Results tagged ‘ Camelback Ranch ’

Holiday spirits…

I know that many of us who are fortunate enough to work for the Dodgers spend a lot of time thinking about how lucky we are to work for an organization of this stature, but there are certain days that are just better than others.

Most days, as I pull into the parking lot, I try to remember what an amazing job I have. But much like all of you, there’s also an office culture and office life and with that, comes an office holiday party. Ours starts in about 30 minutes when the offices will close for the afternoon and the games begin. There’s lunch in the Dugout Club, a softball tournament down on the field, some sort of Olympic games (not sure what it will entail) and then dinner before we head home. Office camaraderie is important anywhere you work, even more so when you log the kind of hours that are required of these sorts of jobs.

I certainly don’t write this to brag…just to give a little insight into a great day like this for the organization. We get hammered plenty publicly but it’s days like this that it’s hard to deny how fortunate we are to be associated with the Los Angeles Dodgers…there are very few teams in baseball that can say they’ve been in the playoffs four out of the last six years and three out of the last four, not to mention back-to-back NLCS for the first time in three decades. I’ve worked with a lot of people through the 90s and early 2000s who spent a lot of years here and never got to witness the sort of success we’ve had on the field in recent years. We still have the ultimate goal in mind - a World Series – but we also have to know that only one team can win it each year and hopefully our time is coming soon. And off the field, I think we all know that there are several million people who would trade jobs with us in a heartbeat. I’m just hoping I don’t pull any muscles in advance of tomorrow night’s front office basketball tournament…yet another cool thing organized by the accounting department.

Anyway, changing subjects, one more cool thing happened today…Camelback Ranch won an award from Ballpark Digest and I’d imagine that any of you who got to visit understand why. Those who didn’t should start making their plans now because it really is a very cool experience.

Camel-back in Arizona….

Scott Akasaki and myself traveled to Camelback Ranch for the day today along with a couple of the key operations people at the Dodgers to look at various minor tweaks that can be made to the experience at Spring Training and the complex and just being there got me excited for 2010.

I’m guessing that many if not most of you, our biggest fans, got the chance to visit last spring but if not, I really hope you’ll make it out there. And for those who were there last year, please provide your feedback about the experience.

We’ll be formally announcing our Spring Training schedule tomorrow so be on the lookout at dodgers.com.

Tomorrow is also the day that NL Gold Gloves get announced so as soon as we’re given the official word, we’ll tweet it and post it online. As you know, we’ve got a couple guys who are more than worthy of the honor.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch…

Been waiting all spring to use that line. We are, in fact, back at the Ranch for the next four days with home games in three of them (plus a “road” game against the Sox tomorrow.

We’ll be hosting some of the Dodger bloggers here for tomorrow’s game and showing them the our new digs and hopefully starting to shore up some of the final roster decisions to be made. Well, I guess we won’t be doing that but our baseball ops staff will be.

Here’s the lineup for today’s game against the Royals…no Casey Blake, as he and his wife are getting ready to have their third kid so congrats to the Blake family.

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Manny, LF

Ethier, RF

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kemp, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Kuroda, P

WBC and the Price is Right

I’ll bet those two things have never been written in the same sentence before. But there’s a first for everything.

I’m back in Los Angeles to help prepare for this weekend’s semis and finals of the WBC, so the updates from Camelback Ranch might be a little more irregular this week (though I know we set a Cactus League single-game attendance record today). And at the present time, the US and Puerto Rico are tied, 3-3 in the top of the 5th of an elimination game, so here’s hoping we can pull out the victory and take part in the fesitivities at Dodger Stadium. Just seeing the way the stadium looks right now, I can tell this is going to be a special event with the whole world watching and hopefully you’ll all come out and be a part of it.

As for the Price is Right, you might recall that at the Community Caravan in February, several current and former Dodgers took part in a taping of the show and it airs TOMORROW (Wednesday). Check your local listings for the team’s big showcase showdown!

A historic day

Our team historian Mark Langill just pointed out to me that this could be the only time in our lives that we see a Dodger ballpark open. For those who weren’t alive when the team opened Ebbets Field, Holman Stadium or Dodger Stadium, this is going to be one that we’ll all remember for a long time to come.

Also pretty memorable was Vin Scully’s first day at Camelback Ranch, which was yesterday. I had the honor of taking him around and giving him a tour with Billy DeLury, two of the team’s lone “holdovers” from Brooklyn. He seemed sufficiently impressed with the campus, as has just about everyone that I’ve come across. I hope the same holds true for all of you. I even saw a few ITDers at the ballpark walk-through event yesterday, so we know you’re out here!

For those who have been longing to watch a game or hear Vin’s voice, KCAL will bring it to you today starting at noon PT/1 p.m. here in Arizona. Over on radio, Rick and Charley will be there on KABC and Jaime, Pepe and Fernando will do the same in Spanish on KHJ.

Here’s the lineup for today’s opener:

Furcal, SS

Hudson, 2B

Kemp, CF

Loney, 1B

Loretta, DH

DeWitt, 3B 

M. Jones, RF

Ausmus, C

Pierre, LF

Kuroda, P

 

Camelback Ranch – open for business

Yesterday was a great day of introductory meetings and a news conference, but today is the actual opening of Camelback Ranch - Glendale. There’s still quite a bit of construction going on at the Ballpark, but the practice fields are ready to go and we’re set up in our new offices.

And, in keeping with the “first day” theme, here’s a post from historian Mark Langill…

“One of the most unique Dodger spring training photos was snapped on the first day of training camp in 1970 and featured manager Walter Alston on a bicycle with such youngsters as Steve Garvey, Bobby Valentine, Bill Russell and Tom Paciorek tagging along and riding two-per-bicycle. Most of the prospects enjoyed long careers, including Paciorek, who has spent more than three decades in pro ball as a player and broadcaster. But that was the only day Paciorek would be pictured wearing uniform No. 53, which had belonged to pitcher Don Drysdale from 1956 to 1969 and later was retired by the ballclub upon Drysdale’s election to the Hall of Fame in 1984. According to Paciorek, he walked into the clubhouse the next day and found uniform No. 17 in his locker. He asked clubhouse attendant Nobe Kawano about the change from Drysdale’s famous number. “I saw you play, kid,” Kawano replied. “You’re not that good.”

Who's coming with me?

Sitting at LAX, ready to head to Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Hard to believe it’s here, but I can’t wait to see the place. It’s changed dramatically since I was there in November.

Be sure to keep checking back regularly for updates as well as watching the Inside Dodgertown webisodes that are on dodgers.com (if you’ve disabled autoplay on your home page, you have to make sure to click on it to watch them). The video group from the Dodgers has been doing some great work on a daily basis and there will be new video from Arizona daily.

Meanwhile, if I hadn’t booked my flight a month ago, I would have hopped on the Lasorda bus, which departed from Dodger Stadium this morning at 10 a.m. They’ve got to be closing in on Arizona by now even with their stop for six-dollar burgers at Carl’s Jr. and a gas fill-up at 76 (got to plug our sponsors, right?). I can only imagine the stories being told on that bus but keep an eye out for updates on KABC from Josh Suchon all day long; a story on dodgers.com from Rhett Bollinger, who is riding along; reports on KCAL with Gary Miller; and a column by the Daily News’ Ramona Shelburne. I’m sure Tommy will post a blog about the trip, too.

Tomorrow there will be tons of coverage from Arizona, as Joe Torre will meet with the media around 2 p.m. and Inside Dodgertown is hoping to catch with him first thing in the morning before the entire baseball operations staff sits down together for the first time this spring.

This Saturday!

For those of you who have not seen the story that Ken Gurnick did on Nomar yesterday, check it out. It touches on his baseball future (still unsure, according to Nomar) and his charitable present, as he and Mia are hosting their second annual celebrity soccer game this weekend. For anyone who went last year, it was a great event and raised more than $150,000 for bone marrow donation awareness and research.

Also this Saturday is your first chance to purchase individual tickets for games at Camelback Ranch during Spring Training. Given that we played in front of standing room only games during all of our Cactus League games last year, I’d imagine they’ll move quickly, so be sure pick a week (or weekend) to come out and then hop online and get your tickets.

And finally, on a very sad note, we just got word that former Dodger coach Preston Gomez passed away today. As some of you might recall, he was hit by a car during Spring Training last year and it seems he never really recovered. I know that he was close with a number of people in the organization and our hearts go out to his family and friends. Here’s what his former manager, Tommy Lasorda had to say:

“The man spent his entire life in baseball. He came from Cuba and got the opportunity to work for the Dodgers. Al Campanais gave him an opporunity to be in professional bsaeball. He managed at least three major league teams and was a credit to the game. We are very sorry to see him pass away. He wore the Dodger uniform with pride and dignity. He has helped a lot of people in our game and he will be missed.”

Best laid plans…

So we had hoped to bring all of you some great footage from Camelback Ranch, as we invited the media to take a tour of the site today along with Andre Ethier and the White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who would have been seeing it for the first time, too. But unfortunately, there was tons of rain in Arizona today, so the tour had to be called off. Our video team was there and we were able to get a photo to show you, but it certainly doesn’t really do it justice.

 

 

camelback.jpg

 

The building behind left field is the Dodger clubhouse and offices and that’s where there’s a very cool area to hang out where the players will walk by on their way to the field. KCAL had the chance to go out there on Monday (without Ethier) and Jim Hill did a great piece for the news last night, which you can see here (you have to look at the video on the right hand side of the screen and click on the one that looks like a Spring complex). 

Anyway, that’s the news on the Spring Training front. Obviously we’re still in the mix on Furcal and this thing clearly has taken a lot of twists and turns. We all still have our fingers crossed that it will work out so that we have our infield shored up and can focus on the next topic at hand. If you’re interested in the very latest news, Ned will be on Petros & Money today at 5:30 on KLAC 570 in Los Angeles, so you can hear it straight from him.

 

Casey and Camelback

It’s official. As of just a few moments ago, Casey Blake is officially signed to a three-year deal, the first piece of the offseason puzzle. As has been reported, we’re still working on local boy Mark Loretta as a utility player, we’ve met with Furcal’s reps while we’ve been here, and we met with Boras last night regarding Manny for the first time in quite some time. Plus, of course, the news from yesterday about CC. As you can tell, the baseball ops folks are staying busy, that’s for sure.

We also held a news conference here in Vegas with Joe Torre, Ned Colletti, and the White Sox GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen to talk about Camelback Ranch - Glendale. It was a nice chance for the entire baseball media world to hear about this state-of-the-art facility and here’s one story from dodgers.com.

Plus, we had more PR meetings throughout the morning and plenty of other stuff to keep us away from the blackjack and craps tables. At least for now…

Actually, a lot of the talk among PR people is about the different forms of media now available, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. I’m planning to start an official Inside Dodgertown Facebook page when we get back in town, so be on the lookout for info along those lines. It only makes sense, as the media landscape continues to change on a daily basis, that we find direct lines of communications to you all, the most important part of Dodger baseball.

Finally, I’ll go ahead and post the transcript from Joe Torre’s meeting with the media today. It covered a huge array of topics and lasted nearly an hour, so happy reading. 
J. Torre – 12.09.08.doc

 

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