Dodgertown – It’s a community that isn’t limited to a single city. Dodgertown is so much more. It is a culture. It’s this feeling of belonging that spreads across Dodgers fans from coast to coast. Vin Scully, the mayor of the town if you will, is the inspiration behind it all. He is the voice that is so well known in baseball, it can send chills down the spine of anyone listening.
“It’s tiiime for Dodger Baseball.” The five most famous words for any Dodgers fan. Recognition of, and fan connection to the phrase goes far beyond the words themselves – it goes to the man behind the words. Vin Scully is considered the “Voice of the Dodgers.” After being a part of the organization for 63 years, Vin is, to say the least, a huge reason for people to come to the ballpark. He is reason enough to turn on the television to watch the Boys In Blue, and to be perfectly honest, reason enough to be a Dodgers fan. Vin Scully embodies all that is great about the Dodgers. From broken barriers in Brooklyn with Jackie Robinson, to perfection on the mound with Koufax, to Gibson limping to greatness…Vin has been behind it all, amidst the shadows, one of the kindest, most humble and poetic men we know. In Vin’s own words, he’s stated that, “no one is bigger than the game.” In this case, we may be able to make an exception.
Born in the Bronx on November 29, 1927, Vin grew up mainly in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan. His father was a silk salesman, and his mother was an Irish, Catholic homemaker, giving Vin Scully the famous red hair that we know him for. As a kid, Vin worked for his family by delivering beer and mail, pushing garment racks, and cleaning silver in the basement of the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City. He played many sports in high school including baseball, football and even a little tennis. He later attended Fordham Prepatory School, and went on to help found their FM radio station WFUV. He also became the assistant sports editor for Volume 28 of The Fordham Ram, and played center field for the Rams’ baseball team, where he played George Bush Sr. in a game against Yale.
“He was the captain and first baseman of Yale,” Vin theatrically told about George Bush. “And I was trying to play the outfield for Fordham. And we played against each other; it was a terrific game. I think it was either 2-1 or 3-1; Yale won. But it was a heck of a game. Years later, I had the pleasure of playing golf with him. Politics aside, he is a terrific guy. We talked about the game, and I said to him, ‘Mr. President, if you don’t mind me saying this, as long as you’re in the White House, you can say anything you want about your baseball career, but remember the day you step out of the White House, both of us went 0-3 in that game (laughing). Which he loved, he just howled”
Shortly after graduation from Fordham Prep, Vin Scully impressed Red Barber, the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time. Red ended up giving Vin a shot at broadcasting by letting him make his professional debut at a Maryland-Boston University football game after the main broadcaster got sick. The date was November 12, 1949…in Chicago…and it was cold. Vin Scully has shown up unprepared for one broadcast his entire life, and this was it. Now, I don’t mean that he came unprepared with regards to the game. No, see, if that was the case he probably could have made some stories up, stuck with the play by play, and made some funny remarks to get by like Vin always seems to do. This was different. Assuming that he would be doing the broadcast in the comfort of a heated booth, he left his hat and gloves in the hotel room he was staying at. “It was cold,” Scully said. “But I thought, naively, dumbly – ‘I’m going to be working for a network; I’ll have a big booth.”
When he arrived at the stadium however, he learned that he would not be doing it from a comfortable booth, but instead, he’d be calling the game from the roof of Fenway. Yeah…the roof. “I’m looking for a booth, and there is no booth,” he went on to say. “There’s an engineer with a card table and his little dials for volume, a microphone and about 50 yards of cable…that’s it.” That day, the temperature was recorded to never reach above 45 degrees, and Vin called the entire game without once mentioning his discomfort. He would merely walk, back and forth, cord dragging behind him, following the action along the roof of Fenway, and he did his job.
“I really felt like I’d blown it,” he said. “So I go to the dance, meet some pals of mine, but I’m really down. And I’m down on the train going back to New York. I thought, ‘here I was giving this golden opportunity, but I was frozen, blah, blah, blah.’“ Fortunately for us all, that wasn’t exactly how everyone saw it. A few days later, Red Barber was phoned by a BU official commenting on how sorry he was for the treatment of the broadcaster. If that official hadn’t called Red, he would never have known what Vin did was so incredible because Vin never complained about what had happened.
“That turned out to be a big break, because let’s say I did a very ordinary job. In Red’s mind, ‘This kid never mentioned anything about no booth, the cold, nothing.’ That made a very ordinary job a little more than that in Red’s mind.” And that’s exactly what it did. Vin said, “He called me – I’ll never forget it – and said something to the effect of, ‘Pretty tough day up there on the roof?’ And I said, ‘Yes, sir, it was cold.’ And he said, ‘You’ll have a booth this week; You’re doing Harvard-Yale.’ “Vin just smiled…and a legend was born.
At the time all this was going on, if you turned on a Dodgers broadcast, you would hear the voices of Red Barber and Ernie Harwell. They were the broadcast team for quite some time before Harwell would eventually leave the Dodgers to go work for the New York Giants. Two months after the Fenway incident, Barber once again remembered the redhead who never complained.
“I always had the dream of taking an untutored kid who showed some promise and of putting him on the air for what he was, a neophyte learning the trade,” said Barber in his autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat. “Scully was a perfect choice. He was a green pea, but he was a very appealing young green pea. It was obvious he had something on the ball; you didn’t know precisely what it was, but he had it.”
Red wasn’t the only one who noticed there was something different about this kid. Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time, also told Red after meeting Vin, “You have found the right young man.”
Scully first joined the Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., during Spring Training in 1950 as their number three announcer behind Red and Connie Desmond. In just under four years, he was already calling his first World Series on national television, and by 1955, just five years later, he was the Dodgers primary announcer. Since that day, he has been the only other person to fill that role.
There is an automatic respect among players and individuals that come into contact with Vin Scully (unless of course you commit social suicide like Mike Piazza). He has said that as much as he’d like to, he doesn’t get to interact and become close with current players. “Most of them I nod,” said Vin. “Some of them – have an exchange. And there are some…when you get to September, you don’t even know who they are.” (Talking, of course, about the extended rosters around that time of the season)
“The other thing too,” continuing on about player relationships, “I think age is a factor. When I started, I was the same age as the players, so it was pretty normal to hang out. Now, and they mean well by it, I understand, but now, they’re always saying mister. ‘Hi, Mr. Scully.’ Well that means they’re kind of holding you out here somewhere (as he points out with his arm).”
When asked if he would prefer the players called him Vin instead, he replied, “Oh sure! Ya see…but they don’t. And I say, ya know, ‘Hey! I’m Vin.’ And they say ‘yes sir.’ So I am different now, I have been removed by time, but I do try and keep up with them as much as I can.”
The players may distance themselves due to the age difference, sure. However I don’t think that’s the reason they call him ‘sir.’ I think it’s the incredible amount of respect for the man that has been in the game, and with the Dodgers for almost double the amount of years that they’ve even been alive. Blake DeWitt, after hitting his first homerun as a Dodger, was made a DVD of the game. When asked about it, he said, “I’m so excited because I get to hear Vin talk about me.” He didn’t even care about watching his first homerun. All he cared about was hearing a man merely talk about him.
Everyone loves his stories. They are something that makes watching the game on television, truly something special. They are stories that only a man that has been around for over six decades would know. Matt Kemp once said, “Vin Scully knows things about me that I don’t even know about myself, (laughing) and it’s funny but he’s a great guy and he does his job well.”
During an interview with Andre Ethier, the topic of Vin Scully was brought up. It was almost an instant smile that was brought to his face. “I get a chance to talk to him, ya know, in the clubhouse, on the plane trips sometimes,” Andre said. “And just to hear him talk in person, it gives you chills every once in a while, just to know that it’s not the typical, on TV called game. He’s actually talking to you, and its that same kid, its that same way he talks on TV is the way he carries a conversation so its pretty neat.” Ethier went on to say, “doing this, this long, being a guy who has seen the players play in Brooklyn, and was in Brooklyn for quite a while before coming out to L.A. and then still here, and then someone who is so knowledgeable about the game. I think that’s something where you have to respect that. He would even be a good confidant for some managers, just because of all the things and situations he’s probably seen over the years.”
The one story that I took away from all the interviews, even more so than him doing a broadcast from a roof, him playing ball with George Bush, or any of the reactions from the players, was a story that Charley Steiner (Dodgers Broadcaster) told about a spring training game.
“The one moment that I remember most,” Steiner said, “was the very first exhibition game I did with the Dodgers in 2005. We were at Vero Beach, Fla., and a terrible hurricane had blown through. There was a question as to whether or not we were going to be able to play that game the very first day. And at game time, they were still putting the stadium back together; the scoreboard was dangling with wires. I’m trying to explain in some reportorial style what this place looks like after this horrific hurricane. And I’m huffin’ and puffin’ and I feel as if I did a reasonably good job, and then I had the pleasure to say, ‘And now with the play-by-play, here is Vin Scully.’ Vin sits down…and says, “Ya know, as we look out at the palm trees off in the distance, there are some palm trees that have been knocked down and blown over, there are some palm trees of middle age that are just hanging on, and there are some new palm trees that have just been planted.’ Then Vin said, ‘Isn’t that what spring training is all about anyway?’ And that’s when I got up and left…”
Matt Kemp later said, “There are times when I get home and I watch re-runs and I get to hear some of the stuff he says, and I’m like man, he really knows a lot about the players. He knows so much about the game and he knows so much about people, that its an unbelievable gift.”
“I know I was given a gift.” Vin said. “I’ve been allowed to do it for so long, I don’t like to take bows, because, it’s a gift. It was something that was just given to me, and so I can’t stick my chest out, and say, ya know, this is great. So I’d rather just stay back in the shadows.” Vin is pure humbleness at it’s finest.
I was trying to rack my brain, trying to figure out how to end this article on the man I’ve grown to respect and love so much. There was nothing I could think of that would possibly personify the amount of respect I have. Along the same lines, nothing I could ever say would explain why exactly I even decided to sit down and write this. Then it finally hit me. I’ll do what Vin Scully is known so well for doing. Whenever there is a big moment that he’s covering, he doesn’t talk at all. He lets the crowd, and the sounds and images of the game become his voice. Just for example, when he called Sandy Koufax’s theatrical perfect game, he stayed quiet for 38 seconds, just to let the fans take it in. And for Gibson’s homerun in 1988 – over a minute of silence. So I am going to take Vin’s advice, and stay back in the shadows, and let the man we have all grown to love finish it out.
“I came through transistor radios in Flatbush…and followed the sunset across the country. I passed Babe Ruth with Aaron, and between Buckner’s legs in Boston. I was there for perfection…and the men who limped to greatness. I’ve been there in celebration and defeat. From changing era’s and ages. And the whole time, you’ve always been right there with me.”
We love you Vin. Thank you for 63 incredible years.
Great day in L.A. today! I woke up this morning — phone blowing up with some of the greatest news I’ve seen in a while. Ned Colletti had acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. Who would have thought this was an option even two weeks ago?? Not me. When Ramirez’s availability first became available a week or so ago, my original thoughts were that the Dodgers stood the best chance to get him due to the fact that they would be one of the few teams that could afford his salary. When it came down to it, the Marlin’s were going to pay the A’s half of Hanley’s salary, before the Dodgers came in and accepted it. Let’s look at what we gave up and accepted on.
Marlins Give Up:
Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B and Randy Choate LRP (Lefty)
Hanley, as stated before, is going to be a huge addition to L.A. He is an All-Star caliber player that also has some hardware on his shelf. He has won the Batting Title and also won Rookie of the Year. He is expected to initially start at shortstop in the absence of Dee Gordon. However, when Dee is scheduled to come back around mid-August, the idea is for Hanley to move over to 3B. Now most of you are probably wondering, If Hanley is so good, why didn’t we have to give up big name players for him? The fact that we took on his large contract is a big factor in it, but also, Hanley does come with a little baggage. This deal can either go two ways, and this is just me being entirely honest with you guys. The first way, and the way we all hope, is that he returns to the Hanley he was in recent years, and makes an immediate impact on the team. the second way, and the way we could all be dreading, is if he continues on his head-case path that he is currently on. There has been a lot of rumors going around saying that Hanley didn’t like being moved to 3B when Miami brought in Jose Reyes. Hanley, earlier in the year, punched out a dugout fan with his hand in July, which eventually developed an infection in both his hand and with manager Ozzie Guillen. Ned, Don, and all of the Dodgers organization believes that with the new team, and change of scenery, a whole nation away, that Hanley will fix his attitude and return back to his form. If he does…the Dodgers definitely just made one of the better moves they have in a very long time.
Randy Choate is a guy that is definitely not going as talked about in this deal. He is a left handed reliever which was another major hole that we needed to fill. He isn’t the “come in and completely shut teams down” kind of player, by any means, but he is definitely a good contribution. The fact that he is a lefty is great, and this year, in just 44 innings, he has only allowed 7 runs. Randy should also be decently familiar with Dodger stadium, seeing as he pitched for the Diamondbacks for four years through 2004-2007. Aside from the Dbacks, Randy has played on three other teams dating back to 2000 (Yankees, Rays, Marlins), making the Dodgers his fifth team in his career. I don’t think he will be dominant or mind-blowing by any means, or else we’d be talking about him a lot more. However I do think that he will provide that lefty stability that we needed in the pen.
What the Dodgers Gave Up:
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (Starter) and Scott McGough RHP (Reliever)
We have all grown to love Nate. He has pitched his heart out for us after Ted Lilly went down, but in the end, just never got the run support he needed and found himself with a 1-6 record. His 4.15 ERA may not sound great, but is better than Clayton Kershaw’s ERA in his rookie campaign, (4.26) so that should say something there. It’s tough to see Nate go, especially when we have pitchers like Chad Billingsley still in the rotation consistently being inconsistent, but in the end, we have to realize that Nate was a prospect this entire time. The minute Lilly returned, he was going to be sent down to the minors anyways. At least we could get something for him, while his value is still high.
Scott McGough, although our own prospect, is the one guy in this trade that not many people know anything about. Let me give you a quick report on who exactly we let go. Scott was drafted in the 46th round of the 2008 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school, but instead, opted to attend the University of Oregon. It proved to be a good choice for him, because his college career bolstered him up 41 rounds where the Dodgers took him in the fifth round (164 overall) in the 2011 draft. He began his professional career with Ogden in Rookie League, and made just six appearances before being moved to Class A Great Lakes Loons. He recorded decent numbers (2.21 ERA with 8 saves and 25 strikeouts in 20 innings) but when he was promoted to High-A Rancho, his numbers began to decrease. In my opinion, he allows far too many baserunners to be a major league pitcher. He allows roughly a hit per inning, and a walk every other inning. Although he does have 48 K’s in 47 innings, the baserunners was the thing that always worried me. This year, for Rancho, he is 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA. While those numbers aren’t terrible, if a prospect is going to be a talent at the major league level, those numbers need to be a lot better. Usually, I hate to see a prospect go with so much developing to do, but the fact that Scott is a right handed reliever, that doesn’t seem to be dominant in the Class A levels…I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t much development to be had on this one.
The corresponding move was to send Todd Coffey to the 60-Day DL, and move Adam Kennedy to the 15-Day DL with a strained groin. In the end, the major part of the deal was that the Dodgers would be taking on Hanley Ramirez’s big contract. He is towards the end of a six year contract that pays him $15 million this year, $15 million next year, and $16 million in 2014. The Dodgers are planning to pick up around $40 million of that remaining contract. The nice part about this deal, is that we have 2 more years where Hanley is guaranteed to the Dodgers, in which time we can continue to build, and allows us to offer him a good deal when it comes to sign again, assuming that Hanley puts up the numbers we all know he is capable of. All I know for sure now is…I can’t WAIT to see Hanley in that Dodger Blue.
Stan Kasten…is a leader. I don’t just say that because of the position he currently holds with the Dodgers as President and CEO. I say that because if you ever get the incredible opportunity to speak with him or even listen to him talk, you become inspired. You get this overwhelming excitement that you didn’t even knew existed. He got me excited about this current ball club that we have. Impressive, right? I walked away from it all not even really knowing why I was so optimistic, but I was. Listening to him talk is simply a wonder and a treat. He is the kind of guy that when you greet him with a polite, “Hello Mr. Kasten, how are you doing?” He quickly corrects you and replies with a laugh, “It’s Stan, but I’m doing great, thanks for asking.” He talks to you like a friend, and tells everyone exactly how it is, no matter the situation.
He knows exactly what he’s doing. This isn’t his first rodeo. He is an incredibly humble man that knows that this whole “business,” if you will, is 100% about the fans; and from the fans standpoint, the team comes first. The team…is everything.
Within the first week of him becoming president, Stan was walking the stadium. He was checking out lines at the food vendors, walking the upper deck, stopping to say hello to fans. This is a guy who has personally read over 3,000 suggestions from the fan box, performed 2 different public opinion surveys and 2 separate focus groups just last week. It’s not glamorous work by any means, but it is completely necessary. He doesn’t have someone do the dirty work for him, he does it himself.
This “interview,” for lack of a better term, wasn’t necessarily a question and answer type deal. It was more of a conversation with a few guiding questions. Instead of giving you exact questions that were asked, I will merely guide you in the direction that the conversation went, but mostly quoting Stan, so you can see first hand, what your Dodgers president is like. Now Stan is very in depth when he speaks to fans, his coworkers, his associates, anybody. So when he is asked a question, he answers to the absolute best of his abilities and in depth as possible for clarity sake. His responses and quotes can be long, but I can guarantee you they are worth your time. He is an amazing speaker, and will get you excited moving forward. So as you’d probably all like, I’ll stop writing and get to the good stuff. haha
Since the Guggenheim Group has taken over, there has been a definitely different vibe around Dodger Stadium. The average attendance has rose to around 39,000 per game, there are great promotions, and overall, fans are much happier with this new group. I think we’d all agree with that. Stan was very thankful for the credit, and was thankful for the fans as well:
“Thanks for saying that, and people tell us that, anecdotally, that the reaction has been fantastic. But I will tell you what I can say for sure, objectively, that we have sold a lot more tickets. We have sold almost 3,000 new season tickets since the announcement that we were selected had been made. Now I got to believe that most of that is because the team looks so good and the future I think is bright for everyone, but there is also that belief or that credibility that our group brings with it. Now everyone is going to need to see some proof, but I do not take their support and their reception for granted. We have to start doing things and the sooner the better for that. But again, giving us this latitude, giving us this time to feel our way through to find out the best things to do, we really appreciate it, and we don’t take it for granted. We do have plans, and we are working on things right now to not just get the experience better, but even more importantly the team better.”
The dreaded series against the Giants was brought up. When this all happened, it was all on our minds, and it was something that needed to be addressed — not just the series, but this recent lack of offense and overall performance. Stan didn’t back down from any of it and responded with integrity:
“Well you have to address the areas that are available to you, let me talk about that for a second. First of all, as you know, no matter how long you’re in the game, losses really hurt (chuckling) and losing streaks are the worst of all. So yeah, this is a bad week for all of us who are Dodgers fans. I do have to say, to be fair, I was thrilled that we were doing as well as were doing up until two weeks ago, given the unbelievable injuries to the key people that we’ve had. Ya know, we’d love to have Matt back, we’d love to have Mark Ellis back, we’d love to have Ted Lilly back, and yet without guys like that, and other people that we’ve lost along the way, we really held up well. That was a real testament to the fortitude of this team, the resilience of the backup players who had to step up and the managing of Don and the coaching of his coaches. So that’s a real strength I think and that hasn’t gone away, we still have those strengths. But when we get players back, we obviously expect to get better.”
We all know about Stan’s philosophy. He is very intent on making our farm system as strong as it can be, and dominant in the future. He has always been a big supporter of the farm system, it has worked wonders for him in the past with other teams, and he looks to bring the Dodgers back to where they were — the best farm system in baseball. Going off what he said about improving the team, the conversation went into exactly that, and what he was doing as of now, to improve the farm system or the big league club.
“Well for this time of year, what has happened when I say all you can do is what’s available, is going in to June and in to July, it’s a scouting and player development time of year, that’s because the draft is the first week of June. And I can tell you that I think we had an excellent draft; I watched the process, I spent a week with the scouts to learn them, to see how they worked, to find out who I can really trust and where we might need to add more. I think we had a terrific draft, I think we need to get our first round picks signed, but I expect that to happen very soon. After the draft, the next thing that happens is the July 2nd, international day. And you know this is such a big thing for me because its such a big part of modern baseball. It is an area that the Dodgers did not emphasize in the last few years. I think it’s a really important thing. And this year, new rules are kicking in pursuant to our new collective bargaining agreement. So there’s a window where you can sign people before July 2nd, and I’d like to see if we can do something before then. So that’s Monday. And then starting Monday, after July 2nd, we all now have a cap amount – an allotment of money – that we can use to sign international players, and I hope to start using that money for that next group of players starting first thing monday. So I hope by this time next week, (which at that time would be Wednesday, July 4th) we’ll be able to announce the signings of all our first round draft picks, maybe a pre-July 2nd singing, maybe some post July 2nd signings, so that we can say that in the course of one month we’ve really, really started the process of beefing up our minor leagues. So that’s what can be done now. After the July 2nd period, or the week thereafter, you really can start to turn your attention to the major league club because that’s when other teams are turning their attention to their major league clubs as well. Where the scouts are now fanning out, and also, the closer you get to the deadline, July 31, the picture becomes clearer which teams are going to sell, which teams are going to move their players. Right now it’s kind of merky because, as we know, this year there is now a second wild card team and that means more teams have hopes so teams are staying in it longer. I think that will clear up by August 31. And all I will say to you is this, I think we demonstrated with Andre Ethier that we will be aggressive in retaining the players that we really appreciate. I think that when we get going on these international signings, we will demonstrate there too that we’re going to be aggressive in pursuing international talent. And I hope by August 1, we’re able to show that we’ll be aggressive in pursuing additions to the team in mid season as well. And then next offseason, we plan on being aggressive in doing that too. So we still have things to prove to our fans, but I promise you that is our plan, and we plan to deliver on that.”
Now…I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t know how that wouldn’t just get you excited right there. His plans are so in depth. He has already done so much in just ONE month as president to beef up our minor leagues and explains vividly why he hasn’t made moves in the majors yet. I think this gives all the fans a sigh of relief to know that its not something he is forgetting, and is on a to-do list that is miles long. Oh, and just so everyone knows he’s not blowing smoke, he’s already delivered. Today, the Dodgers DID sign their first round pick Corey Seager to a $2.35 Million deal, and they also signed international Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig to a 7 year, $42 Million deal. He said they were going to be aggressive, and they have been. This interview was before any of those signings had been made too. So you can bet that all of the other things he mentioned, he plans on delivering. It’s a very exciting time to be a Dodger fan.
Kevin Kennedy from Dodger Talk always loves taking questions from fans about players that could potentially be a trading target for us. Obviously, Stan can’t comment on specific players because that would be tampering, but Kevin Kennedy can. A caller brought up the name Mike Moustakis to him, and Kevin brought up the fact to the caller that Moustakis had just recently been locked down for the Royals and won’t be available. Dodgers will, however, be looking at “bottom feeders,” as he put it, to deal with. When this was brought up to Stan, he had this to say:
“Well let me say this, (laughing) as a management guy, I don’t like thinking of teams as “bottom feeders.” They are “building” teams, or “rebuilding” teams, but they are at a different stage of their process. We are the Dodgers. We are full of Dodger pride that we have earned over a century of baseball. We expect more here; everyone expects more of me, and I get that. We’re not one of those building teams, we’re a team that needs to go for it right now, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Going off of that Dodger pride, the point came up that this lineup that is filled with utility players being used as everyday players is not a lineup that fans can be proud of. Being swept by the Giants without scoring runs is a terrible feeling, and watching games, day in and day out without scoring runs is, being completely honest, embarrassing. The other point was that we have old, tired players in the lineup as well. Long story short, it’s a really tough lineup to be behind and support for the fans. Again, Stan was not hesitant to take on the criticism:
“Well let me say a couple things about that (that phrase seemed to be a trend when he answered a question) First of all, I know how you’re feeling. You’re feeling like I’m feeling given how the last ten games have gone (1-9). Two weeks ago, we were feeling pretty darn good about this same group of players that you just mentioned. And secondly, on the front office’s behalf, and on the manager’s behalf, let’s remember all that led up to the acquisition of those players, whether they were acquired last year, or through this winter, and the circumstances that the front office had (referring to the confusing ownership situation of course). And I think going forward, it’s a new day with a little more resources, with a little more aggressive philosophy than they’ve been able to have recently, and I don’t think I need to say more about that. So I hear what you’re saying. There IS a value to a veteran bench. We’ve had many nights this year, where our veteran bench has really come through and, in fact, until two weeks ago, they were doing it regularly all season, so lets give them that credit. But I hear you moving forward, and there is nothing I like more than young talent. You need to have that pipeline, and every team that has had sustained success did so on a foundation of young talent. It’s what we don’t have here quite as much as I’d like, to be frank, and it’s what we need to build and we have turned our attention to that. But we’re not waiting for them to get here! If we need to go out and find reinforcements, we’re going to aggressively seek them out right now.”
One last quick point that was brought up, was that even though Stan can’t mention any one player by name, as generically as possible, could he say if he anticipated any type of move before the deadline:
“Well I anticipate trying, ya know? I mean it takes two to make a deal. I know we’re going to be aggressive. It won’t be a matter of resources as I’ve described to you before. At the trade deadline, the currency that is most valuable is not money, it’s prospects…and there are a number of teams that are deeper in those than we are, frankly. So that’s why you need to build that organization up, not just to build the pipeline and use players yourself, but to use as currency to improve your team in other ways. So we’ll see if we’ll be successful in doing so. I can tell you that our front office has a mandate from me, and from Mark, and from Magic, to be as aggressive as they can in acquiring other players. My guess is we will find things to do and I can promise that we will be working hard at accomplishing that.”
Sigh of relief, right? I know it is for me. He is an incredibly smart man, and I am so proud to say that he is in charge of leading this team to becoming a dynasty again. He has a definitive plan, even if he can’t give all the details he would probably like. I wanted to make sure that all fans have access to as much of Stan as humanly possible. It’s nice to know what your president is doing and to pick his brain a little bit. I hope you all found this as informing as I imagined.
As we’ve all learned by now…It is important to have a solid farm system. When your stars get hurt, to have the ability of bringing in young guys that can immediately makes an impact is what’s leading this team to the best record in baseball. The Dodgers’ farm systems had a bit of a rough day yesterday, losing 2 out of 3, but we can still do what we always do and take a look at what our young stars did.
As always, feel free to click on any players name to learn more about them.
Trent Oeltjen went 1 for 4 with a a homerun and a strikeout.
Jerry Sands went 1 for 3 with a walk.
Alex Castellanos went 0 for 4 but turned two double plays.
Scott Van Slyke went 2 for three with a double and also scored a run.
Aaron Miles went 0 for 3 with a fielding error.
Michael Antonini had a bit of a rough outing going just 2.1 innings allowing 8 runs (7 earned) on 10 hits.
The Chattanooga Lookouts had the day off yesterday. They play the Jackson Generals today at 5:05 PT
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes lost a tough one to the Lancaster JetHawks 3-2.
Leon Landry went 1 for 5 with a double
Jon Garcia went 2 for 4 with a homerun and 2 RBI’s.
Michael Pericht went 0 for 3 with a walk and scored a run.
Joc Pederson went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts
Zach Lee had a strong outing for the Lookouts as he went 5 innings, allowing only 2 runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
The Great Lakes Loons defeated the Dayton Dragons 6-4
O’Koyea Dickson went 1 for 3 with a double, and RBI and also scored a run.
Pedro Guerrero went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
Yimi Garcia pitched the ninth inning and allowed one hit and no runs on his way to his 11th save of the season.
I feel like I’ve said this quite a bit this year…but what a game!! These guys just never stop fighting. Although, most of tonight’s was quite frustrating to watch, it was still an incredible race to the finish.
I need to be a little negative at first. I want to get this out of the way, because I told myself that I would talk about it, but overall I’m pleased with tonight’s performance. Now, I’m not a major league manager…obviously. Nor do I claim to be. However, with that being said, I have no idea what we’re doing with Uribe and Kennedy; mainly Kennedy. Today, he had a very costly error that cost the Dodgers a run early in the game. Then in the fourth inning, after a Juan Rivera single that scored Ellis and moved Ethier to third, Kennedy grounded into a double play to end the rally. I just don’t feel like there’s any energy from him. Not only from him alone, but it just seems like the team never plays the same with him in the lineup. I dunno, thats just my opinion, and like I said, that’s probably why I’m not a major league manager…but if it were up to me…I definitely wouldn’t have him in, unless it was a last resort type situation. Uribe and Kennedy combined to go 0-6 on the night.
Anyways…now that I have that negativity out of the way. Time for some good reports. I think its safe to say that Andre Ethier was very thankful for his new contract extension. At the press conference today, and while interviewing him, you just saw this constant glow and that famous Ethier grin. It was like it was pasted on all day, even in the dugout before the game. Ethier loves L.A. and he always has. “This is the place I’ve wanted to be all along and I hope to finish my career in LA,” Ethier said after the conference. Tonight, he showed Dodgers fans everywhere that he’s not taking that money for granted. He played a huge factor in tonights game from not only making a superb catch in right field to save a run, but also added on to his NL Leading 54 RBI’s as he knocked in the game tying run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. I’ve heard a lot of people, both Dodgers fans and non-Dodgers fans, say that they don’t think ‘Dre is worth near $100 Million. After tonight’s game, have their opinions changed? Only time will tell. All I know is…I’m happy to know that we will have Kemp and Ethier going back to back for at least the next five years.
I can’t only talk about Andre though…he definitely wasn’t the only one that made an impact tonight. Dee Gordon (DeeGo) had an incredible game as well. For the third time this season, he had three stolen bases in the game. THREE! He made a costly catching error in the sixth inning, however, if you watch, I want to blame that on Kennedy as well. And no, not just because its Kennedy. With two outs and a soft grounder like that, you go to first base to get the automatic out. Sure, second base is a shorter throw, but its also a shorter run. When you have the pitcher (Jerome Williams) running down to first, its an easy, easy play. That error also scored another run that put the Angels ahead 2-1.
And theeen there was Rivera. Juan Rivera hit a go-ahead three run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning immediately after Ethier tied it up. And honestly…I have not heard that stadium erupt like that in a LONG time. It honestly gave me flash backs of the 2008 and 2009 playoff runs. With a sellout crowd of over 50,000 fans, every single one of them were on their feet. It got so loud, that when I rewatched the telecast, they had to blackout the sound just because it was peaking so much. It was absolutely breath taking. I know that’s kind of a ridiculous term, but I honestly don’t know how else to describe it. Seeing Matt Kemp jumping for joy, being that incredible cheer leader that he is, seeing the faces of the young guns that haven’t gotten a chance to see that stadium erupt, everything about it was just amazing.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, this team is an absolute “Wonder Team.” They never give up, and I couldn’t be happier to see where this season will go. Here’s to hoping that the Stanley Cup Champion, L.A. Kings will give us some good luck when they throw out the first pitch tomorrow, with the Stanley Cup right beside them, inside the stadium.
The rubber match is set to start at 7:10 PT at Dodger Stadium. Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound, looking for his first win since being brought up. He has pitched amazing, but just ran into some bad luck along the way with run support. Hopefully tomorrow the Dodgers can take the series and give this kid the Win that he’s deserved for a while now!
Andre Ethier Confident Dodgers’ New Management Will Extend Contract
‘Dre is very optimistic about his contract extension. Although still standing by the fact that he is letting his agents and the club discuss it so he can keep his focus on the field, there are still hints that something could happen within the next couple of days. Such as: Nez Balelo, Ethier’s agent, is in Seattle during the Dodgers-Mariners series. Weird? A little…but what makes it a little bit more interesting is the fact that Ned Colletti also made the trip to seattle. Balelo seems to insist he is there because he represents Seattle’s pitcher, Jason Vargas, however no one really knows why Ned would be there as well. It all may be one big coincidence, and I may be looking too far into it, but you never know. I would keep my eyes open in the next couple days to see if Ethier has signed anything long term. I would love to see us lock up ‘Dre for a couple more years, so would he.
“I expect to be here a long time, and both sides have expressed that. They want me here and I want to be here. Mutually, both sides want me here. Obviously, this is a good fit. It’s where I want to be and a great opportunity to play with these guys who have put a lot of hard work in, and I hope we continue what we’re doing right now.”
As of immediate updates, not much has changed since the beginning of the season. Until there is an offer that Balelo feels comfortable showing Ethier, Ethier won’t know anything. At the same time, they could be talking behind closed doors and Ethier would be none the wiser.
“Nothing’s changed, they haven’t made anything that I’m aware of,” said Ethier. “Maybe they made something to my agent, but I told him not to tell me until there’s something for me to consider. I’ll keep playing and helping the guys win.”
Hopefully, I can update a post soon talking about his new extension…until then…I can only speculate and hope.
Kershaw Takes the Mound, Night After No-Hit Effort for the Mariners
Clayton Kershaw gets to take the mound today, despite dealing with plantar fasciitis all week. For those of you that don’t know (because I sure didn’t), Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fasciitis which is a connective tissue in the sole of your foot. The injury is actually very common, and somewhat difficult to treat, but with proper inspection from the Dodgers training staff and Sue Falsone, it should all be fixed in a short matter of time. Fortunately for Clayton and for Dodgers fans, the injury does not affect him while he pitches.
As all of you know, Kershaw is insane about his daily routines. He is very much on a routine every single day, almost down to the minute, and that routine includes running in the outfield before starts. Scratching that will be a must and so that effect is what is annoying him.
“It kind of got progressively worse the last 10 days to two weeks,” he said. “Kind of the peak of the pain was when I was running to first, but it’s gotten better the past three or four days. I should be fine.”
Luckily for everyone, due to it being an interleague game, playing AT Seattle, Kershaw won’t have to worry about batting or baserunning because of the DH position. He can focus on the one thing that doesn’t hurt him…pitching. Don Mattingly isn’t consider either.
“Right now it’s not concerning at all,” Mattingly said. “He’s not feeling it pitching. With Javy, it affected his pitching, and that we can’t allow to happen with Kershaw. As long as it doesn’t get worse, I’m not really concerned about it. Maybe I should be, but I’m not worried about tomorrow today.”
It should be interesting to see how Kershaw pitches, not only to see how he handles the injury, but also to see how he pitches without having to worry about swinging the bat.
The past couple days, I have been on the topic of Tommy Lasorda. As most of you know already, Tommy recently suffered a heart attack, and was released yesterday morning. I have enjoyed posting random tid bits about Tommy such as him throwing 300+ pitches in one game, striking out 25 batters, or winning his 1,500th game as a Dodgers manager in 1995. Today, we talk about something else Tommy related that happened on this day, in 1955. Let’s go back…
June 8, 1955.
After a very short major league career (8 games total) Tommy was optioned down to the minor leagues in order to make room for none other than, Sandy Koufax. It was a move that proved to be one of the biggest in Dodgers history, considering Tommy Lasorda would go on to be one of the games greatest managers, and Koufax would go on to be one of the game’s most dominant pitchers.
Lasorda jokes about his demotion by saying, “It took the greatest left-hander in the history of baseball to knock me off that Brooklyn club.” Lasorda, as we all know, has an incredible sense of humor, and is one of the most humble men in sports.
Lasorda went on to win 1,599 games in his managerial career that included two world series titles, four National League pennants, and eight division titles. He is one of the games most visible and tireless goodwill ambassadors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Koufax, just 19 years of age at the time of his promotion, went on to record a 165-87 career record including four no hitters, and the only perfect game in Dodgers history. According to the Dodgers website, from 1962-66 alone, he went 111-34, with 1,444 strikeouts and five consecutive ERA titles. In 1972, he was the youngest player to ever be elected into the Hall of Fame, at just 36 years old.
Keeping the pitchers theme consistent, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Don Drysdale, another historic Dodgers pitcher that pitched in the same era as Koufax (Could you imagine those guys together? For those of you that were alive, I am envious). On this day, in 1968, Don surpasses Walter Johnson’s major league record of 56 consecutive scoreless innings as he ran a streak of 58 2/3 before Philadelphia Phillies’ Howie Bedell drove in Tony Taylor in the fifth inning of that game to end it. Orel Hershiser, yet another Dodgers pitcher, would later go on to beat that record by recording 59 scoreless innings in 1988.
You can’t have a pitcher without a catcher, and in the 80’s, the Dodgers had a great one. Mike Scioscia is the current manager of the Anaheim Angels (No, thats not a typo. In my opinion, they have, are, and forever will be the Anaheim Angels. You have to play in a city for it to count). Scioscia played for the Dodgers from 1980-1992, and on this day in 1991, he became the clubs all-time leader in games caught when he knelt behind the plate for the 1,219th time.