January 2011

Mattingly Baseball Charities Launch Party tonight

If you’re a Dodger fan in New York and can find a way to get out from under the snow, head to Mickey Mantle’s tonight for the Mattingly Baseball Charities launch dinner.

Details can be found here and it seems many baseball legends will be in attendance.

Donnie’s charity was created to serve underprivileged youth by supporting programs which promote baseball and softball participation. Many of you may know that he has donated bats and other equipments to our most recent Dodgers Dreamfields and took part in the grand opening of the DDF Dreamfield at the L.A. Boys & Girls Club.

He’s a very community-minded person and having spoken with him several times in the past month, he cannot wait to get to Camelback Ranch. He’s actually heading to Arizona early to get settled in and will make a trip back to join the annual Dodger Caravan on Feb. 14.

Details on Caravan stops and the incredible lineup of players and former players who will be taking part should be coming out next week, so keep an eye on dodgers.com.

 

Selecting a Seat before the Open House

For many Dodger season ticket holders, today is a day that they look forward to all winter long. We had hundreds of people here picking out their seat locations and having their first Dodger Dog of the winter.

The event continues tomorrow for existing season seat holders and then this Saturday, from 10-3, there’s an open house for those who are new to the season ticket family come down and get to pick their seats. Everyone who shows up gets a Dodger gift item and the only way to guarantee Opening Day seats is by purchasing a ticket package (or season seats).

So did any of you make it down here? How did it go? And did you change seats or are you back in the same spot? Anyone coming down tomorrow?

A room full of legends…

Each year, one of the highlights of January is the Southern California Sports Broadcasters awards luncheon. The organization, which recently launched a website, has members that are a who’s who of media members and those in the So Cal world of sports. It was truly a room full of legends.

At today’s luncheon, among the attendees and/or honorees were SCSB Hall of Famers Vin Scully, Jaime Jarrin, Bob Miller, Tom Kelly, Nick Nickson, Mike Walden, Rich Marotta and Ross Porter. Others with incredible backgrounds include Charley Steiner, Steve Lyons, Jim Fox, Luc Robitaille, Ken Levine, Josh Suchon, John Ireland and so many others.

Lifetime achievement awards went to Bill Sharman and Louis Zamperini whose histories will blow your mind. If you don’t know about them, check out the links on each guy. It’s mind boggling. Al Michaels won the President’s Award and told a really funny story about being “groomed to replace Vin Scully” and 40-something years later, the odds are even that he’ll retire before Vinny.

Among the Dodger folks who won awards today were Vin, Fernando Valenzuela, Rick Monday, Eric Karros and the sports crew at KCAL/CBS.

Our sincere congrats go out to everyone involved in putting on this event and hopefully you’ll spend a little time looking through the site of this great organization.

Feeling Super…

You can’t help but be awed by what’s going on down on the field this week, as the Stadium is transformed into a dirt track for the Monster Energy Supercross event here tomorrow. In fact, just as I was typing this blog, about a dozen riders started practicing jumps outside my office, so we just watched them do it. Incredible stuff. I now know why Jeff Kent always found this stuff so interesting!

I have been trying to upload photos to this blog but am having issues, so instead I just tweeted one @dodgers and you can check out this great link from Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News, who was here yesterday taking photos and writing about the event.

You can’t say enough about the hard work put in by Eric Hansen, our head groundskeeper and his staff, as well as all the Stadium Operations people here at the Dodgers. They have worked their tails off to make this a great event.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow night, but they’ll have tens of thousands of fans in the house.

UPDATE: Check out this cool video from DMN, with a helmet cam and all.

Outfielders aplenty

We’ve just announced two more signings today, with Marcus Thames coming in on a one-year deal and Gabe Kapler joining the team on a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.

For those who haven’t followed Thames career, he’s a power-hitting corner outfielder who has averaged a homer every 15 at-bats or so over the last five seasons, which is the fourth-best mark in the AL during that span. He will presumably be in the mix along with Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, Xavier Paul and others this spring for playing time in 2011 alongside Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

Meanwhile, joining that group is another local boy, Kapler. This one is pretty cool for me, personally, because I went to school with Gabe growing up and have always hoped that he’d find a way to play for his hometown Dodgers.

He joins other local products Jon Garland (Kennedy High in Granada Hills), Trayvon Robinson (Crenshaw High in Los Angeles), Gibbons (Mayfair High in Lakewood) and Rod Barajas (Santa Fe Spring High) in Dodger camp which is the most local boys I can remember in quite some time heading into Spring Training.

Welcome to the Dodger family, Marcus and Gabe…

It feels like the season has started…

With full fledged workouts going on, the media here to capture the news and Don Mattingly talking Dodger baseball, it finally feels like the season is upon us.

We don’t report to Camelback Ranch until a month from this Sunday, but you wouldn’t know that from the vibe at the park this morning.

Plenty of websites and TV stations will be sharing the newsworthy info that came out of today and we tweeted a ton of it as it was coming out @dodgers so there’s no use recapping it all. Frankly, that’s not the value in this blog.

But what we can tell you is that it feels like the Dodgers have some great things in store for 2011. Hearing Donnie talk about the team and the tradition of this organization was impressive. Seeing Tommy Lasorda, Maury Wills and the return of Davey Lopes to a place he called home for so many years. The players hearing from an All-Star like Shawn Green after the workouts about what it’s like to be a Dodger and a big leaguer. Tommy closing it out with a speech like no one else can deliver.

And tonight, the prospects are having a private dinner with a number of Dodger legends to hear about why the Dodgers are the Dodgers.

It’s all part of this incredible program put together by De Jon Watson, Chris Haydock and the player development department and it’s got a lot of people at the stadium excited about the year to come.

Dodger Stadium filled with fans and players…

It’s been a busy day around the stadium…it started out with workouts for the prospects and Don Mattingly was here, as was Matt Kemp. Afterwards, all our prospects headed up to the Stadium Club for a luncheon with the fans who lead various groups in outings to Dodger Stadium and each table had a prospect sitting with them.

Don and Ned took questions from the fans in the Stadium Club and then spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone.

Tomorrow, the media is invited out to watch the workouts and talk with the prospects and Donnie, so you’ll likely see lots of stories in the various outlets that cover us regularly.

Meanwhile, many of you may remember the LA Sports Awards, which is the annual awards ceremony hosted by the LA Sports Council and televised by Fox Sports West each February. Well, voting has started at www.lasports.org and you can see that various Dodger moments are there for the voting, so check it out.

And on a much more serious note, thank you all for your continued thoughts for the Green family. For those who posted comments in our last post, we’ll make sure they’re included in the tribute book but feel free to also send them to greenfamily@dodgers.com, as we’ll be compiling all of them in a memorial book for the family.

Those looking for other ways to help, please see here.  

An unspeakable tragedy

As many of you know, the horrible tragedy yesterday in Tucson, AZ has touched very close to home, as the nine-year old girl who was killed, Christina Green, is the daughter of our National Crosschecker John Green. Frank McCourt issued the following statement last night:

“We lost a member of the Dodgers family today.  The entire Dodgers organization is mourning the death of John’s daughter Christina, and will do everything we can to support John, his wife Roxana and their son Dallas in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.  I spoke with John earlier today and expressed condolences on behalf of the entire Dodgers organization.”

And of course, since learning of her ties to the Dodgers, we have received an outpouring of support from fans, front office members and media members looking to pass along their thoughts.

Feel free to share yours in the comments here and we’ll make sure that John, Roxana and the whole family receive this.

We truly thank you all for keeping their family and the families of all the victims in your thoughts and prayers.

Promo items galore

Somewhat lost among the news yesterday that we were opening up a day earlier was the official release of our promotional schedule. Six bobbleheads (including Kershaw, Mattingly and Fernando) as well as fireworks back again on Friday nights and the half-price food and drink for all the midweek day games.

There’s something about the promo schedule that just seems to bring me back to my childhood. I guess it has to do with the fact that each year, we would get Line Drives in the mail and my dad would have me and my siblings pick out the four or five games that we wanted to go to. Usually it would be bat day or helmet day or one of the Unocal pins. It must have been the pins a lot, as I still have the hat that I put them all on in my office today.

hat with pins.jpg

Opening Day just got one day closer…

And that’s how we kick off the Inside the Dodgers blog for 2011…

We head to Camelback Ranch in just six weeks and after six more weeks at baseball’s best Spring Training site, we are back here at Dodger Stadium for Opening Day against the Giants.

As you have probably heard, ESPN wanted to get the Dodgers/Giants rivalry as their marquee game on Opening Day, so they asked us to move our home opener, April 1, to the night before so that it could be televised nationally. So, we’ll have three of our first four games on national or regional TV — Thursday and Sunday on ESPN and Friday on FOX. And pretty soon, we’ll be able to give you the whole TV schedule for the season with KCAL and Prime Ticket.

The energy and buzz at the stadium has ramped up significantly since we returned from the holiday break. And as promised, I’m going to work harder to make this blog more exciting, more relevant and with more of your input throughout the year. Please know that your comments about the blog’s commenting functionality are being addressed as we speak. I’m very, very hopeful that the good people at MLBlogs.com will have a solution before Opening Day.

So check back often or keep an eye on our Facebook or Twitter pages, where new posts show up whenever I send them live.

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