With apologies to Mr. Scully, in a year that been so difficult, an amazing thing has happened.
The last 24 hours are the ultimate reminder of why we love the Dodgers.
It started around 4 p.m. yesterday when we first touched base with Vin Scully about how he planned to let the masses know he was coming back for 2012. Of course, that’s not the sort of secret that stays quiet for very long and you always worry that it’s going to leak out on its own. But sure enough, it stayed quiet and he found a creative and classy way to tell the fans directly that he’ll be back for another season. Immediately, Los Angeles was buzzing…14 hours later, he’s still a trending topic on Twitter and our Facebook post got 4,500 likes, more than anything else all season long. What more can really be said about Vin?
Shortly after that first conversation with Vin, we had another special moment. A woman in our department came up with the idea of having Fernando Valenzuela call Team Mexico before the international championship game at the Little League World Series and it was a memorable moment for both them and him.
Then, of course, there was the game. Trailing 1-0 up until Vin made his announcement, the team turned it on and not only broke out for a big victory, but Matt Kemp reached 30/30 faster than any other player in franchise history — which means faster than Raul Mondesi, the only other guy that’s ever done it as a Dodger. The fans went crazy and it was obviously a moment that Matt — or the fans who were here — will never forget.
The night ended with Friday Night Fireworks on the field (set to the Beatles music in honor of tomorrow’s 45th anniversary of their show at Dodger Stadium). And then early this morning, we invited our season ticket holders who have had seats here for three decades or more to take part in a photo shoot for the cover of the September Dodgers Magazine. It’ll be a keepsake and hopefully a morning that they’ll remember for years to come, too.
Making it all even better, yesterday happened to be the day that the winning bidder for ThinkCure spent the day trailing me in my job, so a wonderfully sweet young Dodger fan got to experience it all first-hand and meet everyone from Vin Scully on the day he made the announcement, to Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and so many others.
So sure, things aren’t quite where we all want them to be on and off the field. We’d all prefer that we be right in the thick of a pennant race right now. But we’ve got the game’s broadcaster, best young pitcher, best young position player and the best fans around. I’ll take that any day.
What was your favorite baseball video game growing up? Stratomatic (pre Atari)? Earl Weaver Baseball? RBI on Nintendo? The more recent versions of MLB-licensed games for X-Box or Playstation?
For me, it was Baseball Stars on Nintendo, where you could build your own team and rack up sick stats. And that’s what Shawn Tolleson is doing these days in the minors. Tolleson’s prep teammate, Clayton Kershaw takes the mound today against the Reds while another of his teammates, Jordan Walden, is the Angels’ closer. In fact, Kershaw might have been the third-best pitcher on their high school travel team and Tolleson is showing why these days.
After Tommy John surgery shelved him in high school and sent him to college at Baylor rather than the minors, the Dodgers drafted and signed him last year. In his first pro season, he had a 0.63 ERA and 17 saves so he popped up on a lot of radars. But what he’s doing this year is, well, the exact same thing. In 21 games for three different minor league teams, he has an identical 0.63 ERA with 13 saves and has struck out 52 batters in 28.2 innings. That’s a career so far of 47 games, 30 saves, 57.1 IP, 28 hits and 91 strikeouts. Those numbers belong in a video game, not the minor leagues.
For those who haven’t seen it yet (or who don’t have a subscription), the new Dodgers Magazine is out today and it features a very cool shot of Matt Kemp on the cover…if you remember the days of Bo Jackson, it’s somewhat reminiscent of that, only Matt’s shirt is on! Check it out…
Also, for those unaware at this point, Rafael Furcal is going to go on the 15-day disabled list to make sure he doesn’t aggravate his injury any further. Nick Green was recalled but is not in the lineup tonight.
And for those of you reading this and commenting on Inside the Dodgers, please know that I did not intend to ignore the comments. I try to read as many of them as I can, but I honestly hadn’t seen your concerns and I can assure you that we take the issue of fan safety more importantly than almost anything else we do. That’s not just lip service, that’s reality and I’ve been in enough meetings discussing it to assure you of this fact. And because of that, I ask those of you with concerns to email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. That way, they will be logged into our system and can be addressed by our Fan Services department.
One thing I do know is that on any given night, about 99 percent of the stadium behaves well and represents the Dodgers in the manner we’ve all come to expect. But, we need to make sure that the other one percent does not ruin the experience for others and your comments do not fall on deaf ears.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
As some of you remember, there’s a tradition in the Dodger offices dating back to the 80s where the front office gets ice cream when the team moves into first place or extends their lead on the second-place team. I’m happy to say that at 3 p.m., everyone will be getting together for some Baskin Robbins and I’m hoping it’s a far more regular occurence than it has been thus far.
Kuroda last night was really something else. It was only the second complete-game one-hitter without any walks in the last 10 years in all of baseball. The Dodgers hadn’t had a one-hitter since that Wrigley Field game by Derek Lowe in 2005 and Kuroda became only the third rookie pitcher in the last 40 years to take a perfect game into the eighth (Orel Hershiser did so on July 29, 1984.
Meanwhile, that was the sixth straight game at Dodger Stadium that ended in a shutout, which ties a big league record. That hasn’t happened in baseball since Arlington Stadium in 1981.
We just got done doing a live web chat with Matt Kemp and throughout Delwyn Young was chiming in. Hopefully some of you got the chance to join in…there were more than 1,000 questions, which might be an all-time high. Pretty cool. If you missed it, the transcript will be up on the site soon.
And finally, for those who were weighing in on Dodgers Magazine last month, the newest edition hit stands yesterday. You can still get a subscription for the rest of the season.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
And after the game, keep tuned to FSN Prime Ticket for a half hour special on the Dodgers’ trip to China back in Spring Training. A very cool trip and from what I hear, the 30-minute special is just as good.