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?
Fernando Valenzuela participated in yesterday’s 10th Annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. His foursome included representatives from MillerCoors, a Dodger partner. Valenzuela’s group got off to a fairly slow start on the front 9, only 3 under par. The breathtaking view on the course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean might have been a distraction to a couple men in the foursome who were playing Trump National for the first time. However, after a Morton’s catered lunch, the team caught fire and birdied 5 of the last 9 holes to finish 8 under for the round.
Below is a Q&A conducted while riding around the course with the legendary lefty:
How long have you been golfing?
A long time. About 20 years. I started in the late 80s. One of my first times, I went out with Rick Honeycutt in Atlantic City, New York. When I was still playing, I golfed mostly in the offseason.
You took to the game quickly. Any attempts to go pro?
(Laughs) No, but when I stopped playing (baseball) in 1997, for about 4 to 5 years, I played (golf) almost every day.
Did you ever play with other teammates? Who was the best golfer?
I played with many of my teammates like Bob Welch, Alejandro Peña and Orel Hershiser. Orel was the best.
Which PGA pro would you most like to golf with?
I played with Arnold Palmer once at the Bob Hope Classic. I played a round with Peter Jacobsen in the late 80s.
What is your favorite course?
Riviera in Pacific Palisades
What’s your favorite club in your bag?
My driver, but I can’t tell you what it is.
What was the best prize you’ve won at a golf tournament?
Three years ago here at the Dodgers Dream Foundation tournament, I won the prize at hole 15 and it was an autographed photo of myself. (Laughs)
Which course would you like to play that you haven’t already?
How many rounds of golf do you player per week?
About 2 rounds per week
What was the best game you’ve ever golfed?
I’ve had a few good games. I shot 74 at Riviera which is 3 over par there.
This season, the Dodgers celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Fernandomania” all season long in 2011. Valenzuela’s “Fernandomania” bobblehead giveaway is July 26 (vs. COL). Below is a first look at the bobblehead!
Tickets are available here or by calling 866-DODGERS.
For three days, the eyes of the baseball world were focused on Chavez Ravine. (I’d say the entire sports world but a little footy contest in South Africa may have drawn some attention as well).
Sure there was Halladay vs. the Jays. Santana vs. the Twins. The North Side vs. the South Side. The battle of the Lone Star State. Even the Red Sox vs. the Giants. But one series stood above the rest this weekend as the World of Dodgertown took on Yankees Universe in a marquee matchup that felt like Opening Day…in October…for three games in a row!
First things first, we lost the series. There’s nothing to say that will change that and nothing can erase the pain of Sunday’s defeat. Our fellow blogger, Alyssa Milano, said it best as she tweeted, “#Yankees, breaking hearts since the early 1900’s.”
The good news? This was not October. In fact, these games meant less in the standings than the three to come in San Francisco. So if I may, I’d like to take a quick step back to remember the last 72 hours before the next series is upon us. They were pretty special.
From the moment the teams began BP on Friday afternoon, it was easy to see that there was something different about the weekend ahead. It was made easy by the traveling band of media that accompany the Yankees from town to town. It was wall-to-wall press on the field as Joe Torre, in his first appearance AGAINST the Yankees since he departed the Bronx, greeted his former players. From Derek Jeter to current Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi, every hand-shake and hug was documented.
In case you missed the ads – we’ve been running them since February – there was also a Rivalry being Renewed at Dodger Stadium and a few men who help define the term were also on hand including Tommy, Garvey, Cey, Russell & pinstriper named Reggie. They all exchanged pleasantries as well, including a feisty ‘discussion’ between Lasorda and Jackson on the air during Saturday’s telecast (all done in jest). One thing was certain, Tommy bleeds Dodger blue.
Opening Night (as it could easily have been dubbed) was kick-started by a rocking National Anthem performance by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was immediately followed by a standing-ovation-inducing first pitch by Lakers Center, and World Champion, Pau Gasol. If that wasn’t enough to get the engines started, the Dodgers went up 1-0 in the first inning…of course they would fail to score again. However, despite falling 2-1 in the opener, Vicente Padilla gave the fans plenty of moments to cheer.The tight score gave game one the drama the series deserved and the renewal was underway.
Game two of the series was the first of two to be broadcast across the country and included its own pre-game, made for TV – rather HBO – moments as E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Vinny Chase threw out the first pitch. The Entourage boys got their fair share of applause, but the ovations would come even more often during the game with the Dodgers loading the bases three times, knocking AJ Burnett out of the game early, and earning a much needed victory despite falling behind 3-0 before an out was recorded.
The series finale had it all. First of all, it was on ESPN with Joe Morgan, Jon Miller and a familiar face, Orel Hershiser, calling the game. Second, the stars of Hollywood came out in droves to experience the rubber match of the rivalry for themselves. There was Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise. Alyssa Milano and Jack. Jake T. Austin and Zac Efron. And those were just the famous faces found by DodgerVision! The celebrities added an air of importance to the game and the Dodgers youngest star took his cue as Clayton Kershaw masterfully shut down the Yankees without allowing a walk for the first time in his career. Of course the drama continued late into the night in a heart-breaking sequence of Broxton, Cano, Mariano, and scene.
As we look ahead to the Giants and D-Backs, followed by the final homestand of the first half, this series will eventually fade in our memories – especially since we ended up on the losing end. However, from the rally towels to the Yankees rally, Dodger fans were treated to a 3-part drama that is typically reserved for the fall. The title, “Christmas in July” is a phrase often used to describe an event that brings about unexpected excitement. I think if we take a step back, we’ll realize that we all just experienced “The World Series in June”. At least in my own estimation. I hope to see you all at the sequel this October.
– Josh Lukin
What an awesome series this has been so far! Fifty-six thousand fans, waving towels and getting into the game the last 48 hours. While some say that it feels like postseason baseball in the stadium, I’m not sure it’s quite reached that level. I’d say it’s more like late September pennant-race baseball. But it’s been a heck of an atmosphere in stadium and the finale is just a few hours away.
We’ve been so busy with the extra media and all that’s going on, somehow we didn’t post anything Friday or Saturday, but you guys have kept the conversation going on Inside the Dodgers. We’ll figure out a tour soon…and it’ll obviously be open to any and all who read these messages.
Should be cool to hear Orel Hershiser break down Clayton Kershaw on tonight’s national telecast. A series win could do a lot to boost the confidence of the team after a tough couple weeks. And with a six-game road trip looming back against the NL West teams the Dodgers seem to play well against (with Billingsley coming off the DL), a win today would be huge.
And by the way, if you come out early today, be sure to stop by Viva Los Dodgers and get an autograph from Steve Yeager, who will be signing out there.
Of course, anything can change between now and March 10, but as it stands, Joe Torre, Manny Ramirez, James Loney, Chin-lung Hu and Hong-Chih Kuo, among 30 others.
Most names have been trickling out over the last few weeks, but Manny has confirmed to his agent that he plans to make the trip and will be with us when we depart Phoenix a week from tomorrow.
We’ll play three games out there, host a clinic, an autograph session in downtown Taipei and Joe Torre will even have a “success seminar” for local baseball and business people.
Two of my favorite photos that I’ve seen from the 1993 trip are these…
first, a young boy who is probably about 10 years old, holding up an autographed ball from Orel Hershiser. The kid is probably now in his mid to late 20s and hopefully still a huge Dodger fan and attending these games this year. It’s amazing what these trips are able to do in terms of creating Dodger fans and spreading baseball around the world. The second photo, well, it’s the guy who signed the autograph during part of the tour.