Woohoo!! In less than 5 hours I’ll get up and drive to Camelback!! Oh, oh. I better hit the sack. Like Vin Scully says “Good night everybody”.
First of all, welcome back home Jeff Weaver! I know you’ve had some good games but also some rough times since you left the Dodgers, but I will always remember the game you pitched at when the Dodgers were honoring the Boys of Summer. It was….August 28, 2005 and the Dodgers were celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers winning the World Series. I had a friend from Delaware who was in L.A. just for this event and 3 other friends from San Diego that had been looking forward to that day. . Needless to say I could hardly wait to get to the stadium that day.
From the time that I walked into Dodger Stadium, I could hear Vin Scully practicing over the mike for all the introductions he was going to be making. Afterwards the surviving members from the 1955 team were seated around the infield while in the background “The Boys of Summer” was playing. Vin Scully took his place introducing the players giving brief descriptions of career highlights. When he got to Sandy Koufax, well, Vin knew he would not be able to say much without having people applauding thru it so he said ” “Do I really have to go through this list of extraordinary achievements, or should I just let you show your appreciation?” Koufax, of course, got a standing ovation. Sandy, the humble man that he is, was gesturing “please, stop it”
Carl Erskine, one of the 1955 Dodgers pitchers, played “God Bless America” and the National Anthem on his harmonica just prior to the start of the game. , hero of the who shut out the Yankees in Game 7, threw out the first pitch to Roy Campanella II, son of the late, great Dodgers catcher.
What followed was a classic pitching duel, scoreless baseball for 7 1/2 innings of play as Roger Clemens then with the Astros battled L.A.’s Jeff Weaver. Finally, the Dodgers were able to push a run across the plate in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Jeff: You rose to the occasion that day!! I hope you rise again to the occasion and have a great 2009!
giddiness! We have a ballgame!! I am so excited!!
$14.95 to listen to Dodger baseball while I work!
Charlie Steiner on the audio, but listening to Vin Scully do a commercial!
Let’s go Dodgers! Let’s go!!
for those that missed Jeff conference, here is a small part of what he said as he took deep breaths and long pauses, but the tears flowed anyway: .
“The integrity of the game has been jeopardized for so many years, and I’m embarrassed about the steroid era,” .
After saying that he was originally drafted in the 20th round, he said:
“And for the kids who might want to be a baseball player some day (sniff. pause ) there is a chance that you can play this great game (his voice breaking down) if you are not the biggest guy if you are not the fastest guy (sniff) even if you are not the smartest guy there is a chance (pause) that you can still play this game”.
I will miss you Jeff!
For the last couple of years, when baseball season starts, I’ve been telling my brother “This is the year I will start writing letters to the editors. I want one of my letters published!” But I have only written one in two years. This year, it was not the beginning of the baseball season but when Jeff Kent_ one of my favorite players retired, I wanted to convey that the guy that was at the press conference was the player that I have seen for the last 4 years. Like he said on his press conference, “he rather talk to 100,000 fans than to the media”.
I cried along with Jeff watching his press conference. I remembered also that Jeff had cried at the press conference when he became a Dodger. I reminded him of this when I saw him at the last WIN baseball clinic. He smiled and said “Well, I took a look at my mother and there she was crying”.
I wrote my letter in the hopes that maybe, just maybe it would be published. Just in case, I also sent it to the Fanfeed Dodgers email address. Saturday morning I picked up the paper and started with the Sport section as I always do. All was quiet in my house but when I started reading the letters and got to MY letter, I was “OMG!” “OMG!” , I just had to wake up my brother and show it to him. He was ‘mm, ok….zzzz”.
That Saturday I headed to the stadium for “Select a Seat day”. I wanted to move my seats two seats over but they were not available. They had free Dodger Dogs, soda, peanuts & cracker jacks. Needless to say, I took the sport section with me and was telling several people there that my letter got published. One of the young Dodger embassadors said ‘was that the letter you sent us?”. She started telling some of her co-workers. I headed to the restaurant wearing my Jeff Kent jersey ready to enjoy a Dodger dog when a fan approached me saying “are you sad that he retired?”. I told him yes and I showed him my letter.my brother just rolled his eyes.
Here is my letter and the link to “letters to the editor” from the L.A. times. Skip the negatives .
That is the Jeff Kent I saw at WIN baseball clinics for the last four years, the guy I saw signing autographs for kids under a hot sun and advising them at Dodger Stadium. The one who looked up at me when I asked him when he was going to be reactivated so that I could reactivate him in my fantasy baseball team and apologized for being injured. The one with the wonderful smile at the baseball clinics joking with us, catching us in the bullpen, patiently taking pictures and signing autographs. The only player that has asked me for my name by saying “I am sorry, what is your name?”
I am proudly wearing my Jeff Kent jersey today.
I’ve been thinking about my wonderful trips to Vero Beach. I love that place! It was so fan friendly. Here is hoping that Arizona will be as fan friendly. Here are some pictures
Here is the starting lineup for the Dodgers & Red Sox:
My seats with this view here were inexpensive.
Here is Tommy Signing autographs. I had already gotten his autograph when he was walking around so I did not get in line here.
I met wonderful friends at this Spring Training. One of them loaned me his baseball for the WIN Women baseball clinic.
I always read the L.A Times obituaries in the California section. When last month I read that Bill Werber the oldest living former MLB player and a teammate of Babe Ruth has died at age 100 I was asking myself “who is now the oldest living former MLB player?” Well, after much research I found out the answer is Tony Malinosky. He is 99, born October 5, 1909 and he briefly played with the Dodgers! Tony played in only one season, 1937, in 34 games total. He lived in Whittier, CA and attended Whittier college in the 30′s.
BTW, Bill Werber had the distinction of being the first player to bat in the first televised major league game, leading off for the Reds in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on Aug 26, 1939. Occasionally he would write letters to Bud Selig telling him that he did not think women should sing the national anthem, that games today take too long and that he was disgusted with the long hair on modern players. Wonder what he thought about the steriod scandals.
3 weeks ago I was switching channels when I heard as part of highlights of a show in Spanish TV station “Univision” that they were going to cover the oldest living professional player that played in the Negro League. Toward the end of the show they showed Emilio Navarro.
Here is Emilio being honored. Our beloved Newk is aplauding.
He is 103, born September 26, 1905 in Puerto Rico. He still looks healthy doing his morning exercises. He reminded me of Buck O’Neill, so upbeat, happy, friendly and with a wonderful look on life. his highlight for him was throwing out the first ball at Yankee Stadium last year. Pudge Rodriguez caught him. The world needs more people like Buck O’Neill & Emilio Navarro.
This Dodger fan and baseball fan salute you gentlemen! I hope that the two of you get the oportunity to throw out the first ball at Dodger Stadium this year! s
RBI Dinner at the Biltmore Thursday 2/5/09.
My friend Erik convinced me to go to the RBI dinner because this is a good cause. In this case RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in inner cities. See also the very nice report from Ben Platts from MLB here http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090206&content_id=3803558&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. This comment from James McDonalds makes it worthwhile supporting this event “They were here for me at times when I didn’t have much. They paid for me so I could play baseball and always made sure I had good grades,” said McDonald, recalling his years with the program. “They taught me how to act right, and I truly believe this is one of the best programs in baseball right now. Coco Crip’s comment from the article says “”Without RBI I wouldn’t be in the big leagues,”
“I played on three through RBI before I actually played on a big league team,” said McDonald, who made his Major League debut last September. “I played my first game at seven years ago through RBI.”
It was raining a lot when we left and the traffic was pretty bad. Since Erik and I both commute to and from work and have monthly passes, I decided the best way was to leave the car at Union Station and from there take the Red line. Pershing Square is where we got off. Here is a link with pictures of Pershing Square and a little history and some old pictures of the Biltmore hotel. http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare/photos.htmlThe Biltmore hotel is magnificent and has lots of history. I love the gorgeous old architecture. Speaking of beautiful architecture, the Los Angeles Central library is only a block away from there. check out the website at http://www.lapl.org/ They have wonderful tours daily including Saturday and Sunday.
A lot of people were running late as a result of the rain and heavy traffic. there was a nice room with lots of items for auction from the Dodgers, Lakers, football items as well as other sports. There were also various hotel stays for auction and nice memorabilia from other celebrities.
, an RBI alumni, showed up looking very handsome in his suit. James MacDonald was also there with his girlfriend. Later on I saw Larry King, D , Coco Crisp, Maury Wills who was being honored along with Darryl Thomas. Sweet Lou was also there and Charlie Steiner. There were some other baseball players from other teams that I don’t remember the names now.
Someone from the Dodgers personnel commented that he did no recognized me without my Dodger gear! I went and said hi to Frank McCourt. I talked with John Soo Hoo _ the Dodger photographer, Dr. Steinberg and Mr Dennis Mannion (COO)and MLB reporter Ben Platts, . We took pictures with James Loney and with Maury Wills. Both Erik and I don’t like to overdo it so we stopped after the two pictures.
We were told that our table was #39 which I automatically thought “Roy Campanella’s number!”. I tend to associate numbers with player’s numbers, or years of Dodger or baseball events. It helps me remember it better. Later on Ben Platts came to sit next to me. I always see him at Dodger Stadium with or without his son. He was telling me that he & his wife had become parents for the second time when his wife gave birth to twins! He proudly showed me a picture of his beautiful new daughter and son.
In addition to the room with auction items, there was a live auction after the dinner. We could not believe it that some items went for a low price like a base signed by and a suite at Dodger Stadium. The auction items went so fast that I barely had time to close my mouth of seeing how fast they performed auctions. Yep, you guess it, I never been to a Live auction like that. I’ve only gone to the silent auctions at Dodger Stadium.
When the event was over it was still raining hard outside. We waited where everyone was waiting for valet to bring their car. We were just waiting for the rain to die down a little bit before we started walking to take the Red line home. I spotted so I started talking to him. Also Sweet Lou was there and when he heard that we were just waiting for the rain to quiet down, he offered to give us a ride to Union Station but then we noticed the rain was now lighter so we thanked him for the offer and off we went under the light rain. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and were glad that the weather had not deterred us from attending.