April 2009

Hollywood history from Mark Langill

This month’s release of the movie, “Bluetopia,” (which includes the blue carpet premiere tonight) is the latest project to bridge Dodger baseball and the Hollywood entertainment community. Director Timothy Marx takes a behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 Dodger season through the eyes of everyone from players and coaches to fans from all walks of life.

When the Dodgers hosted their first game in Los Angeles on April 18, 1958, the crowd of more than 78,000 at the Coliseum included such sports and entertainment personalities as Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Connors, Walter Winchell, Babe Herman, Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye, Burt Lancaster, Jack Lemmon, Nat King Cole, Danny Thomas, Buddy Rogers, Ralph Edwards, John Ford, Ted Husing, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gene Autry, Groucho Marx, Jo Stafford, Paul Weston, George Jessel, Jimmy Stewart and Dennis Morgan.

Behind the Dodger dugout, comedian Ray Bolger and his wife wore “His” and “Her” Army surplus helmets on which he had painted “L.A. DODGER BEANBALL PROTECTOR.”

Right-hander Carl Erskine, who started the game and defeated the Giants, 6-5, recalled his teammates weren’t always concentrating on the ballgame. “Somewhere during the game, I looked into the dugout and saw three or four of my teammates with their heads turned and looking into the stands,” he said. “They were looking for movie stars like Cary Grant and Danny Kaye.”

Here’s hoping our guys are paying attention today at the 12:40…this is the lineup (and note, Scott Elbert will be coming up in place of Cory Wade, who is going to the 15-day DL)

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Ausmus, C

Castro, SS

Billingsley, P

Getting ahead of ourselves…

While still focusing on tonight’s game, I wanted to make sure you knew about two things tomorrow.

First, a reminder that it’s now a day game (12:40 p.m. start), as FOX picked it up. Even though your tickets and most printed material says 7:10 p.m., tomorrow is a day game, and it’s actually the annual Photo Day, so you can come out between 11 and 11:50 and take photos of your favorite players.

And to make it an entire Dodger Day, you should make plans to stop by tomorrow night at the Pacific Design Center (8687 Melrose), where we’ll be having a “blue carpet” premiere of Bluetopia, the movie that was shot last year about the team and its fans. While the seating is not open to the public due to very limited number of seats, you can come out and watch the goings on like other movie premieres and get glimpses of your favorite players and personalities as they walk the carpet. Among the guys who have told us they plan to come are James Loney, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ned Colletti, Maury Wills, Jaime Jarrin, Rick Monday, Charley Steiner, and many others.

And, since I’m sure you’ll all want to see the movie, you should know that DVD sales start on April 21 and you can preorder now on Amazon.

UPDATE: Lineup

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loretta, 1B

Blake, 3B

Wolf, P

UPDATE 2: Doug Mientkiwicz is going to have to have surgery on his shoulder on Monday and is going to be out for a while. Blake DeWitt will join the big league club tonight.

ITD Tour

So here’s the question…

First off, please let me know if you’d be interested in going on a tour of Dodger Stadium with the group from this forum and second, please let me know if you have a preference of weekend vs. weekday, etc. Just post it in the comments section and we’ll gather data from there.

We’re trying to sort out details to get you all a discount and a very cool experience…

UPDATE: Today’s lineup…

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Stults, P

Honoring Jackie Robinson

It’s a special day here at Dodger Stadium and throughout baseball. Without Jackie Robinson, there would be no Maury Wills, no Tommy Davis, no Dusty Baker, no Matt Kemp, no James Loney, no Russell Martin, no Orlando Hudson, no Barack Obama…the list goes on and on. 

His memory and actions will be saluted and all of our players will wear No. 42 in his honor. Here’s the lineup:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Kershaw, P  

Facebook lately?

It’s official, the Dodgers have a Facebook page. And it seems that 21,350 of you have already found it…have you?

Tour de Dodger Stadium

For you cycle enthusiasts, we’ve been hard at work coming up with interesting factoids about Orlando Hudson’s cycle, which came in his first game as a Dodger at Dodger Stadium.

It’s the first by a Dodger since May 7, 1970…a date etched in my head for years as we’ve had so many guys come close.

It’s just the second ever by a Dodger, joining Wes Parker, who had the one in 1970

It’s the first by a Dodger in a non extra-inning game since Gil Hodges in 1949

It’s the second ever in this stadium…only Jim Fregosi (when the Angels played here in 1964) had hit one in this ballpark

It’s the first in any Dodger game since the Phillies’ Gregg Jefferies on Aug. 25, 1995 (turns out, this is wrong. Our TV producer, Brad Zager, just pointed out that Cristian Guzman did it against us last night).

It’s just the ninth in franchise history…

And wouldn’t you know, with Jackie Robinson Day coming up on Wednesday, Jackie is one of the other eight…

Feel free to peruse one of the best sites on the web, retrosheet.org for more info on cycles.

Happy Home Opener…

So much going on, it’s going to be a great one here today. But, there’s probably too much going on to write much so here’s the lineup…hope you’re coming out here today or at least watching on PRIME TICKET or MLB.com.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Billingsley, P

Series finale

It wasn’t nine scoreless, but Stults came up big last night…and the offense went off for the first time this season. Here’s hoping there are a lot more of those days to come and that Randy Wolf can do the same on the hill.

If you’re coming to tomorrow’s game, please be sure to come out early. Auto gates and turnstiles open at 10:40 (two and a half hours before first pitch) to help try and alleviate traffic issues. As you can imagine, whenever there’s a packed house on a day game, just about everyone drives themselves from the office and we get close to, if not more than, 20,000 cars on site. Plenty to keep you busy in the morning, from batting practice, to shagging home run balls in center field, to Autograph Alley, to pregame ceremonies. I promise you won’t be bored and it’ll help the flow in and out of the stadium. 

Here’s the lineup today in AZ:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Blake, 3B

Pierre, CF

Wolf, P

Kuroda, Stults, etc.

Eric Stults takes the mound today in place of Kuroda and while it’s obviously a bummer that Hiroki hurt his side, I’m glad that our medical department is smart enough to try and nip this in the bud now before it gets to be a bigger issue.

Here’s hoping that good things continue to happen to good people, as Stults is one of the nicest guys in the game. Every so often, I like to escape my job in the press box and watch the game from some place in the stands so that we can see the Dodger Stadium experience from a fan’s perspective. Well, last year I did that with one of my front office counterparts at a June game and it turned out to be the day Stults pitched a complete-game shutout. I was so happy for him because of how hard he’s worked over the years. Plus, with the recent passing of his mother, you’ve got to be pulling for this guy.

He may go on to have long MLB career and he may continue to go back and forth to the Majors, but he’ll always be able to point to that game against the Sox as the day he dominated in the bigs. Let’s hope there are a lot more of those in his left arm.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Stults, P

Desert Excursion

Heading into Arizona this weekend and here’s the lineup, followed by some good historical info on J-Mac.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF (Birthday boy, for all you Ethierholics)

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Ausmus, C

McDonald, P

James McDonald will join some select company in Dodger history tonight when he makes his first Major League start in Arizona while beginning the season in the Los Angeles rotation. The last two Dodger pitchers coming off a full season in the Los Angeles minor leagues to make such a leap are Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Don Sutton (1966).

Sutton spent only one year in the Dodger minor league system in 1965, posting a combined 23-7 record in 31 starts at Single-A Santa Barbara and Double-A Albuquerque. At age 21, Sutton went 12-12 with a 2.99 ERA in 37 games (35 starts) in 1966 to help the Dodgers win the National League pennant. Sutton also gave Los Angeles a rotation with three future Hall of Famers, along with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

The Dodgers purchased Valenzuela’s contract from Puebla of the Mexican League on July 6, 1979. He went 13-9 with a 3.10 ERA in 27 games (25 starts) at Double-A San Antonio in 1980. After a September 1980 promotion, Valenzuela went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 relief appearances.

Both Sutton and Valenzuela faced lofty expectations. Sutton was joining the starting rotation of a defending World Series champion with no previous Major League experience. Valenzuela was asked to make his first Major League start on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium after injuries sidelined veterans Jerry Reuss and Burt Hooton. The 20-year-old Valenzuela calmly responded with a complete-game shutout against the Astros.

In his first eight starts, Valenzuela went 8-0 with a 0.50 ERA, five shutouts and eight complete games to trigger “Fernandomania” throughout the United States and his native Mexico. He remains the only player to win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same season and still the only Major Leaguer since 1981 to win his first eight career starts.

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