First up is Hawthorne’s own Danny Barahona, a Dodger fan for the past 21 years:
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.
Just go Blue!