Tonight is the first chance for Dodger fans to see 21-year-old Nathan Eovaldi pitch at home, following his first big league victory this week in Arizona. Fittingly, it comes on the same day that the Dodgers signed their first-round pick, Chris Reed, out of Stanford University.
It’s amazing how quickly these things happen. Nathan signed just three short years ago in 2008 and already he’s here and having an impact. Dee Gordon, selected just seven rounds ahead of Eovaldi, is also making his mark in the big leagues already. And then there’s Clayton Kershaw, who is already an All-Star and Cy Young candidate at age 23.
We meet many of these kids on their first visits to Dodger Stadium shortly after they sign, and it’s really cool to watch them progress through the minors. I can still remember Chad Billingsley showing up here in 2003, wide-eyed and ready to start a pro career and he’s already been in the big leagues now for six seasons.
Of course, some of our youngest players are here now because of injuries or other circumstances, but it’s still incredible to see how quickly they turn into Major League players. That obviously comes with hard work from the player development staff, which is responsible for getting them ready once the scouts go out and identify their talent level as amateurs.
It’s a unique process that you don’t really see in football or basketball because there aren’t really minor leagues the way we have it. But for those who see Chris Reed at tonight’s game, be sure to track his progress through the minors. Hopefully he’ll get here as quickly as some of his recent fellow draftees.
On behalf of everyone at the Dodger organization, we want to wish all the Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.
If you’re coming out to the Stadium, bring your glove so you can play catch on the field with your father/son after the game. And check out the ceremonial first pitch from Tom Gordon to Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn Sr. to Jr., plus snag a new BBQ Apron from Farmer John.
If you’re not making it down here, tune in on KABC 790, KTNQ 1020 or on PRIME Ticket, where they’ve got lots of Father’s Day content in store throughout the game. You can hang out and watch with your kids or your Dad and make it a day to remember.
And if you do nothing else for your Dad today, make sure you educate yourself on how to “keep Dad in the game” through the prostate cancer foundation. It’s supported by so many people – including Tommy Lasorda and our Dodger rep, Mat Kemp. Early detection is so important and you can literally save your father’s life.
Another solid win for the Dodgers, who have taken seven of their last 11 games and tonight, look to win their fourth consecutive series for the first time in over a year. Of course, we aim to provide something a little different here at Inside the Dodgers, so we switch gears for a moment to basketball.
With the NBA Finals in full swing and Dee Gordon getting called up yesterday, it sparked a dugout conversation during Don Mattingly’s pregame interview about Dee’s athleticism on the court. He played primarily basketball until high school, when he finally started playing baseball. And it got me thinking – who would be the best basketball team made up of current or former Dodgers?
Of course, you’d have to include Sandy Koufax, who went to the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. And Matt Kemp, who had offers to play collegiately, who probably be your forward. Dee Gordon would be a nice point guard and our center would have to be Mark Hendrickson, who was the tallest Dodger at 6-foot, 9-inches and also played in the NBA as a power forward. Perhaps Billy Ashley could fill that role for the Dodgers – he was a house, but I have no idea if he could hoop. I guess that’s my starting five, without much research.
Honorable mention as a sixth man goes to Double-A manager John Shoemaker, who never played in the bigs but was the captain of the Miami (OH) basketball team and was selected in the sixth round of the 1978 NBA draft by the Bulls. Stories of his shooting exploits on the court at Dodgertown in Vero Beach are legendary. And from what I hear, Donnie Baseball was actually a pretty good player growing up in Indiana.
Anyone know any good stories about Dodger players who could pass, shoot or dribble?
Just a fun little diversion from the everday stuff on ITD. As promised, I’m trying to post more often and this popped into my head yesterday watching Dee fly around the bases in his first big league start.
You hear a lot about Dee Gordon these days and as you can imagine, our baseball operations staff is careful not to overhype him. But sometimes, he’s hard to ignore.
Earlier tonight, while we were in the visiting clubhouse at the new D-backs complex at Talking Stick, Dee was talking about the inside-the-park-home-run he seemingly hit in a minor league game yesterday, only to be thrown out at home plate.
Well, the folks from LADodgertalk.com are in town for a few days at Spring Training and as I was talking to them, Mark Timmons said that Jared Massey actually caught the play on tape. So, if you want to see just how fast Dee is, check this out. And for what it’s worth, I agree with Dee that he was safe.
It’s really amazing what you can find on the web these days. There’s always talk about how the number of mainstream media members covering us has dwindled and yet, you could spend hours and hours each day just following the Dodgers.