Hello People! Yesterday I was in Mesa, Arizona. I went to Fitch Park where the Chicago Cubs practice. Got to see a couple of the hitters take batting practice. I saw Derek Lee, Kosuke Fukudome (What a great name), Alfonso Soriano and other players. Lou Piniella was also there. It was fun. I got to see the team do basic practice like moving the runners, bunting, tagging a runner and stuff like that. Very interesting. The bad news is that I was not able to get any autographs at the practice grounds. I wasn’t disapointed by it since I knew it would be a slim chance since I got there late. I would say there was about 150-200 fans just watching them practice. I was not surprised to see so many fans since everyone says the Cubs are the most popular team in the Cactus League. Cub fans are very loyal. I saw lots of Illinois license plates at the parking lot. Very cool. Hopefully Dodger fans will do the same thing next year and drive from California just to see them practice and watch spring training. When practice was over, I headed over to Hohokam Stadium. That’s where the Chicago Cubs hold their Spring Training Games. Very nice stadium. I went because the state of Arizona was holding a charity game. According to a scorecard that I got, Legends were scheduled to play. Well I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word Legend, I think about great players. They might not have to be Hall of Fame type players but it could me someone that played great for many years. Well folks, I checked the scorecard and I saw names like Russ McGinnis, Byron Browne, Garry Jestadt, and Jim Cox. Say what ? Those are legends ? And those were just a couple of names. I don’t want to bore you with the complete roster. Thank goodness that the admission was free. But I did get lucky. One guy on that roster was a Hall of Famer. The one and only Fergie Jenkins. Once I entered the stadium I noticed a Cubs player signing autographs by the dugout. I walked over there to see who it was. It was Jenkins. I gave him a ball and he autographed it and he also put "HOF 91" I also got a picture with him. That was the only real legend at the stadium. Right after that, I decided I was not going to wait for the "legends" game. I decided to leave and visit my cousin that lives in the area. I should be making 1 or 2 more trips to Arizona to catch some games in March. Hopefully I will have better luck in catching some autographs. Hasta la vista baby.
Me and Fergie Jenkins
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the World Baseball Classic will be held next year with the same countries playing. I wrote that the venues will be announced next month. Today I found out through a fellow blogger, that Dodger Stadium will host the semi-finals and the final game. That’s great news. I think the city of Los Angeles deserves it. L.A. is a international city and I’m sure it won’t have a problem in selling out these games. The first round will be held at the following 4 cities, Toronto (Rogers Centre-Blue Jays Stadium), Mexico City, Tokyo (Tokyo Dome) and San Juan, Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium). The Second Round will be held at Anaheim (Angels Stadium) and San Diego (Petco Park) It then ends at Dodger Stadium. An official announcement of these tentative plans is scheduled for next month.
Jeff Kent speaks:
Is Steve Garvey your Dad ?
If not, you can meet him. People are always asking me to post upcoming appearances. Well here it is – He will be signing autographs for free this Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at the new Upper Deck store. The address is 7777 Edinger Ave, Huntingon Beach, Ca. I’m not going but if you go, post a comment and tell me how it went.
It’s official, Lasorda to manage:
I guess the Dodgers needed to tell us that it’s now official. Tommy Lasorda will manage 8 games in Spring training. Josh from Inside the Dodgers says Larry Bowa will be in the dugout with him. Can you imagine those 2 guys cursing each other ? Let the old guy have fun again I guess.
Furcal is ready:
I don’t understand this. If Rafael Furcal was hurting bad last season, why didn’t he stop playing and just go on the DL ? It would of been better if he had rested for a couple of weeks and come back strong than having the kind of season he had. He couldn’t steal as many bases, he couldn’t hit the way he usually hits and just wasn’t himself. This will be the final year of his three-year, $39 million contract with the Dodgers. He said he’d like to return. "I’m not the kind of guy who thinks about being a free agent," he said. "During the season, I want to put my mind on the game." Well I don’t know if I want him back. We have a couple of young guys in the minors that might be able to play short-stop next year. At the same time, we can spend that money somewhere else.
More Cuba Reaction:
Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times has a article about Fidel Castro stepping down and how it will affect the sport of Baseball. "This announcement is a formality, is no surprise in Cuba, and should not affect baseball at all," said Peter Bjarkman, a pro-revolution author who maintains a website devoted to baseball on the island. "I don’t know what’s going on down there," said pitcher Orlando Hernandez, who fled the country in 1998 to play for the Yankees. Hernandez still has family in the country and has previously declined comment, citing their safety. Mike Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP says "I hope he dies"
YouTube Video: Rick Monday saves the Flag.
Troy from West Virginia is going to Vero Beach! He sends a shout-out to us.
Penny Likes Bowa:
Brad Penny says Dodgers need what fiery Larry Bowa offers. I have to agree. Bowa is not going to allow any mental mistakes. "If we make stupid mistakes, something will be said. If you’re hustling all the way, I have no problem with that," Bowa said. "Guys running through stop signs, you’re not supposed to do that. If you’re afraid do say something when things go bad, you’re not doing your job. "Joe Torre is under control at all times. Joe can get mad, he handles it his own way. I don’t hold grudges, but I get stuff off my chest" He sure does. If you don’t believe it, check out this video of a younger Bowa. 25 Seconds into the video you can see him screaming. So my message to Matt Kemp is simple, don’t make stupid mistakes if you don’t want Bowa to be all over your face. You better believe it! lol
The Dodgers have had a great relationship with Japan since the O’malley years. That’s one of the reasons that Hideo Nomo, Kaz Ishii, Takashi Saito and now Hiroki Kuroda have come to Los Angeles. They feel comfortable playing in this city. The Dodgers have an advantage in getting those players. Hopefully in the future we can keep getting these players and maybe one day find the next Ichiro.
World Baseball Classic 2009:
The World Baseball Classic teams has been selected. It will be the same countries. The venues will be announced next month. Petco Park in San Diego is again a front runner to host the finals. Hey Frank McCourt, try to get these games in Los Angeles. I went to a couple of games in 2006 and it was great. I had the chance to go to Phoenix, Anaheim and San Diego.
Castro’s Pinga is getting old:
Haha! Some in the Baseball community reacted to the news that Fidel Castro will step down as President of Cuba. Former Dodgers and current Baltimore Orioles pitcher Danys Baez says he still has family in Cuba and added "I’ve been out of the country for nine years already," he said. "I don’t know how the people think or how they’re going to react. I don’t know if they’re going to celebrate or not, but I guarantee you they won’t celebrate in the streets. That’s for sure. The government doesn’t let you do that — celebrate in the streets when the leader’s going down." The Dodgers low single-A Great Lakes manager is Juan Bustabad. He was born in Cuba and said "nobody likes to live under communism. It’s one of those situations where eventually it had to come to an end. That time had come, and hopefully, things will be different. But with his brother in power, you just don’t know.” Atlanta Braves catcher Brayan Pena says "Everybody is so happy. … Now we really believe we’ve got serious hope to go back to Cuba." Retired pitcher Luis Tiant says "The people have suffered enough. They’ve gone through a hard life. Forty-six years I’ve been out. I hope it changes." Sports Illustrated has some great photos titled "Castro and Sports" My opinion in all this is that I don’t think we will see a change soon. My Dad is cuban and he feels the same way. It’s not like he can ever go back and get everything that he left behind. He came to the U.S. in 1962 and he knew the country was going towards a communist nation. As for Baseball, it would be great if they let those players come here and play in the Major Leagues. Look at all the players that leave Cuba and come here. They play great. Plus look at what happened at the World Baseball Classic a couple of years ago. They went all the way to the final before loosing to Japan.
I have to get this:
A & E Television Network will release the 1988 World Series on a 7 DVD Box set. It will include all the games plus lots of Bonus coverage including the ’88 World Series Trophy and MVP Award Presentations, 1988 Ring Ceremony, Inside the Moments: Gibson’s Home Run, Orel Hershiser: The Scoreless Streak, Locker Room Interviews Following the Gibson Home Run, Award Ceremonies: Kirk Gibson 1988 NL MVP, Orel Hershiser 1988 NL Cy Young and much more! This is a great set to have. It will be available March 4, 2008
YouTube: Kirk Gibson ’88 World Series game.
Remember seeing those brake lights when Gibson hit the homer? I found the driver…lol
It looks like the Dodgers will have 4 starting outfielders. Andruw Jones and Matt Kemp seem to be the ones that will start everyday. While Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre share duties at left field. Pierre doesn’t mind playing in left field but he does mind if they move him to the bench. I don’t know what will happen. My ideal outfield would be Kemp, Jones, and Ethier. Looks like Pierre would rather get traded if he is sent to the bench. I think it would be hard to move him and his big contract. When Joe Torre takes a split squad to China, Tommy Lasorda will manage the other squad. I don’t mind Lasorda managing those games but I would of prefered if it was someone else like Larry Bowa or Mike Easler. Hey, or even Don Mattingly, since it seems he will be there for a couple of weeks. Someone within the coaching ranks would of been better. How cool is it that Sandy Koufax pops in to Vero Beach every year and talks to the pitchers ? Koufax has a home in Vero Beach and he always surprises the organization in showing up at Spring training. With the Dodgers moving their Spring camps to Arizona next year, it would be sad if Koufax stops visiting. Frank McCourt needs to reach out to Koufax and make an agreement for him to keep teaching the pitchers some tips. More articles keep coming in about Vero Beach. I have read so much about Vero and seen so many pictures about Dodgertown that I truly feel sad that I will never be able to visit. But guess who is going to Vero ? Troy from West Virginia!
Harry Caray died 10 years ago today. Check out this Soldier who is in Iraq and impersonates Caray. Funny…
Andruw Jones is getting ready for the season. Hiroki Kuroda 30-pitch session is a breeze. The Dodgers 2008 TV Schedule is out. Greg Miller believes problems are behind him. Joe Torre takes in his new surroundings. Diet and exercise may help Andy LaRoche. A article about Scott Proctor and his daugther who had heart surgery. I saw this car today at a Shopping Center. It’s a Scion with the Dodgers Logo. (Not that clear, since it was taken by my Phone) I leave you with a YouTube video. I will try to post a video I find funny or interesting that’s baseball related of course. This one is Tommy Lasorda talking to Hideo Nomo.
Jason Schmidt says his arm feels better. Juan Pierre didn’t speak to the media. Most Dodgers regulars won’t make China trip. Joe Torre favors experience. A Dodgers pitcher was robbed at gunpoint outside Dodgertown. The New York Times has a nice article about Joe Torre and the Dodgers. As you know, Opening Day for the Dodgers will be March 31 against the San Francisco Giants. Barry Zito will start that day.
YouTube: Tommy Lasorda fights Phillie Phanatic
Happy Valentines Day everyone! (Especially to my Wife, who puts up with all my Baseball stuff)
Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Kemp and most of the Asians on the team will travel to China next month. Joe Torre seems relaxed in Vero Beach. Dodgers Catcher Gary Bennett says he regrets using HGH. The L.A. Times has a look on the Dodgers as they open camp today. Torre had a press conference yesterday and according to the L.A. Daily News, he was asked nothing specific about the Dodgers. It was all Yankees talk. Dodgers.com has a spring training preview. Jason Schmidt likely won’t be ready for Opening Day. Yahoo! Sports has a team report. Triangle table with Dylan Hernandez and Diamond Leung. Dodgers exit agreement from Vero Beach has been announced. Want to meet former Dodger and 2 time N.L. Batting Champion Tommy Davis ? He will be signing autographs this Saturday at a Sports & Collectibles Store in San Dimas.