Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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Well, it’s that time of year again. Single game tickets will be going on sale soon and since I’m not a season ticket holder, I usually pick out five games then I buy a block of four so I can either bring the kids or some friends. My wife likes to shop for clothes, I like to shop for baseball tickets.
The first thing I usually look for in Dodgers tickets are the rivalries. You know who those are. The Yankees aren’t coming to town but you always have the Giants and while that match up isn’t what it used to be, the Giants open up Dodger Stadium this year. I’m not optimistic enough to know I’ll get opening day tickets, but I plan on going to at least one of the two night games following the home opener.
And speaking of the Yankees, it sure would be nice to make a weekend trip to see the new Yankees ballpark. I know it’s a tough economy these days, but Yankees tickets will probably still be one of the toughest seats to find. Independence Day is on a Saturday this year so I’ll probably have Friday off so that would be a perfect weekend. I just know that while most Yankee games will be sold out, the ones surrounding a holiday weekend will be an even tougher find.
Of course if we’re going to New York, we’ll have to make some other plans. I always like to check out the local music and sports blog for the area we’re traveling too just so we have some ideas as to what we might want to do. It’d be really cool to see a great concert in NY. U2 would be very cool but not only is it impossible to get cheap U2 tickets, they’re out of the country until this fall.
I wonder if people who travel to Los Angeles do the same thing. I mean, I know what to do in Los Angeles, but to a lot of people, it’s a city of mystery. You’ve got the business district and if you wanted the waterfront scene, you could always go to Long Beach or even Newport Beach.
Frank McCourt, Ned Coletti, Manny’s agent Boras and Boras’ assistant skipped the Dodgers first spring training game yesterday to meet at Dodger stadium. The Dodgers put up a two-year, $45 million deal. The first year would give Manny $25 million and the second $20 million, with the second being an option, so Manny could opt for free agency after this season.
The last time the Dodgers met the Cubs, they swept them in a three-game NLDS series in October. The Dodgers were on pace to pick up a win until Ramon Troncoso gave up a granny to Micah Hoffpauir in the fifth inning. Troncoso had come on in place of Eric Milton, who tossed a couple scoreless innings. Claudio Vargas had started the game, giving up one run on two hits through two innings.
Tony Abreu got the Dodgers on board with a two-run single in the second. DeWitt also knocked in a run with an RBI-single in the fourth to score Matt Kemp. James Loney also chipped in with two hits.
The Dodgers head to Scottsdale on Thursday to face the Giants. Loney had two hits in today’s game, but Mark Loretta will get the start at first in Thursday’s game to see how he fares as a sub for Loney. Randy Wolf and Jeff Weaver are scheduled to each toss a few innings, with Jonathan Broxton set to close it out. Matt Cain will make the start for the Giants.
The Dodgers are set to take on the Cubs in their first Spring Training game on Wednesday. At camp so far, Jason Schmidt has made progress and it looks as if he will have a good chance at being the fifth starter in the rotation to start the regular season, which would give him his first big league start since June of 2007. He tossed 11 pitches (nine strikes) in an intrasquad game to complete a scoreless inning on Monday.
For the first game on Wednesday, Claudio Vargas will make the start, with Randy Wolf starting on Thursday, Billingsley on Friday and Kershaw on Saturday. The Cubs will have Jeff Samardzija start, with Mitch Atkins following. Apparently, talks with Manny and his agent have intensified, but the Dodgers will still be without him as they kick off their Spring Training season. This will give Juan Pierre the starting left fielder job for the time being.
The Dodgers signed free agent secondbaseman Orlando Hudson to a one-year deal today. The deal will cost the Dodgesr $3.4 million, a possible $4.6 million in incentives, and their first round draft pick.
Hudson, a 2007 All-Star, is coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he batted .305 with 8 homeruns and 41 RBI in 2008. Hudson will be taking over second in place of the retired Jeff Kent, and while he batted in the three hole in Arizona, he will likely bat second beyond Rafael Furcal.
Andre Ethier reported to Spring Training camp a few days early and a few days before his set arbitration hearing. But a day before the hearing, the Dodgers and Ethier agreed on a one-year, $3.1 million contract. Ethier was going to seek $3.75 million in the hearing, and with the Dodgers originally offering $2.65 million, the $3.1 is just about halfway for both.
Also in a Yahoo! Sports article, Brad Penny was quoted saying he was happy to leave the Dodgers. Along with claiming the Dodgers made him pitch more than enough innings while injured, he dropped Larry Bowa’s name, saying he didn’t get along with him and that he would talk about the players to others. Bowa reacted by calling Penny a “lazy underachiever” whom the Dodgers are glad to part with.
Regardless of what’s being said off the field between coaches and former players, the Dodgers are now just a week away from their first Spring Training game.
Pitchers and catchers reported a few days ago, but even some position players decided to take the field early at the Dodger facilities in Glendale, AZ. Among the early arrivals was Juan Pierre. Pierre’s position as the left-field starter lingers on whether or not the Dodgers will sign Manny Ramirez, but for now, Pierre is training as if he will be the everyday left-fielder.
The Dodgers now have 36 pitchers at their camp, including their regular roster and non-roster invitees. Hiroki Kuroda was one of a few who had yet to throw a bullepn session, but that was schedule for today. Kuroda’s name has been tossed around as a possible Opening Day starter, in place of Chad Billingsley, who was thought originally to be the starter that day.
The Dodgers added veteran LHP Eric Milton to their list of Spring Training invitees, signing a one-year contract that will have him competing for the fifth-starter spot or a spot in the bullpen. Milton hasn’t pitched since the first half of the 2007 season with the Reds after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Also, time is ticking for the Dodgers to sign Manny Ramirez. Their potential back-ups including Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu. Dunn signed a two-year contract with the Nationals today, while Abreu is close to a one-year deal with the Angels.
Frank McCourt appeared on the MLB network and made it clear that the Dodgers are still pursuing Manny: “You know Manny had a tremendous impact on L.A. and made great contributions to our run at the end of last season. I’ve seldom seen a situation like his with our fans. I mean that love affair was tremendous. It’s our intention to try and bring Manny back. We’ve tried to do that, been unsuccessful to date, but that doesn’t mean we are going to stop trying.”
In less than three days, the Dodgers will begin their ’09 spring training season with pitchers and catchers reporting to the club’s new facilities in Glendale, Arizona.
The rotation has four set as of now: Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, and newly-signed Randy Wolf. The fifth spot could go to: Jason Schmidt (depending on how his rehab, at best he could be ready by Opening Day), James McDonald, newly acquired Claudio Vargas, or Minor League-invitee Shawn Estes.
The Dodgers have also signed RHP Jeff Weaver to a minor league deal. Weaver will not be in the run for the fifth spot in the rotation, though he is reporting to Spring Training in a few days and will compete for a bullpen spot, but will more than likely see most of his time with one of the farm teams.
While pitchers and catchers report this week, the Dodgers’ first exhibition game isn’t until February 25th against the Cubs.
LHP Randy Wolf will be returning to the Dodgers’ starting rotation, signing a one-year, $5-million contract, with a possible $3 million more if he pitches 200+ innings. Wolf is coming over from the Astros, after spending half the season there and half in San Diego after he was with the Dodgers in 2007. As of now, it looks as if Wolf will be the #2 man behind Chad Billingsley.
Other recent updates:
The Dodgers resigned RHP Tanyon Sturtze to a minor league deal. Sturtze was on the roster for half of the 2008 season, making three appearances before being designated for assignment.
Andre Ethier is set to have an arbitration hearing on February 17. Ethier is the only one of four arbitration-eligible Dodgers who didn’t reach a deal with the club. He is reportedly seeking $3.75 million while the club is offering him $2.65.
Colletti made a one-year, $25-million dollar offer to Manny late Sunday night, but Manny’s agent Scott Boras rejected it on Monday. If Manny had accepted, it would’ve made him the highest-paid outfieder for one year in MLB history. This is the second offer the Dodgers have made Manny-the first being a two-year, $45-million deal made in November that the Dodgers eventually took off the table.
Colletti has said the club doesn’t have a deadline on signing Manny, but other options, such as Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn, are still the in mix if the Manny deal doesn’t pan out. Despite Colletti reporting no deadline, pitchers and catchers report to camp in less than 10 days.
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