The parade up north is over, which means baseball season is finally done. Certainly not the way any of us had mapped it out, but what’s in the past is now behind us and it’s time to start looking forward again.
I just spent a couple days in Arizona with Don Mattingly at the Arizona Fall League and his energy and excitement for the upcoming season is palpable. You can see a genuine hunger for what he’s trying to accomplish out there and how our team will go about playing the game in 2011.
For those who have never seen the Fall League, it’s a very cool but strange way to watch games…most of the top prospects in the game and yet the stadiums are mostly empty, there’s very little cheering, and most of the people in the stands work for one of the 30 teams.
But it’s real baseball and legit players. I got to see Link and Elbert both pitch very well, plus about eight ABs each from Trayvon Robinson, Ivan DeJesus and Jerry Sands. If you live in Arizona, make sure to stop over there. Amazingly, last year’s Fall League had guys like Buster Posey, Jayson Heyward and Stephen Strasburg playing, among others who are already in the bigs.
We’ll do our best here at Inside the Dodgers to start posting more often. It’s just not much fun to post while other teams are playing in the playoffs, but there’s usually some sort of interesting thing to pass along and we’ll do our best to put it here.
In the meantime, go ahead and put down your wish list for the Dodgers’ offseason in the comments section…obviously Lilly is already locked up, but it’ll be cool to look back in a year and see if the players you thought we should get (or get rid of) turned out the way you had hoped. If I think back to last offseason, most of the guys whose names were bandied about did not exactly turn out to be huge performers, but that’s the fun of the Hot Stove League.
With yesterday’s media availability for Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti, we got a little nugget at the end of the session that I never knew. Don Mattingly is a West Coast guy at heart, according to the manager himself.
“The first time I came to Anaheim, I loved it,” he said. “The weather, the cool nights, the laid-back way it is away from the field. I like that a lot. This place fits my personality really well. I live at the beach, I like it a lot, chill away from the field. It allows me to be somebody different.”
It was a glimpse at the man who will lead the team and it was very genuine. It’s also something I didn’t really know about him, though we did talk about how great the South Bay is on the plane flight to Colorado last week.
In any event, he heads to the Fall League tomorrow…
On a side note, I’ve had a few people ask me what artists did the gifts we gave to Joe Torre and Brad Ausmus. For Torre, it was Opie Otterstad who did the incredible painting and Brad’s helmet was decorated incredibly by David Arrigo. Check out their work…pretty amazing.
Im sure by now youve heard the exciting news that Don Mattingly will take over for Joe Torre next season. Obvoiusly our office is slammed right now with logistics but be sure to tune into PRIME TICKET for the live news conference at 5 p.m. to hear it all for yourself. Im sure Ill post more later…
Our stars are on display tonight at the All-Star Game on FOX so hopefully you guys will all be watching.
And of course, our hearts go out to the Yankee family today with the passing of George Steinbrenner. It’s obviously been a tough week for them, with Bob Sheppard also passing away. Though his legacy will live on tonight at the All-Star Game when his voice announces Derek Jeter in Anaheim.
Here are some of the comments made from Dodger personnel regarding The Boss:
“George was a friend who I admired very much. He was a giant in our game and he built an empire. All he was was a winner. He wanted to give the fans a winner, and that’s exactly what he did.” – Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda
“I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian and a dear friend. I will be forever grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years. My heart goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed in New York, Tampa and throughout the world of baseball. It’s only fitting that he went out as a world champ.” – Dodger Manager Joe Torre
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of George Steinbrenner’s passing. His vision, passion and commitment to winning, recharged the New York Yankees and revolutionized the game.
I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, “The Boss” and number one fan of the Yankees. Our relationship was built on mutual respect. I will never forget and always be grateful for how he treated me and my family both during my playing days and after I retired.
I will miss him very much and extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and all the members of the Steinbrenner family.” – Dodger Hitting Coach Don Mattingly
“George Steinbrenner was the first owner to convey to me his congratulations when I purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. From that day forward we built a strong and meaningful friendship. He was a larger than life owner who cared deeply about winning. George helped shape the game of baseball during his incredible stewardship of the Yankees. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Joan and his four children, Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica and the entire Steinbrenner family.” – Dodger Owner Frank McCourt
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!!
On May 7, the Dodgers will celebrate 60s night and hand out posters to the first 20,000 fans in attendance. Last year, they were themed like movie posters and this year, for the most part, they’ll celebrate various decades.
Earlier this morning, we did a photo shoot with our entire coaching staff, dressed like the Rat Pack, surrounding a pool table and the shots were awesome. Just having the coaches interact with one another in that sort of setting produced some great photos, and there will be a video feature, too, on the Dodgers Media Network at www.dodgers.com/dmn
Here’s a sneak peek from the shoot…
There are a lot more that Jon SooHoo took but I can tell you this much…the poster series is going to be very cool this year. Here are the dates:
May 7: Coaches poster (60s style)…get tickets for this game
June 4: Blake and Loney poster
July 9: Young Guns poster (Kershaw, Billingsley, Broxton, etc.)
July 23: 55 since ’55 poster featuring Vin Scully (now that’s a rarity)
Aug. 6: Kemp poster
Aug. 20: Ethier poster
Sept. 17: Manny poster
I’d imagine that a lot of kids will want to hang these posters on their walls (as will many adults) but as I think back to what was hanging on my wall as a kid, it’s somewhat ironic that it was also Don Mattingly poster (as well as Steve Sax and Tony Gwynn).
Here’s today’s lineup, with the game on big FOX: