Postseason Anticipation

“If summer is for the boys, then fall is definitely for the men.” ~Steve Garvey

It’s now that time of year. With the regular season over, it is now time to focus on that wonderful month of October where eight teams vie for their ultimate goal, the championship trophy. While the Cubs possess the best record in the National League to give them home-field advantage, and they are hugely favored to win the series, I don’t think the Cubs can overcome their century-long curse in a five-game series. Even with Brad Penny out of the lineup, Los Angeles still has a solid one-two punch with Lowe and the surprising Chad Billingsley. Earlier this season, Billingsley had a quality start going six frames and only giving up two earned runs. However, the Dodgers ended up losing that game by a score of 3-1.

But that was all in the past. The Cubbies have not faced the Dodgers this season with Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, or Angel Berroa. Those three players have made such a phenomenal impact on the Dodgers that I don’t think any National League team can stop them right now. But, that’s why they play the game.

As for the other National League Division series, I have the Phillies actually winning this one in five games. C.C. Sabathia can only pitch twice this series, and those will be the two wins in the series for the Brewers. Without the seemingly unstoppable Sabathia pitching for the Brewers, they may not win another game, and therefore it will go five games. That’s my take on that series. Which means I think it will be the Dodgers and the Phillies in the NLCS. Yeah, I can’t even begin to predict what a series that would be. Of course, I could actually be very wrong on my predictions, but I hope not. =)

I’m going to leave this blog shorter than all the others, but I will end with this final word. If you guys remember my post from last week about the Tuesday game versus the San Diego Padres, you’ll know how much of a blast I had with my friend, Paul. Here is a video of why we love Dodger Stadium.

 

With that,

I bid you all adieu and let’s root our Dodgers on all the way to the end!

Think Blue!
JD
 

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Celebration at Chavez Ravine (aka: Best Loss Ever)

 

Good day, fellow Dodger fans! Sorry for the delay in posting this, but it has been craziness ever since the Dodgers won the division. One thing or another has kept me busy and away from my laptop for the past couple days, but now I’m here ready to blog about what a wonderful season this is, and our boys in blue making it to the postseason!

 

 

ladchamps1.jpgFirst off, congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers, your 2008 National League West Division Champions! Since the Dodgers had the division won before they took the field, it became obvious that Joe Torre wouldn’t be in it to win it on Thursday evening. It would lead to an awesome celebration, though.

Sweet September Breeze

 

As I closed in on Dodger Stadium, I could hardly contain my excitement that the Dodgers were going to celebrate their playoff spot in style.
 
 Usually before every game, there is someone signing autographs and it is all cool. For the final game of the season, Sweet Lou Johnson would be signing, and he was such a cool guy! After that, we decided to muck around and take pictures around the ballpark. Batting practice was pretty cool that day, but it was crowded with fans. I had no chance of getting a baseball with the warning track being that crowded. Since I didn’t want to go to our seats yet,  I also decided to check out the shops, and saw that they ALREADY were selling stuff to commemorate their NL West crown, and decided that it needed its own picture.

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Dodgers on the Field

 

When we finally took our seats in the loge level for the first time all season, we decided to check out the section, and loved the setup there! They even had Wii baseball for fans to try. Granted, I already own a Wii, and I absolutely love Wii Sports, but it was still fun to do that at the stadium in front of a bunch of other fans! (For a while, I owned the top score on that particular game) After finally getting our Dodger Dogs and racing to our seats, we saw a nice ceremony with some olympians from the 2008 Beijing games, and all the Dodgers coming out before the game and tossing baseballs into the stands. Very nice gesture, indeed.

 

dodgerteam.jpgAlthough I didn’t get a picture of second base, my favourite moment before the game had to be Jeff Kent’s kids coming out on the field with him for possibly the final time, and he looked like he truly enjoyed himself. I do love that before the game, kids get to run out on the field with the nine Dodgers playing on the field.

 

 

ethierkid.jpgThe game itself wasn’t much to get excited about because with the Dodgers having clinched the division already, Joe Torre decided to put Eric Stults out on the mound instead of Greg Maddux against Jake Peavy. Stults decided to quickly give up two runs in the first inning, and the Padres never looked back. (Hey, at least they won’t get 100 losses this season)

 

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kentbat.jpgIt was refreshing to see one of my fav Dodgers, Rafael Furcal, back in the starting lineup, and not looking too bad! After that, Jeff Kent made his first start in the lineup, and he actually looked very good at bat. Joe Torre could have some tough decisions ahead in regards to who he leaves out of the playoff roster. Oh, what a problem to have. If you look at it this way, it’s better to have too much talent, as opposed to not enough talent. I have confidence in the manager, though. He has been through it all, and has led the Yankees to four championships in the last decade. We’ll see how the rosters look after the regular season ends.

The Discontent of Drunken Fans

 

 

loneyduck.jpgAs a couple of local radio personalities say frequently on a popular sports show, “One word: OY!” As the game drew near to the seventh inning, I began to notice that some of the drunken fans were getting slightly unruly. This is truly one thing that disappoints me about fans at most stadiums: Their drunken stupors that end up resulting in pointless fights and affecting innocent bystanders caught in the crossfires of thrown beer bottles. This was the first time I actually had to call that Dodgers Hotline because some people were hindering other people’s enjoyment of the game. That guy got booted very quickly just as he was beginning to curse up a storm and get in other people’s faces. Fortunately, nothing terrible happened around where we were sitting. However, as the game dragged on, people in other sections around the park were getting frustrated, and took out their angst on other people. It seemed like every two minutes, a new brawl was starting in a different section… and it got slightly scary when people were throwing stuff from the reserve level and having it land all the way in the field level seats. I have one word for that: Pathetic.

 

 

pierrebase.jpgBy that point, even the game was getting slightly testy. As the Dodgers made a valiant attempt to make some sort of comeback, their pushes toward the lead were thwarted by the Padres’ pitching and defense. Even with Juan Pierre stealing bags, the Dodgers B-team couldn’t come back. But it didn’t matter!

Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

 

After the final out was recorded, it was time to celebrate! The graphics were strewn about the stadium right away, and the team went into the locker room almost right away. After they retreated, I decided to go on the other side of the loge and get some pictures when the Dodgers came out of the locker room and partied with the home town folk. Here are the resulting pictures….

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What a wonderful day it was! It was a wonderful night, and a good way to end the regular season. As for the final game of the season, how cool is it to see Nomar Garciaparra as acting manager for the final game of the season? I know Joe Torre has made a tradition of making one of the players a manager if his team has already clinched a spot and the final game doesn’t matter in the standings. He could have chose any other player, but Nomar was my bet, and I’m loving it! I leave you now with this… onward to the postseason!

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Think Blue!
JD

On the Brink…

Magic Number = 1

That’s it. One. A Diamondbacks loss or a Dodgers win will secure a party-like atmosphere at Chavez Ravine not seen since the days of Steve Finley and Lima Time. But, it seems different this time. Los Angeles has some decent pitching, and they certainly have the bat power. It seems like there is renewed hope around the stadium that we haven’t seen in a while, and I can only come up with one reason why this is.

Manny.

Ever since he made his way to Los Angeles from Boston, it has been like a whole new team. A team that I am excited to watch. He gives the fans a reason to wear those funny-looking wigs with the dreadlocks (I will admit, however, that the Dodgers bandana he wears is pretty cool looking). Heck, he’s had more curtain calls in his fifty games as a Dodger than probably all the other Dodger hitters put together this season! That is pretty astounding, isn’t it? 53 RBIs already, and he is showing no signs of stopping. Manny is making Dodger fans believe again, and I truly believe that this team could erase some ghosts of playoff past and win more than one game in a playoff series. In fact, I think they could make the World Series. I didn’t say they will, I said they could. Think about it.

The Cubs are forever doomed to be cursed… at least until 2015. 😉  (100 points if you get that reference)

The Phillies have had some good offensive power all season long, but their pitching is very suspect. In fact, who would be their #1 starter, or even their #2 starter? The only thing that scares me is Brad Lidge, who hasn’t blown a save yet this season. But who knows? His postseason memories of Albert Pujols blasting that home run against the Astros may still haunt him all these years later. (I wonder if he still has nightmares about that?)

The Mets? With Pedro Martinez struggling, and no solid bullpen support with Billy Wagner out, they could easily be swept… assuming they make the playoffs.

Then there is the wild card, the Brewers. I honestly do not know what to expect from them. There are two versions of this team, and you never know which team will show up to the ballpark. Fear C. C. Sabathia.

But this is all looking ahead, of course. Hopefully, the Dodgers can clinch tomorrow, and what a happy day it will be! Again, I’ll be at the ballpark early, so I hope to see some fellow MLBloggers there! For now…

 

100_6461.JPGThink Blue!
JD

The Hit Parade Has Returned!


mannyhit.jpgMagic Number = 3

Wow, where in the heck did that offensive output come from? Ten runs and fourteen hits?!? After eleven innings of no runs against the Giants on Sunday, my boys from Chavez Ravine pounded out six runs in the first inning, and I deemed the game over after Chad Billingsley laid down that squeeze pay to perfection while scoring a charging Casey Blake from third. That one play could be described in one word: Brilliance.

Yes, I know there were more fine plays than that… but when Chad drove in that sixth run on a squeeze play, all the Padres could do was cower in fear, crowd around the mound, and discuss their dining options for the evening and vacation plans for the following week.

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This would happen frequently during the game.

It was really nice to see nearly every Dodger get a hit. As a matter of fact, every Dodger that started got on base at least once (Only Angel Berroa didn’t get a hit, but he walked, and that’s okay by me). Nomar’s home run brought a huge smile to my face because just a few days ago, several fans looked in fear as he jammed his knee rounding third base and having a knee injury that looked far more serious than it actually was. I also know it has been a while since Nomar hit a home run, and what a way to come back with that 422-foot bomb!

I also have to give huge props to my boy, Blake DeWitt for hitting a home run pretty much one minute after I called it. I bet you’re asking, “Why would you call a home run right then and there?” I’ll tell you, noble reader! Right after Casey Blake hit his second single, I noticed the flags blowing from left to right (almost blowing straight out), and DeWitt could easily hit that ball of twine to right field. As I noticed this, I promptly turned to my friend, Paul, adewitthr.jpgnd said, “Look at the flags. It’s blowing out a little bit. He’s going to hit it out… to right field. If he gets it just right, he could reach the loge, but I think he’s going to hit it out to right.” About a minute later, he blasts one 403 feet to right field! I nearly called that one perfectly if I hadn’t entertained the notion that he may join the short list of Dodgers to hit a home run into the orange loge seats. Regardless, that was a sweet shot!

Blake has a sweet shot, but I still think Manny’s stroke is just incredible to watch. Can you believe he got past 50 RBIs as a Dodger tonight with one swing of the bat? 51 RBIs in 49 games. That averages out to more than one run batted in per game. With five games left, Manny only needs three RBIs to average one per game as a Dodger. He’s going to be very valuable in the playoffs.

So with the magic number at 3, Los Angeles could clinch the NL West title as early as Thursday evening. Wouldn’t it be nice to win the division in front of the home crowd? It could happen! Here are the remaining schedules for Arizona and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles:
-2 vs. San Diego
-3 @ San Francisco

Arizona:
-2 @ St. Louis
-3 vs. Colorado

Max Scherzer (0-3) is pitching against Adam Wainwright (10-3) at New Busch, and Shawn Estes (2-3) is up against Clayton Kershaw (4-5) at the Ravine. Yeah, Wainwright has been incredible, and if he wasn’t out for over two months due to injury, he could have a 17 or 18 win season going right now. I hope he has one more good start in him! As for our game, Kershaw has been pretty darn good at home, and I think we will see a win. I would not be surprised if the magic number is reduced to ONE by tomorrow evening, setting up a celebration at Dodger Stadium for Thursday night. Could it happen? Let’s hope so!

I’ll definitely be there Thursday, and if any of you loyal blog readers happen to be at the stadium and see me, don’t be afraid to say hi! I’ll be there a few hours early to take it all in, especially since it’s the final regular season home game of the season. With that said, I hope to see you at the ballpark. Before I get some rest, I will leave you with this picture of myself and Dodger World Series pitcher, Joe Moeller. (Yes, that’s me holding his world series ring from Florida. That thing was HUGE!)

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Think Blue!
JD

First Blog

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many happy entries regarding my life and baseball. More specifically, my Dodgers (or as I’ve heard many Mexicans call them, “Los Doyers”). While I might be tossing around a few opinions on our great national pasttime, there will be plenty of stories, a few fun anecdotes from past games and ballpark visits, and pictures for all to see. I truly hope you guys enjoy reading the coming entries, and may comment on them, as well!

First off, I should divulge a brief snippet about myself and why I love baseball. I was born and bred in East Los Angeles before moving around a couple times, finally ending up in Ontario, Cali for a few years. Since then, I’ve loved living in the Inland Empire for most of my life, including going to a few RC Quakes games. I always tried to play a little baseball at school and found that while I didn’t have a great bat, I had an excellent glove and exceptional range. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite have a glove like Andruw Jones, so I didn’t get very far playing the game, but I remained a fan and enjoyed all the pickup games at school.

Of course, growing up in SoCal, you are either a Dodgers fan or an Angels fan. Admittedly, I have a great respect for the Angels and their franchise… but the Dodgers are numero uno in my book, and you’d better believe I bleed Dodger Blue. When I saw my team win the 1988 World Series, I was happy.

However, I really became a fan of the Dodgers (and baseball in general) on Sunday, August 28th, 1991. I bet you’re asking yourselves, “Hey JD, how and why did you pinpoint that particular day?” Well, before the game, it was a special day for me. PICTURE DAY! It was the day where you could meet and greet players from the team and take pictures of them, or maybe with them! As a kid, I was very excited for this opportunity. I may have to look for those pictures, but I am certain that I got my picture taken with at least one player from that 1991 Dodger team. But that wasn’t the highlight.

The highlight was the game. Our home team played the Montreal Expos. On the bump for Les Expos was a veteran by the name of Dennis “Denny” Martinez. After a few innings, I was sad because my home team was losing and we can’t hit the ball at all! As the consecutive outs piled up, it was becoming clear to the fans at Chavez Ravine that something extraordinary was happening. Clear to almost everybody, that is…  I was not a happy camper. It was at this time that someone explained to me what exactly was going on. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that I actually comprehended what was such a big deal about this…

…Denny Martinez was hurling a perfect game. Only in the 9th inning did I get excited and root for the other team. At least I wasn’t alone. I remember as it came down to the final out, nearly everybody was cheering to see this perfect game happen, and it did! Yes, I was witness to a perfect game. That’s when I knew that I was a fan of baseball.

Now that I typed all of that out, I will just say this about the current team in honor of Viva Los Dodgers and the fact that it is Mexican Heritage Month.

Go Doyers.

I promise to talk more about the current team on my next post.

Think Blue!  
JD