July 2008

Want to meet the Dodgers?

 

Dodgers-Trolley.jpgBefore I get into all of the upcoming player appeareances, hopefully you all have heard that the City of Los Angeles is restoring transportation from Union Station to Dodger Stadium before and after the remaining home games this season. The Dodgers Trolley kicks off tomorrow night and should be a great way to help fans save time spent in traffic, money spent on gas, parking, etc. I hope that those of you in LA will take the chance to ride it and give us your feedback. All information you’ll need is at this link.

Meanwhile, talk about a golden opportunity to meet your favorite Dodgers…tons of autograph opportunities coming up in the next week or so, including three different ones on Saturday. Sunday’s game is autograph day for kids, with various players at the turnstiles from 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon. If you can’t make it to Dodger Stadium (or you’re not a kid), they’re coming your way…

Tomorrow, July 25 – 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Blake DeWitt at:

Staples Los Angeles

11341 National Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 445-4041

 

Saturday, July 26 – 12:00 p.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Chad Billingsley at:

AT&T Los Angeles

3764 Wilshire Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90010

(213) 388-9444

 

Saturday, July 26 – 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Corey Wade at:

Wal-Mart Santa Clarita

25450 Old Road

Valencia, CA 91381

(661) 253-1911

 

Saturday, July 26 – 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Jeff Kent at:

MACY’s Northridge – Men’s Department

9301 Tampa Ave # 2500

Northridge, CA 91324

(818) 885-6611

 

Saturday, August 2 – 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Andre Ethier at:

AT&T

3851 Overland Ave

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 559-2019

The 10-game  homestand kicks off tomorrow with tons and tons of stuff going on at the stadium, starting with Brad Penny’s bobblehead. As Vin says, “hope you’ll make plans to be a part of it.”

Today's game…rubber match

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Nomar, SS

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

LaRoche, 3B

Ardoin, C

Kuroda, P

BlackBerry and Cell Phone Equal More Flexibilty

The latest post from Team Travel Manager Scott Akasaki…

I am in amazement at the volume of e-mails, text messages, and cell phone calls I make throughout the course of a typical work day.  Like other professions, the advent of the BlackBerry has transformed the speed at which the Major League Baseball traveling secretary can conduct business.  Flights, hotel reservations, rental cars, ticket requests, and any other special handling can now be managed with one’s wireless device.  I happen to use the BlackBerry Pearl and I pray that it always has battery life and the keys do not malfunction.
 
Last night at a postgame dinner, I wondered out loud how the traveling secretary’s job was done without a cell phone or e-mail as recent as 15 years ago.  Joe Torre said that with the improvements in communication (cell phone, e-mail, text messages, fax machines, etc.) player moves (promotions, send downs, rehab assignments) occur with more frequency and rapidity than ever before.  Research would probably support the theory that player movement is more prevalent now than in the decades before.
 
The other night when we called up Clayton Kershaw from Jacksonville, his travel arrangements (and the communication to get him the proper information) were all made through e-mail and text messages.  His travel was booked and the information was given to him in less than 30 minutes — all this while I was in Denver and he was on a bus headed toward Jacksonville.  A grasp of technology has certainly given those in professional baseball the freedom to move at a much more rapid pace. 
 

Clayton's Place

He’s back in Los Angeles…well, Denver, I guess. Eric Stults will return to Vegas and Joe Torre said that we’ll need a fifth starter for Tuesday. Jason Johnson is an option but Penny won’t be ready yet. He threw a ‘pen today and assuming all is well, is on target for rehab this weekend.

Pierre could be back to play by this weekend after a short rehab stint this week. That will certainly make some decisions tougher for Joe Torre, but he seems like that’s a good thing. He told the media pregame that Andre and Matt have made great strides since Juan went down and he’s still not sure how he’s going to juggle the lineup but that it will be day to day based on what team gives us the best chance to win.

In positive news, Scott Proctor threw off the mound today for the first time and Ken Howell was cleared by the docs to resume coaching this weekend.

Here’s tonight’s lineup…let’s see if we can one-up last night’s first-inning performance:

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Nomar, SS

Jones, CF

LaRoche, 3B

Kershaw, P

Rocky Road

No, that’s not the flavor of ice cream in the offices for first place, though I wish I had thought of it earlier and recommended it.

Lots of upcoming autograph appearances for our players in the community, so check back soon for a list of those.

Also, great stuff coming up in this homestand, too, so for those of you locals, be on the lookout for all of that information (i.e. Brad Penny’s bobblehead night this Friday, Autograph Day for Kids on Sunday, etc.).

Here’s tonight’s lineup at Denver…

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

LaRoche, 3B

Berroa, SS

Stults, P

UPDATE: Ice cream flavors were Gold Medal Ribbon and Cookie Dough.

UPDATE 2: LaRoche will play the entire series…Nomar just a little achy, which is why he’s out…Kershaw could be up again soon according to Joe Torre and when he comes up, he’s likely up for the rest of the year…Jason Johnson will be the long man out of the bullpen going forward…Sweeney’s activation is on hold and we’ll have a plan for him by the time the road trip is over…we’re looking at a weekend rehab outing for Penny and an early August return to the bigs.

Just when you think hope is lost…

How about that finish?

Safe to say that if the end of September comes around and the Dodgers reach the postseason, this will be the game that everyone points to as the turning of the tide.

Of course, there’s still plenty of baseball to be played and a dramatic comeback of this nature doesn’t change the fact that we’re still two games under .500, which is going to have to change if we have any thoughts of reaching the playoffs, let alone advancing in them. But, this is a game where the team showed character and grit…

It’s just the sort of momentum we need going into Coors Field, where we have struggled of late, before heading home for a long homestand.

As for the question about first place ice cream – YES! – there will be some in the offices tomorrow and hopefully the next day, which would mean we picked up a game on the D-backs and moved into sole possesion of the top spot for the first time since April. Every little step is important and today’s game was as big as they get.

 

Tonight's game…

Shooting for sole possession of first place…

Kemp, CF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Nomar, SS

Loney, 1B

Young, LF

DeWitt, 3B

Bills, P

Your chance to congratulate Russell…

We got a nice call from a longtime Dodger fan, Dr. Bob Filep, who was so impressed with the way Russell played during the All-Star Game, he wanted a forum where fans could express their gratitude and congratulations to him. So, what better way than right here, where so many of you visit regularly already?

Feel free to leave your congratulatory messages here for Russell and I’ll pass along the stack when I see him next week. While I can’t make it a habit of bringing messages to the players every day or my entire day would be spending doing so, I think this is a special occasion and he deserves to know what you all think…

 UPDATE:

Tonight’s lineup:

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Martin, C

Kent, 2B

Nomar, SS

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Kuroda, P

A night for the ages

I think it’s safe to say that very few people who took part in last night’s game, attended it, or even watched it on TV, will forget it anytime soon. For a year, there’s been hype surrounding the All-Star Game and the farewell to Yankee Stadium that it would afford. I’ve tried not to believe the hype but I actually think in this instance, it lived up to it, and then some.

Who knew Russell would come in during the fourth inning and play for 10 more? Or that the AL would threaten to score repeatedly during extra innings, only to get turned away time and again? Brandon Webb had completely ruled himself out for the game unless in an absolutely emergency and sure enough, there he was setting down the AL late in the game.

And how about J.D. Drew? The man so many Dodger fans grew to dislike because he didn’t show his emotions was clearly the runaway MVP, hitting the game’s only homer among three hits. A Red Sox player, in Yankee Stadium, helping the AL get home field advantage and still getting booed mercilessly.

All of that doesn’t even take into account the pregame ceremonies, which were as memorable as any I’d seen before. I spent the first few minutes of it in the National League dugout but as things got a little crowded, I wandered through a service tunnel and eventually watched the remainder of it from the visitor’s bullpen in left field.

Once the game started, I actually watched the first couple of innings from a perch high atop the foul pole in right field with several people from our offices before heading down to a suite around 10 p.m. for a meeting with some MLB colleagues. Then, I was fortunate to be given a tenth-row ticket behind the NL dugout for what I figured would be the final two and a half innings. It was there we watched the rest of the drama unfold.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I found myself rooting strongly for the NL like never before. I know a lot of people were against the idea of the All-Star Game deciding home field advantage and I was one of them. It did seem like an overreaction to the 2002 tie game in Milwaukee. But it absolutely changed the tenor of the game last night and no one who saw the NL’s fist-pumping reaction after getting out of a bases loaded, no out jam could argue that.

Unfortunately, I spent the better part of the extra innings going back and forth on my blackberry between Ned Colletti, Stan Conte and Kenji Nimura, the interpreter for Saito. As you probably know by now, the news on Saito was not good – he’s got a sprained ligament in his elbow – and he’s going to need six weeks to rehab it before we reevaluate the situation. The news was complicated by the fact that Saito wanted to make sure his family heard from him, not the news media (and rightfully so), so we were in a holding pattern for about an hour as midnight closed in at Yankee Stadium.

By the time it was all over, seemingly everyone in the stadium was emotionally and physically drained, from the players to the fans and the media. It was 1:40 when the game ended and nearly 3 a.m. by the time we actually got back to the hotel. But throughout the extra innings, I just kept wondering what the teams would do had they run out of pitchers. Thankfully, it didn’t happen and unfortunately, the AL’s dominance continued.

One final thought that I’ll leave everyone with was something that popped into my head around the 13th inning. I’m wondering why we select All-Star based on what they do in the first half of the season, rather than the entire year that transpires from one All-Star break to the next. It would seem a lot more fair to do that and a lot more likely that the right people would be selected. In reality, if you have a hot couple of months to start the year, you’re suddenly an All-Star and that’s an honor that should not be taken lightly.

One last All-Star Game for Jaime Jarrin

The legendary Jaime Jarrin is hangin’ up the headset when it comes to All-Star Games and postseason…unless of course the Dodgers are in the playoffs.

When we were at Shea Stadium earlier this year, Jaime told me that he had made up his mind to make this his final All-Star Game after handling play-by-play for 20 different Midsummer Classics. He also travels to the playoffs each year and he’s decided not to do that, either, as it’s prime time for traveling around the world in the event that the Dodgers aren’t playing in October.

The Daily News’ Tony Jackson caught up with Jaime yesterday, who explained his decision.

Not too much more can be said about Josh Hamilton’s performance last night. The stadium was electric and I can only imagine what it will be like tonight with all the Hall of Famers on hand. While I’m here in NY, Rick Monday and his wife, Barbaralee, are headed to the White House for dinner with the president following a third-base coaching stint on the lawn for a t-ball game.

Otherwise, it’s relatively quiet. The All-Star Red Carpet parade is making its way through Central Park right now which is one reason to get out of the hotel room and wander the streets of Manhattan. I hope to post more tonight at the game, but with the enormous volume of media on hand, there isn’t really a place for me to set up my laptop and I haven’t figure out yet how to post from the blackberry. I’ll keep working on it.

What I do know is that Tommy Lasorda will be reading the lineups on FOX for the NL, which needs a win in a ridiculous way. Even if it weren’t deciding home field advantage, the Senior Circuit needs to snap the streak and hopefully Russell’s game-winning hit will be the difference.

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