It’s cool to see that even in the heat of a division series, the Rays find time to keep things light in the clubhouse by using their iPad. This is a great read from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan and I think these are the types of stories that fans really like to read about because it shows the “other side” of the players.
I still remember when the Sudoku craze took over our clubhouse after Jose Cruz Jr. found one on a table in the clubhouse at Coors Field. And this year, Casey Blake was the guy always on top of crossword puzzles, often with the help of his Ivy League teammate, Brad Ausmus (among others).
As a PR person, it’s our job to find these cool stories and help share them with you guys, the fans, so we’ll keep working this year to come up with them and bring them to light.
On a side note, to answer the question that was asked about the Team Photo Calendar that was given away by the Heart Gallery folks – yes, there are amazing success stories from this program. Last year, I believe 26 kids were featured in the calendar and all but a few found homes through this project. How amazing is that? That’s part of why we agreed to do it again this year…
As for the NLCS…I’m not even sure who to root for in a Phillies/Giants series. Is it possible that neither team wins?! Who are you all rooting for and what are your World Series predictions?
Road trip starts off right…
The offense seems to have clicked last night and raise your hand if you thought Jay Gibbons was going to start out this hot! He’s back in the starting lineup tonight.
It’s no secret, the Dodgers need to start winning series against every team to help erase the 4 1/2 game wild card lead and 7 game division lead. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s far from impossible. Last night was a good start to a big road trip.
Tonight, Chad Billingsley is going for his 10th win for the fourth straight season. That’s pretty impressive consistency (Derek Lowe was the last Dodger to do it and before that, I think it was Chan Ho Park, but I’d have to go back and really look it up!)
I was surprised to learn today that the Dodgers have won 12 of the last 14 season series with the Phillies going back to 1996. Of course, they’ve gotten the best of us in the two series that matter most, but a game like last night is important because right now, the Phillies are ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card race, too.
Game time tonight is at 4:05 p.m. PT on PRIME Ticket so tune in…
Congratulations are in order…
The Phillies are the World Champs and if nothing else, it feels good to know that we were beaten by the team that won it all. Congratulations to the entire Phillies organization, including our Communications counterparts Larry Shenk, Bonnie Clark, Scott Palmer, Leigh Tobin, Greg Casterioto, and Kevin Gregg among others. This means that since front-office blogging began with Scott Reifert (Inside the White Sox in 2005…when they won it all) and now Phillies Insider, it’s destined to be our year in 2009, right? (Even the Red Sox have apparently started an anonymous front office blog earlier this year, though they didn’t have it for last year’s World Championship).
Actually, while I wish that really had a bearing on what goes on down on the field, I have to say that as I drove home today from our departmental offsite team building trip to Danny’s Farm, I was listening to the last inning of the World Series and then the postgame interviews and a few things jumped out at me. The first voice (albeit almost completely gone) to come on was Jayson Werth, who was a really good person who never really was healthy enough in Los Angeles to show his ability and I’m very happy for him and his family.
He said something in the postgame that was echoed by Charlie Manuel, Pat Gillick and almost everyone else when they were asked what the difference was between this year’s team and last year’s, which reached the postseason but lost in the NLDS. All of them said that it was the experience gained in last year’s playoffs that helped them win it all this year and that’s a very reassuring for our team, which gained some much-needed experience. We have a very busy offseason ahead of us but regardless of how it turns out, we’re going to have nearly a dozen players at the bare minimum who experienced the NLCS this year and will be better off for it.
Anyway, tonight is the official end to the 2008 season and the beginning of 2009. Free agents start filing tomorrow and decisions have to be made on players’ options, trade proposals and much more. Next week is the GM meetings, which don’t make as much news as the Winter Meetings, but a lot of the groundwork gets laid during that period of time.
So congrats again to the Phillies…here’s hoping they’re congratulating us a year from now.
P.S. Spoke with Andre yesterday and he said a new Arizona restaurant review is coming soon…
Searching for an angle…
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.