October 2008

Breaking News…

Derek Lowe has been named the Game 4 starter.

We've got our work cut out for us…

Touched down last night about 1:30 a.m. and caught a few hours of sleep before heading back to the stadium this morning. We’ve got a workout here in an hour and a half and plenty of media on site to take care of.

For those who are a little nervous about the first two losses – and I completely understand if you are – just remember that in the 1955, ’65 and ’81 World Series, we dropped the first two on the road and came home to sweep three and then win it all on the road. Plus, with 10 games against the Phillies this year, the home team has won them all, so perhaps we’ll be facing a Game 7 in Philadelphia needed to break that trend.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you’re all coming down here tomorrow.

Jimmy John's

It’s a gorgeous day in Philadelphia…couldn’t actually be much nicer. Here’s hoping we head home on a positive note – with a Game 2 victory.

Meanwhile, for those of you who think Andre Ethier is only willing to try exotic foods for Dining with ‘Dre, here’s something that might surprise people. Each of the last three days, he’s “dined” at Jimmy John’s, a local sandwich shop. How do I know this? Because I was in there today when he stopped in. I had never heard of it before one appeared in Bloomington, Indiana, where I went to college. It became a favorite of mine and when I stumbled upon it today, I had to grab a Turkey Tom. I guess Andre is a fan of the Italian Night Club.

On a much more somber note, our sincere condolences go out to Charlie Manuel, whose mother passed away today. With all the emotions he’s already going through in the postseason, I can’t even fathom dealing with something like this on top of it. As we say, once a Dodger, always a Dodger and our hearts go out to him and his family.

Here’s tonight’s lineup for Game 2 (which Joe Beimel will read on FOX)

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 2B

Blake, 3B

Bills, P

 

NLCS Roster is set

Hong-Chih Kuo has been added and he will replace Takashi Saito.

Tomorrow's lineup, today…

Furcal, SS

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

DeWitt, 2B

Lowe, P

Joe also said he expects it to go back to the lineup we had for the Division Series once we face a right-hander in Game 2.

Read below for a longer post from earlier today.

Searching for an angle…

Touched down in Philadelphia last night around 8 p.m. and headed to dinner with Ned Colletti and a number of people on his staff at a great Italian restaurant. For those who missed it, Ken Gurnick wrote an impressive recap of Ned’s tenure as GM and whether you agree with his moves or not, you’ve got to admit that the end result has been what we’ve all been hoping for…whether it was starting a prospect development program in the winter, hanging onto the kids when some thought we should deal them, or making big trades for Manny, Casey, Berroa or Maddux, he and his staff — all the way down to each and every area scout and minor league instructor — deserve tons of credit for building this team and turning it over to Joe Torre and his staff.

I know that our plan was for Ned to answer questions from fans on this blog and I’m sure he’d still be happy to do that if any of you want to post them here. When things weren’t looking very good, the questions stopped coming in but he’s been willing to interact with everyone on this blog since Spring Training and that’s pretty unique for a big league GM. Just be sure to direct the question to him and I’ll try to get it answered this week.

In any event, as you can imagine, there are tons of media members here that are just getting to cover the Dodgers for the first time and everyone is seeking a unique angle. Part of our job in the Communications Department is to help provide them with interesting ideas. Among them…

- Our Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Mannion, worked for the Phillies for 15 years, eventually becoming VP of Marketing and Sales

- Fernando and Mariano Duncan were teammates on the 1994 Phillies

- Larry Bowa’s ties to the Phillies (he might be the person we’ve received the most requests for so far)

- Ned actually used to be a sportswriter in Philadelphia, covering hockey in 1980-81

- Shane Victorino (former Dodger minor league twice Rule Fived from our system)

- Jayson Werth – who can forget his wrist sagas?

- Andre Ethier’s thoughts on Philly cheesesteaks (he’s now become MLB’s resident foodie)

- Two former Dodgers on the Phillies’ coaching staff (Davey Lopes and Milt Thompson)

- Former Dodger Charlie Manuel managing the Phillies

And arguably one of the best angles I’ve seen written so far is by the New York Times’ Ben Shpigel, who pointed out that Manuel used to be Manny’s minor league manager, big league hitting coach and big league skipper.

Speaking of Manny, he’s on the cover of SI this week…hopefully the photo below shows up better than the ones of the Steelers’ practice I uploaded back in Pittsburgh.

 

SICover_101308_National_Manny.jpg

Meanwhile, my counterpart at the Phillies (who has been doing the PR thing far longer than I have and is one of the more respected people in the game), also has a front office blog like Inside the Dodgers. Larry Shenk runs Phillies Insider and you should peek in over there, too. Good luck to Larry in the series…may the best team win.  

I also noticed that more Dodger fan blogs are popping up left and right, including this one by Kelly, currently being promoted on the front of MLBlogs. If you’ve got a Dodger blog, be sure to include it in your posts so others can check them out.

To answer the question about why the start time is 5:22 p.m., not 5:30 – it’s all about network programming. FOX selects the times and in this case, it allows them to go on the air around 5 p.m. and still have up to 20 minutes or so for a pre-game show, plus commercials…

And finally, if you’re back in LA and want to get together with other Dodger fans to watch the games, there are a ton of restaurants/bars in the Dodgers’ Home Base Network where you can be sure the game will be on and other fans will be on hand.

That’s all for now…this might be my longest post of the season so sorry for the rambling.

 

Workout day…

After a nice breather yesterday, it was another busy day at the stadium…not nearly as much media, but plenty of off day stories to be hand.

Kuo threw a ‘pen yesterday and is still a possibility for the NLCS, which would be interesting given the number of lefties on the Phillies. Joe also said that Kershaw is a candidate to start Game 4 for the same reason…most likely, there won’t be many changes on the roster, which is due Thursday morning.

We put out some notes today from our office with plenty of storylines, so here they are…enjoy.

 
ON TO THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – The NL West Division Champion Dodgers will take on the NL East Division Champion Phillies Game 1 of the NLCS on Thursday. The Dodgers swept the Cubs in a best-of-five series.

BASEBALL’S TWO HOTTEST TEAMS – Since Aug. 30 when the Dodgers started an eight-game winning streak, the team has posted a 22-8 (.733) record, including their three victories in the NLDS. That is the best winning percentage in Major League Baseball during that period, slightly ahead of the Phillies (22-9, .710). 

A HISTORY WITH PHILADELPHIA – This series marks the fourth time that the Dodgers and Phillies will meet in the National League Championship Series. The two teams met in consecutive years in 1977 and 1978, with the Dodgers winning both best-of-five series in four games. In 1983, Philadelphia turned the tables and defeated the Dodgers in four games.

► In the 1977 NLCS, the Dodgers dropped the first game at Dodger Stadium before coming back to win three in a row and win the series in Game 4 in front of 64,924 fans at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. Los Angeles lost the World Series that year to the Yankees in six games.

► In 1978, the Dodgers captured the first two games at Veterans Stadium before dropping Game 3 to Steve Carlton. Los Angeles wrapped up the series at Dodger Stadium in Game 4 with a 4-3, 10-inning victory.

► In 1983, the Dodgers dropped the opener at home before winning Game 2 behind Fernando Valenzuela. Los Angeles then lost Games 3 & 4 in Philadelphia but the Phillies went on to lose to the Orioles in the World Series.

► Detailed recaps of these series appears on pages 183-187 of the Dodgers’ 2008 Postseason Guide.

SEÑOR OCTUBRE – On Saturday night, Manny Ramirez went 1-for-2 to finish the NLDS 5-for-10 with two homers, three RBI and four walks. He has now hit safely in 38 of his last 43 postseason games, with a .350 (57-for-163) average during that span.  His teams are 58-40 overall in the postseason.

BIG GAME JAMES – James Loney had two RBI in Game 3 of the NLDS, finishing the series with a Dodger-record six RBI and a Dodger NLDS career mark of nine. Loney has a hit in all four of his career postseason games, batting .333 (6-for-18).

► During the regular season, Loney went 12-for-32 (.375) with a team-leading five RBI against the Phillies.  Loney has a .400 career mark (16-for-40) with a homer and seven RBI at Citizens Bank Park.

► Other Dodgers to fare well against Philly are Jeff Kent (.364, 4 RBI) and Matt Kemp (.324, 4 2B, HR)

PHRONT OFFICE TIES – Dodger Chief Operating Officer Dennis Mannion worked for the Phillies from 1982-97 while Sales Exec Allyson Connolly cut her teeth in Philadelphia prior to joining the Dodgers.

THIS DATE IN DODGER HISTORY – On this date in 1959, the largest World Series crowd in Major League history (92,706) attends Game 5 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, as the Dodgers lost 1-0 behind Sandy Koufax. On this date in 1963, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep over the Yankees to win the World Series – the club’s last series sweep in the postseason prior to this year’s NLDS.

LARRY LEGEND – Dodger third base coach Larry Bowa played for the Phillies from 1970-81, winning two Gold Gloves (1972, 1978) and appearing on five All-Star teams. He faced the Dodgers in the NLCS in 1977 and 1978 and is the franchise’s all-time leader in games and fielding percentage at shortstop (1,667, .991). He ranks among the franchise leader in numerous offensive categories.

► Bowa managed the Phillies from 2001-04, compiling a 277-308 record.

MANUEL LABOR – Charlie Manuel, a reserve outfielder with the Dodgers in parts of the 1974 and 1975 seasons, is the second former Los Angeles player to manage against the Dodgers in the postseason. Former Dodger infielder Willie Randolph managed the New York Mets against Los Angeles in the 2006 N.L. Division Series. Two former Brooklyn Dodger players managed against the Dodgers in the postseason – Al Lopez (White Sox vs. Los Angeles in 1959 World Series) and Casey Stengel, who managed the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in five World Series in the 1940s and 50s.

THEY BLED DODGER BLUE – Two former Dodgers are on Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff – Milt Thompson, who played on the 1996 Dodgers and Davey Lopes, who played for Los Angeles from 1972-81, appearing in two NLCS and helping the Dodgers to the 1981 World Championship. Along with Steve Garvey, Bill Russell and Ron Cey, he was part of the famous Dodger infield of the 70s and 80s that played together for an MLB record 8 ½ seasons.

► Among the Phillies who hold ties to the Dodgers are Jayson Werth (2004-06) and Rudy Seanez (1994-95, 2007). Shane Victorino was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round in 1999 but was taken in the Rule 5 draft in 2002 before being returned the organization and taken again in 2004 by the Phillies.

 

 

 

If going to the NLCS feels this good…

I can’t imagine what eight more wins would feel like. What an amazing night and an incredible series. Tonight was yet another step towards the ultimate goal, but for the people who started working here after 1988, this is really hard to describe. I know for myself, personally, I’ve been here since 1995 and never had the chance to enjoy a berth in the NLCS.

If you think about all the fans who were born after 1988 and all the front office employees, ushers, ticket takers and others who have been waiting and waiting just to win a postseason series, this is so well deserved.

So celebrate tonight, everyone. We’re one of four teams that will have a crack at the World Championship and one of two with the chance to represent the NL in the Fall Classic.

The Fall Classic…

All hands on deck…

It’s been about as crazy two days as you can imagine since the last time I posted. We’ve had close to 500 media members showing up here over the last couple hours, so our office is busy trying to keep everyone happy (which is never easy).

I wish I had a lot more to share right now, but we’ve got to get cranking. Keep the comments coming and hope we see you all here tonight.

Oh yeah, same lineup as Games 1 & 2.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it…

Same lineup as last night…

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