It’s certainly a weird feeling to be at the trade deadline and dealing players away rather than getting them back, but today the Dodgers dealt Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals for minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos. To say that Raffy will be missed is truly an understatement.
Though he spent much of his time at the Dodgers battling injuries, you’d be hard pressed to find a more caring individual during his six years in Los Angeles. He is beloved by his teammates and everyone around the game because of what he does on the field, but as someone who dealt with him primarily on off-field endeavors, I can assure you that he was even more important to the franchise and to his home country in that regard.
Not only did he donate huge amounts of money to the Dodgers Dream Foundation over the last six years, but I will always recall a conversation we had at the sushi bar in our Pittsburgh hotel at the end of the 2008 season. He never really tells anyone about all that he does back home in his hometown of Loma de Cabrera, but we got to talking about the poverty he grew up around. He made a passing comment about the local hospital and how the residents know that if they can’t afford their bills, the hospital just bills him. It was unfathomable, but in his mind it was simply what he is supposed to do.
That’s also the first time he mentioned that his hometown doesn’t have a firetruck, another concept that’s hard to believe for those of us in the States. When a fire burns here, we pick up the phone, call 911 and people come and help put it out. Down there, they simply don’t have that luxury. That’s when we talked about the fact that if he returned to the Dodgers as a free agent, we would make sure that his hometown gets a firetruck.
Well, it took some time and effort from a lot of people, but there’s now an LAFD firetruck in customs in the Dominican, en route to his hometown and Raffy’s efforts in that regard will truly save lives. And his generosity at the local hospital saves lives. And for those who saw his “Before the Bigs” on Prime Ticket, you truly get a sense of the heartache he’s experienced in his life.
I’m sure he feels like there was unfinished business here on the field, but off the field he’s made his mark and on the field, he was truly a lineup changer whenever he was healthy. And if you’ve had the pleasure of watching a five-year-old Raffy Jr. in a batting cage at Camelback Ranch, you get the sense we’ll be seeing that kid someday in the big leagues.
On behalf of the entire Dodger organization and its fans, good luck, Raffy. You and your family deserve nothing but the best.
Fernando Valenzuela participated in yesterday’s 10th Annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. His foursome included representatives from MillerCoors, a Dodger partner. Valenzuela’s group got off to a fairly slow start on the front 9, only 3 under par. The breathtaking view on the course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean might have been a distraction to a couple men in the foursome who were playing Trump National for the first time. However, after a Morton’s catered lunch, the team caught fire and birdied 5 of the last 9 holes to finish 8 under for the round.
Below is a Q&A conducted while riding around the course with the legendary lefty:
How long have you been golfing?
A long time. About 20 years. I started in the late 80s. One of my first times, I went out with Rick Honeycutt in Atlantic City, New York. When I was still playing, I golfed mostly in the offseason.
You took to the game quickly. Any attempts to go pro?
(Laughs) No, but when I stopped playing (baseball) in 1997, for about 4 to 5 years, I played (golf) almost every day.
Did you ever play with other teammates? Who was the best golfer?
I played with many of my teammates like Bob Welch, Alejandro Peña and Orel Hershiser. Orel was the best.
Which PGA pro would you most like to golf with?
I played with Arnold Palmer once at the Bob Hope Classic. I played a round with Peter Jacobsen in the late 80s.
What is your favorite course?
Riviera in Pacific Palisades
What’s your favorite club in your bag?
My driver, but I can’t tell you what it is.
What was the best prize you’ve won at a golf tournament?
Three years ago here at the Dodgers Dream Foundation tournament, I won the prize at hole 15 and it was an autographed photo of myself. (Laughs)
Which course would you like to play that you haven’t already?
How many rounds of golf do you player per week?
About 2 rounds per week
What was the best game you’ve ever golfed?
I’ve had a few good games. I shot 74 at Riviera which is 3 over par there.
This season, the Dodgers celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Fernandomania” all season long in 2011. Valenzuela’s “Fernandomania” bobblehead giveaway is July 26 (vs. COL). Below is a first look at the bobblehead!
Tickets are available here or by calling 866-DODGERS.
It was a great afternoon on the field at Dodger Stadium, as the Dodgers, the Dodgers Dream Foundation, the Campanella Family and Cal State Northridge announced a partnership to keep Roy Campanella’s legacy alive for years to come. You can read the details here but equally as cool were some of the great items we brought out from the archives, including his original wheelchair, his shin guards from Brooklyn and the contract he signed to play for the LA Dodgers just weeks before his accident.
Jamey Carroll, meanwhile, was voted the Campanella Award winner by his teammates and you can tell he was truly humbled by it. And well deserved. Turns out, he was an exercise science major at Evansville and did a lot of physical therapy studies along the way, so it couldn’t have fit together more perfectly. Photos of the event are here.
And of course, Bill Plaschke wrote a column about the Campanella legacy in today’s Times. Plenty more coverage that you’ll find tomorrow, I’m sure.
It’s a bright spot in a tough week for the team but with tonight’s win, the team avoids a sweep and heads to Arizona in an hour or so.
Will post from there tomorrow.
Following up on today’s annual golf tournament to benefit the Dodgers Dream Foundation, tomorrow is the start of the ThinkCure Weekend. As you know, it’s all geared towards finding a cure for cancer and we certainly hope you will all find a way to donate in some way, if you have the means.
It starts at 6 a.m. on KABC 790, KLOS and KHJ (Spanish), and then at noon Prime Ticket there will be two straight days of amazing TV programming focused all on ThinkCure. They’ve really put a ton of effort into making this a memorable event to raise a lot of money for a great cause. KCAL will also be showing regular updates over the weekend, so find some time to tune in.
Even better, check out the really cool auction items. A chance to shag fly balls during BP, meet Vin Scully, have an Italian dinner with Tommy, take a batting lesson with Don Mattingly. There’s so much, it’s hard to list it all. In fact, there’s even a chance to follow around yours truly again and all I can say is that last year’s winner paid several thousand dollars and enjoyed it so much, he wound up doubling his donation just for the cause! But more on that later in the weekend…
And last but certainly not least, thank you all for the kind thoughts in the comments of the last post. We are truly blessed and appreciate all of your well wishes.
Oh yeah…and welcome to first place!!
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball’s official statisticians, Blake DeWitt’s 4-for-4 game yesterday was the first time a Dodger second baseman went 4-for-4 (or better) with three RBI in a game since Charlie Neal on June 30, 1960.
Wow, that is hard to believe. That includes Lopes, Kent, Sax, you name it. Pretty crazy.
Oh, and by the way, Andre Ethier is leading the NL in all three Triple Crown categories.
Hope to see some of you tonight at James Loney’s bowling event, which benefits the Dodgers Dream Foundation. I’m sure we’ll be tweeting, facebooking and all sorts of other ing things from there.
UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter for pointing out the news on Dave Roberts. What an incredible guy he is and we’re all pulling for him. I’ve worked with a lot of players over the years and you’d be hard pressed to find a more professional individual and genuinely nice person.
Looks like this morning, when I posted Eric Collins’ blog about yesterday’s Dodgers Dream Foundation golf tourney, I accidentally posted it to Inside the Dodgers. My bad. It’s been re-posted over at Psychollingy.
In the meantime, here’s tonight’s lineup:
And in case you haven’t heard, X Paul is headed to the DL with a skin infection to his left leg, so Jamie Hoffmann is headed to the big leagues. Great story…a non-drafted free agent makes it all the way to the Majors. Great guy, too, so we’re very happy for him.
Spent yesterday exploring Trump National Golf Club at the Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational. Our five-some headed up by Ken Smith didn’t win the thing … but we had a blast. The course is tricked out and tough, with pin placements that were worthy of a Masters Sunday. But I guess it wasn’t that hard for Ken Landreaux’s group. They finished 17-under to come in first. Mixed into that score was a hole-in-one … one of two aces posted on the day. Hard to believe, but true.
A couple of thoughts from the day: My partner Steve Lyons can talk the talk and walk the walk. He’s a world-class chirper … but he can swing the sticks. He’s got an impressive game. I’m starting to think that he is just a real good athlete. If there is anything on the line, I won’t even play him in darts.
A who’s who of Dodger legends showed up. Billy Ashley (he can crush the ball), Rudy Law (no one has more fun), Eric Karros (a handshake like a vise grip), Bobby Castillo (he promised to teach me the screwball), Rick Monday (surprisingly plays right-handed), Bill Russell, Bob Welch, Fernando Valenzuela and a bunch more.
Chad Billingsley and Randy Wolf headed their groups. I’m told that Randy just picked up the game but he’s going to be good pretty soon. His swing looked smooth. It’s my belief that pitchers are better golfers than hitters. I don’t know why that is. Actually taking it a step further … pitchers, hockey players and place-kickers seem to be at the top of the golfing heap. Rick Rhoden, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are all elite golfers. Maybe it’s all the time between starts. Glavine also has the benefit of being a former high-level hockey player. I wonder if he can place-kick?
On the subject of pitcher/golfers I’m reminded of one of the most stunning athletic feats I’ve ever witnessed. Ten years ago this summer I played a round of golf with former Chicago White Sox and Cub pitcher Greg Hibbard. Hibby was a couple of years removed from his playing days and had taken up golf to try and fill the athletic void. We played a course in Sioux Falls, SD and Hibby shot an even-par round of 72 … without a birdie or eagle! He parred all 18 holes. It was amazing. He really didn’t have too many makeable birdie looks. He just drove the ball straight (and short), hit the green (anywhere) and two-putted. Amazing consistency. I should have learned something that day … but I didn’t.
Props go to Joe Beimel, whose fivesome took home first place at yesterday’s Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational with a score of -17 under. As for the media groups, we did okay but were hardly contenders. A fivesome of myself and Mark Rogoff from our office was joined by Yahoo’s Tim Brown, KABC’s Josh Suchon and LA Times.com blogger Brian Kamenetzky and finished 10 under par. Joe Jareck from our office led a group with FSN’s Michael Eaves and Lya Vallat, KFWB’s Bill Seward and our TV stage director (Vin’s right-hand mand) Boyd Robertson and they were five under par.
But more importantly, we raised six figures again for the foundation, which is what really matters.
Some good chatter yesterday regarding Blake DeWitt’s year-end projections and not surprisingly, there were three “off-day” stories on him, as his hometown Cardinals are here for three games. Tony Jackson’s Daily News piece, Diamond Leung’s article in the Press Enterprise, and Dylan Hernandez’s feature in the L.A. Times. They’re all good reading about a very humble and talented third baseman.
As for today, Raffy is not yet ready to come off the DL, so no moves will be made today. And nothing new yet on the Kershaw front, though speculation is certainly running rampant.
Here’s the lineup: