April 25, 2014

Dodgers-Diamondbacks Post-Game Comments

Here are the post-game comments from Joe Torre, Travis Schlichting, Garret Anderson and Carlos Monasterios:

Joe Torre

On Travis Schlichting and the performance of the pitchers:

“Schlichting pitched his tail off, as everyone else did.  I have no clue where we’re going to go from here.”

“That’s the one area that’s made a big difference in our ball club.  Anyone who tells you that pitching isn’t a main part of the game should take a look at those numbers.”

On Garret Anderson:

“He’s a pro.  I’m happy for him.  He’s a guy that’s used to playing all the time.  Playing off the bench isn’t the same, but he comes in like a pro every day and it’s nice having him here.”

On Carlos Monasterios:

I thought he was terrific.  I took him out because he had a little blister.  That’s why he came out of the game, although his pitch count was about where we wanted it.  We were going to send him out there for another inning.”

On Travis Schlichting:

“He’s gone three innings a number of times and his pitch count was pretty good.  But that was going to be his last one and we were going to come with Weaver.  That was something I certainly didn’t want to, but at this point we had no choice.”

On who would have pitched after Jeff Weaver:

“I have no clue.  A lot of it would have depended on that inning.  If [Reed} Johnson has to pitch, now I’m out of players.  Even if you go to a position player, you’re going to have to have a pitcher play someplace."

On Reed Johnson potentially pitching:

"I don’t know…I didn’t poll anybody.  Short of one of those things, I was hoping that if we weren’t going to score, that it would be Garrett making the last out so at least the next inning I’d have Johnson leading off and I’d have nine guys.  Pick one of those guys to pitch.  But if I had to use him in the 14th inning, then I was going to have to probably use a pitcher to play a position and not pitch, which is something I’ve never had to do."

On potentially making a roster move to add a reliever:

"Kim [Ng] is out there waiting to talk to me. She’s going to come in and ask me the same question.  I haven’t really digested this yet and I don’t know where we would make room for that person, but we are going to be a bit short, so we’ll have to see.”

Travis Schlichting:

On his performance today:

“I felt great out there.  Last year I was a little nervous coming out, and this year…I just felt more relaxed and calm out there which is a good thing to feel.”

Garret Anderson:

On how big the game-winning hit was for him personally:

“I don’t really worry about myself personally too much. I just try and contributed as much as I can with what I got and fortunately I was able to do something today when it counted.”

On the fans getting restless:

“I’ve had that before and it’s well deserved.  I don’t mind hearing boos when I’m out there not doing the things I’m capable of doing.  So yeah, I’ll take those boos.”

Carlos Monasterios:

On how soon he can throw:

“I can throw.  We’ll see tomorrow.”

On how happy he was with how he pitched:

“Very happy.” (with a huge grin)

Joe Torre’s Pre-Game Comments

Following are some of Joe Torre’s pre-game comments from earlier this morning:

On John Ely:

“He doesn’t have an issue with taking the mound in any ballpark in any city…He’s in his own world out there.  Guys feed off the enthusiasm.”

On Ely facing the Diamondbacks for the second time:

“That’s important, because as I know as a hitter, sometimes you get familiar with a pitcher, you know what you want to hit.  When he’s able to throw as many different as pitches for strikes, it makes it a little tougher to do that.  He sort of puts you on your heels a bit as a hitter, because he works so quickly.  It’s really unlike a lot of the pitchers these days.”

On George Sherrill:

“I watched him throw the [simulated] game the other day and he threw the ball well.  He’s going to go tomorrow again with Padilla and then he’s ready to come off in probably five days or so.”

On giving so many starters the day off today:

“I think we’re better this year with the quality of the bench and A.J. [Ellis] has been remarkable because he hasn’t played for so long, and he had some good at bats this last game.  Defensively, he’s certainly not a concern at all.  I think you have to do what’s necessary, whether you have the quality on the bench or not.”

On Andre Ethier’s mechanics:

“It’s just timing right now.  I’m glad he got his base hit, but it’s still a matter of timing.  That’s the thing about hitting.  He doesn’t look inhibited in any way or trying to protect anything.  He’s pretty comfortable swinging the bat.  It’s just a matter of getting the rhythm back.”

On A.J. Ellis missing the birth of his child to stay with the club:

“It’s a throwback, that’s for sure.  Normally a player, when his wife is pregnant, will come in and say ‘My wife’s expecting in a month or five weeks.’  I always tell them, if you need to be there, take as long as you need.  Catcher’s a little different than other position players, unfortunately.  But he never came in and asked for any consideration.  He knows it’s an opportunity right now.  It’s an opportunity this kid has, and when you play this game, it’s a family commitment.  You spend so much time with your teammates than you do your family.  I’m sure it was tough.  He did say that he did watch it on the computer….but it’s not the same.”

On the team’s recent hitting struggles:

“I think our at-bats have been ok.  You go through those ups and downs.  Manny’s struggling a little bit, Ethier is just getting going and Matt [Kemp] seems to be getting comfortable again.  Those guys don’t hit, and then you’re asking the support guys to do the job.  Even Furcal is trying to find his stroke.  I think we’re just going through a little bit of a dry spell, that hopefully we can start coming out of.  Casey [Blake]’s been swinging the bat really well. James [Loney] is struggling again.  He can be as ugly as it gets, and then all of a sudden, three hits will come out of him.”

On Carlos Monasterios:

“Like Ely, he gets the ball and throws it.  It’s going to come down to throwing strikes early to keep him from trying to hard.  He falls into that too when he’s struggling a little bit.”

On Charlie Haeger:

“We can’t start him up again until the start of the week.  His foot is getting better.  The only thing he really hasn’t been tested on is touching the bag, but he’s been doing a lot of stuff.  He’s just about back to where he should be right now.”

On Russell Martin’s slide from last night:

“I thought it was hard, but I thought it was clean.”

On the benches clearing after the slide:

“I told Matt Williams: you’re mine.” (Torre was obviously joking here)

On Jason Hayward coming to town with the Atlanta Braves:

“I am curious.  He’s a pretty special young man.  Bobby [Cox] doesn’t throw compliments around as easily as you might think and when he started talking about him in the spring, that got my attention.  I hope we can deal with him.”

Dodgers Post-Game Comments After 11 Inning Marathon

Well, after 4 hours and 57 minutes, 16 pitchers and 33 hits, the Dodgers lose an exasperating 9 to 7 game to the Diamondbacks in 11 innings. Tonight’s game was the longest for the Dodgers since July 14, 2001 when they played a 4 hour, 58 minute game against the Oakland A’s (the Dodgers won that one 5-4 in 15 innings).  And as it’s now 1:02 a.m. and I’m still in the Dodger Stadium press box, I’m going to get right to the post-game quotes:

Joe Torre:

On Chad Billingsley: “He got in some bad counts and I think he started over-throwing the ball in that last inning.  It is frustrating for him because his first three innings were really good and his last start was really good and I know this is a disappointment for him.”

On keeping pressure off the relievers: “I think ability-wise they can do it.  It is a matter of going out there and not thinking they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  We’ll get through it…we just have to make sure we don’t lose our composure.”

On the offense and closing out games: “Offensively, we’re fine.  We’re having good at bats, quality at bats, doing some good things.  Casey Blake with a big hit tonight for us, Manny is swinging the bat really well.  The thing is, you can’t run the clock out on this game.  You have to get 27 outs and we have to find a way to do that on a consistent basis.”

On who would pitch the 12th inning (if necessary): “It would have been one of those guys on the field…we would have found a volunteer in there somewhere…we may have gone lefty righty, back and forth.”

Matt Kemp:

On the game overall: “It was a fight.  Two good hitting teams, and we battled it out.  At the end, they ended up coming out on the right side.”

On the team’s slow start: “I’m not worried about.  We still got 150 games left.  It’s not time to panic; we’ve got a lot of games left.  We still got a great team and we’re capable of doing a lot of great things.  We can’t always start out the way we did last year.  We’re not that hot right now, but we’ve got a great team and we’re going to end up on top at the end.”

On the ball that dropped for a single in the bottom of the 10th inning (I think): “I played deep, but that’s no excuse.  I should have got to the ball.  It was high enough to get there….it should have been caught.”

On the way they played:  “We never give up…that shows the character of the team.  We’ve got great character, we never give up and we battle to the end.”

 Good night!

Dodgers’ Koufax Speaks at Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation Event

T.J. Simers notwithstanding, the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation event with Joe Torre and the legendary Sandy Koufax was really special (even on TV).  Kudos to Fox Sports West for televising the event.  Unfortunately the event ran long, and my TiVO cut off after the hour and a half, but what I saw was really, really great.  It was really special to see Koufax open up and get the record straight on many of his most well-known moments, and to also give a little insight into his personality.

As we’re all pretty familiar with Joe and his his Safe at Home Foundation from past posts, I’ve focused this article on thoughts and quotes from the man himself, Sandy Koufax.  When the show first started and the camera tightened in on him, Koufax looked tanned and dapper, yet also slightly uncomfortable with all of the attention on stage.  But when he spoke, he gave short, concise, confident answers.  He appeared reserved at first, but warmed up throughout the evening.

Additional baseball personalities and celebrities in attendance included Don Mattingly, Peter O’Malley (who received a rousing ovation from the crowd), Tommy Davis, Sweet Lou Johnson, Arte Moreno, Billy Crystal, Ron Howard and Jon Lovitz, among others.  Interesting that Frank McCourt wasn’t in the audience given Koufax and Torre being on hand…or maybe it’s not surprising, given the event’s host.

One great moment of the evening was when Simers brought Clayton Kershaw up on stage.  Despite being a few inches taller than Koufax, when the two compared hands,  the top of Clayton’s fingers only reached to the top knuckle of Sandy’s fingers.  Incredible; and as Torre pointed out, that was the key to Sandy’s dangerous curve ball.

Now, on to Koufax being Koufax:

On claims he’s a recluse: “I don’t know that I’ve dropped out of sight.  I go to the Final Four every year…and I go to golf tournaments and walk around if I have a friend playing in it.  I go to the Super Bowl occasionally, I go to Dodger Stadium.  I worked for the Dodgers for almost 20 years.  I go to dinner every night, I go to the movies…”

On what word he would use to describe himself: “It sure as hell isn’t gentle, especially playing the game.”

On competition: “For me competing is being the last man standing.  It has nothing to with kicking water coolers.  That’s ego massage.  I just feel that when the game was over, the best thing that could happen to you was shake hands with the catcher and go inside.  But the last man standing is to me is the competitor.”

On Hank Aaron hitting .362 against him (inc. seven intentional walks in one season): “Good hitters are going to hit you.  The idea is not necessarily to get them out.  Make them hit in situations where they’re not going to hurt you. It says you have to get 27 outs, it doesn’t have any names on it.  And Henry’s was never one on my out list.”

On intentionally hitting Lou Brock in a game: “If you’re going to hit someone, you never tell him.  He did bunt.  He did get on.  And I looked at first base and I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or smiling.”

Koufax then turns to Torre: “What would you have done?”

Vin Scully on Koufax’s perfect game: “Sandy had a way of lifting his teammates, inspiring the fans and I think, every once in a blue moon, inspiring a broadcaster.  And on that particular night, it was so dramatic.  A perfect game; it inspired me.”

On his perfect game: “There are times where everything is right.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had better stuff or better control than I did the last two innings of that game.  Everything was right.  Everything worked.  I didn’t have much doubt that it was going to be ok.“

On his grandfather’s philosophy and his dropping out of the public eye:  “My grandfather just felt that time was the most important asset that…don’t be frivolous with your time.  As you get older, I’ve developed an attitude: spend your money foolishly and your time wisely because it’s a lot easier to know what you have in the bank than it is what you have left.”

On his rookie year: “I got a $14,000 bonus.  I was 19 years old and got invited to every poker game.  I was not really welcome in the clubhouse at the start.  I’m a kid with no experience; I probably pitched five times in my life, and all of a sudden I’m in the major leagues,  taking a roster spot [NOTE: that roster spot belonged to Tommy Lasorda of all people] on a team that’s trying to win a pennant and Jackie [Robinson] and Joe Becker, who was our pitching coach at the time, were the two guys who really went out of their way to make me feel welcome and try and make it o.k.”

On Jackie Robinson: “I know what Jackie went through and Jackie was very special to me.  Everyone talks about him as a competitor, but he was a warm human being too.  He was compassionate, he looked after me, and it was special to me.”

On a quality start being six innings today: “No. A quality start is shaking hands with your catcher.”

On holding out: “There were years when I’d already signed my contract, and the general manager would say, ‘We’re not getting enough press, I’m going to make you a hold out.”

On Don Drysdale: “I think we drove each other. If Don was going to do something, I had to do it also.  I think we made each other better, as a friendly competition. Most teams would like to have two guys that were pitching that well.”

On being known as a playboy bachelor: “I don’t know.  I had a good time.”

All in all, I found myself laughing and really enjoying every moment of the broadcast.  Both Sandy and Joe were very open, honest and jovial throughout the evening and it was great to get a peek inside this fiery competitor with the soft exterior.  By definition, it’s rare that any of us have the opportunity to hear from a reclusive legend, and this was one of those special moments.  Most of all, I hope Sandy had a good time and that we’ll be seeing him again soon.  It’s been too long.

Photo Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers’ Joe Torre Speaks About Safe At Home Foundation

Today I had the opportunity to hear Joe Torre speak at the Milken Institute about the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and developing educational programs aimed at ending the cycle of domestic violence and saving lives.

From the Foundation’s Web site:

Joe Torre, former professional baseball player and manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, grew up the youngest of five children in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a New York City police detective and revered in his community. He was the cop that made everyone feel safe. Everyone except his own family.

 Joe, Sr. ruled his home with an iron fist. He was a physically abusive husband and an emotionally abusive father. The violence that had besieged the Torre household for so many years was a well-kept family secret and stayed a family secret for generations. However, in December of 1995, Ali and Joe Torre attended a seminar called Life Success.  As a result of Joe’s participation in that seminar, he began to talk openly of his childhood experience with domestic violence. He went public with his family secret in his autobiography, Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series.

Being used to speaking to Joe strictly about topics related to the Dodgers’ lineup and not being that familiar with Safe at Home, I was really touched to hear Joe open up about the substantial impact that domestic violence has had on him in his lifetime.  As a result of the abuse he saw and went through as a child, Joe and his well-spoken wife Ali launched the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation in 2002.  The cornerstone of the Foundation is a series of safe rooms in middle and high schools.  These rooms, called Margaret’s Place in memory of Joe’s mother, are locations where kids can go for support and realize they’re not alone in their struggles.  Staffed by professional counselors  trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention, Margaret’s Place locations offer a comprehensive mix of counseling, education and peer support in a supportive and understanding environment.

Joe and Ali have already launched 11 Margaret’s Place locations in the New York tri-state area, and Joe mentioned today that the Foundation hopes to have their first two West Coast locations up and running in the greater Los Angeles area by this fall.

I have to say that this was a very moving afternoon.  Joe and Ali Torre clearly are clearly trying to make a difference and break the cycle of domestic violence that so often continues in families from generation to generation.  Oh, and in a nice surprise, former Dodger Todd Zeile was in the audience supporting his friend and former manager (from their days with the St. Louis Cardinals).

As has been widely reported this week, the first big public event for the Safe At Home Foundation will be the “Koufax & Torre…Safe At Home” event on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at the NOKIA Theatre.  Needless to say, this should be a fantastic opportunity to not only hear some great baseball stories from two legends, but also learn more about Joe’s passion for this cause.  Ticket prices range from $25.00 to $200.00 and are available at Ticketmaster.

Of course, what event with Joe Torre wouldn’t be complete without a little baseball talk, right?  Joe had some very funny and insightful comments and anecdotes on everything from Manny Ramirez  to pitch counts in the major leagues.  I’ll share some of these very soon, but will leave you with one tonight on Boston Red Sox fans:

“The people of Boston are very nice.  But something happens to them when they go through those turnstiles.”  Joe then went on to share two anecdotes: on one occasion while he was managing the Yankees, he was in an elevator with a Boston fan.  The fan told him that if he had the choice between watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees or having the U.S. capture Saddam Hussein, he would take the Yankees.  In another instance, Joe was in church with his daughter and Joe was watching her have fun by lighting a series of candles.  A Boston fan came up to Joe and told him that if one of those candles was for the Yankees then he was going to blow it out.

Ahh, Boston fans…you’ve got to love their passion!

Congratulations once again to Joe and Ali Torre for their very public dedication to ending the cycle of domestic violence and for bringing the Safe At Home Foundation to the West Coast.  I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this organization in the months and years ahead thanks to their ongoing commitment to the cause.