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?
Each year on April 15, we take time to reflect on just what an incredible role Jackie Robinson played not only in the game of baseball, but in our society today. While the pregame ceremony at tonight’s game will be a moving part of the celebration, we are doing something else today that should really be special.
This morning at Crenshaw High School, 10 former, current and future Dodgers will take part in a panel discussion in front of the entire student body to help future generations understand just what this amazing Dodger and amazing person accomplished in his lifetime. Jackie’s teammate, Don Newcombe, will moderate the discussion, which also includes Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Xavier Paul.
Trayvon Robinson, who went to Crenshaw High School, was excused from tonight’s game for Triple-A Albuquerque to take part in this event, which says something about how important today really is. As Jackie Robinson famously said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” and 64 years after he first played for the Dodgers, he continues to impact us all every day.
There’s so much coverage out there right now about Duke Snider’s passing, it’s hard to fathom. Rightfully so, of course. He’s arguably the greatest offensive player in franchise history and holds so many team records it’s almost impossible to list them all.
But what’s also somewhat unique is just how long it’s been since we lost one of our legendary Dodgers. There are 10 uniforms retired and prior to yesterday, the Dodgers had not lost any of these great figures since Pee Wee Reese back in August of 1999.
Fortunately, we still have a trio of Hall of Fame legends who are with us today – Tommy Lasorda, Sandy Koufax and Don Sutton, along with legendary broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin. Not to mention legends like Don Newcombe, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Rick Monday, Fernando Valenzuela, Wes Parker, Dr. Frank Jobe, Billy DeLury and of course, all those who played the majority of their careers in the 80s, 90s and 00s. The list of these legends could go on for pages.
A day like yesterday is the ultimate reminder that we need to learn all we can from these gentlemen while they are here with us. We are so lucky to have all these people at the Stadium on a regular basis and they helped create the franchise we’ve all come to know and love.
If you see them out and about, be sure to tell them how much they mean to you and the Dodgers.
Here’s hoping that some of our troops overseas reads Inside the Dodgers or will get this message via Facebook. On behalf of the entire Dodger organization, thank you for all that you do for those of us here in the States and we hope to see you home soon.
To all those who have served in the past, we thank you, too, and hope that you’re one of the many veterans who will be at Dodger Stadium tonight. We’ve given about 1,000 tickets out to branches of the military and three of the team’s most high profile veterans will take part in the first pitch ceremony.
Former Dodgers and proud U.S. veterans Don Newcombe, Rick Monday and Roy Gleason will be accompanied by veterans from various branches of the military. In honor of Memorial Day, the team will also wear white hats with stars and stripes for the LA logo.
We’ll also have a moment of silence for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation.
On a much lighter note, Andre Ethier is back in the lineup…and the team has a chance to finish the month of May with a 20-8 record! Last year, the Dodgers were 20-9 in May.
So we’ve had quite a week in Dodgertown, both on and, well, on the field.
The team itself has been up and down, with plenty of drama in just 5 home games so far. We’ve had an Opening Day victory, an extra innings defeat, a walk-off win on Jackie Robinson Night, a 10-run onslaught on offense, followed by a 9-0 shutout at the hands of the ‘The Freak’. And Opening Week concluded with a dramatic come from behind win thanks to a pinch-hit home run by the one, the only, Manny Ramirez.
But the action on the field before the game has been just as exciting with appearances by Will.i.am, Leann Rimes, Frank Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Don Newcombe, the American Idol finalists, a former American Idol finalist, Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Peetes (Holly & Rodney) and the one, the only, Slash.
Now I have a few stories to share on all of the above, but ill focus on the rockstar for now. Slash was on hand Friday, April 17th to perform the National Anthem & God Bless America. For those in attendance last fall, Slash did the same during the playoffs in 2009 before Game 2 of the NLDS and thanks to a Matt Holliday error in left, probably because the sounds of Slash’s guitar were still ringing in his ears, the Dodgers went on to win the game and take the series from the Red Birds.
On Friday, before Slash even took the field, he took a few photos with some lucky winners from our new fan club, the Boys in Blue, during a VIP meet & greet. A meet & greet that I myself would have loved to win, especially in the days of Guns ‘N Roses. Speaking of which, when I mentioned that Mr. Hudson was performing the anthem to a friend, he reminded me of another ‘cover song’ favorite performed on the Guitar and thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can share that with you now.
I can only imagine the former lead guitarist for one of the biggest rock bands of all time is used to the pre-show photo ops and I also imagine the 10 lucky winners from the Boys in Blue were a little tamer than what he’s used to. But the man knows how to meet & greet and made a few lucky fans feel VIP…and one Marketing Director.
— Josh Lukin
Rubber match here and it’s going to be a warm one here. Let’s hope Chad is economical with his pitches, given the humidity. And fortunately, no lights are needed in a day game, as last night’s two-hour, 28-minute affair was hardly that.
Here’s hoping the Lake show can wrap it up tonight and be crowned champions. That would mean no game on Tuesday and everyone can take advantage of the free parking at Dodger Stadium in the homestand opener against Nomar’s A’s. And hopefully we could bring the team out for a celebration at the stadium.
Birthday wishes go out to Big Newk! He’s 83 today, and I don’t know another 83-year-old who can pull off class like he can. The hat, the suit, the aura. It’s pretty impressive.
Last chance for you Martinistas to take part in Under the Lights tomorrow night…Russ will be at the ballpark hosting the batting practice event with Jamie Hoffmann, Ron Cey, and Steve Garvey.
All of the regulars are in there today, with Joe T. saying that tomorrow’s day off is enough. Russell shifts over to DH and Ausmus will do the catching. Here’s the lineup: