Behind the scenes of Eovaldi’s debut

There’s something really cool about big league debuts. Presumably, for those of us not on the field, it’s the idea that someone has realized a lifelong dream that really makes these occurrences special. Most teams get to see somewhere between five and 10 a year, so they’re not so rare that they’re like a no-hitter and yet, they’re rare enough that quite often fans remember being at a big league debut for a long time to come.

From a front office perspective, it’s always a unique experience, too. Of course you have the scout who signed the player with the ultimate pride and the coaches and managers and staff who helped him develop. Last night, Ned Colletti, Logan White and De Jon Watson were in the Stadium to watch, as was roving pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves, all of whom have had a hand in getting Nathan Eovaldi here by the young age of 21.

There’s the historical part of it – we always try to get ticket stubs from the game, perhaps the lineup card and if there’s a victory or a hit involved, a baseball signed and dated. All of these items go into the team archives in the event the player goes on to have an All-Star or Hall of Fame career. So, while we have some really amazing artifacts of that nature from great Dodgers in the past, we also have some from guys who might have only played 10 games in the Majors before retiring.

The media aspect of it always drives part of the day, too. As a starting pitcher, the media is not supposed to talk to the guy until after the game. For a position player, that doesn’t ever seem to be an issue, which is always an interesting dichotomy but just one of the unwritten rules the game. The pitcher has so much he has to think about, the last thing we want to do is bog him down with other questions and people to meet, so we let him go about his business quietly.

In this case, it meant that we didn’t find out until postgame that the ‘o’ in his last name is silent. His name is simply pronounced E-Valdee. At least we got the Nathan part right, as he prefers that to Nate.

With Nathan already in the clubhouse late in the game, I had to go downstairs in the top of the ninth to see if we could coax him out on the field postgame for a live interview with PRIME Ticket. Of course, you don’t want to jinx anything by saying, “Hey, if we win can you go out on the field?” and yet you have to still do it or you miss a big opportunity.

After realizing that it wasn’t an interview on the big screen board, Nathan agreed to do it and as you can imagine, when the D-backs started to threaten in the ninth, I thought I had jinxed it and blown this poor kid’s first big league victory.

Fortunately, Elbert came through and the team held on so after the last out, we got Nathan to head out to the field, just in time for Blake Hawksworth to give him a shaving cream pie in the face. Hopefully, it’ll be a moment to remember for him and 20 years from now, having it all on video will be well worth it.

Now he gets to spend four days watching big league baseball, taking it all in, and yet working hard for his next start, whenever that comes. But for those who were on hand to see it, it’s likely something they’ll remember for many years to come.

9 Comments

Nate was great!

I’m thankful to say I was there. Watching him warm up, his strecthing exercise…he was cool, calm and collect. I knew we were in for a great show!

Nathan will be a great pitcher. Stay humble and you could walk in Koufax’ shadow:)

thank you for a great night Kid!

A great night for Nathan. Too bad he had to do it for a has-been, no-good, mf’ing owner douche-bag and a totally incompetent GM. I won’t even mention having to deal with a spinfucker like the one who still puts these threads together.

How does that idiot Ned feel about the play so far of Tranyon for the Mariners? Let’s see, a highlight catch, a single of the all star starter Weaver and a home run. Not a bad 2 games, but that’s OK Ned you got us another back up catcher. Of course it’s not totally your fault, if we had an owner that could afford to own the team, you wouldn’t have had to trade Santana, you know the Santana with what 18 0r 19 home runs for the old Casey Blake. How many Hrs does Casey have? 3-4? God job Ned keep it up, the other GMs must love you because Dodger fans certainly don’t. Besides, you’re helping our cause of empty seats.

GREAT way to start a career. Congratz Nate!
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Let’s go Dodgers….we must win tonight!

That was an ugly game. Even if I were the Phillies, I wouldn’t be too proud of this one. They were given most of their runs, then tried their best to give it way only to have the Dodgers say, “No thanks.”
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A minor milestone in negative attendance tonight. The fiftieth game where the attendance was worse than last year. Fifty out of 60, we’re batting .833 this year. If we can drop it another 400 per, we’ll pass the Brewers for #11 in MLB attendance. Three hundred more will get us past the Rockies, but I don’t think we can get any lower than that. But from #3 last year to #12 would certainly be a significant drop.
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Game 60 attendance (2010): 43,896
Today’s attendance courtesy of trumom: 35,380
Greater than last year = 9 / Less than last year = 50
5th straight game of negative attendance
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Games less than 30,000 this season – 9
Games less than 30,000 in 2005 – 2010: none
Last game was 9/14/2004 – 29,704
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Lowest attended game of the year: Game 8 – 27,439
Largest single game drop: Game 18 (55,662 – 28,419 = 27,243)
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2010 attendance (60 games) – 2,676,987 (44,616 average)
2011 attendance (60 games) – 2,202,489 (36,706 average) #10 in MLB
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Drop of 474,498 total
Average drop of 7908
Extrapolated for 81 games – 640,572
Projected 2011 final attendance – 2,973,360
2010′s final attendance – 3,562,318 (#3 in MLB)
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Next game’s (61) attendance in 2010 – 49,540
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Crowds less than 30,000 in 2010: none. 2011: 9
Crowds 30,000 – 39,999 in 2010: 13. 2011: 36
Crowds 40,000 – 49,999 in 2010: 36. 2011: 10
Crowds 50,000 – 55,999 in 2010: 7. 2011: 2
Sellouts (56,000) in 2010: 4. 2011: 3

Nice post Eric. Keep up the good work. You also created another masterpiece with your latest Dodgers song at http://bit.ly/nBABbZ

Hi Everybody
Tough game and a spectacular effort by Ted Lilly, his best game this year giving up his customary HR but going up against Cliff Lee was like going up against Joe Louis in his prime. Woh is the life of a Dodger pitcher nowadays. The Phillies look like the team to beat this year.
I must say that the “B” on the Dodger hat to honor the great Duke Snider, really looked beautiful.

Hey OBF, in case you did not know, a lot of the ITD group is chatting at http://bit.ly/nBABbZ
Come and join the conversation.

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