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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been 11 days since the last post here at Inside the Dodgers and no, we haven’t forgotten about you.
When this blog started nearly five years ago, there was a photo from Holman Stadium and we invoked a James Earl Jones line from Field of Dreams.
Five weeks later, Twitter’s founder Evan Williams had his first tweet and the way in which the world communicates changed. Well, that was only part of it. In between then and now, Facebook has grown to the size of the world’s third-largest country, videos go viral and reach more people than many mainstream media outlets ever did and the way in which we speak with our fans is vastly different than in 2006.
We wrote that day from Vero Beach that “It is our sincere hope that much like the cornfields in Iowa, ‘if we build it, you will come.'” And you have. Thousands and thousands of you view this site daily (admittedly, I stopped checking the numbers long ago) and the comments are among the most active on the entire MLBlogs network. Even as the regularity of posts has dropped off, you’ve still made Inside the Dodgers the ninth-most visited site on the network, according to the November leaders.
So as we wind down for the holidays, we’re trying to figure out what exactly we should be doing with this site for 2011. We have every intention of keeping it up and keeping it active, but we’ve got to do a better job of keeping it fresh…perhaps more photos, video and a true inside look at the thing you all care about most – the Dodgers.
Any and all ideas are welcome…it’s really been amazing to watch the community here grow. In some cases, kids who started reading this blog in junior high are shipping off to college. Others, like Joe Pierre, made their first pilgrimage to Dodger Stadium after decades of loving the team. One couple even met on Inside the Dodgers and are now married. OK, I made that one up, but the amazing stories go on and on…
So we thank for your support over the years and your patience as we redefine what this blog is all about. Happy holidays to all, here’s to a healthy 2011 (with a lot of victories and a parade) and stay tuned for more from Inside the Dodgers.