As promised, here’s a quick look back at some of the highlights from 2009. As always, my glass is half full…just creating this list gave me a pretty good feeling about the year we just completed on the heels of an equally special 2008.
– Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf sign as free agents, bolstering the team late in the offseason while becoming an All-Star and a very consistent starter, respectively (and effectively replacing the departed Derek Lowe and Jeff Kent)
– Camelback Ranch opens in Glendale and thousands of Dodger fans experience Spring Training for the first time
– “I’m baaack.” Manny Ramirez signs back with the Dodgers following an eventful offseason of negotiating
– The World Baseball Classic provides arguably one of the great games ever played at Dodger Stadium, with Japan defeating Korea in the championship game filled with drama on a whole new level
– Orlando Hudson’s cycle was the first by a Dodger in nearly 40 years and first-ever at Dodger Stadium…and it happened on Opening Day
– Dodgers set the MLB record for wins to start a season at home…at times people wondered if we’d ever lose a game at Dodger Stadium
– Juan Pierre plays incredibly well while Manny is suspended and the fans show their appreciation for his efforts with a heartfelt standing ovation in his first game back after Manny returns
– Billingsley and Broxton have All-Star first halves to join Hudson in St. Louis
– Manny’s pinch-hit grand-slam on his own Bobblehead Night!
– Ethier’s six walk-off hits and eventual Cluth Performer of the Year Award
– Joe Pierre makes a visit to Dodger Stadium for the inaugural Inside the Dodgers tour…a trip he’ll likely never forget. All thanks to the efforts of those on this blog who brought his situation to the attention of the team
– Trade deadline deals for Garland, Belliard, Thome and Padilla solidify the team with the best record in the NL
– Kershaw among the league leaders in ERA
– Capturing back-to-back NL West championships for the first time in three decades
– Loretta’s pinch-hit sends Dodger Stadium into pandemonium
– Sweeping the Cards en route to consecutive NLCS appearances for the first time since 1977-78
– Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for Matt Kemp, while Ethier takes home the Silver Slugger
And those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head while typing this. It’s been a great year and despite some surprises, setbacks and disappointments, that’s a heck of a lot to be excited about. Hopefully many of you got the chance to take part in some of these events and there will surely be many great ones ahead, too, in 2010.
Ken Gurnick broke the year down month by month in addition to a video recap for those so inclined but as this decade comes to a close, all of us at the Dodgers — from ownership, to management, to the front office and every usher, ticket taker and maintenance worker — wish all of you, your families and friends a healthy and happy 2010. Let’s hope it concludes with a parade in the streets of Los Angeles like we haven’t seen in 20+ years.
The 2008 year is coming to a close and barring any big news, this will be the last post of the year. On behalf of everyone at the Dodger organization, thank you all for being a part of an incredibly memorable season. I’ve tried to think of all the highlights, chronologically, which I’ve listed below…
– A float in the Rose Parade
– The first-ever trip to China for a Major League team
– A farewell to Vero Beach (and the introduction of Dodgertown as a place where any Dodger fans resides around the world)
– Tommy Lasorda managing for a week at Holman Stadium while Joe Torre took the troops to the Far East
– A Guiness World Record 113,500 fans return to the Coliseum and help to raise $2 million for ThinkCure
– Opening Dat at Dodger Stadium with 42 legends coming out from all over the field, including ceremonial first pitch tossers Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe and Carl Erskine, before being joined by the 2008 Dodgers
– Walter O’Malley inducted into the Hall of Fame
– Winning a game where the Dodgers got no hits!
– Big league debuts for Clayton Kershaw, Blake DeWitt, Cory Wade, Scott Elbert, and several others
– The continued maturation of Ethier, Loney, Kemp, Billingsley, Broxton and Martin, who made his second straight All-Star Game
– A ball at the Hollywood Bowl over July 4 weekend
– Dr. Jobe honored at the stadium with his two biggest patients, Tommy John and Orel Hershiser on hand to witness it
– Jaime Jarrin completes his 50th year behind the mic (and Vin his 59th)
– The Dodgers get a star on Hollywood Boulevard
– Casey Blake comes to town and has an immediate impact on the team
– The announcement of the 2009 World Baseball Classic coming to Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium
– Mannywood meets Los Angeles (what more can you really say??)
– Walk off hits by Ethier, Nomar, and that come-from-behind win in Arizona
– The all-time L.A. Dodger team unveiled as voted on by the fans
– The Dodgers win an L.A. Emmy Award!
– Clinching the NL West title and the team’s third playoff berth in five years (only the Cards can say that in the Senior Circuit)
– That awesome rally at Dodger Stadium the night before the team left for Chicago
– A first-round sweep of the Cubs and the team’s first NLCS appearance in 20 years
– A home victory over the Phils in the LCS
– The announcement of 42 additional Dodgers Dream Fields through the Dodgers Dream Foundation (plus countless community visits throughout the year)
– Casey Blake comes back for three years…then so does Raffy
And who knows how it will finish, with nine days left in the calendar year?
This has become an amazing place for Dodger fans to share their thoughts with others and everyone in the Dodger organization will be working tirelessly to help make ’09 even better than ’08. We welcome your input and thoughts here or at email@example.com
Have a safe and healthy holiday and new year.