Inside the Dodgers blog addition…

As you’ve seen over the last four years, we’ve had various people contribute to this blog, including myself, Ned Colletti, team historian Mark Langill and Team Travel Manager Scott Akasaki. Well, we’ve got another one who is going to be dropping by to share some thoughts throughout the season and it’s another Josh!

Josh Lukin of our marketing department is quite often taking part in the same things you guys do…visits to Spring Training, DodgerLIFE events, Bleacher Beach, etc. So, we’ve asked him to provide an inside look at some of these sorts of things that the diehard fans would want to hear about.

Here’s his first post from a visit this week to Camelback Ranch.

“Sandy Koufax just drove by me in a golf cart.”

There is no better way to describe the Spring Training experience than that. The proximity to heroes, past and present, is unparalleled in the modern day sports world. A world full of agents, security, scrutiny and press conferences create barriers between players and the people who praise them.

At Camelback Ranch, those barriers are whittled down to a few thin ropes, creating lines rather than walls. Fans are afforded the opportunity to watch the Dodgers take batting practice, field grounders, run down fly balls, review base running rules of thumb, and train for the season ahead, all from only a few feet away. The interaction creates a lighter atmosphere than what you would expect at any other sporting event and gives players the chance to see other sides of their fans too. In one short week, I watched as men, women and kids of all ages and ethnicities showed up to see their Dodgers and in turn, watched the boys in blue take kindly to these not-so-strangers. Matt Kemp wore one fan’s oversized Manny headpiece on to the field. Russell Martin signed for just about anyone he saw. Hong-Chih Kuo even said hello to me and my guests as walked out to one of the practice fields and he has no clue who I am.

However, the pinnacle of player interaction came during a two-day visit from one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history – Sandy Koufax. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, former MVP and by far the most accomplished Jewish athlete in American sports, made a stop in Glendale to teach our pitchers a thing or two. And as excited as all Dodger fans are at the prospect that some of our prospects may pick up a tip from the great Koufax, the biggest thrill came between innings of a “B” game one of the side fields as Sandy proceeded to walk along the fence to sign autographs for a few lucky onlookers. The buzz began to build as just about anyone on the sprawling campus caught wind of the impromptu signing. Fans gathered to try and take a piece of history home as they took mobile pics, videos and more in an attempt to remember the time they saw Mr. Koufax in person- its what Spring Training is all about.
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30 Comments

Great job, Mr. Lukin! As a fan of Sandy, your post made my day!

for the price of the McCourts wardrobe, toys, extravagant dinner and vacation expenses, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th cars and houses we could have Carlos Santana and maybe even more!

Well I see Furcal is hitting a nice round number 000. And can we cut Felix already?

On the upside, DeWitt looks like he wants the job. Hope he continues to earn it, which generally means he’ll be the opening day starter, then we’ll see Belliard.

Great Spring Training so far — Martin out; Casey Blake left with a strained rib cage muscle and Wade is shut down!!!!!

Welcome to ITD Josh Lukin!!!

Did you know Casey Blake left the game with a strained rib cage muscle? This just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?

The pianos are starting to drop a bit early, don’t you think?

Blake doesn’t surprise me. I didn’t think he would be a big contributor. Actually Martin won’t feel like a big loss to me either. I think it was ridiculous of him coming to camp masquerading as a whale. It’s too bad we don’t have a decent prospect to take over for him permanently. I don’t see Furcal doing much either except wasting the dollars allotted to him for another two years. Great team that Frank and Ned can put together, isn’t it.

On the positive side, with all the bad news coming together, something good is bound to happen. Can we hope that Frank will be GONE at the end of the season. That’s now my main rooting interest.

Pianos are too light weight – we need some heavy weight pipe organs. I’d borrow the big one from the Mormon temple for Frank’s head. It’s time to go nuclear!

On the positive side I like what I’m seeing from Reed Johnson. I took notice of him last season when we were playing the Cubs and liked his style of play. He might prove to be a good addition, and I’d rather have him than Repko.

Now it is pipe organs. I should know better than to excite the Bear!

Pianos or pipe organs….doesn’t matter which one, they both work for me!!!!!

Some Giants loser hit Manny blah dang Mota is pitching for the Giants surely hope it wasn’t him lol.

Weird Blake goes down and Dewitt is hot lol.

I see Amezaga is 0

n/m look like it was that *** Zito. Bills better retilation on Sandoval when the season start.

This is rare thing to people died on the same day when they around 110+ age.

2 of oldest people in US die: in NH 114, Mich. 113

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_oldest_american

Reporting from Scottsdale, Ariz. – Unlike a certain someone who refused to admit a couple of years ago that hitting in front of Manny Ramirez made a difference, Matt Kemp had no problem saying that he would likely benefit from his new place in the lineup.

“You got ‘Dre behind me, so they’re probably going to pitch to me because they don’t want to see him,” Kemp said.

Standing in front of an adjacent locker stall, Andre Ethier leaned over to cut in.

“Yeah, now that I got a hit they don’t want to see me,” said Ethier, who collected his first hit of the spring Monday.

They laughed.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&q=http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-dodgers-fyi-20100309,0,4609210.story&ct=ga&cd=lk1YIo-wYUM&usg=AFQjCNH7rnW3aq9dMuwypXlPfrmw1Z7MFQ
……………………………………..
I think it’s going to be a great year in the outfield with these three…….four with Johnson (or Repko).

It is good to see Dewitt off to such a great start and according to the article the other day, he is making great progress defensively..Mr Bowa seems to be happy with him. I agree with Joe he will hit .280 plus with gap power and do the little things to help the Dodgers win. I love his demeanor and he loves to play the game.

Billz, had a rough 2 innings, it is early but he has to learn to throw strikes or he will wear himself out. Why can they not fix his violent looking delivery? He always seems as if he is off balance. Show him film of Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, how they were hard throwers but had balanced deliveries…

There has to be more to the Bellasario escapade. How it is taking this long is beyond me…what a shame he was so good last year to not have his Visa 2 weeks into camp is unacceptable..I blame him and his agent..

As for the injuries, it is going to happen, good that it is early rather than later in camp…Martin will be missed, although most of the posts I have read have not been supportive, but I am a fan of his. As for Ellis, great recieving skills supposedly, but what I have seen of his bat, it is a long slow swing. Hopefully he will step up and produce.

Kemp in the 2 spot, well he should see alot of fast balls…Dewitt will eventually be a great 2 hitter..he makes contact and can control the bat…maybe 2011 when Manny is gone and Kemp is the #4 hitter.

I love ST!!!

Nice homerun Andre!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, they changed it to a ground rule double…….. It was a good hit regardless.

Hi everybody
Sorry to hear of the death of Willie Davis.
My condolences to his family and loved ones.

Rest in peace 3-Dog.
It was just last year I was talking to him at the RBI dinner.

Sad to hear about Willie Davis. He was an exciting player and like Bill Buckner, it is too bad he is remembered for one very bad day when he had so many more good days in the major leagues. That 1966 Dodger team marked the end of a successful period in Dodger history from 1962 to 1966 marked by three World Series appearances with two wins and one loss. Of course, it could have been 4 appearances except for the heartbreaking playoff loss to the hated ones up north in 1962.

RIP 3-Dog…….I can still see your hat flying off as you rounded second, headed for third.
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100309&content_id=8729952&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Funny, with all of his accomplishments, one of the things I always remember about him was that one year (early ’70s sometime, maybe the year after he hit in 31 straight) he signed a contract for $100,000.51. When asked what the 51 cents was for, he said, “It’s a reminder that my goal this season is to steal 51 bases and hit 51 home runs.” LOL!!

I remember him too, Dodgereric :)

Dodgereric – I was only 6 in 1972, but on mlbtv, it was the Pirates day for their show “30 Clubs in 30 Days”, and they talked about that very moment. As always, thanks for the history lesson :)

Damn time warp has me reading minds again!

Eric, thanks for the link to the box score. I get a big kick out of old box scores or accounts of games just to see the names of players from the past. This game featured a number of icon type players from both teams as well as future hall of famers, including managers. I believe this was the last year for Maury Wills. He was a shell of himself and it was hard watching him play with declining skills. I had the opportunity to speak with him during this season as a visitor to the Dodger dugout (a story for another time as to how that happened) when he was not playing regularily and I told him I wished he was still out there. He appreciated the comment and said he wished he were out there as well.

In addition, note that Garvey is playing third base in this game with Buckner at first base, Bill Russell in center field. and Bobby Valentine as a pinch hitter. I recall a game a season or two prior where Garvey made two throwing errors from third base. I recall being a big Buckner fan as well even after he left the Dodgers. If it were not for Wes Parker retiring and Buckner huring himself, Garvey may never have had much of a career as a Dodger. This a great picture of some of these players before and after they were stars.

By the way, my posts are showing up in real time. (4.47)

For those who are too young to have seen him play, he was pretty damned exciting. Here’s a nice synopsis of his career from Wikipedia:

“William Henry Davis (born April 15, 1940 in Mineral Springs, Arkansas, died March 9, 2010 in Burbank, California) was a center fielder in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the end of his career he ranked seventh in major league history in putouts (5449) and total chances (5719) in the outfield, and third in games in center field (2237); he was also ninth in National League history in total outfield games (2274), and won Gold Glove Awards from 1971-73. He had thirteen seasons of 20 or more stolen bases, led the NL in triples twice, and retired with the fourth most triples (138) by any major leaguer since 1945. He holds Los Angeles club records (1958-present) for career hits (2091), runs (1004), triples (110), at bats (7495), total bases (3094) and extra base hits (585). His 31-game hitting streak in 1969 remains the longest by a Dodger.”
Entire article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Davis_(baseball)

I had forgotten that he was traded for Mike Marshall, who would win a Cy Young for us the next year.

One of the most memorable games I had the pleasure of witnessing in Dodger Stadium was the one where he and Manny Mota each hit identical, but reversed, inside-the-park home runs. Manny’s went to the left-field corner and bounced away from the LFer, and Willie’s went to right.

You know me, I had to look it up. We lost the game to the reining World Series Champ Pirates. You old-timers out there, have some fun looking at the game summary. Roberto Clemente. Bill Mazeroski. Jose Pagan. Manny Sanguillen. Maury was still leading off for us. It was the one and only season Frank Robinson was a Dodger. Steve Garvey was still playing third.
Sunday, June 11, 1972.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN197206110.shtml

Thanks for the memories, Willie. God rest you.

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