With apologies to Mr. Scully, in a year that been so difficult, an amazing thing has happened.
The last 24 hours are the ultimate reminder of why we love the Dodgers.
It started around 4 p.m. yesterday when we first touched base with Vin Scully about how he planned to let the masses know he was coming back for 2012. Of course, that’s not the sort of secret that stays quiet for very long and you always worry that it’s going to leak out on its own. But sure enough, it stayed quiet and he found a creative and classy way to tell the fans directly that he’ll be back for another season. Immediately, Los Angeles was buzzing…14 hours later, he’s still a trending topic on Twitter and our Facebook post got 4,500 likes, more than anything else all season long. What more can really be said about Vin?
Shortly after that first conversation with Vin, we had another special moment. A woman in our department came up with the idea of having Fernando Valenzuela call Team Mexico before the international championship game at the Little League World Series and it was a memorable moment for both them and him.
Then, of course, there was the game. Trailing 1-0 up until Vin made his announcement, the team turned it on and not only broke out for a big victory, but Matt Kemp reached 30/30 faster than any other player in franchise history — which means faster than Raul Mondesi, the only other guy that’s ever done it as a Dodger. The fans went crazy and it was obviously a moment that Matt — or the fans who were here — will never forget.
The night ended with Friday Night Fireworks on the field (set to the Beatles music in honor of tomorrow’s 45th anniversary of their show at Dodger Stadium). And then early this morning, we invited our season ticket holders who have had seats here for three decades or more to take part in a photo shoot for the cover of the September Dodgers Magazine. It’ll be a keepsake and hopefully a morning that they’ll remember for years to come, too.
Making it all even better, yesterday happened to be the day that the winning bidder for ThinkCure spent the day trailing me in my job, so a wonderfully sweet young Dodger fan got to experience it all first-hand and meet everyone from Vin Scully on the day he made the announcement, to Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and so many others.
So sure, things aren’t quite where we all want them to be on and off the field. We’d all prefer that we be right in the thick of a pennant race right now. But we’ve got the game’s broadcaster, best young pitcher, best young position player and the best fans around. I’ll take that any day.
There’s no sugar-coating the fact that this season has not been anything like what we all had hoped back in February, but there are some bright spots that are impossible to ignore. In fact, the performances of Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw last night once again put their names among those that have to be considered for Cy Young and Most Valuable Player in the National League.
The Dodgers haven’t had that happen since 1988 when Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser pulled it off and it hadn’t happened before that in Los Angeles since 1974 with Steve Garvey and Mike Marshall. Of course, we got spoiled in the early 60s when Maury Wills and Don Drysdale did it in 1962, followed by Koufax winning both awards in 1963. Don Newcombe pulled off the double-feat in 1956 back in Brooklyn, the first year the Cy Young Award was given out.
Meanwhile, it hasn’t happened to any team in the NL since Pujols and Carpenter did it for St. Louis in 2005 and the last time it happened in the bigs was when Minnesota did it with Morneau and Santana in 2006.
If the season ended today, do you think they’d both take home these coveted awards?
Hope you’ll be tuning in tonight to the All-Star Game. Kemp batting third and playing CF with Kershaw and Ethier ready to contribute and hopefully extend the NL’s “winning streak.”
Matt had a tough time last night at the Home Run Derby, hitting just two longballs and both came with nine “outs” already but it seems he enjoyed it quite a bit and hopefully he’s saving his pop for the second half of the season.
On behalf of Andre and everyone at the Dodger organization, we can’t thank you all enough for trying to get Andre to Phoenix for the All-Star Game next week. It was arguably the biggest push we have ever made, and our All-Star campaigns go back to the days of Cesar Izturis, Russell Martin, Nomar Garciaparra and many more. But what made this one the best is how much you all embraced it.
Andre was downstairs in the clubhouse earlier today and telling people how grateful he was that you all took this to heart. Seeing some of the chatter on this blog, Twitter and Facebook, there were some of you that literally voted thousands of times, which is unfathomable. From the #VoteAndre TweetSuite to the clubouse t-shirts and the various celebs who threw their Twitter endorsements behind him, it was a fun four days. Ideas came from clubhouse attendants, team execs, fans and just about everyone who wanted to see him play in front of his home crowd.
So thank you! And let’s keep pulling for Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, who will be there to represent your team.
In the meantime, hope many of you are at Andre’s Throwback Bobblehead tonight…should be a crowd over 50,000.
There’s just about one day left for you to help propel Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier into the starting lineup for the National League All-Star team and you can vote up to 25 times at dodgers.com and take part in the “Meet Matt” sweepstakes for a chance to meet the Dodger center fielder.
Even Matt and Andre are getting into the fun of voting…
It’s a very busy day and weekend at Dodger Stadium…
The ThinkCure weekend is underway, with programming on Prime Ticket, KABC, KCAL, KLOS and in Stadium. For all the information, visit dodgers.com/thinkcure.
Then at 2 p.m. PT, @therealmattkemp will take your questions on Twitter. Follow him and @dodgers to see all that he has to say and he’ll answer questions that have the hashtag #AskKemp.
And of course, the Freeway Series starts at 7:10 p.m., with 1:10 games tomorrow and Sunday.
Hope you’ll make the Dodgers and ThinkCure part of your weekend plans.
On behalf of everyone at the Dodger organization, we want to wish all the Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.
If you’re coming out to the Stadium, bring your glove so you can play catch on the field with your father/son after the game. And check out the ceremonial first pitch from Tom Gordon to Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn Sr. to Jr., plus snag a new BBQ Apron from Farmer John.
If you’re not making it down here, tune in on KABC 790, KTNQ 1020 or on PRIME Ticket, where they’ve got lots of Father’s Day content in store throughout the game. You can hang out and watch with your kids or your Dad and make it a day to remember.
And if you do nothing else for your Dad today, make sure you educate yourself on how to “keep Dad in the game” through the prostate cancer foundation. It’s supported by so many people – including Tommy Lasorda and our Dodger rep, Mat Kemp. Early detection is so important and you can literally save your father’s life.
Hard to believe that Kemp and Ethier rank fifth and fourth in All-Star balloting despite the monstrous season Matt’s having and the impressive numbers Andre continues to put up. Or perhaps even a write-in vote for Jamey Carroll, who has been tremendous this year and would undoubtedly relish a spot on the All-Star team.
Dodger fans have answered the call before and helped get several former Dodgers to the All-Star Game in the past and this year. We need your help again!
Remember, you can vote up to 25 times online and with our longest homestand of the year, hopefully we’ll get a strong push in-stadium, too!
On the recently completed road trip, the Dodgers scored 61 runs and had 115 hits in just 10 games. For the non-math majors out there, that’s 6.1 runs and 11.5 hits per game. Overall, the team hit .311 with a .370 OBP, which is hopefully a positive sign that they can start to turn this thing around while the pitching gets back on track at Dodger Stadium.
Jamey Carroll hit .500 on the trip (15-for-30), Matt Kemp batted .472 with 7 homers and 16 RBI and Aaron Miles hit .438 (14-for-32) with several clutch hits. And of course, James Loney hit a key grand slam yesterday.
Entering the road trip, the Dodgers had batted around in an inning four times and during the 10 games, they did it five times!
The longest homestand of the season starts tonight – three games each against the Reds, Astros, Tigers and Angels. As Vin always says, hope you’ll make your plans to be part of it!
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.