December 19, 2014

Dodger Fans Speak: Meet Stacy Todhunter

Keith, Stacy, and Sue at Camelback Ranch

The last fan we spoke with during our time wandering Camelback Ranch was Stacy Todhunter from West Covina, Calif.  Stacy was a little hard to miss, as she was enthusiastically rooting on the Dodgers during each and every at bat from her primo seats behind first base.  We had to get a few questions in with her!

So how’s your Spring Training experience been so far?

This is my first one and it’s awesome.  I love it.  Even though we’re struggling, I still love it.

What do you think of Camelback Ranch?

It’s nice.  It’s smaller than I thought, but I love it.  I want to come back here.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?

I’m pretty excited for the new players that they have on the team now.  We lost a lot of good ones last season, so I can’t wait to see what the new ones are going to be like.

Anyone in particular you have your eye on?

Not really, I kind of like them all.  You clearly heard me cheering for everybody [laughing].

Anything you want to see out of the team or one guy this year?

Like I said, I don’t have one in particular, except Russell Martin was my favorite player and unfortunately he left.  I just want to see us do better, now that we have a new coach and everything.

What do you think the chances are of making the playoffs?

I don’t know, I’m hoping better than last season.

Anything else?

Just go Dodgers!

Dodger Fans Speak: Meet Craig Weimer

Eric and Craig at Camelback Ranch

We found Craig Weimer watching the game down the third base line of Camelback Ranch.  A Dodger fan for all of his 41 years, Craig now lives in Golden, CO.  Here’s what he had to say about the Dodgers in 2011:

How’s your Spring Training experience been so far?

Great, been here since Friday.  Went to a Rockies game last night and we’re here today.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?

The prospect of at least making the playoffs.

What do you think the chances are of the Dodgers making the playoffs?

I think they’re pretty good.  It’s a soft West, we should be able to come out of that.

Anything in particular you think needs to happen to make the playoffs?

Need to get the hitting going.  I think we’re good on pitching, I think we’ll do well on pitching.  I think it’s the hitting where the sore spot is.

Anything you want to see out of the team or a particular player this season?

I definitely need to see some guys in left field step up and play, fill in and get some home runs.  Get some scoring potential going and score some runs.

Dodger Fans Speak: Meet Joyce Park

Jackie, Donna, and Joyce

The other week, Alex and I roamed Camelback Ranch and talked with the fans about their time at Spring Training and their thoughts on the upcoming season.  We quickly found Joyce Park from Murrieta, Calif. relaxing on the right field lawn with her two nieces.   A Dodger fan for more than 50 years, Joyce’s infectious laugh and positive attitude reminded us of the joy that comes from just watching the game, and not overanalyzing ever transaction or coaching decision.  She’s a gem!

How long have you been a Dodger fan?

For 50 years.  I watched Drysdale and Koufax pitch.

Tell us about your Spring Training experience so far.

We came hear the very first Spring Training that Camelback Ranch opened two years ago and we sat in seats over there [by third base].  I loved it.  And then last year we came and sat up here [the right field lawn] and it’s a lot more fun.  You don’t have the seat confinement so you can move around.  I love it.  I love it here.

How many Spring Training games have you been to this year?

This will be our fourth or fifth one.

What are you the most excited about for the coming season?

I love Ethier in right field.  Loney at first base.  All the young guys that have been working.  Kershaw…last year I got his autograph.  I was so excited.  He was surrounded by all the little kids.  I said ‘Aw, come on, Kershaw.  I watched Sandy Koufax pitch and you’re going to be him some day.’  He got this big smile on his face and autographed my hat.  So I’m excited.

Is there anything you really want to see from the team or a particular player this season?

My whole thing is that I’d love to see all the young guys really make it this year.  Kemp…Ethier…Loney and all those guys.  I would love to see them all have a huge, breakout year.  Huge.

What do you think are the team’s chances of making the playoffs?

Sigh.  I would like to say…they’re going to do it!

Anything else?

Only that I love the Dodgers and bleed Dodger Blue, just like Tommy Lasorda!

Dodger Fans Speak: Meet Mike Van Wie

Mike Van Wie (2nd from right) with his extended family

Next up in our “voice of the fans” series from Camelback Ranch is Mike Van Wie.  Mike and his family currently live in Phoenix, but he hails from California and has been a Dodger fan since 1960.

Tell us about your Spring Training experience so far:

This year, this is our first game, but we’ve been to a bunch of them.  Never did get down to Florida since we used to live in California, but we’ve been to a bunch of them since the Dodgers have been here.  This is the first game this year, but I went to about 15-20 last year and the year before that, about the same.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?

I want to win a pennant!  I want to win a pennant this year!

Since you brought it up, what do you think the odds are that the Dodgers actually win the pennant?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think they’re that great.  They need some help everywhere, but teams have done as good or better with less, so we’ll see.

Anything you really want to see from the team or a particular player?

Yeah, I’d like to see Matt Kemp do a hell of a lot better than he did last year.  I know he had big numbers, but his average was down.  I’d like to see some improvement out of the catching position.  I’d like to see the pitching a little bit stronger, but I think we’ve got enough to get there.

Any final thoughts?

I’m just glad the Dodgers moved to Arizona!

Dodger Fans Share Their Thoughts on the 2011 Season

While out at Spring Training this year, Alex and I thought about a bunch of ways we could add value to the great Dodgers coverage coming out of the desert.  In the end, we kept coming back to the fans: what do you guys care the most about?  That’s what we were the most curious about, so we took the time to roam the stands, common areas and grassy lawns of Camelback Ranch to hear directly from you about your thoughts for the upcoming season.  Our fan profiles will apear over other day for the next two weeks, so check back for the opinions and thoughts from six different fans who all bleed Dodger Blue.

First up is Hawthorne’s own Danny Barahona, a Dodger fan for the past 21 years:

Dodger Fan Danny Barahona

Tell us about your Spring Training experience so far.

It’s been cool. This is the first time we’ve come out here.  We caught them in Surprise, AZ against the Royals yesterday.  It’s been a blast.  The facilities have been nice and everyone’s been really cordial.  It’s fun.  It’s disappointing they lost so badly yesterday, but you know, I think the team’s looking good.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?

Just to see how they do, how Mattingly sets up the team and how Ethier and Kemp react to being #3 and #4 (hitters) this year.  Hopefully their numbers stack up and Furcal stays healthy.  I think that’s going to be key.

Anything you particularly want to see from the team or a particular player this year?

I want to see Matt Kemp improve.  I want to see him finally show that he has the heart to be a Dodger…that he really wants to be here.  He kind of acted like a little girl last year.  He got some harsh criticism and he didn’t know how to respond to it.  I think a professional will respond to it the way he’s supposed to – take it and improve on it.  I think he was bitter about it.  I’d like to see that from him.

I’d like to see Ethier become the true leader of the team – he’s ready for that.  I want to see Billingsley stay healthy and prove that he’s the #2 guy.  I think Kershaw will be fine.

Hopefully they win the division.  I’ll be happy as long as the Giants don’t win the division.  I’ll be fine with that.  #2 will be fine.  I just want to see them improve.  I know it’s kind of a transition period, so hopefully they take this experience [and use it] for the future.

What do you think are the Dodgers chances for making the playoffs?

Honestly, I think it’s probably like a 30% chance they make the playoffs.  I just think the NL this year is going to be stacked.  The only division that’s open for anyone to take is the Central.  I think the Giants have got all their guys back, I think the Rockies will be good this year, San Diego will probably be in a transition period, so maybe we’ll be fighting for third.  Again, baseball’s a crazy sport – things can change.  The Dodgers get hot, then there’s a good chance they can win the division.

Anything else?

Just go Blue!