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.
The Dodgers are currently en route to the big apple and Don Mattingly’s first game as a manager in the town where he first became known to the world of baseball.
Once again, I’ll be back in LA for this trip but it’s going to be quite the media circus for Donnie tomorrow. He’s done an incredible job to date at balancing all the needs and requests that come with being a big league manager and that’s not an easy task in a town like Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, we’re still awaiting any medical updates on Broxton and/or Ethier but with the team en route right now, I’m not expecting much in the next few hours. The Dodgers certainly have been bit by the injury bug to date but that’s part of the game and the team will keep clawing through it.
And Andre’s going for 30 straight, assuming he can play in tomorrow’s game (that’s my assumption, not a medical one). First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. PT on PRIME Ticket, KABC 790 and 1020 KTNQ (in Spanish).
Many of you have read in recent news reports that Don Mattingly has given a lot of thought over the winter about his first address to the team…well, in my clearly biased opinion, he nailed it this morning. There’s a lot of buzz around camp today about just how smoothly things are running and there’s definitely a tone that Donnie has set that has everyone feeling optimistic about 2011.
For an IU grad like myself, it’s been a cool week at Spring Training. On the first day of camp, Don Mattingly got asked about Bob Knight and spent a bunch of time talking about his respect for the Hoosiers’ former coach.
Then today, the late John Wooden’s name came up in the media session, as Donnie has read a lot of his books. Coach Wooden hailed from Martinsville, Indiana, which is near Bloomington.
Clearly those two are legends of the game, so it will be decades before Don could even potentially accomplish what they did as a manager/coach, but it’s still pretty neat to hear so much talk about Indiana.
Tack on Evansville’s Jamey Carroll and there’s no shortage of ties to the Hoosier state around here. Among the most well known Dodgers born there are Gil Hodges, Carl Erskine and Tommy John in addition to more recent Dodgers Eric Stults and Cory Wade.
Why is this relevant? Well, it’s not really. But hearing Donnie talk so much today about Wooden and Indiana made it somewhat noteworthy.
As for the only U.S. President from Indiana…well, that would be Benjamin Harrison, who was actually born in Ohio but spent most of his time in Indiana.
And with that, Happy President’s Day…
The much anticipated announcement of the various caravan stops is now offiical, as we put out a news release this morning. All the information you need is here.
We’ve actually got great response from the players and current team. Headlined by new skipper Don Mattingly, you’ll also see Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jay Gibbons, Gabe Kapler along with a host of former Dodgers and current Dodger broadcasters.
It’s two days of community service leading right up to the reporting date in Camelback Ranch, so hopefully you’ll find a way to lend a hand during some of the public community service stops and meet some of your favorite Dodger personalities.
If you’re a Dodger fan in New York and can find a way to get out from under the snow, head to Mickey Mantle’s tonight for the Mattingly Baseball Charities launch dinner.
Details can be found here and it seems many baseball legends will be in attendance.
Donnie’s charity was created to serve underprivileged youth by supporting programs which promote baseball and softball participation. Many of you may know that he has donated bats and other equipments to our most recent Dodgers Dreamfields and took part in the grand opening of the DDF Dreamfield at the L.A. Boys & Girls Club.
He’s a very community-minded person and having spoken with him several times in the past month, he cannot wait to get to Camelback Ranch. He’s actually heading to Arizona early to get settled in and will make a trip back to join the annual Dodger Caravan on Feb. 14.
Details on Caravan stops and the incredible lineup of players and former players who will be taking part should be coming out next week, so keep an eye on dodgers.com.
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.
It’s decision day on a few Dodger players, most notably Russell Martin, and Ned Colletti just told Jim Hill in an interview that this is one of the toughest decisions he’s had to face since he came to the Dodgers. We’ll know by 9 p.m. PT tonight at the latest what that decision is and hopefully that will provide a little more clarity on the catching situation.
Ned just finished a 20-minute interview with Jim Hill and they covered a ton of topics. It will air in part tonight on KCAL/KCBS as well as throughout the week. Among the things they talked about were Don Mattingly and his staff; Matt Kemp (who recently reached out to Ned and had a great phone conversation that is among the reasons Ned says he feels like this will be a big year for Matt); the starting rotation and the farm system.
There’s definitely a buzz in the offices and one among fans we’re speaking with on a daily basis. It feels a little weird to have so much already set in stone before we head to Orlando for the Winter Meetings on Sunday, but I’ll certainly take that over a four-day set of meetings where we come in with a ton of needs.
The world’s worst-kept secret – the Dodgers’ coaching staff, was announced today with a combined 176 seasons of big league playing, coaching or managing experience, including two former big league skippers (Lopes and Hillman).
The staff also has six former Dodgers (Lopes, Hansen, Honeycutt, Howell, Mota and Wallach) as well as holdovers Jeff Pentland, Rob Flippo and Mike Borzello. Here’s what Donnie had to say this morning. He’ll have more depth to his comments as the day goes on and media begins to fully report…
“I’m extremely excited about this coaching staff, which has a great combination of experience and youth that will create a positive environment for our team. We’ve been able to reach back and bring in a number of coaches with Dodger roots and that’s one of the things that was very important to us. Not just the quality of the people and the experience they bring with them, but the history of this organization – where it came from and where we want to go.”