Touched down in Philadelphia last night around 8 p.m. and headed to dinner with Ned Colletti and a number of people on his staff at a great Italian restaurant. For those who missed it, Ken Gurnick wrote an impressive recap of Ned’s tenure as GM and whether you agree with his moves or not, you’ve got to admit that the end result has been what we’ve all been hoping for…whether it was starting a prospect development program in the winter, hanging onto the kids when some thought we should deal them, or making big trades for Manny, Casey, Berroa or Maddux, he and his staff — all the way down to each and every area scout and minor league instructor — deserve tons of credit for building this team and turning it over to Joe Torre and his staff.
I know that our plan was for Ned to answer questions from fans on this blog and I’m sure he’d still be happy to do that if any of you want to post them here. When things weren’t looking very good, the questions stopped coming in but he’s been willing to interact with everyone on this blog since Spring Training and that’s pretty unique for a big league GM. Just be sure to direct the question to him and I’ll try to get it answered this week.
In any event, as you can imagine, there are tons of media members here that are just getting to cover the Dodgers for the first time and everyone is seeking a unique angle. Part of our job in the Communications Department is to help provide them with interesting ideas. Among them…
– Our Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Mannion, worked for the Phillies for 15 years, eventually becoming VP of Marketing and Sales
– Fernando and Mariano Duncan were teammates on the 1994 Phillies
– Larry Bowa’s ties to the Phillies (he might be the person we’ve received the most requests for so far)
– Ned actually used to be a sportswriter in Philadelphia, covering hockey in 1980-81
– Shane Victorino (former Dodger minor league twice Rule Fived from our system)
– Jayson Werth – who can forget his wrist sagas?
– Andre Ethier’s thoughts on Philly cheesesteaks (he’s now become MLB’s resident foodie)
– Two former Dodgers on the Phillies’ coaching staff (Davey Lopes and Milt Thompson)
– Former Dodger Charlie Manuel managing the Phillies
And arguably one of the best angles I’ve seen written so far is by the New York Times’ Ben Shpigel, who pointed out that Manuel used to be Manny’s minor league manager, big league hitting coach and big league skipper.
Speaking of Manny, he’s on the cover of SI this week…hopefully the photo below shows up better than the ones of the Steelers’ practice I uploaded back in Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, my counterpart at the Phillies (who has been doing the PR thing far longer than I have and is one of the more respected people in the game), also has a front office blog like Inside the Dodgers. Larry Shenk runs Phillies Insider and you should peek in over there, too. Good luck to Larry in the series…may the best team win.
I also noticed that more Dodger fan blogs are popping up left and right, including this one by Kelly, currently being promoted on the front of MLBlogs. If you’ve got a Dodger blog, be sure to include it in your posts so others can check them out.
To answer the question about why the start time is 5:22 p.m., not 5:30 – it’s all about network programming. FOX selects the times and in this case, it allows them to go on the air around 5 p.m. and still have up to 20 minutes or so for a pre-game show, plus commercials…
And finally, if you’re back in LA and want to get together with other Dodger fans to watch the games, there are a ton of restaurants/bars in the Dodgers’ Home Base Network where you can be sure the game will be on and other fans will be on hand.
That’s all for now…this might be my longest post of the season so sorry for the rambling.
For anyone who grew up in the 80s, today’s luncheon was undoubtedly a huge success, as Fernando, Sax, Welch, Leary, Garvey, Russell, Cey, Monday, Mota…well, how ’bout just posting a photo so you can see all the guys that were there. There was even an appearance by Diamondbacks’ coach Kirk Gibson. You can check out the whole photo gallery from the event.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the luncheon, as I was at a memorial this morning for Matt McHale, the former Daily News reporter who passed away a few weeks ago. Many of his colleagues organized a gathering at Encino Little League and everyone got together to tell stories about an incredible guy.
On a lighter note, despite last night’s loss, the clubhouse seemed loose, with Manny Ramirez cracking up a large group of reporters for a good 10 minutes. Not quite like yesterday’s full-on news conference, but as of today, Manny is staying with No. 99 and says he wants to be in LA for the rest of his career. He says he’s only seeking peace. After just 48 hours, I can safely say that the guy definitely cracks me up.
Joe Torre said that though Juan Pierre is in the lineup tonight, nothing is permanent and that he’s not burying Andre Ethier. He’ll play here and there and Joe has yet to figure out exactly how it will play out.
He also said that there’s a chance we’ll see Furcal next month, which would obviously be a huge boost.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
Kent, 2B (first time hitting sixth as a Dodger…last time was Aug. 7, 2004)
Dodger Stadium is buzzing like I haven’t seen in quite some time. Tonight’s game is now sold out and while there’s tickets for tomorrow and Sunday still available, I’d bet there won’t be for long. We had about 150 media members on the field for Manny’s first media availability and needless to say, it’s been an interesting 30 hours or so.
Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel seemed to dominate a lot of the news conference on the field, but that’s ok. He also got Manny to give him a hug. Plus, our TV producer Brad Zager found a funny way to show “Manny being Manny” in tonight’s broadcast on FSN Prime Ticket so tune in to check it out. KABC 790 came down from 3 p.m. on and broadcast live with Larry Elder and Doug McIntyre, then went straight into an early edition of DodgerTalk at 6 p.m. and they’re practically going all Manny, all the time.
There’s been so much media coverage the last 24 hours, our daily clips packet looks like a movie script. I’ve got to imagine this will slow down eventually, much like craziness surrounding Joe Torre did shortly after his arrival, but it’s definitely keeping everyone on their toes.
To make room for Manny, Nomar heads to the DL…Joe Torre said he wants to make sure he’s 100 percent before he comes back which is why we were extra cautious.
Joe also said that Juan Pierre will likely get the bulk of the time with Kemp and Manny for now, taking nothing away from Andre Ethier. Not tonight, though, as Andruw is in the lineup against a tough lefty like the Big Unit. I seem to remember the last time we had a 20-year-old phenom square off against him, Edwin Jackson did pretty well. Of course, I’d like to think that Clayton’s future will take a different path than Edwin’s did, but only time will tell.
Here’s the lineup: