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.
We’ve just announced two more signings today, with Marcus Thames coming in on a one-year deal and Gabe Kapler joining the team on a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.
For those who haven’t followed Thames career, he’s a power-hitting corner outfielder who has averaged a homer every 15 at-bats or so over the last five seasons, which is the fourth-best mark in the AL during that span. He will presumably be in the mix along with Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, Xavier Paul and others this spring for playing time in 2011 alongside Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Meanwhile, joining that group is another local boy, Kapler. This one is pretty cool for me, personally, because I went to school with Gabe growing up and have always hoped that he’d find a way to play for his hometown Dodgers.
He joins other local products Jon Garland (Kennedy High in Granada Hills), Trayvon Robinson (Crenshaw High in Los Angeles), Gibbons (Mayfair High in Lakewood) and Rod Barajas (Santa Fe Spring High) in Dodger camp which is the most local boys I can remember in quite some time heading into Spring Training.
Welcome to the Dodger family, Marcus and Gabe…
No, not the Padres…though as the first place team at the moment, they are kind of like the evil empire right now.
We’re talking about tomorrow night’s promotion which I’m sure you’ve all heard about, but there’s a really funny Jib Jab video that utilizes a few of our players. The My Town section is completely sold out, there are still tickets left for other areas of the stadium, where fans will get the poster that you see at the same link.
It’s actually pretty cool that what started as a simple request to use Yoda on our billboards has turned into a great relationship with the Lucas Films people (and the Yoda billboard actually won an advertising award). There are a lot of Dodger fans who like Star Wars and vice versa, so hopefully some of you fall into that category. It’s also sparked other similar relationships with the people at SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb and for any of you with kids, you know how big those characters are with your little ones.
Otherwise, just another busy day at the stadium. We actually had a news conference here for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, where this guy performed a song. If you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll be amazed at his voice. He’s up to almost 7 million hits on youtube and he was extolling the virtues of visiting Taiwan, as were James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Xavier Paul and Hong-Chih Kuo. By the way, if you missed all the videos from our trip to Taiwan back in March, you can check them out here (keyword Taiwan).
OK, that’s three video links in one blog post, which I think is probably a record for Inside the Dodgers. So, we’ll end the post now.
Jeff Weaver will be activated for tonight’s game from the DL, with a corresponding move to follow soon.
As for Andre Ethier, what more can you really say? The guy has been arguably the best offensive player in baseball for five weeks. Hopefully it’ll begin to rub off on those around him…
Joe Torre also said that Manny would be back tomorrow night, so that means we’ll likely start seeing fans returning quickly to Mannywood. Let’s hope he starts out as hot as he was when he got hurt.
For tonight, X Paul is in his place…here’s the lineup:
We’ve had rough patches before and quite often, when the manager mixes it up, you turn things around. So, with Xavier Paul at the top of the lineup, we’ll see if we can’t get this offense going.
And for you UCLA Bruins who had to stomach all the USC Trojan colors last night, this is your chance to get even. First 20,000 in the park get an LA hat in Bruin colors.
Here’s the lineup: