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.
While 100,000-plus people were celebrating the Lakers’ championship at the parade, there was a quieter salute taking place today at Fire Station 20, as we took Rafael Furcal over to visit the station that is responsible for Dodger Stadium. What a cool visit, with Raffy actually getting on a truck as they were heading off to a fire.
David Ely was there for MLB.com, so you should see a story up soon on dodgers.com, but it was a pretty cool experience for Raffy, who has been working to secure a fire truck for his hometown in the Dominican Republic.
He’s hitting second again tonight as we take on the A’s with free parking again (and a salute to firefighters at the stadium).
It won’t be long before Dodger Stadium catches on and starts chanting Blake De-Witt like they chanted Chin-lung Hu or Hee-Seop Choi…he’s a natural. And the whole country is figuring it out, as he was named the Gillette Rookie of the Month today. Congrats to Blake and the Dodgers Dream Foundation, which will get a $5,000 check in Blake’s name.
The DDF will also be the beneficiary of the auctions currently running on dodgers.com where you can purchase a chance to be a co-captain of one of the Hollywood Stars teams next Saturday. Or perhaps read the lineups or take the field with the celebs. It’s all for a good cause, so check it out.
As for the comment about acupuncture for Rafael Furcal, I don’t know if we’ve tried that but I can tell you that we do have a certified acupuncturist in the training room, Ichiro Tani, and he’s worked with a number of our players over the last several years. That said, I’m sure the option has been explored.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
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: