November 23, 2014

Jeff Kent Rides Off Into the Sunset – On His Own Terms

So today the long-expected news of Jeff Kent’s retirement came true.  And I’m a little sad about it.  Say what you want about Kent causing clubhouse friction at the end of the 2007 season (something he never really recovered from) the guy played stellar baseball for the Dodgers at a position that was a notorious weak spot before he arrived.  Listen to the names of the starting second basemen from 2000 to 2004: Mark Grudzielanek (2000-2002), Jolbert Cabrera (2003), Alex Cora(2004).  Say what you want, Kent was consistent – and in a good way.  The guy played hurt and left it all out on the field.  I really think it’s awful the way last season ended for Jeff with the whole Vin Scully thing and then subsequent shunning that resulted..a situation that was magnified by Jeff’s unique personality.

I looked back, and here’s what we said about Jeff Kent in December of 2007:

One signing that hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of publicity it deserves due in recent days is the return of Jeff Kent. This guy is a gamer, a future HOFer and exactly the type of player that the Dodgers need. He’s the linchpin of the infield and a fantastic role model for kids playing any sport. I think the friction with the Dodgers’ “kids” at the end of last year was definitely an issue, but the fact of the matter is that the Dodgers need someone who won’t take any crap and is willing to come out and hustle every day. Sure, Kent likes to be by himself in the clubhouse and isn’t one to socialize with his teammates, but in past radio interviews I’ve heard with him on KLAC-AM with Times columnist T.J. Simers,he’s always said it’s not because he’s anti-social, but that in order for him to be successful he needs to keep his game face on every single moment that he’s at the park. He’s afraid that if he lets his intensity level down before a game that it might carry over on to the field. Knowing that only makes me respect the guy more. He knows what works for him and he’s sticking with it. After all, he’s the all time leader in home runs for a second baseman and led the Dodgers with 20 HRs at the age of 39.

One last thought on Jeff: I really think the combination of Kent and Joe Torre will go a long way in establishing some much needed clubhouse chemistry and keeping the younger guys in check. At the very least, you know Jeff was psyched to hear about the Andruw Jones signing!

Ok, so we were a little off on the Andruw Jones front, but I’m looking forward  to hearing what T.J. has to say about Kent’s retirement.  The two genuinely seemed to get along and while the radio show wasn’t that great, Simers was able to get the best interviews I ever heard from Jeff Kent.  Can’t wait to hear what Kent has to say tomorrow at the retirement ceremony.

Jeff, congratulations on a fantastic career with the Dodgers and others.  We’ll miss your bat and we’ll see you in Cooperstown!

Thieves Raiding Old Dodgertown Facility

Image Preview

I stumbled across this story from the Vero Beach paper about the old Dodgertown facility in Vero Beach and thought I’d pass it along.  It’s sad to hear that punks are breaking into this now empty landmark and stealing some of the mementos the Dodgers left behind. 

Baird said the Dodgers left behind all the equipment in the team’s weight-training room and even the liquor in a bar.

“They’ve got Cuban rum you can’t find in this country,” Baird said.

Ok, now I get why the Dodgers left the replica street signs behind (after taking the originals), but why didn’t they take the Cuban rum, for freakin’ sake?  You’d think that at the very least Andruw Jones would’ve wanted to try and drink away his troubles that began in Spring Training.

In all seriousness, I do hope that the county will get its act together and designate Dodgertown as a historical landmark – it certainly deserves it.

Repko’s Back

 

Happy MLK Day, everyone!  Just read on Tony Jackson’s blog that the Dodgers came to terms on another one-year deal with outfielder Jason Repko, thus avoiding arbitration.  According to Jackson, Repko will get a small raise in base pay to $500,000 (up $12,500).  Now considering that Repko had a whopping 20 at bats in 2008, that means he received $24,375 per at bat.  I did a little quick research, and in 2008 Manny earned $34,293 per at bat and A-Rod earned $54,901 per at bat.  In 2007 dollars, this would have landed Repko at #17 on the list, right behind Johnny Damon and right before David Ortiz – not bad! (Note: I know these stats require a minimum number of at bats, but still thought it was a fun statistic to look up).

I’ve always liked Repko as a #5 outfielder and am glad to see the Dodgers came to terms with the guy (even if his name is not you-know-who).

PS – Speaking of you know you, just heard from someone over at the Dodgers that all is definitely quiet on the Manny Ramirez front…we’ll let you know if we anything changes!

World Baseball Classic Single Game Tickets Now On Sale

So single game tickets to the semi-finals and finals of the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium are now on sale (no need to buy strips of tickets to multiple games).  The Dodgerfan guys just picked up two tickets to the finals on Monday, March 23.  We didn’t go last time, but heard that the entire experience was really amazing and are looking forward to some good baseball (Japan beat Cuba 10-6 in 2006 with Dice-K being named MVP) 

Provisional team rosters are set to be announced today at 3:00 p.m. PT. 

U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Get Ready to Run the Bases at Dodger Stadium

So this is pretty cool: the Dodgers are hosting their second “Public Batting Practice” tomorrow night from 5-8 p.m.  James Loney and Matt Kemp will be on hand, as well as “several of the team’s top prospects” (no specifics given right now).  So if you’ve ever had a desire to throw a nasty curve like Clayton Kershaw, run like Juan Pierre or go deep like Manny, then this is your event!

…but it ain’t cheap!  $500 per person gets you through the turnstiles, but honestly, this does sound really cool.  Additional bells and whistles include: live batting practice on the field, indoor batting practice in the batting cages, pitching practice in the bullpens, opportunity to play the field and shag fly balls, behind-the-scenes locker room and clubhouse tours, OPEN BAR, the chance to see your name and image on DodgerVision and a handful of other things.  I imagine it will be something like this first-person account  from Erin at Robots Took My Medicine of the Dodgers’ holiday party for season ticket holders.

 The Dodgers are expecting 200 people to show up tomorrow.  I’m pretty interested to see if they really get that many given the current economy.

Maybe Ned can use this opportunity as a chance to scout for that elusive power hitter the Dodgers need!  At the very least they should spend the $100,000 in  expected revenue on Manny’s deal…that should buy us about a week of his services, right?

For more info or to buy tickets, visit www.dodgers.com/underthelights.