April 2010

Happy Home Opener

A reminder to everyone coming today…come early and carpool if you can, or take the free shuttle from Union Station. It’ll make the process of getting in and out that much easier.

And for those who can’t make it, be sure to turn on PRIME TICKET because beginning at noon, fans will be able to enjoy 11 consecutive hours of Dodger programming. It starts with an hour-long pregame show, followed by the game, the “Dodgers Live” postgame show and then the debut of “Dodgers Insider: Trip to Taiwan,” a half-hour special about the recent goodwill trip to Asia. Then From 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., several additional shows will air, include Matt Kemp’s “In My Own Words” and James Loney’s “Before the Bigs.”

All Dodgers, all day.


Today’s lineup…

Furcal, SS

Kemp, CF

Ethier, RF

Manny, LF

Loney, 1B

Blake, 3B

DeWitt, 2B

Martin, C

Kershaw, P

Finale in Florida

That was a tough loss last night…need a bounceback today from Charlie’s Dodgers…Haeger, that is.

One benefit of being on the East Coast is having the NY Times delivered to your doorstep in the team hotel and there was a great story in today’s paper regarding former Dodger Dixie Walker. Most know him as the player who started a petition against the signing of Jackie Robinson in 1947 but the article presents a slightly different view. As many know, Dixie went on to say it was the worst thing he ever did and with Jackie Robinson Night at Dodger Stadium coming up this Thursday, it’s always interesting to learn more about the history of the team we all love.

Also, some news for those coming to Opening Day…LeAnn Rimes will sing the National Anthem, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and Larry King will be the one to say “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball.”

And most importantly, if you’re coming out, try to carpool and come early. Maury Wills and Tommy Davis will take turns signing autographs at Autograph Alley and as you all know, it gets crazy trying to fit that many cars into our parking lots on the rare midweek day-game sellouts. Save yourself the frustration and come spend the morning at the yard. Auto gates open at 10:10 and turnstiles at 10:40.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Furcal, SS (got his 1,500th hit last night in the same game Manny got his 2,500th)

Anderson, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Belliard, 3B

DeWitt, 2B

Johnson, RF

Ellis, C

Haeger, P

Hot in Herre…

Postgame concert tonight in Miami will be from Nelly…let’s hope the Dodger bats stay hot…just took a 2-1 lead on Manny’s sac fly in the third.

A 1980s Dodger reunion!

Here at the newly named and soon to be defunct Sun Life Stadium, Pedro Guerrero is in the clubhouse and has been catching up with Mariano Duncan, Ken Howell, Rick Honeycutt and others, bringing back great memories of his playing days in the 1980s. For those of us who grew up during that time period, he was a huge part of those teams and it’s always cool to see those guys still coming around the ballpark.

Another key member of those teams was Fernando Valenzuela, who was honored yesterday by the Central City Association as a “Treasure of Los Angeles.” And sure enough, today is the anniversary of his Opening Day start at Dodger Stadium in 1981 that sparked the phenomenon of Fernandomania.

Another guest who will likely be here pretty soon is Joe Torre’s brother, Frank, who was one heck of a baseball player (at least that’s what I’m told…I never saw him).

There’s a lot going on here, as it’s Opening Day for the Marlins…the Dodgers’ second “opening day,” with another one coming on Tuesday (the most exciting one, that is).

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Johnson, RF

Loney, 1B

Manny, LF

Kemp, CF

Blake, 3B

DeWitt, 2B

Martin, C

Kuroda, P


Hindsight being 20/20…

A few people asked why the schedule makers gave the Dodgers an offday on Tuesday…well, it’s because of what’s going to happen today.

My understanding of why we had Tuesday off was because it helps to protect us against a rainout, had there been one on Opening Day on Monday. And of course, Murphy’s Law, the weather was absolutely beautiful on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, only to have tons of showers in the forecast today.

The schedule usually gets made during the summer and released in September, so there’s clearly no way they could have known how it would turn out. But, you almost have to expect that Pittsburgh in April will have weather issues…

In any event, as I sit here and type this in a side office of the visitor’s clubhouse at PNC, Rick Monday is intervieing bench coach Bob Schaefer for the KABC 790 pregame show, which should be on around 9 a.m. PT…let’s just hope it’s actually followed by a game rather than a six-hour rain delay! More showers are in the forecast in Miami this weekend, but that’s par for the course and it almost doesn’t matter what time of year you’re in South Florida. That’s always the case.

Anyway, for those who haven’t seen it, Reed Johnson has rekindled his blog, Reed Between the Lines. I’m not sure how often he’ll post but be sure to check back often so you can stay current with his commentary.

Lineup to follow once it’s posted…

UPDATE – Lineup:

Furcal, SS

Johnson, LF

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Belliard, 3B

Anderson, RF

Carroll, 2B

Ausmus, C

Billingsley, P 

An offday in Pittsburgh

Many of the Dodger players, coaches and staff hit up the Penguins/Capitals game last night, as everyone has been looking for something interesting to do and people are getting a little antsy being in the same road city for so long. We arrived on Saturday night and we don’t leave until after the game on Thursday, which is a very long trip compared to the usual three-day jaunts.

As for Inside the Dodgers, we took a trip yesterday to the local eatery Primanti Brothers, which is a favorite of all Burghers (I don’t think that’s what they really call people who live here). It’s a rather interesting place in which your sandwich comes with cole slaw, french fries and tomatoes on top of the meat.

A group of us also took the incline up to Mt. Washington, too, where there are amazing views of the city and a nice place to relax for a bit. Pittsburgh seems to get a bad rap from those outside of Pennsylvania but many of us have enjoyed the trip here…the ballpark is beautiful and the weather has been stellar.

Now we just need to win the next two games to leave with a series victory.

The final warm up

Getting underway here at the stadium in the final Spring Training game…apparently it’s a huge game in Japan because Hideki Matsui will face Hiroki Kuroda for the first time in America.

The press box is packed…at least 30 Japanese media members here to document it and the weather is 66 degrees. We take off for Pittsburgh as soon as this one ends!

A ride down the 5

Out in Anaheim tonight, the first of two Freeway Series games is going to get underway in a couple hours. Tomorrow afternoon, the Angels trek up to Dodger Stadium for the final tuneup of the year and you can see two starters – Billingsley and Kuroda – for the price of one.

Meanwhile, tonight it’s Kershaw against the Halos, with this lineup behind him:

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Anderson, LF (gotta be weird for him tonight in Anaheim)

Manny, DH

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Blake, 3B

R. Johnson, RF

DeWitt, 2B

Not much else to report at the moment…last night’s opening of Dodger Stadium was smooth and quiet, for the most part, with the real deal just 11 days away.

Lots going on at Dodger Stadium

By now the word is already spreading that Blake DeWitt has won the competition for starting second baseman, which puts Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard on the bench…and the bench is looking pretty solid by most accounts.

Charlie Haeger takes the fifth spot of the rotation to start the year and will pitch one of the games on the first trip against the Marlins.

It sounds like Ned and Joe played an April Fool’s joke on Blake when they told him he got the job, so I can only imagine how that felt in his mind. I know I cringed today when I saw a Dodger blog drop an April Fool’s Joke on its readers, but I won’t spoil the surprise for those who haven’t figured it out yet.

Fans are filing into Dodger Stadium as this gets posted and another season is just about underway. Sure, the games today, tomorrow and Saturday don’t count, but just having thousands of people come to the park with their friends and family makes it feel like an Opening Day is here.

You can listen in on KABC or KHJ…no TV for tonight. Here’s the lineup:

Furcal SS

Kemp CF

Ethier RF

Ramirez LF

Loney 1B

Blake 3B

Anderson DH

Martin C

DeWitt 2B

Haeger P