So far, it’s been a succesful first day of the annual community caravan. I got to visit the first stop, at the L.A. River cleanup, and lots of Dodger fans were there with Don Mattingly, Andre Ethier, James Loney and a whole crew of former Dodgers, who were doing their best to Think Blue and Act Green.
The caravan continued on to USC University Hospital, followed by King Middle School and will also make a visit to Lopez Tonight, so tune in this evening to see these guys on the late night talk circuit.
We’re back at it tomorrow morning with plenty more stops, so keep your eye out on the roads for a blue bus with the Dodgers Caravan across the side of it. Or follow the caravan virtually on twitter @dodgers, where we’re sending out photos all day.
Also, in response to the question of whether or not we’d wear the Brooklyn uniforms on the road in NY…I’m pretty sure that has to come with MLB approval well in advance and at the request of the home team. So, unless the Mets asked us to do this, I don’t think we can just show up in Brooklyn uniforms for their game. It’s an interesting thought though for down the road and something we can look into. Appreciate the idea…and for those who haven’t voted, check out dodgers.com/throwback and vote…it’s very close between two choices and only four days left to weigh in.
We just got word that the Dodgers have once again avoided all arbitration cases with their players and signed James Loney, the final case remaining, to a one-year contract.
As you probably know, we always try to avoid going to trial with our own guys because the process is never enjoyable for anyone, so kudos to everyone in baseball operations on getting this done.
On a sadder note, we also got word this morning that former Brooklyn Dodger Cliff Dapper passed away this past week.
Dapper was a Los Angeles native who appeared in 18 games with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942. He was best known for being the only ballplayer in history to be traded for a broadcaster. When Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber went on a medical leave during the 1948 season, team president Branch Rickey called Earl Mann, the owner of the minor league Atlanta Crackers, and asked for permission to sign Harwell. Mann wanted compensation for his popular broadcaster and said his team needed a catcher.
Rickey sent Dapper from the Dodgers’ Triple-A Montreal affiliate to the Crackers to complete the deal. Dapper continued his minor league career as a player and manager through 1957. Harwell left the Dodgers after the 1949 season, he was replaced by Fordham University graduate Vin Scully. Harwell became a Hall of Fame broadcaster, primarily with the Detroit Tigers. Despite the famous trade, Harwell and Dapper did not meet for more than a half a century until the dedication ceremonies for Harwell’s statue at Detroit’s Comerica Park in 2002.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this tough time.
KABC just put out the announcement that Joe Block will be joining Josh Suchon as co-host of DodgerTalk for 2011. It’s a very exciting addition to the show, as Joe brings more than a decade of experience working in radio and TV, including several years as the Jacksonville Suns play-by-play guy back when Kemp, Billingsley, Kuo, Broxton, Loney, Elbert and others were coming up through that team (he missed Clayton by a season).
That’s when we first got to know him and his talent as an on-air personality. Most recently, he’s been hosting a similar show to DodgerTalk for the New Orleans Hornets while doubling as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer during the summer. He’s got tremendous baseball knowledge and should be a great fit along with Soosh to keep DodgerTalk interesting while engaging in converations with all of you.
Of course, it’s a tad bittersweet because Ken Levine is no longer going to co-host the show. He’s done a tremendous job the last few seasons with Josh and was very fortunate to be named one of the play-by-play guys for the Mariners this season. We will miss his humor and passion for the Dodgers and I have no doubt he’ll still be around the stadium plenty and a part of the Dodger family, always.
If you’re a twitter follower, check out Joe at @joe_block and welcome him back to the Dodger family either there or in the comments of this blog.
Josh and Joe will be on the air from Camelback very soon, so check back for details on the first DodgerTalk of the spring on KABC 790.
We received word that former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Tony Malinosky passed away last night in Oxnard. At age 101, he was the oldest living Major Leaguer. Malinosky appeared in 35 games with the Dodgers in 1937.
An Illinois native, Malinosky attended Whittier College and was a classmate of future President Richard Nixon. Malinosky served in the United States Army and saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge.
In 2009, Malinosky was honored at Dodger Stadium on the eve of his 100th birthday. Our thoughts and wishes are with those who knew him and we’re so glad that we were able to celebrate his life here so recently.
As a kid, I always enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books but never really knew why. Looking back on it, perhaps had something to do with the fact that in most books you read, someone else decided the outcome for you and in these rare cases, you got to be a part of the story. In fact, you even got to see how all your options turned out if you wanted to go back and do it again.
It was a concept that was well ahead of its time and it’s probably also the reason why I was such an avid fan of Clue, the movie.
Well, maybe it’s the same reason why I’m so excited about the opportunity for fans to vote this week on which uniform the team will wear for six games this year. You’re not supposed to get to choose what uniform your favorite team gets to wear, but you can.
AND NEARLY 25,000 VOTES WERE CAST IN THE FIRST 24 HOURS.
Check out dodgers.com/throwback if you haven’t already and weigh in on the subject. And then come out for those games – all of which are midweek day games and feature half-price food and drinks at Dodger Stadium.
What’s your prediction for today? And where are you watching…anyone reading this from Dallas and planning on being at the game? I’m going with 31-21 Pittsburgh…and for a refresher on the last time the Dodgers led the Steelers to a Superbowl title, check this out. One thing you can learn from this post is proof that in three years, I still haven’t figured out how to properly post photos on this blog (follow the link all the way back to here for a “photo” of Beimel, Wade and Polamalu).
Meanwhile, Inside the Dodgers jumped from No. 11 to No. 4 on the MLBlogosphere’s Latest Leaders, so hopefully the new content we’re adding is of interest to Dodger fans around the world. And congrats to Dodgerfilms for being the top fan blog among Dodger folks. His video compilation of all the homers he’s caught in BP and in-game caught our attention last week when it got retweeted like crazy.
First, as has hit the wires earlier today, we signed veteran left-hander Ron Mahay to a minor league deal with an invite to big league Spring Training. He had a lot of success against lefties last year, allowing just two extra base hits and two walks to 66 lefty hitters last year in Minnesota. Obviously he’ll compete with guys like Scott Elbert as the potential “second lefty” out of the bullpen.
Meanwhile, speaking of southpaws, a pretty good one stopped by our office earlier today. We interviewed him for a bunch of features down the road and gave him the award he won last week at the Southern California Sports Broadcasters luncheon. Recognize this guy?
The much anticipated announcement of the various caravan stops is now offiical, as we put out a news release this morning. All the information you need is here.
We’ve actually got great response from the players and current team. Headlined by new skipper Don Mattingly, you’ll also see Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jay Gibbons, Gabe Kapler along with a host of former Dodgers and current Dodger broadcasters.
It’s two days of community service leading right up to the reporting date in Camelback Ranch, so hopefully you’ll find a way to lend a hand during some of the public community service stops and meet some of your favorite Dodger personalities.
When ESPN announced that it would pick up Opening Day against the Giants, some people wondered if this meant that Vin Scully would miss his first home opener since the team came to Los Angeles.
Worry no more. Vin is on board to play a role in the KABC radio broadcast on March 31 and will be in the house. Exact details of what innings he’ll call and any other role he might play in the ceremonies have yet to be determined, but rest assured, he has every intention of being here. And we’re planning a memorable ceremony that we truly hope our fans will enjoy.
For what it’s worth, when we mentioned the idea to Rick Monday and Charley Steiner, both were fully on board. As Rick put it, “It wouldn’t be Opening Day without Vin Scully.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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.