August 23, 2014

Fans Get a Chance to Help Dodger Charity and Rub Elbows with Players and Celebs Through Auction

hwstars.jpg
For all of you that might be interested in meeting your favorite Dodger player or celebrity on the turf at Dodger Stadium, your wait is over – The dodgers will be auctioning off opportunities to participate in the Dodgers-Hollywood Stars event on June 21, immediately proceeding the Dodgers – Indians game at Chavez Ravine.

The event, benefiting the Dodgers Dream Foundation, will allow fans to take on an honorary role for the game – be an honorary photographer, an honorary coach, or an official Hollywood Stars batkid. Additional auction winners can read the celebrity team lineups or take the field with a celebrity at the start of the game and receive their autograph. Every package winner also gets four baseline box or field level tickets to the Dodgers-Indians game. For those of you with families. many of the experiences are open to adults and children regardless of age. Bidding is now underway online and will continue until 2 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, June 17. Go to http://www.dodgers.com/ticketauction for full details or to place your bid.

Celebrities scheduled to be in attendance include Christian Slater, David Arquette, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Van Der Beek, Sean Astin, Tom Arnold, Garry Marshall, Cristian de la Fuente, George Thorogood, and many more. Over 30 sports, music, and acting stars will be involved in this event – all for a great cause. In addition, the game will be hosted by popular E! personalities from E! News and The Daily 10 and will feature special performances by the Blue Man Group.

The event actually dates back 50 years when the Dodgers were making the move from Brooklyn. Legendary singer Nat King Cole and some of his Hollywood pals thought it would be fun to have a celebrity baseball game before the new team in town, the Dodgers, played a game that actually counted in the standings. They set up the event (then at the Los Angeles Coliseum) and the event became a regularly scheduled promotional event for the team. While the game used to be played with a baseball (but is now a softball event), there is still a lot of competition amongst the stars for bragging rights.

From the Dodgers organization:

Founded in 1998, the Dodgers Dream Foundation (DDF) was created to provide educational, athletic and recreational opportunities for the youth of the Greater Los Angeles community. In 2007, the Dodgers and the Dodgers Dream Foundation assisted more than 5,000 local youth organizations by renovating baseball fields in the community, through player appearances, and by donating more than 100,000 tickets, autographed memorabilia, donation of used equipment and much more. Last season, the Dodgers Dream Foundation affected an estimated 250,000 local youth through its various programs.

Tiger Woods Love Dodgers, Hates Hockey

Tiger Woods is an L.A. Dodgers Fan
If you read the DodgerFan site often, you’ll know that Tiger Woods is a Dodger fan and has a prized Sandy Koufax autographed baseball in his home. He paired this love for the Dodgers with a quip directed at the NHL this past Monday when asked for a prediction about the Stanley Cup. From SignOnSanDiego.com:

During a conference call Monday to promote the PGA Championship near Detroit, Tiger Woods was asked whether he was picking the Red Wings or Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals that night.

After joking he’d rather talk about the Dodgers, Woods said, “I don’t think anybody really watches hockey anymore.”

Attaboy, Tiger! Now if anyone was actually watching the Dodgers last Sunday night instead of the Lakers, we’d really have something to talk about

UPDATE (6/11):
Tiger opted to “clarify” his statement about hockey while taking part in a news conference via satellite at Oakland Hills on June 2 after internet sites exploded with negative comment from hockey fans over the comment.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of grief over that,” Woods said Tuesday. “I love the sport. I love watching it, but I don’t like watching it on TV. In person it’s absolutely incredible, what they’re able to do and what they can do. TV doesn’t do justice to that. But then neither does — a lot of sports are the same way.

“It is what it is. I said what I said, and I was trying to be funny about it, but people didn’t perceive it that way.”

The Saga of Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers

Chad

Well, if I told you that the Dodgers lost again you probably wouldn’t be surprised. If I also told you that there weren’t a lot of runs scored by the Dodgers you also wouldn’t likely be shocked. If I told you the starting pitcher threw a solid game and lost thanks to his relief, that probably wouldn’t surprise you either. Unfortunately, the remarkable comeback of Chad Billingsley has been spoiled by another collapse thanks to his teammates.

You all remember ol’ Chad, don’t you? He was the one that started 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA through his first six outings this season. He managed to turn things around and over his last seven starts (going back to April 30) he’s managed to deliver a 4-2 record with a 1.80 ERA (9 ER/45.0 IP). This means his earned run average has dropped to 3.29 – quite an improvement for the team.

Unfortunately, this good work has not gone unpunished. Today, Johnathan Broxton was the culprit, giving up a lead-off double to Wright and then sacrificing a home run to Carlos Beltran, eliminating the tidy 2-0 lead that the Dodgers had amassed over the first seven innings. The Mets scored the winning run thanks to a single by Fernando Tatis that drove in pinch-runner Nick Evans.

Take a look at Billingsley’s last four starts and you’ll see why I am so frustrated at the losses that come on his watch – 27 IP, 15 Hits, and 3 Earned Runs. This is SOLID performance but the middle and late relief just can’t deliver the way Chad can. Combine this with the lack of offense that L.A. is putting up and you have a recipe for the type of give-back we saw today in New York.

On a side note, Dodgers manager Joe Torre seems to be warming up to the idea of switching up the lineup further to try to increase run production. Said Torre, “I think with the personnel we have, we could interchange pieces…I had the situation in New York. The experience is different, but we had a number of different guys who could hit 3, 4, 5, 6 — those are the power spots and those are the production spots.” Let’s hope some change will result in more offense from the team.

The Ever-Shifting Blame Game

I caught a good post on the TrueBlueLA site entitled, “It’s cool to hate” where the author speaks about how we went from hating the pitchers to lamenting the batting crew. As I mentioned in a previous post, the injuries are certainly playing a part in the lack of offense that the Dodgers have right now, but Andrew at TrueBlueLA had some other points that I think deserve some additional comment:

1. The lineup hasn’t adapted to address the team injuries – with Kent and Jones sidelined and/or unproductive, the Dodgers have had to rely on Maza, Hu, Pierre, and whatever pitcher we have up that day. If those guys are anywhere near one another in the lineup it’s going to be really hard to string two hits together and get a run across home plate. Not much you can do about the $50 mil that’s off your roster at the moment, but what about changing the order of things?

If Nomar, Tony Abreu, Furcal, Ramon Martinez and Andy LaRoche hadn’t gotten hurt, there’s no way we’d be carrying Maza and Terry Tiffee on the bench while starting Chin-Lung Hu. – TrueBlueLA

True enough.

Andre Ethier has been the silent giant as of late, getting on base more consistently than the rest of the lineup but with no one to help him, the Dodgers are struggling. Besides a change in the lineup, could a more aggressive pinch hitting strategy change things up? Tiffee was brought up to lend a hand in just these instances and, while still green, should be more of a go-to person on the team.

Got to run to the airport but will finish my thoughts on this tomorrow – or maybe Chris will jump in and continue the thought…

Cubs Sweep Dodgers in Series as LA’s Offense Continues to Struggle

Dodgers Choke
The Cubs made it a clean sweep tonight, winning all three games against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. L.A. had a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, but Saito was definitely off his game as his pitches veered outside and up high as he loaded up the bases through a combination of walks and hits. Soriano sealed the Dodgers’ fate in the 10th against Chan Ho Park by singling to left field, driving in Fonetnot for the winning run.

Perhaps the most telling statistic was one that Chris Berman mentioned on the ESPN feed tonight. For the series, the Dodgers were only 3-27 with runners in scoring position and were 0-5 on the night after leaving the bases loaded in the top of the 9th.

To be sure, injuries have decimated the hitting squad for the Dodgers, with Nomar on the DL and Jeff Kent suffering from back spasms – not to mention Rafael Furcal’s back problems. Garciaparra will undergo additional tests on Friday to assess his nagging calf strain, but there’s been no indication from the Dodger camp that anyone is optimistic about his return anytime soon.

So what are the Dodgers to do in the meantime (other than pray that the D-Backs continue their slide and keep the 3.5 game spread between them and the Dogers in place)? Torre has certainly been willing to take chances with the lineup as of late (remember when Loney ended up being the key pinch hitter in Game 1 of this series and struck out?) but nothing could muster more than one run in each game against the Cubbies.

Thoughts welcome…