Home.

On May 3rd, 1957. Walter O’Malley broke the hearts of the Brooklyn faithful by announcing that the following year the beloved Bums from the borough of Brooklyn would be moving out West. The skies were certainly gloomy over Ebbets Field. But out West the sun glimmered with excitement. The glitz and the glamour of Hollywood awaited the Boys of Summer.

It didn’t take long for the Dodgers to make their impact felt. A year after their move out West. They won their first World Series as the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959. For the first time since 1948, a World Series wasn’t played in New York. It was a historical World Series, in which it broke attendance records as 92,706 baseball fans filled the LA Memorial Coliseum for game 5 as a record breaking crowd, that holds to this day.

Everything seemed right for LA at the time, but they were just missing a place to call home. As big as the Coliseum was, it just wasn’t baseball. Walter O’Malley sailed the skies of Los Angeles and saw “Chavez Ravine” a beautiful mountaintop that overlooked Los Angeles. It truly was the perfect setting for a team that for a long time of struggle was finally on top.

On April 10 1962, the gates opened to Dodger Stadium. A 56,000 seat baseball cathedral. As Hall of Fame Dodgers Manager, Tommy Lasorda calls it: “Blue Heaven on Earth”. Surrounded by beautiful hills and palm trees, the Dodgers had finally arrived home.

Fast Forward 50 years, on April 10, 2012 the gates to Dodger Stadium will reopen once again. The history, the magic and memories will be revisited once again. If the outfield walls could speak, if the players’ tunnels would echo, if you could hear the chatter in the dugout. If you could feel the warmth in the bullpen, if you could feel the energy in the stands. There has been a lot of moments within these walls in this quiet mountaintop. From Koufax’s perfection, to Valenzuela’s No-No. Gibson’s magic, to Vin Scully. From Walter Alston, to Tommy Lasorda. Gold Glovers and Silver Sluggers. Stealing bases to grand slams. Many moments and many players have passed by here on their way to Cooperstown.

It’s been 50 years. Times have certainly changed, but the anticipation, the excitement, the unexplainable feeling of joy to walk into Dodger Stadium remains the same. New generations and old generations will come together on that April afternoon, as they did 50 years ago, and LA’s baseball diamond jewel will shine brighter than ever.

The days seem slow, April seems eternal. Each day we wake up, it’s a day closer to Opening Day. Before we know it, it will be upon us.

Los Angeles was and is the perfect fit for this team. From Brooklyn Bums to Hollywood Stars. A rags to riches story.

They say Home is where the Heart is, and on April 10th. We will all be going Home…to the heart of LA…Dodger Stadium.

Many children work hard to please their parents, but what I truly longed for was good times that were about us, not about me. That is the real hole the Dodgers filled in my life. -Gil Hodges

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2011

It’s that time of the year once again, when the leaves begin to change. The hot summer days, make way for the warm fall nights and when the sun begins to set on the 2011 Season.

After last nights, heartbreaking loss. There really wasn’t much we could do but try and sleep it off. Already been eliminated a week ago from any playoff contention, this loss still hurt. Any loss hurts, regardless of the standings. But, that is the beauty of baseball, that you have so much love for your team that every win is sweet and every loss is bitter. After a loss like last night, all we can do is clear our minds and look forward to finish off the last game of the season the way we began, with a win.

But when we look back at the 2011 season, what moments or moment jumps at you? what can you take from this season and into the offseason?

There were days we would get out of work or school and rush through LA traffic in an attempt to make it to The Ravine by the first pitch. To me thats what the baseball season is all about, doing the improbable to watch the Boys of Summer.

The anticipation of adding another bobblehead to our collection, will have to be boxed up until next season. When a new series of caricatures will come out.

We plan our day, week and even summer around the Dodgers’ schedule. Not only choosing which games to attend at home but also which Roadtrips we will take with our friends, exploring different cities and stadiums.

The excitement of each of Matt Kemp’s blasts to opposite field, stealing bases and gold glove caliber plays out in center. Those moments we take with us through the fall and winter and into spring.

Young Kershaw’s dominance of each batter, making each of them look like Minor Leaguers. Stacking K’s after K’s on his quest to the throne as a Triple Crown CY Young award winner. He alone electrified this season.

They say “silence is golden”. But when it comes to Vin Scully, the man with the golden voice, his silence is why the offseason seems longer than what it really is. There’s joy and relieve though, knowing that Vin will be behind the mic for at least one more season. His 63rd consecutive year as the Voice of the Dodgers.

This season was a bit different than the rest. It began with frustration and with anger, controversy and disappointment. But It slowly evolved into this euphoria, this indescribable excitement. We didn’t have much to cheer about. But in the final two months, I felt as if I was watching the baseball I had been waiting for all season.

For me, these six months represent something more than just Dodger baseball. It’s a time of relaxation, a time of enjoyment, a break from it all. Stepping into The Stadium, the only thing that matters is the game and the game itself. During those perfect summer nights under the lights, our days seem shorter and our summer feels warmer.

No bad owner, bad record or bad publicity can keep me away from Dodger Stadium. The love, the loyalty and the support for this team is what keeps me here.

This year, standings aside. It was a very fun season after all. I got to enjoy every moment with people who share the same love for the Dodgers as I do. That’s the key to a good season. Enjoying it with good fans, but most importantly great friends.

Today Dodger Stadium, the lights will dim, the stands will be quiet, the parking lot will be empty, the MVP chants will be silent and the season will end. I hate this time of year, so many memories and moments to take with us until April.

Everyone wants their team to make it to October baseball, but only 8 make it. Unfortunately for our Bums, “Maybe Next Year”…and you can best believe I will be there.

The leaves are changing, but not our hopes. To many Christmas is opening gifts. For me Christmas falls on Opening Day. I feel like a kid again, awaiting the start of the new season.

Luckily for me, being a Dodger fan doesn’t stop today, nor tomorrow or next month. There’s 189 days left until opening day but who’s counting?

The sun will rise on April 5th and it will be a bit brighter than the rest of the year. The start of new memories…

So what moment am I taking with me? Kershaw’s last home start, victory #20. the Stadium was pumped. It was my best friends birthday. Wished he was there to feel the excitement. But for that one game there was a great group of Dodger family to witness history. Sweet indeed.

It’s been great interacting with all of you throughout the season, catch you all again next season. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Think Blue

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

P.S. This season I truly did enjoy traveling to Denver, San Francisco, down the 5 to Anaheim and San Diego. With old friends and meeting new friends this season as well. You all made all those trips memorable. From getting a little lower now, to “shout” in Denver, to using “it’s Frisco” as an excuse for all the craziness that we did in the Bay. Thank You! To each and every single one of you guys that was there. 2011 was fun, but let’s make 2012 even better. Once again, Thanks. Win, Lose or Tie…bleed blue til…well you know the rest.

Matt Kemp

Sure, probably none of the writers who are voting for the National League MVP will read this blog, but it’s not about persuasion. It’s more about shinning light on what is the truth.

There is no doubt that Matt Kemp has had more than a phenomenal season so far, compared to the ones in the past. Matt joined the 30/30 club and is among the best in every offensive category, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a gold glove out there in Center and im sure another on the way. Compared to the rest of the league, Matt Kemp NO doubt, deserves the MVP award. I’m not being biased here. The numbers speak for themselves. But to bring up the argument that somehow, Matt Kemp is illegitimate to win the award because of how the rest of his team has performed? Is absurd. You’re punishing Matt for a crime he didn’t commit. Or how about the excuse that he doesn’t have added pressure. I want y’all to go up to a writer and tell him “Hey. Don’t worry about writing a good story, since you don’t work for a better company. there isn’t any pressure”. Of course there’s pressure. There is pressure in everything we do. We want to feel that feeling of self-accomplishment, working towards our own personal goals and when you meet them someone tells you it’s not good enough? I say fertilizer!

Let’s be clear here. This isn’t high school anymore, where it’s a popularity contest and you elect the one who gets all the attention and everyone paying the most attention to. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that the Dodgers have had a rough season on and off the field. But, this isnt about the Dodgers, it’s about Kemp. For a player to rebound after a season like he had last year. A player who has busted his ass in the offseason to get to where he is at now. A player who intimidates pitchers by simply standing at the plate.

All his hard work. All his accomplishments and all his sweat and sacrifice…for nothing? Just a tap on the back and better luck to your team next year? What message are we sending here? That they can have MVP type seasons but if their teammates don’t pick it up, they’re shoot out of luck? The MVP award is one, if not the most Valuable of awards given in baseball and it shouldnt be about having luck, it should be about having talent. I cannot think of another player in the NL who has shown they have the talent, than Matt Kemp. A game changer without a doubt.

This not only hurts the players, who have dedicated so much time to try and being the best during the season. But it hurts the fans also. There’s still a month to go, who knows what may happen. But if Matt doesn’t win the MVP award with the way he’s been playing there is something wrong with system in baseball. The sport which has seen many great players play the game and now resting in Cooperstown, it would be shameful to punish one player’s great success due to the inability of others.

The player and team who outperform every team get the best price. A World Series Trophy. But a player who outperforms the rest, receives the MVP. It shouldn’t take writers the need to read tweets or blogs to make them understand, they simply need to open their eyes and analyze what’s before them.

I wish Matt best of luck in his quest to win the National League’s MVP award. He’s done everything needed to win, maybe he just needs to slay a dragon to prove he’s the best. regardless of the outcome or decision. This season, us Dodger fans haven’t had much to smile about, but Matt has put band-aids on our wounds and allowed us to enjoy this season for what it’s been.

Think Blue.

Vin.

From the comfort of his own booth, in the middle of the game. Vin announced to the viewers, that he indeed was going to return to call at least one more year of Dodger baseball. A man who deserves a Primetime one-hour segment to announce if he’d return or not, opted to not have the bright lights or spotlight on him. A man who deserves reporters around him to simply answer a “yes or no question” had all but one camera on him. Instead of Vin just telling us his decision. He used a “sweet” story about Mrs. Marty Squires who “bribed” him to return with some chocolate chip cookies, what a bargain. Vin with his eloquent way of having a conversation with us, announced that God willing, he will be behind the mic for his 63rd season. It’s just August, but it sure felt like Christmas, at this point the outcome of the game really didn’t matter (Dodgers won by the way).

For us Dodger fans, we really don’t know what blessing and what treasure it is, to have Vin behind the mic day in and night out. When the game begins, and Vin begins to speak. I don’t feel like he’s talking to an audience, I feel like he’s having a conversation with ME and and me only. I might wonder who’s on deck, and on cue Vin let’s me know that Jamey Carroll is on deck. It’s a one-on-one conversation I look forward to every game. Our minds are a canvass and throughout the game, you can close your eyes and with simply words, Vin will paint a masterpiece. A true master at what he does for sure.

In a span of 62 years, many great broadcasters have turned off their mics. Many great hitters have put their bats in the bat rack, great pitchers have rest their arm, great fielders have put away their gloves and many speedsters have hanged up the cleats. But you go back 62 years, and that same boy from New York still going strong and only getting stronger out West.

There is so much that can be said about Vin. There isn’t enough words in a dictionary to describe his work. I could write a long blog about this man who I call my hero, a man who has a drawn a path different from everyone else. A man who has taught me that life is about being happy and loving each day more than yesterday. A man who puts words together and turning it into a story each game, cannot be described in words. A simple tip of a cap to Vin.

The skies might be gloomy over Dodgertown this season, but we can always turn to Vin to be the sunshine. And there is no one that shines brighter than Vin.

a liVINing legend among us.

It’s time for Dodger Baseball.

Why Not Us?

The 1st half of the 2011 season has set, and the 2nd half is awaiting to rise.

The Dodgers….our beloved Bums find themselves 10 games below .500 and 11 games out of first out West. I’m sure it is safe to say the Dodgers have a steep hill climb, starting on Friday in Arizona.  A large wave to overcome, but the blue blood running through me veins tells me that this Dodger ballclub won’t rollover and allow this season to end without a chance to climb that hill and ride that wave.

Some may count the Dodgers out and without a pulse for the rest of the season. Looking at where the Dodgers find themselves in the standings, you can understand as to why folks are making plans for October that do not include the Boys in Blue. This season has truly been a roller coaster ride, with more bumps than excitement. How did they get to this spot? Was it the horrible hitting with runners in scoring position? (this coming from a team with a manager who built his legacy by hitting in the clutch. Im sure Donnie has more grey hairs than he wanted). Or Maybe it was the shaky bullpen, that when the phone rings, relievers hide and hope they are not the unlucky ones to be thrown to the lions. Maybe the injuries, unable to keep a full rotation or a consistent lineup game-after-game. We can say all of these certainly has contributed to the more than frustrating first half in recent years.

But, through the scrapes and the falls. Through the defeats and heartbreaks. We turn the page on Chapter 1 of this book called “Baseball”. No matter which curse words you have chosen to scream at your TV, or no matter how many times you’ve prayed to the Gods above, our lovable bums came up short. Came so close, but yet so far away. As we await this second half of baseball,we forget that in “Baseball” anything can happen. Baseball… is baseball.

There is no clock to put pressure, just the mind and the heart. There’s no lead too big to overcome, one small bloop hit can make the start of a winning streak. The only pressure is, that there is 70 games to go from zero to hero, from underdog to top dog. 70 games to have HOPE and FAITH and BELIEVE in the unthinkable, the impossible or the improbable to happen.

The Dodgers find themselves with the odds stacked against them and yes, they probably won’t make the playoffs and its very possible that they will continue the first half skid. But I still have faith,I hear a heartbeat within the friendly confines of Dodger Stadium. I see some life in them. Maybe I’m being optimistic…TOO optimistic for my own good and health. Does this team really have what it takes to shock the world? Call me crazy, call me insane, tell me to be realistic. I agree with you. I’m crazy for this team, I’m insane for this game, I am realistic in believing that this is baseball, where the unimaginable is around the corner and it can’t get any more real than this.

Next time you look into the face of uncertainty, when you think it’s not possible. Ask yourself….’Why not us?” Which other team besides our beloved Bums deserve the joy of making it to October, of having a date with the Fall Classic. Why Not Us?

In the many years ahead of us, in the distant future. When our kids and grand kids ask us what was the year that was the 2011 season. We can look at them with a smile and explain that regardless of how horrible it may seem when the sun rises on a season, the sun always sets in the West. There’s is 162 games to be played. When the sun did set on that 2011 season, we can also tell them with HOPE, FAITH and BELIEVING was how the West was won.

Our beloved team has been down rough roads in the past, we have endured the pain along with them. Hanging the cleats during the winter and watching other fans celebrate with joy, wishing that one day, we would be the ones with a championship parade.For 22 years replying with the creed that sums up the spirit of  Brooklyn & Los Angeles: “Wait til next year”

After all, we live in the City of Angels and play in Blue Heaven on Earth. It just seems that there is something special yet to happen. That we can believe that this IS “Next Year”

Climb that hill. Ride that Wave.

This second half wont be perfect, the heartbreaks will continue, but all we can do is turn the page on this beautiful book of “Baseball” and read on. We have 70 pages left to ask ourselves…

Why Not Us?

Think Blue!

One Team.

What a season so far for the Dodgers. All eyes are on the Boys of Summer, but not for the right reasons. You don’t need me to explain this movie script to you. Being in Los Angeles, we’re used to producing blockbuster hits, but this horror film has the unexpected coming at you. It’s an old cliche but even Hollywood couldn’t write a script with a more horryfing plot.

You’ve seen the news, you’ve heard the radio, you’ve read the blogs, you’ve RT them tweets, this is not a horrifying movie…its reality. Which is THE scary part. But, I’m not here to give my opinion on McCourt, on attendance, on stadium security, bankruptcy or even Dodger performance. This is my opinion on what I think of the 2011 season, which whether we like it or not will be one that will go into the history books.

I could write of how upset and how disgusted I am on how the McCourts as a family have taken our historic franchise and turned it into the laughing stock of the league. But I’m not.

To me, this season is a test. Testing our more deepest of love for our team. The thought of me “boycotting” Frank McCourt is not even an option. Many fans have taken this path already for whichever reason.

 “they suck why are you still going?”

“Frank is taking your money.”

“I will not go until Frank is gone”

You have your reasons for not going, but I have ONE reason to stay….The Dodgers.

The passion, the love, the loyalty I have for this team is indescribable. That I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing there is a season in progress and I’m at home keeping up on what one of the Kardashian’s is up to. 

To me the Dodgers are more than just a team. The Dodgers are more than a 6 month affair, The Dodgers are a way of life. With every shut out, with every blown save,  with every RISP left to hang, with every loss, I wake up the next day ready for the uncertainty of “whats next?”. With the hope of the “impossible to happen”. That is baseball.

All day we can’t escape the negative media attention, from court dates to attendance numbers, but to me none of that matters once Vin projects to the world that it is once again “Time for Dodger Baseball”.

From the beauty of Dodger Stadium, where there is no bad seat in the house. To the most soothing and relaxing organ music of Nancy Bea. From the excitement of every Matt Kemp blast. To the lighting quick speed of Dee Gordon on the base paths. To the K’s that Kershaw’s dominance brings and to every National Anthem that makes you get the goosebumps. You can’t get that feeling through a TV monitor, or through your radio speakers, you have to be there to feel it….a feeling that neither Frank or any other owner will take away from me.

I can’t turn my back on this team, especially during this time. What type of FAN will I be? The time in which we face the most difficult of hurdles to jump, the most embarrassing of times to overcome, if the team has to go through it, I will proudly will stand with my team and face the music together. It’s easy being a fan at the stadium when it’s all sunny and roses, but it’s more impressive being at the stadium when everyone has gone home.

This season is a test. Testing us to our breaking point, testing  our limits.

Some of you have reached your tipping point, some have gone off the bandwagon.

Not me.

Being a Dodger fan is not optional, it’s not temporary, through the thick and thin, those white “LA” letters will be on my forehead with pride.

It’s not about dollars and cents, its about loyalty.

Something that thousands of fans don’t know what it is.

This horror film will keep on going but when it ends, I will be able to live with myself knowing i endured the embarrassment and the gloomy skies.

One team. One city. One Love.

’til 9 innings do us apart.

Think Blue!

Times have changed but the love stays the same.

 From the days of Brooklyn, when fans “dodged” incoming trolleys by Ebbets Field.

To days of now where we dodge “Party Buses” en route to Dodger Stadium.

From the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers in New York.

To the rivalry from the Bay to L.A.

From Sandy Koufax’s perfect game

To Kirk Gibson’s perfect ending.

From hearing the Vin Scully on the radio.

To hearing Vinny on PrimeTicket.

From reading about last nights game in the next day’s paper.

To reading about tonights game on Dodgers.Com later that night

From watching the game in black and white.

To watching the game on your cell phone.

From O’Malley

To McCourt

From Brooklyn

To Los Angeles.

From the Colliseum

To Dodger Stadium

From Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

To Dodger Dogs and Sunflower seeds.

From Walter Alston

To Don Mattingly

From Bums

To Hollywood Stars

From Coast

To Coast

From Maury Wills

To Davey Lopes

From FernandoMania

To MannyMania

 

Many things have changed over the years, but some things still remain the same.

 

A steal is still a steal.

Vin’s words with majesty captivate every inning.

A grand slam is still grand.

Tommy is well…still Tommy

Jackie Robinson’s dream is still the dream of thousands of kids.

3 strikes and you’re still out.

No clock. Still 9 innings.

America’s Pasttime is still our pasttime.

 

Most importantly….

The love for the game remains the same.The passion for every home run. The excitement for every strikeout. The respect for every national anthem.

Players have come and gone, Legends passed away.

But that love for Opening Day, and the grief for the last game is still there.

 

In less than week we will baptize the 2011 season with…

“IT’S TIIIIIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL”

Finally. It took too long.

Think Blue!