May 2009

All-Stars Among Us…

I’m sitting in our Philly hotel room at the end of the “off day” which we used to get here. Looking forward to facing the defending World Champions tomorrow, but in the meantime, there’s a really cool opportunity right now for all of you so please take a minute to read this…

Major League Baseball has launched the PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us campaign and you have a chance to make a huge impact on the program and on the life of someone you know. And it’ll only take a couple minutes.

MLB and People magazine are inviting you to nominate the individuals who have gone above and beyond to serve their community. Maybe they helped save a neighbor’s home from foreclosure, donated their time and efforts to a charitable organization, or have been an unsung hero in your life and you’d like to see them recognized. Well, now’s your chance.

All you have to do is visit this website sometime between now and May 22.

You’ll be asked to upload a photo of them and explain in 50 words or less why they deserve to be one of the three finalists for the Dodgers. From there, one winner will be chosen to represent our team at the All-Star Game in St. Louis. And one of those 30 team nominees will actually be featured in PEOPLE magazine!

Please take a moment to forward this along to the people you know and hopefully take the time to nominate those around you who are so deserving.

UPDATE: Tonight’s lineup

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Kershaw, P

Happy Mother's Day

It promises to be a great day at the ballpark for all you moms so hopefully you’ll be out here. Eric Stults, who lost his mother to cancer right before Spring Training, paid tribute to her yesterday incredibly with a victory move his record to 4-1. It’s players like him who are stepping up to help put this team on top of the division, not to mention Juan Pierre, who had an incredible game yesterday to help lead the team to victory.

Don’t forget to give your mom a call today or stop by and see her…in the meantime, here’s the lineup for the homestand finale:

Pierre, LF

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Loretta, 3B

Kemp, CF

Ausmus, C

Weaver, P

And here’s Joe’s update to the media just minutes ago:

On giving players the day off: It was a little easier with the two day games, easier to split it up.

On Kuroda: Kuroda threw a bullpen today.

On Manny: He’s still beat up by this thing. He’s embarrassed. He still has to clear his head until he feels good enough to come out. Hopefully in the near future here.

On whether Manny is in Florida: That’s a personal thing. I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t think so.

On carrying a 13th pitcher: Stults made a case for not needing it yesterday. There’s still a certain security of having it. We’re not strapped. The only thing is you can’t pinch hit early.

On the Phillies: We know they’re a good team. They’re a team you measure yourself by.

I hope Kids and Moms are reading this…

There’s some really cool stuff going on this weekend for kids and moms (as well as women in general). That doesn’t mean that if you’re neither, you should stop reading because let’s be honest, even if you’re a dude, at some point you were a kid and you have or had a mom, right? And perhaps you have a kid, too.

So the first piece of exciting news is that Jeanne Zelasko will be joining the Dodger organization with numerous roles. First off, she’ll be handling play-by-play duties on our new DodgersWIN broadcast on home Wednesdays this season. And she’s going to host our new kids show, “The Jr. Dodgers Show,” which premieres tomorrow on PRIME TICKET at 12:30 p.m.  If you remember “The Baseball Bunch,” it’s kind of like that but only about the Dodgers. I saw the pilot episode and if you’re a kid, you’re going to love it (and if you’re not, I still think you’ll enjoy it, to be honest).

And staying on the Jeanne subject, she’ll also throw out the ceremonial first pitch tomorrow on Mother’s Day, as will Desiree Sanchez, a co-worker of mine who has defeated breast cancer over the past year. Jeanne, who is also a cancer survivor, will serve as a spokesperson for both DodgersWIN and ThinkCure!

There are so many cool things for Moms tomorrow, you should do yourself (and your mom) a favor and come out here to the park. Players and coaches will hand out roses at the turnstiles (try to get here between 11:30 and 12 for that)…and then after the game, you can walk around the warning track with your family and meet some Dodger legends along the way. During the game, several players will be using the pink bats as in years past and they’ll all be wearing pink ribbons on their uniforms for breast cancer awareness.

Plus all sorts of pregame ceremonies honoring Moms, Moms taking the field with their kids and the Dodgers, and a whole bunch more.

But before Mother’s Day, we have today’s game on FOX and we could really use a win. Here’s the lineup:

Pierre, LF

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Blake, 3B

Castro, SS

Stults, P

Blogging Baseball…

With all that happened yesterday, we never got to post a recap of the Blogger Night from Wednesday. We had about 12 different sites at Dodger Stadium and these people are dedicated to bringing you information about the team on a daily basis…

Some great recaps appeared at Sons of Steve Garvey, TrueBlueLA, and LADodgerTalk, among others. To be honest, I haven’t had the time to check out all the coverage in the blogosphere, let alone all that’s out there in mainstream media, but keep an eye on these sites. They’re providing solid coverage of the team, as are many other sites. I do need to update the links on this blog and hope to do so soon (that was on Thursday’s to-do list, if you can believe it).

Meanwhile, speaking of blogging about Manny, Steve Lyons weighs in about it for Psychollingy, the new blog of his and Eric Collins.

Anyway, it’s been a rough 36 hours but I, for one, am trying to keep things in perspective. We did not suffer the tragic loss that the Angels have suffered and we all know that when you make a mistake, you have to pay the consequences. Our focus can and must shift to those guys who will be on the field each night and so onward we go, with tonight’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Kemp, CF

Martin, C

Loretta, 1B

Blake, 3B

Billingsley, P

Pierre, LF

And here’s Torre’s pregame chat with the media:

On the new lineup: We have the same mentality. It’s not like we were not trying to steal bases before. Even with Manny, we were agressive.

Our team is a lot more confident then before we had Manny last year. That’s a big difference. We beat the team with the best record in a playoff series…that helps.

I was tired last night and not used to losing. It was a downer. We didn’t pitch well. It wasn’t our night. I’m sure a lot of the players felt the same way. It was a long day.

This is going to be a distraction we’re going to have to deal with and it will die down eventually.

The fans in L.A. won’t forget what Manny did he here and the fun he had doing it and the impact he had on this team.

Kuroda could throw off the mound in the next 3-4 days and then we can get him on a schedule. He threw long toss at 120 feet.

On Jason Schmidt – Will likely pitch in San Bernardino on Tuesday if he comes out ok.

We could see Manny soon…I don’t know. We need him to stay in shape ideally. We’d like to see him, no question. 

Tough Day

Quite obviously, this has been a tough day around here. Busy, of course, but I wanted to make sure that we continue the dialogue here. One thing I keep hearing is that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time because of the home winning streak we have. I guess that’s why I think that if it was going to happen, this would be the time for it to happen.

We’ve seen this team come together over the last five weeks to put together the best record in baseball and we didn’t get there with one person. We’re a team and we’ll come together and hopefully be stronger when Manny comes back.

I’m sure there will be more to come on the subject, but right now this is all I can say.

As Joe Torre said a few minutes ago, we all make mistakes in life and owning up to them is important. Manny has done that…and so here’s the lineup we’ll field tonight to try and extend the record to 14 games at home.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Wolf, P

Pierre, LF

 

Not since 1911…

Has a team gone into a game with the chance to do what we can do tonight. Ty Cobb’s Tigers were the last to open the year with 12 straight wins at home and the Hall of Fame has already come calling for artifacts to commemorate this run.

There wasn’t much from Torre’s pregame chat today. Mostly chatter about the Yankees, as fans have been on Girardi’s case out there pretty badly.

We’ve got our second annual “blogger” night tonight so be on the lookout for reviews from your favorite Dodger blogs. In the meantime, here’s the lineup that will go for the modern Major League record:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Kershaw, P

History in the making…

You never really know what you’re going to see at Dodger Stadium these days. A guy hitting for the cycle…a triple play…a modern NL record-setting victory. The possibilities are endless. There’s an incredible vibe at the stadium these days and we’re just hoping to ride the wave while we can.

Meanwhile, it dawned on me that in some ways, this blog can serve as one way to fill in the void from Tony Jackson’s absence. Quite often, he would head upstairs after Joe Torre’s media session and provide you all with the latest news from downstairs, so I’m going to attempt to do the same thing. Of course, this blog is one tiny portion of my job, but as I mentioned before, this could be the way people tend to get information in the future. I realize that I’m usually providing it from the team’s perspective, but when it comes to stuff like Torre’s pregame media chat, it’s usually just factual information, not opinions. So, we’ll see how it goes.

The lineup tonight is the same as last night, but Simi Valley High Grad and Northridge native Jeff Weaver makes his return to Dodger Stadium. Let’s hope it’s triumphant.

UPDATE:

Torre pregame (not exact quotes, but I’ll post the basics each day):

The streak is something to admire, but to look back on after the fact. You can’t get caught up in it. I mean..Arizona was 20-8 last year.

We’ve been lucky witht the pitching. We’ve been finding other guys to step up and that’s a good surprise because we’ve had injuries to the staff.

Weaver will be on about a pitch count of 75. It also depends on how hard he has to work throughout the game.

Cory Wade is the only guy not available out of the ‘pen tonight.

Kuroda played catch again today and feels pretty good. That’s good that he’s able to do that without a problem. No dates for anything simulated though until he throws off a mound.

Schmidt threw 100 pitches in an extended game. He’ll have a bullpem tomorrow and then we’ll figure out the next step.

Going for the record…

A win tonight would give us the best home start in National League history…here’s the crew that’s looking to do it.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Stults, P

Thoughts from Dodger Thoughts…

For those who missed last night’s Dodger Thoughts outing, Jon Weisman posted a recap here. I’m glad so many people seemed to enjoy themselves and we look forward to next year’s outing.

Quick turnaround after the night game, but when you’re 9-0 at home, no one seems to care much. Here are some interesting tidbits along those lines…

Not only would a win today establish a franchise record for most consecutive wins to start a season at home with 10, it would also tie the modern-day National League record held by Atlanta’s 10-0 start in 1983 at Fulton County Stadium, the Cubs’ 10-0 mark at Wrigley Field in 1970, and the New York Giants’ 10-0 start at the Polo Grounds in 1918 (thanks to ELIAS’ John Labombarda).  Do note, Joe Torre was the manager of that 1983 Braves squad, which finished 88-74 and in second place in the National League West behind the Dodgers (91-71).

- The Major League record for consecutive wins at home to start a season is 12 by Detroit at Bennett Park in 1911, the year before Tiger Stadium opened.

- The Dodgers’ 9-0 start at home is the best in the Majors since the 2003 Royals won their first 11 games at Kauffman Stadium.  Bob Schaefer served as the bench coach on that squad, which finished 83-79.

- The Dodgers are the only undefeated team at home in the Majors.

Here’s the lineup for today…

Pierre, LF

Hudson, 2B

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

Loretta, 3B

Ausmus, C

Castro, SS

Billingsley, P

Another Tony Tribute…

This one from team travel manager Scott Akasaki, who has come out of hibernation for his first blog post in some time. He obviously wanted to share these thoughts…

About three nights ago, Tony Jackson of the Daily News was laid off and I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to dictate a short story about something he did for me.  A couple years ago, I had surgery to remove two cysts and a benign tumor from inside my spinal chord.  The surgery was very delicate and during my rehabilitation period, I spent many hours at home trying to re-learn the most simple of tasks like taking a shower, putting on pants, and walking without losing my balance. 

My friends and family were very supportive with cards of encouragement, gift baskets, books, flowers, and a variety of different care packages.  Perhaps the most unique gift came from Tony, when he sent me a dozen bottles of barbeque sauce from the Montgomery Inn, an Ohio-based restaurant chain. 

Tony worked in Cincinnati when he was a beat writer for the Reds.  He learned of my affinity for barbeque so whenever we went to Cincinnati, we made plans to have a meal at the Montgomery Inn.  At those meals, we did not talk about the Dodgers but more about our different upbringings and our shared life experiences.  The barbeque sauce always made our meals good but Tony’s unique outlook on life made our meals memorable.  I will miss my friend Tony Jackson on the Dodgers’ beat. 

And here’s tonight’s lineup…

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

Wolf, P

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