May 2010

A salute to our troops…

Here’s hoping that some of our troops overseas reads Inside the Dodgers or will get this message via Facebook. On behalf of the entire Dodger organization, thank you for all that you do for those of us here in the States and we hope to see you home soon.

To all those who have served in the past, we thank you, too, and hope that you’re one of the many veterans who will be at Dodger Stadium tonight. We’ve given about 1,000 tickets out to branches of the military and three of the team’s most high profile veterans will take part in the first pitch ceremony.

Former Dodgers and proud U.S. veterans Don Newcombe, Rick Monday and Roy Gleason will be accompanied by veterans from various branches of the military. In honor of Memorial Day, the team will also wear white hats with stars and stripes for the LA logo.

We’ll also have a moment of silence for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation.

On a much lighter note, Andre Ethier is back in the lineup…and the team has a chance to finish the month of May with a 20-8 record! Last year, the Dodgers were 20-9 in May.

BBQ anyone?

It’s a holiday weekend and I’m guessing most people will be attending some sort of BBQ over the next few days. So have some fun this weekend and watch some Dodger baseball…

Tonight at 6:10 at COL on KCAL

Tomorrow at 5:10 at COL on KCAL

Sunday at 12:10 at COL on PRIME

And then back home for the longest homestand of the year. In fact, it’s probably been several years since we had a 13-game stretch at home, so it’s a chance to play well in front of the home crowd. By the time that stretch of games is over, the team will have played 62 with 100 left to go.

Lots going on at the stadium…Manny Ramirez’s BP jersey for kids, Kemp’s action figure, Loney and Blake’s poster (check out the behind-the scenes video from the hilarious shoot), Broxton’s bobblehead and then the ThinkCure Weekend. It’s going to be busy…

Send our guys to Anaheim…

I’m sure you’ve seen the news that six of our players are among the leading vote getters in the All-Star balloting. Well, now it’s up to you to get them there. Vote for whoever you think is worthy but keep in mind the strong seasons a number of our players are having. You can vote up to 25 times per email address so show the rest of the baseball world what us Dodger fans can do! 

Meanwhile, the team gets underway in a couple hours in Chicago and Rafael Furcal is back atop the lineup, with George Sherrill hitting the DL.

The last road trip ended 6-0…let’s see how we can do on this one.

Lima Time In Heaven

There will be a lot written and said about Jose Lima in the days to come so I’ll simply be one of many to add to the conversation by saying that he was by far the most unique personality I’ve ever been around in 16 years in the game.

Whether it was on the golf course (where he would notoriously drop a second ball if he didn’t like his first shot), on the mound (we’ve all seen his animated antics after a big strikeout), in the clubhouse (his salsa dancing in a puddle of champagne after the 2004 clinching ceremony will always be fresh in my memory) or on the grand stage (he and his band rocked Viva Los Dodgers back in 2004 and then headlined the Conga Room that night and kept us all entertained into the early morning), he was like no one else I’ve ever encountered in my life.

When tragedies like this strike, it reminds all of us to live life to the fullest, without regrets. I don’t know if Lima had any regrets but of this much I’m certain – he lived every day of his 37-plus years to the fullest. In fact, I’d venture to guess that he put 100 years of life into his 37 years on Earth.

It’s eerie to be typing this in an office where he was hanging out just 48 hours ago with his son, Jose Jr.  And one month ago today, he sat in here with a few others as we discussed the new role he’d play as part of the Dodger Alumni Association. He was scheduled to make a community appearance tomorrow on behalf of the team – his first in his new capacity. He was excited to play in the Dodgers Dream Foundation Golf Tournament next month, and he was downright giddy about playing another gig at Viva Los Dodgers in June. Trying to keep him focused during our hour-long meeting was like trying to keep him focused in the dugout…an impossible task. But his energy was palpable and it rubbed off on everyone around him.

When he showed up at Spring Training in 2004, he promised several of us that he was going to make the team as a non-roster invitee but few believed him. He did that and so much more.

He played in Los Angeles for just one year, but his work on and off the field left an indelible mark on those of us he touched, which includes millions of fans around the world. He simply didn’t have bad days. He was perpetually happy, with a huge heart, and it’s ironic that it seems a heart attack was what ultimately ended his life.

He was always teaching…he was about to open up a baseball academy in Pasadena to help teach the game he loved. I can remember being on the golf course and whenever I would hit a bad shot, he would try to show me what I did wrong. It was just part of his nature.

Someone sent me this link last year and thinking about him today, it popped back into my head. While playing independent ball, he was still in typical Lima form, singing in an airport at 6:30 in the morning.

Walking around the stadium over the last few hours, I’ve heard countless stories from media members, front office employees, clubhouse attendants and the like, each of whom has a fond memory to share. They aren’t famous people…just everyday workers but that never mattered to Lima. He was friendly to everyone and most of these people saw him just two days ago when he was here and in great spirits. It’s hit everyone here extremely hard.

All of us will keep his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers, including his younger brother Joel, who plays in our minor league system. There’s nothing that can really be said that will help a loss at such a young age.

I guess it was just Lima Time up in heaven and if there are golf courses up there, he’s already hitting a lot of balls onto the fairway up there. And you can be sure that he’s telling everyone about it. 

An awesome day…

Another Dodger win and on My Town Taiwan Night, both Hong-Chih Kuo and Fu Te Ni both got in the game. The section on the reserved level was going bonkers.

John Ely was dealing again, even with a rough first inning he kept his composure and lasted six innings.

We’ll try to keep it going tomorrow…hope you’ll make it out for the series finale.

Starsky and Hutch, American Idol and the Dodgers

As you all may know by now, we’ve been doing theme nights with accompanying posters and we started with a 60s style rat-pack themed poster of the coaches.

Well, Casey Blake and James Loney were great sports and we just shot their 70s photo about an hour ago. The giveaway night is on June 4 and you can get your tickets here. In fact, a handful of fans who happened to be buying Dodger tickets at the Top of the Park got a lucky sneak peek at the photo shoot we did with our corner infielders.

And earlier this morning, the two American Idol finalists were hanging out on the field doing some interviews and sorts for the upcoming finale. I didn’t personally deal with them, but I’m told they were very gracious and that Lee DeWyze is a big baseball fan. So vote for him, I guess. I’ve never seen the show!

It’s this sort of stuff that we’re going to try to post more often at Inside the Dodgers because quite frankly, I’d imagine this is more interesting than straight news about the team. Believe it or not, this blog predates Twitter (and Facebook, I believe), so just being the first to post the lineup isn’t what will keep you all intrigued, I don’t think.

If there are things you’d like to see from the blog, please let us know, as it’s an ever-evolving site. But for those who really loved getting the lineups all the time, please make sure you follow the team on Twitter because that’s where it gets posted as soon as the coaches hang it in the clubhouse. And given that we’re not usually at a computer when we get the lineup, it’s a million times easier to just tweet it from our handhelds. By the time we get upstairs, the lineup is already spreading like wildfire through cyberspace. 

The Empire Strikes Dodger Stadium

No, not the Padres…though as the first place team at the moment, they are kind of like the evil empire right now.

We’re talking about tomorrow night’s promotion which I’m sure you’ve all heard about, but there’s a really funny Jib Jab video that utilizes a few of our players. The My Town section is completely sold out, there are still tickets left for other areas of the stadium, where fans will get the poster that you see at the same link.

It’s actually pretty cool that what started as a simple request to use Yoda on our billboards has turned into a great relationship with the Lucas Films people (and the Yoda billboard actually won an advertising award). There are a lot of Dodger fans who like Star Wars and vice versa, so hopefully some of you fall into that category. It’s also sparked other similar relationships with the people at SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb and for any of you with kids, you know how big those characters are with your little ones.

Otherwise, just another busy day at the stadium. We actually had a news conference here for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, where this guy performed a song. If you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll be amazed at his voice. He’s up to almost 7 million hits on youtube and he was extolling the virtues of visiting Taiwan, as were James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Xavier Paul and Hong-Chih Kuo. By the way, if you missed all the videos from our trip to Taiwan back in March, you can check them out here (keyword Taiwan).

OK, that’s three video links in one blog post, which I think is probably a record for Inside the Dodgers. So, we’ll end the post now.

First a bobblehead, then a Sportscenter commercial…

Even without Andre Ethier in the lineup, the Dodgers won their ninth straight last night on his bobblehead night and there was a packed house at Dodger Stadium.

Now, Andre is over at ESPN Los Angeles studios to film a “This is Sportscenter commercial,” which usually means you’re pretty darn big if they’re asking you to do this sort of thing. And even better, you’ll get to see the behind-the-scenes footage of the commercial shoot, as the Dodgers Media Network is here getting some pretty cool stuff. Amazingly, there are like 40 people on the set for a 30-second spot. Pretty crazy.

What’s next for the budding star?

Well, he’s got an upcoming action figure night (July 8), a poster (Aug. 20) and a few other big time media requests we’ve gotten for him. We’re going to try to bang out most of these while he’s hurt because unfortunately, he can’t play at the moment. But, hopefully he’ll be back soon and by then, who knows, maybe the Dodgers will be on a 23-game winning streak…

A chance to move into a first place tonight at the Ravine against the Padres…

Eight straight…

Another great start from John Ely…I hope everyone is enjoying this run of wins. Andres bobblehead night is tomorrow night and well have well over 50,000 screaming fans in the house. There are still very few tickets available left and while it doesnt look like hell play, who knows what will happen. Manny Ramirez didnt play on his bobblehead night last year and we all saw how that turned out!

Dodger prospects making headlines

A couple of Single-A Dodger prospects are in the news in Midland, Michigan for all the right reasons.

Great Lakes Loons’ prospects Rafael Ynoa and Elisaul Pimentel helped save a life last weekend. We’re proud of actions and would like to think that everyone in the Dodger organization would have reacted the same way, had they been in their shoes.

Down here in San Diego, the Dodgers are getting set to try and complete a perfect road trip for the first time since the end of the 2006 season. Andre Ethier is en route to Los Angeles to be checked out by a hand specialist. We hope to know more after the game, so keep an eye out for the latest news. Hopefully it won’t be too serious and he can avoid a DL stint.

Homestand opens up tomorrow at Dodger Stadium, with two against the ‘Stros, three against the Pads and three against the Tigers.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.