And that’s how we kick off the Inside the Dodgers blog for 2011…
We head to Camelback Ranch in just six weeks and after six more weeks at baseball’s best Spring Training site, we are back here at Dodger Stadium for Opening Day against the Giants.
As you have probably heard, ESPN wanted to get the Dodgers/Giants rivalry as their marquee game on Opening Day, so they asked us to move our home opener, April 1, to the night before so that it could be televised nationally. So, we’ll have three of our first four games on national or regional TV — Thursday and Sunday on ESPN and Friday on FOX. And pretty soon, we’ll be able to give you the whole TV schedule for the season with KCAL and Prime Ticket.
The energy and buzz at the stadium has ramped up significantly since we returned from the holiday break. And as promised, I’m going to work harder to make this blog more exciting, more relevant and with more of your input throughout the year. Please know that your comments about the blog’s commenting functionality are being addressed as we speak. I’m very, very hopeful that the good people at MLBlogs.com will have a solution before Opening Day.
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
As one of the most successful managers in baseball history, Joe Torre tends to have an interesting take on a lot of things, and I’ve always found it intriguing over the last couple years that he tends to gauge his team based on its relationship to the .500 mark, not to the standings.
Of course, when we get to September, you need to be at the top of the division, but when we struggled early, he kept saying that the goal was to get to .500 and then after that, it was five games over and now 10 games over.
I guess if you worry about your own team more than your competition, you don’t tend to freak out at the peaks and valleys.
First pitch is a couple minutes away here on FOX…and don’t forget, the first-half finale against the Cubs tomorrow is at 5:10, not the usual 1:10 Sunday time.
Today’s game is a regional telecast on FOX so hopefully you’ll be either here or watching on TV.
Last night’s victory was just what the doctor ordered and the stadium was hopping. Sure, a lot of them are transplanted Cub fans, but that made it even more exciting to see what Kuroda could do.
We are designating Terry Tiffee for assignment this morning and Angel Berroa will be here shortly, if he hasn’t already arrived. Joe Torre said he’d be starting tomorrow. Adding a Dominican named “Angel” made me think of Angel Pena, the former catching prospect, who I believe still plays winter ball down there and does pretty well. That’s not really relevant to anything, but just throwing it out there.
While Berroa will start tomorrow at shortstop, Jason Schmidt will not be starting for the 51s, as he’s had a little tightness in his shoulder so he’ll take a few more days off before heading to Vegas.
Meanwhile, Jeff Kent was supposed to get today off, but he gave himself last night off when he went off on the umpire, so he’s in there today. Here’s the lineup: