Tag Archive | "L.A. Dodgers"

“Bark in the Park” in MLB


Bark in the Park will make its debut at Dodger Stadium and for those of you who have not heard of it, it has nothing to do with the performance of the players on the field.

In conjunction with their sponsor Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. the Los Angeles Dodgers are selling seats for pet owners and their dogs. Canines will gallop through the turnstiles after their owners have plunked down an additional $25.00 for a pet ticket with a portion of the proceeds going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles branch.

The Dodgers’ Bark in the Park Day on August 21, 2010 is one of three for the month of August in the MLB. The Dodgers are joined by the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants who have theirs scheduled for August 29, 2010. The Cincinnati Reds are closing out the event with the final one of the season scheduled for September 14.

In L.A. there will be a rally where ticket holders will be invited to join in the Pup Parade. All pets and owners will be given the opportunity to stroll along the warning track inside the stadium prior to game time.

Some rules for attendees: All dog owners must bring a copy of a current vaccination documents from a licensed veterinarian. Pet must wear an identification tag to gain entrance to Dodger Stadium. Each dog must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Attendees must bring a signed copy of the Bark in the Park release waiver to gain admittance to the ballpark.

If any of the fans situated in the designated Right Field Pavilion where the animals will sit aren’t happy about sharing the space with dogs and their owners, they will be moved to another section.

Concerned about stepping in a doggie accident?

These stadiums have made plans for that as well. Natural Balance has experience in staging these events and will provide clean-up service.

For more information on the Dodgers’ event, to view a copy of the release waiver and check out details on “Bark in the Park,” check out the Dodgers website, here.

Fans of the Chicago White Sox, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, NY Mets and Oakland A’s will have to wait for next season since those event dates have passed but details for the other remaining dates throughout the league can be found below.

Atlanta Braves – Bark in the Park: August 29 vs. Florida

San Francisco Giants – Dog Days of Summer: August 29 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Cincinnati Reds – Bark in the Park: September 14 vs. the Diamondbacks

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLBComments (0)

Dodgers hit road for tough 7-game trip


The Dodgers currently sit seven games behind the National League West-leading Padres and are 5.5 games back in the NL Wild Card raceThey’re still alive, but a tough seven-game road trip begins tonight in Philadelphia, with three against the Phillies, followed by four against the Braves. 

If the Dodgers really are a playoff-caliber team, they’ll have to show it against the top two teams in the NL East.  If not, the season could be over in August.

How have the Dodgers gotten into this predicament?  Surprisingly, it’s not due to pitching, a need that General Manager Ned Colletti addressed at the trade deadline.  Since the All-Star Break, their team ERA is 3.51, while opponents are hitting .230 against Dodger pitching.  Prior to the break, the staff had a 4.09 ERA and allowed a .252 batting average.  In addition, newly-acquired left-hander Ted Lilly has won both his starts with the team, and has a 2.13 ERA in five starts since the break.

So what gives?  The Dodgers bats have gone cold.

Post-All-Star break, the team is clearly struggling at the plate: batting average is .220, down from .269,  Runs per game are now 2.75, down from 4.81.  OPS is .608, down from .744.  Save for some moments of brilliance from James Loney and Matt Kemp, the team is in a prolonged slump.

Could it be that the Dodgers miss the player who has been on the disabled list for almost all of July and August?  Yes, the same man who fears MRI machines – Manny Ramirez?  It’s quite possible.  While Manny isn’t the hitter he used to be, his presence in the batting order doesn’t allow opponents to pitch around him to get to lesser hitters.  Sounds crazy, but it’s quite possible.

Regardless, we should know by this time next week if the Dodgers are contenders or just playing out the string in 2010.

Used with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Mattingly taking heat for Dodgers embarrassing moment


Donnie baseball is catching his share of heat after Bruce Bochy enforced rule 8.06 to force Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton off the mound, and spur the Giants to a come-from-behind 7-5 win in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

While it was Mattingly’s untimely two-step that is catching the headlines, it was Matt Kemp’s Rude-boy behavior that sent the dominoes tumbling.

First of all, there was absolutely no fiber in Kemp’s body that actually wanted to fight – even if his opponent was going to be the diminutive Tim Lincecum. Boxer’s don’t come out of the corner and position themselves between their trainer, the referee, and the other fighter. But instead Kemp gave everyone – in particularly Pablo Sandoval who rushed toward his teammate like a bounding rottweiler – ample opportunity to prevent the fisticuffs from developing.

Here’s an excerpt from Bay Area News Group Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly’s blog. And remember, Baggarly covered the Dodgers for many years, too.

“Let’s get this out of the way: Kemp is a headcase. He’s a tremendously talented baseball player, but he’s had his share of run-ins with teammates over the years. Lord knows how many times Joe Torre has reached for his favorite migraine medicine on Kemp’s account.

So I wasn’t entirely surprised to see Kemp make like Billy from Family Circus and take a rather curved path toward first base. But like a good college basketball team, it was really interesting to watch everything that happened away from the guy with the ball, er, beef.”

Kemp took exception to a pitch that “clipped” his jersey. This is when the wheels began to loosen.
Home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson was forced to issue warning to both clubs simply because of Kemp’s overreaction.

Also irked by the pitch’s proximity was Joe Torre’s bench coach Bob Schaefer, who began to fume, and was later ejected when Giants reliever Denny Bautista came up and in to Russell Martin. An ejection that would prove critical.

In the sixth inning, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was kept in to bat for himself — during a one-run game — then hit Aaron Rowand with the first pitch in the top of the seventh. Rowand took his base without a scene as both Kershaw and Torre were ejected.

As a result, instead of Torre’s second-in-command (Schaefer) taking the reins, it was the inexperienced Mattingly who became the acting manager – all because Kemp couldn’t distinguish between a bad outing for Lincecum and a pitch with intent.

This all resulted in a thrilling win for the Giants, and a frustrating moment — if not extremely embarrassing — loss for the Dodgers.

Used with permission of the author.

Theo is a staff reporter and feature writer for the Marin Independent Journal where he covers local prep and college sports. As an Associate Production Manager for ESPN, he helped produce Sunday Night Baseball among other national ESPN and ABC Sports telecasts. In addition to his contributions to Sports Climax, he is a columnist for Examiner.com and is the play-by-play voice for Sonoma State University baseball and softball.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Could Bobby Valentine make his way to Dodgers’ dugout?


In the aftermath of the news that Joe Torre will be making up his mind about his Dodgers future by the end of the season, an interesting rumor is now circulating about his potential successor.  And no, it does not have to do with current hitting coach Don Mattingly, who is assumed to be Torre’s heir apparent.

According to a Tweet by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, now that Bobby Valentine is no longer in the running for the Marlins managerial job, he could be a leading candidate to be the Dodgers next manager if Torre does indeed depart.  This was also first mentioned earlier this week on the blog Rowland’s Office.  While the author does not claim to have any inside information, there is logic behind this.

First off, Valentine is a former Dodger, having played with the team in the early 1970s.  In addition, he is good friends with former Dodger manager and current Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda, who was Valentine’s first minor league manager in the Dodgers farm system.  Don’t think they’re close?  One of Valentine’s dogs is named after Lasorda.

Working under owner Frank McCourt (and the tumult surrounding his divorce) likely wouldn’t be an issue for Valentine.  If anything, McCourt would probably like his fiery style as a change to Torre’s calm demeanor.  But there are no clues as to how Valentine feels about “psychics.”

Keep in mind that his boss in Texas when he managed the Rangers was none other than future president George W. Bush.  And he is used to dealing with the media circus from his days spent managing the New York Mets.

Finally, why else would Valentine suddenly be out of the running with the Marlins?  After all, these rumors have come and gone over the years, and it’s no secret that this would be Valentine’s dream job.

For now, Mattingly is still considered the front-runner for the job.  He passed on potential managerial jobs with the Indians and Nationals last fall in order to stay with the Dodgers.  And if it helps, he received a nice endorsement from former Yankee teammate and current Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti – high praise from a rival team.

Either way, it should make for an even more interesting summer in L.A.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Dodgers’ Joe Torre unsure of return


Lost in the aftermath of last night’s crushing 8-6 loss in 10 innings to the Yankees last night were comments that manager Joe Torre made before the game on Sunday.  Torre told the media that he has yet to make up his mind about his future as Dodgers manager, but that he will make a decision by the end of the 2010 season, possibly by September.

Torre, who is in the last year of a 3-year, $13 million contract, had broken off contract extension talks with GM Ned Colletti during spring training in March.  He also added that the key factor in his decision is his health.  Torre survived prostate cancer after being diagnosed during the 1999 season, when he managed the Yankees.

This news comes at a time when Torre has come under fire for the Dodgers’ recent slump, and on the heels of the season-long saga over the pending divorce of team owner Frank McCourt and his estranged wife, Jamie

One aspect of Torre’s statement should bear noting – the McCourts’ divorce trial is scheduled to begin in August, which should lead to a resolution as to who owns the team by the end of this season.

A report earlier this season also indicated that Torre might not want to return for the 2011 season, given the team’s uncertain ownership future and divorce-related payroll constraints.  Torre later denied this rumor, but the doubt still lingers.

Should Torre leave, the likely successor is another former Yankee (and current Dodgers hitting coach), Don Mattingly.  For what it’s worth, legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully gives Mattingly his seal of approval.

So the questions still linger.  But at least Torre doesn’t have to deal with Alex Rodriguez ignoring him anymore.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Joe Torre taking heat, now faces Yankees


Joe Torre has been getting killed on Los Angeles sports-talk radio and now has to rally his Dodgers against the evil empire that used to employ him: the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers finally broke a six-game losing streak with a big 10-6 win against the LA Angels of Anaheim on Thursday night.

The Angels have taken all but one of the six inter-league games played so far this season and that only made things worse for the Dodgers skipper.

When base running and fielding mistakes made his stars look lackadaisical, Torre suffered more than the usual criticism.That’s because Angels manager, Mike Scioscia is renowned for drilling his players from the lowest level of the minor leagues on baseball fundamentals.

Matt Kemp criticized by GM for fielding errors

Torre and the Dodgers have had an up and down season. Early on they slipped to eight games below .500 only to see themselves rally and take the top spot in their division.

But coming off the lackluster play of the previous week and a half and knowing the World Champs are at the door for the weekend can’t be pleasant.

Oh, you’ll read all the sweet stories about how Torre’s mainstay players in pinstripes adore him and can’t wait to see him again, but unfortunately none of them play for his team.

Despite that, Torre and fans are entitled to better than they were getting from the players who wear Dodger blue. Every little mistake can take its toll when the pitching situation continues to be fluid.

With two rookies seeing a lot of time in the rotation due to vets being on the DL (Padilla and now Billingsley) reliance on timely hitting and execution of plays is even more important.

Torre’s style is one of an adult talking with other adults in a calm, measured manner. But the losing streak provoked a rare closed-door meeting with his club on Wednesday night. It’s unclear if the law of averages took over or Torre’s little chat with his players had an effect.

And here come the Yankees with their World Series championship rings barely tucked away in their vaults. Sporting the best record in the majors this year and two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East, the team has had its share of pitching issues with A.J. Burnett mired in a slump and Javier Vazquez yet to distinguish himself as a fifth starter.

But Torre would kill for the Yanks pitching woes just as he would love to have the calming presence of Rivera, Jeter, Posada and Pettite in the clubhouse. But they aren’t walking through the door anytime soon.

Torre must somehow inspire his team to show the Steinbrenner brats that they care about him enough to make a good showing in the three-game set.

I’m sure at this point he’d settle for no base running mistakes and no balls getting past Matt Kemp in centerfield.

Chris Lardieri, LA Dodgers Examiner has more on the team and their owners, here.

Box score of Dodgers victory over Angels, here

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Dodgers get swept out of Boston


The Dodgers were swept in three games by the Red Sox, with the final nail in the proverbial coffin being a 2-0 loss last night in Fenway.  They now sit in third place in the NL West, behind the Padres and Giants As if that wasn’t bad enough, the schedule only gets more difficult: a Freeway Series rematch with the Angels (who swept them just over a week ago) in Anaheim. 

After that, the Dodgers welcome the World Champion Yankees to Chavez Ravine for the first time since 2004.  It will also be the first time that manager Joe Torre will face his former team since departing New York after the 2007 season.

And to top it all off, the Dodgers will then face their rivals, the now second-place Giants. a team whose pitchers have allowed opponents to hit a league-best .230 against them.

So what’s happened to the once-hot Dodgers?

First, their pitching, which was hot in May (with a 20-8 record) has cooled off (just 9-9 so far in June).  Rookie John Ely, who was a nice shot in the arm in May, has now cooled off.  He is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in June, and has allowed 6 home runs and 10 walks this month.  This is up significantly from the no home runs and 6 walks he had allowed through May.

A second problem has been injuries.  Chad Billingsley and Carlos Monasterios, two starters who helped the team during their hot stretch in May, are now both on the 15-day disabled list – the former with a groin strain and the latter with a blister on his finger.  This has not helped an already-thin starting rotation.

Finally, the Dodgers bats have suddenly gone quiet.  They have scored just eleven runs in their last four games, and batted just .194 (19-for-98) in the three games in Boston.  RF Andre Ethier has also cooled off – since coming off the DL, he has hit only one home run.  He is only batting .208 in June, lowering his overall batting average to .318 (down from .380 through May).

If the Dodgers can manage to stay above water for the rest of the month, things could get better.  They face the last-place Diamondbacks the first weekend in July, and also meet up with the Giants and Padres later in the month.  They are 18-5 against the NL West this season, which could help turn things around.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer LoopBe sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Dodgers hot hitting moves team to .500


LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – The Los Angeles Dodgers have a .500 record after 14 games, but if their pitching were worthyla dodgers logo of their hitters, the team would be on top of its division.

A glance at a box score from last night’s 14-6 victory against the Cincinnati Reds can get you giddy when you see the batting averages of their starting lineup.

Leading off, shortstop Raphael Furcal sports a .356 BA. The outfielders are all contributing with CF Matt Kemp batting .333 to go along with his seven home runs, RF Andre Ethier killing at .400 and Manny is still Manny with a .421 average. First baseman James Loney is holding his own with a .317 average, 3B Casey Blake is handling his business with a .313 average and even C Russell Martin, who is a notorious slow starter is batting a sizzling .317 this season.

So why are they 7-7 at this point of the season? It’s the pitching, stupid.

What was a concern throughout the off-season is now a reality, even this early. Without having picked up an additional starter, the rotation looks thin already unless everyone comes through with a solid 6-7 innings.

Ned Colletti, the team’s GM held the line, presumably on orders from ownership and failed to snag someone like Joel Piniero. The right-hander now pitching in Anaheim for the Angels was still available three weeks prior to spring training. He signed a two-year $16 million deal and has already paid dividends for his team with a sizzling 1.77 ERA in three games.

In some respects you could almost sympathize with Colletti since he hoped that Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda would return to form. The team also banked on Vincente Padilla continuing to pitch like he did when he arrived last summer as a cast off from the Texas Rangers.

So far Billingsley has been unable to pitch past the fifth inning, even in his only win and is struggling with an ERA over 7.0. No one can pinpoint what his problem is and his future contributions can only be considered iffy.
Padilla sports a 1-1 record but a whopping 8.04 ERA and has pitched a total of 15.2 innings in his three starts.

Kuroda is doing much better leading all starters with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 2.18, although he coughed up six runs last night against the Cincinnati Reds.

Clayton Kershaw has a win under his belt, but still needs too many pitches to achieve an ERA of 3.18. And therein lies the problem for the starters.

They can’t pitch deep into the game with an occasional exception and the middle relievers as well as last season’s darling, set-up man George Sherrill, have given up runs at a record pace.

Five of the team’s seven losses were recorded by the bull pen. Jonathan Broxton is the only exception. The young closer hasn’t given up a run in 5+ innings.

No one is running away with the NL West. The Giants got off to a hot start but have come down to earth losing 6 of the last ten, leaving the small market San Diego Padres atop the standings with a 9-6 record. And as they like to say in a sport that has a 162 game schedule. it’s still early.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Manny Ramirez pinch-hit homer lifts Dodgers


Friday night the San Francisco Giants sustained a big blow from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense and starter Vicente mannyPadilla. Though Aaron Rowand may disagree, the Giants’ arch rivals waited until the eighth inning of Sunday’s rubber match before delivering the knock-out punch.

Pinch hitting with a runner on and one out, Manny Ramirez hit career home run 548 off Giants reliever Sergio Romo (0-1), lifting the Dodgers to a 2-1 win, and spoiling one of Barry Zito’s best career starts as a Giant.

Zito was masterful in 7 1/3 innings, scattering four hits, fanning three, and allowed just one run, which was a result of a walk to pinch-hitter Garrett Anderson – the last hitter he would face — who scored on Ramirez’s blast. Ramirez hadn’t played in the series since departing part way through Friday’s contest with a strained calf. It was also just the second pinch-hit homer in Ramirez’s 18-year career.

“Romo, he’s been throwing as well as anybody,” Bochy told reporters. “He’s one of our setup guys. I like him out there. He’s made some great pitches. I’ve got him and (Jeremy Affeldt). That is their role, to pitch in the seventh and eighth innings.”

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was nearly just as good. The 22-year-old Dodger lefty pitched into the seventh, allowing just four hits and a run, while striking out nine, and walking four. The lone run allowed was on a Juan Uribe (1) solo-homer in the seventh, which came after a long battle, from which Uribe fell down 0-2 before battling back in the at bat.

Without the presence of veterans Mark DeRosa (hamstring), and Aaron Rowand – who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday – the Giants missed two right handed mainstays in their lineup that may have proved to be helpful against Kershaw.

Eugenio Velez led off and played left field, while Andres Torres filled in in center, hitting eighth. The duo combined to go just 1-for-7 with a walk, and three strikeouts. The Giants also wasted a lead-off double from Aubrey Huff in the fourth, and they left the bases loaded in the eighth when Ramon Trancoso got Uribe to ground out to end the inning.

Second guessing is a part of baseball, and over 162 games a skipper is going to have plenty of chances to be questioned. Giants manager Bruce Bochy will no doubt receive some heat because of the fashion his team lost this one.

But there’s a reason Ramirez holds the record for postseason homers with 28, and is a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer – he’s clutch, and he’s really, really good.
And pitching match-ups, execution, and righty-lefty showdowns often stand out more than assigning blame where it may more easily fit.

The Giants stranded eight runners on Sunday, and had lead-off runners on in three separate innings, and none of them scored. The result was the first series loss for the Giants in 2010, and prevented Zito from improving to 3-0 for the first time in his career.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Theo is a staff reporter and feature writer for the Marin Independent Journal where he covers local prep and college sports. As an Associate Production Manager for ESPN, he helped produce Sunday Night Baseball among other national ESPN and ABC Sports telecasts. Besides his contributions to Examiner.com, the I.J. and Sports Climax, Theo is the play-by-play voice for Sonoma State University baseball and softball.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

Posted in MLBComments (1)

Cubs and Dodgers set Spring Training Attendance Record


If you build it, they will come. And yesterday they came – all 13,391 fans, setting a new Cactus League record. AndCactus League Logo those fans saw the Cubs lose to the Dodgers 7-3. It’s not surprising that this game was so popular, the Cubs and Dodgers have the most draw in the Cactus League, with Cubs fans following their team to the different Arizona venues.

But the biggest losers of the day were not the Cubs; the biggest losers were the fans who could not get out of the parking lot after the game at Camelback Ranch.

What makes this so disturbing is that fans can get in and out of every other stadium in the Phoenix area with minimal problems. This is year two for Camelback Ranch – which is shared by the Dodgers and White Sox.

You’d think that after the horror stories of last year, the powers that be would have figured out a better way to route traffic out of the stadium than what is currently in place. Not so. If you park in the lot, and if you park in handicap parking (or ADA, as they call it there), forget about getting out – that is if you get there early and you’re lucky enough to get one of the few coveted handicap spots.

Some will say that Camelback Ranch was put up quickly and the infrastructure isn’t quite ready to handle it. Not true. If the person, or people, designing the place had done their homework, getting in and out of the parking lot could have been made a lot easier. The Cubs need to take a good, long look at Camelback Ranch, see all of its flaws and learn from them.

Trying to get out of the parking lot probably made Cubs fans, who were in the majority at the end of the game as Dodgers fans started leaving in droves around the seventh inning, forget that former Cub favorite Reed Johnson hit a three run home run for the Dodgers, or even that the Cubs lost.

In addition to writing her Chicago Cubs column for Examiner.com, Miriam Romain has been published in several Cubs annuals by Maple Street Press and is a contributor to SportsClimax.com . She is currently covering the Cubs in Arizona during Spring Training 2010 while she takes a break from writing her book with the working title “Summers at Wrigley with my Dad.”

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Stay Up to Date