As promised, here’s a quick look back at some of the highlights from 2009. As always, my glass is half full…just creating this list gave me a pretty good feeling about the year we just completed on the heels of an equally special 2008.
– Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf sign as free agents, bolstering the team late in the offseason while becoming an All-Star and a very consistent starter, respectively (and effectively replacing the departed Derek Lowe and Jeff Kent)
– Camelback Ranch opens in Glendale and thousands of Dodger fans experience Spring Training for the first time
– “I’m baaack.” Manny Ramirez signs back with the Dodgers following an eventful offseason of negotiating
– The World Baseball Classic provides arguably one of the great games ever played at Dodger Stadium, with Japan defeating Korea in the championship game filled with drama on a whole new level
– Orlando Hudson’s cycle was the first by a Dodger in nearly 40 years and first-ever at Dodger Stadium…and it happened on Opening Day
– Dodgers set the MLB record for wins to start a season at home…at times people wondered if we’d ever lose a game at Dodger Stadium
– Juan Pierre plays incredibly well while Manny is suspended and the fans show their appreciation for his efforts with a heartfelt standing ovation in his first game back after Manny returns
– Billingsley and Broxton have All-Star first halves to join Hudson in St. Louis
– Manny’s pinch-hit grand-slam on his own Bobblehead Night!
– Ethier’s six walk-off hits and eventual Cluth Performer of the Year Award
– Joe Pierre makes a visit to Dodger Stadium for the inaugural Inside the Dodgers tour…a trip he’ll likely never forget. All thanks to the efforts of those on this blog who brought his situation to the attention of the team
– Trade deadline deals for Garland, Belliard, Thome and Padilla solidify the team with the best record in the NL
– Kershaw among the league leaders in ERA
– Capturing back-to-back NL West championships for the first time in three decades
– Loretta’s pinch-hit sends Dodger Stadium into pandemonium
– Sweeping the Cards en route to consecutive NLCS appearances for the first time since 1977-78
– Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for Matt Kemp, while Ethier takes home the Silver Slugger
And those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head while typing this. It’s been a great year and despite some surprises, setbacks and disappointments, that’s a heck of a lot to be excited about. Hopefully many of you got the chance to take part in some of these events and there will surely be many great ones ahead, too, in 2010.
Ken Gurnick broke the year down month by month in addition to a video recap for those so inclined but as this decade comes to a close, all of us at the Dodgers — from ownership, to management, to the front office and every usher, ticket taker and maintenance worker — wish all of you, your families and friends a healthy and happy 2010. Let’s hope it concludes with a parade in the streets of Los Angeles like we haven’t seen in 20+ years.