statement that Andre was searching for his swing. In any event, I don’t think it was malicious intent by the reporter(s) who wrote it…just something that happens over the course of a 162-game season, which includes 324 media sessions with Joe.

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