In a season full of uncertainty from Opening Day through game 162, the NL West tie-breaker was anything but that, as Walker Buehler cruised through 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball, and was buoyed by just enough offense to secure the Dodgers sixth straight National League West title, beating the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Monday afternoon. The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the 4th inning when Max Muncy led off the inning with a strikeout that got away from Rockies catcher Tony Wolters. After consecutive strikeouts from Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, the stage was set for Cody Bellinger’s 25th home run of the season as he took a 1-0 fastball deep to right-center field.
Another 1-2-3 inning from Buehler in the top half of the 5th inning, led to Joc Pederson leading off the bottom half with a double to deep center field, when Max Muncy unleashed an one-out opposite field 2-run home run for his team leading 35th of the season.
Walker Buehler took a no-hitter into the 6th inning when Charlie Blackmon hit a clean single on a soft line drive just over the shift on the right side of the infield, where he was ultimately stranded after a couple of groundouts. Buehler would not stop there, as he singled in Kike Hernandez in the bottom of the 6th with two outs to push the Dodgers to a commanding 5-0 lead.
When Buehler was replaced with two outs in the top of the 7th inning he was applauded to a well- deserved curtain call, before Pedro Baez finished up the inning. Baez got the leadoff man in the 8th before Kenta Maeda came on to get the next two outs bridging to Kenley Jansen in the 9th. Jansen surrendered back-to-back home runs to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, before retiring the next three batters in order leading to a mild, and relieving on-field celebration.
The Atlanta Braves will be next as the Dodgers opponent in the National League Division Series. It’s seemingly a good matchup for LA, as the middle of the Braves lineup is predominantly left-handed, matching up well for 3 of the 4 Dodgers starters in the series. The Dodgers struggles with left-handed pitching shouldn’t be much of an issue as 3 of the 4 Braves starters will be dealing from the right side. However, as everyone knows, it’s baseball and anything can happen.
35 thoughts on “Dodgers Roll To Capture Sixth Consecutive NL West Crown”
Congrats to the Dodgers for another successful run during the season. It was one hell of a roller coaster ride. And this last game was full of tension. But they managed to pull it out and Buehler was brilliant. Sets up the rotation as being Kersh for game 1, Ryu for game 2 and Buehler in there for #3. Most unexpected stat, 35 homeruns for Muncy. Comeback player, Kemp, MVP, well Roberts said Hernandez, but me, I am going with Justin Turner. Just look at their record with and without him. They are under .500 when Justin is out of the lineup. Jansen still shaky in my eyes, but he does not bear down that much when he is not going for the save. He has come in a lot and given up runs when they have a larger than 3 run lead. Congrats to the Rockies for putting up one hell of a fight. Going into today’s game they were 10-1 in their last 11 games. Dodgers finish the season on a 4 game winning streak. They have not won more than 5 in a row all year. Now is the time to break that trend. Kike finishes the season with a BA above .250, so I applaud him for that. I did not think he would be over say, 230. Grandal finishes at .241. Just think how good he would be if he was not so damn streaky. His prolonged slumps hurt the team in my eyes. especially this year when Barnes was struggling the entire season. Machado was decent since coming over in the big trade, but, he did not prove to me one bit that he is worth a 9 figure deal in the winter and I doubt they will offer him one. His hitting style did not seem conducive to Dodger Stadium. Thanks to Chase Utley for his ultimate professionalism. He is a great club house presence. Adios and good luck to Brian Dozier, Ryan Madson, Pat Venditte, John Axford and a couple of others I just can’t think of right now. Please re-sign David Freese, and if at all possible keep Kersh in Dodger blue. Use that excess talent to fill the real holes in this lineup, like get a full time 2nd baseman. Hope you are healthy Corey because this team really missed those steady at bats you bring. I also hope that Turner can have a year where he has no injuries, so we can see that guy do what he does every day. Best of luck and do not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out to Dave Roberts. Who I consider one of the WORST tactical managers in major league baseball, and finally, to Mike Scioscia, although I know it will never happen, I would love to see you plying your trade as a manager where you started your career. They should have never let you leave the organization. And oh by the way, trade Kyle Farmer to an organization that will let the guy play.
Western Division Champs! Honestly, I had my doubts. The Blue Crew proved me wrong. I apologize, I admit I was wrong. But now the real playoffs begin.
First round bye, and two days off. I believe home field advantage throughout NL playoffs. They earned it.
Did Buehler step up and deliver? Yes he did. There is a new Sheriff in Dodgertown! Will Kershaw accept #2 position? I don’t think he has a choice.
DR maybe yanked Buehler too soon, but Kenta came in to regain control of the Rocks. Exactly what a Samurai Warrior is supposed to do. Banzai!
Jansen scares me. Something is not right. If he is not ready to take on the playoffs, he has to be truthful to himself, and his team. Instead of finding a closer option before the trade deadline, the Dodgers stuck with him. Now it is too late, and the Dodgers must go to Plan a B to handle closer situations. I hope they have one. Jansen does not have it this year. Really painful to watch. Also thought Grandal did not help, as he was setting up for the pitch way too early, tipping location.
Funky Muncy! Amazing opposite field HR to seal the deal. Bells looks ready. He certainly has matured so much this year. Buehler even jumped into the act, this kid is a real gamer. “The Smirk” killed two potential rallies today. We never know what we are gonna get. Seems to choke often in the clutch. But, They scored enough runs to win, but still double digit K’s, 2-8 RISP, 14 LOB. “This has to improve”….I sound like a broken record.
They better believe the Rocks are hoping for a chance to come back and get revenge. NLCS should be a nail biter, but they have to tame the Braves first.
Go Blue! One game at a time.
They do not have home field throughout the NL playoffs there Blue. They have it against the Braves. But if the Brewers or Cubbies win the other side, they go on the road based on the fact that those two teams won more games than the Dodgers did. Oh, if Kershaw returns next year, he will still be numero uno.
It’s a good team that should have had a better record.
No reason at all to apologize BlueFan. This is why we’re fans, to see the team do well.
I’m not sure whose better in the NL, but several teams decidedly are in the AL.
That said, the starting pitching is really rounding into form and the team’s depth is pretty astounding.
It’s the playoffs. Anything could happen, let’s hope good stuff does.
If they had taken care of business against a woefully bad Reds team, they would have cruised to the title. But they did not. It is what it is.
I believe I had this one.
I also had the under on 94.
And I did my pushups on the Kemp bet. Happy to see he’s still standing for the playoffs. The plan worked just as I thought it would.
For all you who endlessly groan about Roberts – prepare to keep bitching because he’s going nowhere.
I won’t be around as much here. Too much whining and complaining.
Congratulations to Dave Roberts and the Western Division Champion Dodgers. I never doubted you.
Yeah, Badger, you never doubted? Give us a break. Everybody doubted. And, I bet that most doubt the Dodgers will win the WS. The problem with boards is the repetitive nature of the posts and the habituations of the posters. Obviously, being a fan includes the obnoxiousness and the righteousness of personalities getting worked up in their own minds and letting it fly. These boards are tame compared to some football boards I’ve visited. No board is perfect. This board is pretty chill but seems to be losing momentum in attracting more fans. Taking a look at Timmons’ site, the amount of traffic is usually very high with very knowledgeable contributors. The contributors like AC and DC really add a lot of peripheral information that show deep BB IQ. No beer videos that I’ve noticed. Sorry Oscar.
My suggestion to Scott is to look for some very savvy writers to supplement his day by day game posts/descriptions and to join in more in the general conversation. I am assuming the majority of posters actually watch the games and don’t need to be taken through every inning in the daily posts. Moderation does not mean tolerating everything and everyone. Sometimes you need to slap some people into shape. You’ve lost a lot of posters over the few years I’ve been posting here. There are real reasons for this that you need to look at if you are committed to keeping this alive. Change is good and I encourage you to try harder. Just trying to give you some honest feedback.
What kind of Peripheral information are you talking about? Just curious
People covering the different aspects of the overall game. Minor leagues, analysis of stats, how it all fits together in the FAZ led scheme of things. Criticizing FAZ or Roberts is the easiest thing to do. The most average fan does this in their own way all the time, but when it descends into indulgence, it should not be acceptable by you and the need for moderation should happen. We need more analysis that speaks to the positive side of metrics and how the FO determines how things should proceed. Your site is mostly hate about FAZ and Roberts, but the Dodgers just won their 6th straight division title, 4 under FAZ! They’ve got to be doing something right. This is just not covered here.
I understand what you’re saying Jeff, and I appreciate all of the kind words from everybody. The minor league coverage here is very lacking and that’s something that me and the guys will work on for next season. As for the advanced stats and sabermetrics, I myself am still learning about most of them. Our new writer Chad is very analytical in his writings, and I am hoping that everyone enjoys his analytical takes.
I don’t think this site is dedicated to ripping the front office or criticizing Dave Roberts. I think LADR is neutral on that. I’ve posted articles on both sides. Some posters here love FAZ, and there are others that clearly don’t. Same can be said about Roberts. I have posted many articles detailing the positive side of the Dodger executives. They have built some good clubs, but they have also made their fair share of mistakes. I think it’s ok to criticize to a certain point, but definitely agree about not taking it too far. Although I must admit I at times think there is a twisted bent appeal that comes from pointing out the foibles of the front office and management. I have tried my best to walk a fine line and temper my opinions.
I do understand that there are a lot of people out there that want to read about the stats, and advanced metrics and like I mentioned above that is something that me and the crew are going to work on providing you more of as best we can, but in our own LADR entertaining way. I try not to take myself too seriously when writing about the Dodgers and baseball. I appreciate you giving us examples of how we can improve the site. Please continue to do so.
FAZ inherited a very good team. Nobody hates Roberts or FAZ. It is about the way they go about things there Jeff. Roberts is a nice guy. He has bought into FAZ’s saber metric way of running the team. Fine, but Roberts is not a great strategic manager. The way he sets up his lineups and his bullpen use sometimes boggles the mind. FAZ had a directive, probably from the front office to get under the luxury tax, and he did so. I do not hate anyone, except maybe Grandal, but that’s beside the point. Everything on here is about opinions. You have yours, I have mine, so does MJ and Package Bluto and Badger. I care less about stats analysis. If I wanted to read that crap I would go somewhere and read it. I do not think saber metrics and all the different stats they use today can tell them a damn thing about a players drive or the intangibles. If they open themselves to criticism, so be it. They get criticized on the Dodgers web site, and sometimes with a lot more vitriol than has ever been displayed here, and remember, these are your opinions, not every one agrees with that either. And who is to decide whether one is being indulgent or not? You? Please, Package is a very passionate fan who has developed a dislike for Roberts based on the performance of the players on the field any given time. Many times this year and especially in the World Series last year, Roberts made some moves that were very questionable to the average fan. I am and always will be old school. As far as this site goes, Scott does a great job and he does not always have to jump in and moderate and argument. People are going to argue over things they are passionate about. I get ticked when some folks get their history wrong, or a movie has soldiers wearing the wrong shoulder blaze in a war movie. I like accuracy. I may not know much about saber metrics and advanced stats. I check on the farm teams all the time and when I am in California I go watch the Dodgers Rancho farm team. You seem to forget that criticizing the team or FO is allowed because we invest so much time and energy into the team. But I care more about the performance on the field, and getting a World Champion back than anything else. I also think just getting there or winning the division is not good enough. It is a great accomplishment, but nothing to brag about. All it means is that you took the first step, and with as many failures as they have had over the last 30 years, long time fans can get pretty fed up. I do not care about the positive side of metrics because I see no positive side. I have been watching the stat cast side of the Cubs-Rockies game, and to me it is all worthless drivel. I care less what Baez’s exit velocity is. Or his launch angle, or the fact that he has hard contact 29% of the time. That’s for the geeks. FAZ would have garnered a lot more support had he made moves when he first got here that resulted in a world series. He went the cheap route, I still believe that they have a small market mentality. But that’s just me. If I were you, I would not tell Scott how to run his site, he does just fine, and things you might want or expect, not everyone on here does. You want all that, start your own site..
We get it Jeff, but this is more of a fan friendly site. Baseball intellect is not required. Normal fans care less about all the peripheral crap. That’s great for FAZ lovers and stat geeks. And Scott is a much nicer person than Timmons is. As for Oscars beer videos, they are lite entertainment and make Oscar happy, so what’s the harm? As far as slapping people into shape, well Scott has banned people, but he is a pretty fair minded person and looks at both sides of the conversation. And you can present him with a good argument and he is not going to call you a moron, or something worse. I have had differences with a few people on here and sometimes it gets a little heated. But luckily it is on the internet and no one is going to get hurt. But that’s the way baseball fans are. No two fans are going to agree on something all the time. Badger is usually pretty steady in his posts. He has always had reservations about the team, but he also stays pretty positive most of the time. Unlike me, I thought they were headed for the big meltdown. I still do not think they have a snowballs chance in hell of winning the World Series, and the Brewers scare the hell out of me. That is one tough team. They should handle the Braves and pray like crazy that the Rockies make some miraculous run and beat the Cubs and then the Brewers and play the Dodgers in the NLCS. That would be the easiest way to the series. They play the Cubs they have bad weather to contend with, same with the Rocks because October in Denver is not nice. The Brewers and their indoor stadium is preferable, but the matchup with those guys is not good. Molitor out as Twins manager, Angels already looking for Scioscia’s replacement, and Ohtani has successful TJ surgery….will not pitch again until 2020.
Agree with Michael whole-heartedly about the site.
It’s worth very little, but in my opinion the Brewers aren’t that scary.
Well Bluto, I cannot agree with that assessment of the Brewers. They have an excellent bullpen, and some pretty good hitters and they have had as good if not a better last month than the Dodgers they erased a 4 game deficit and beat the team that has cruised to the division title the last 2 years. So I think the Cubbies would disagree with you too, and they won more games than the Dodgers did. In and of itself, that makes them scary and dangerous. Any team becomes dangerous when they go on a tear. Just look at what the Rockies did the last 11 games and it took all the Dodgers had to catch them. The difference is the Dodgers have had the Rockies number this year going 12-8 against them. So even though they were 4-3 against the Brewers during the season, that means little in the playoffs. Brewers are a much better team now than they were when the Dodgers played them. The one thing the Dodgers do have over Milwaukee is experience. Now Milwaukee gets to play the Rockies since they eliminated the Cubs last night. 2 very good offenses going up against each other. Should be interesting. On paper, the Dodgers should dominate Atlanta. Lots of kids over there, their shortstop has a torn ligament in his thumb. Ryu going in game one and Kersh in game 2. Sets Buehler up for game 3 in Atlanta.
Whine is what we do old buddy! Hey, I like Roberts as a player and a person, but I think as a strategic manager he leaves a lot to be desired, but I also am a realist. And I know pretty much for a fact that he is going no where. He has an option on his contract and if that is not picked up I am pretty sure he will get an extension if not a new contract out right. All his coaches? Not so sure about that. Even if the manager stays sometimes the coaching ranks change. That happened last year to a small extent when the assistant hitting coach and bullpen coach left the team. Hyers and Bard are now both with Cora in Boston. Ward and Geren pretty much locks to remain as are Woodward and Lombard. Honeycutt was leaning toward leaving last year, either to retire or whatever. He is on a one year deal, so he might be gone. Fun little tidbit, Guess which baseball HOFer is in the pic below wanting to play Tarzan in the movies.
FanGraphs on deGrom for MVP:
Two key paragraphs:
Reasonable people can conclude that Jacob deGrom shouldn’t be the NL MVP. In such an event, I imagine the support would go to Christian Yelich. Yelich has been amazing, especially of late. Every number has error bars, and Yelich has an argument. This case isn’t open and shut.
You’ve probably read much of my argument before, written by different people in different places. This is the “best player” argument. It’s the Mike Trout argument. I’m just going to make the argument with different words.
I thought that best record does not apply to Wild Card teams. Seeded team (LAD are #2 seed) gets home field. Maybe I am wrong. I thought like you, until I saw this.
This is what I found in Wikipedia:
“Until 1998, the LCS alternated home-field advantage with a 2-3 format in the best-of-5 era (1969–84) and a 2-3-2 format when it went to best-of-7 (1985–present). Since 1998 the team with the better record has had this advantage, except that in no case can the wild card ever secure the extra home game, regardless of regular-season records.”
I had not read that, so you are probably right. But that still depends on the wild card team beating the Brewers, and I think that is a tough job for Colorado or the Cubs, plus, the Dodgers need to take care of business against the Braves first.
I just want to say that I think you are a standup guy who listens to everyone’s opinions and is willing to go to bat if necessary. I enjoy this site and most of the commenters. I think you provide thought provoking info and relevant info. I agree with Michael about the commenters. The ones that I find hard to understand are those who want to make stuff personal. If you do not agree OK but to run someone down because of their opinions just because you do not agree is just plain wrong. Keep up the good work Scott, I appreciate your efforts. Oscar’s beer info doesn’t bother me at all, sometimes you need a beer. One more thing, I miss MJ.
Well said Pack. Most of the posters on here are just average people. They do not need to delve into all that saber metric crap. Saber metrics never made a better ballplayer, it just gave bored people a way to gauge players with a bunch of stats that for the most part only they can understand and only they want to understand. I am old school. Always have been always will be. I think that todays players are better athletes, but the guys from the era I loved, were better ball players. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams would laugh at these guys with all their graphs and stats. Go up there with the talent to hit any pitcher and have it be a natural talent and you are a mega star like they were. These guys today are posers in my book. They have the advantage of medical miracles and wonder drugs, video rooms and swing analysts. I admire Justin Turner because what he did allowed him to step out of the shadows and being released to be a very good player. The launch angle thing worked for him. It helped Taylor his first full year here, but you think watching Taylor swing and miss all those times this year is fun? Not me. I love Cody, but it gets old watching him flail at the same pitch that made his world series a serious flop. No stigma on strikeouts, no value in wins or batting average. Not really the game I grew up loving. Signing injury prone pitchers to huge contracts, filling your bullpen of the waiver wire. Not my kind of team management. Free agency was just the start for me. It changed the game dramatically. I can understand why it was done, but loyalty in the game has no place now. Very few players spend their entire careers with the same team. We will see it again this winter when at least a couple of the free agents are going to get massive contracts, Machado and Harper, and if Kersh opts out, he too could garner a significant deal simply on his cred. You are spot on about Scott too. He is very fair. I have had differences, but most of mine come from the way I view todays game against the past. They also pop up because I do not buy into FAZ’s way of building a team and I think people over look his huge misses, Reddick, Granderson, and this year Dozier, the melt down by Darvish, and focus on his little pick ups that do work, like Morrow last year, the positive side of the Hill deal. But he has shot himself in the foot more often than not, at least from what I see, plus I think they get too much credit for a team that was very good when they took over. Oh yeah, Kemp was not even supposed to make the roster…..oooooooooooooops! When the Babe struck out, it was spectacular because every ounce of that guy was trying to hit that pitch to the moon, but even with all his K’s he still was a .340 career hitter. When Belli or Taylor K it is just pitiful to watch. FAZ trying to escape an octopus! Not really, but one can wish
Didn’t we have a better record vs. Brewskies? I thought we were 4-3? I guess that does not matter, if they are #1 seed. In that case, hope the Cubs beat them.
Well, I guess it all boils down to those games the Dodgers gave away during the season.
One game at a time.
You are correct, the Dodgers are 4-3 against the Brewers. I would also think that if they play the Dodgers would have home field. I would get into all those games the Dodgers gave away but then I would be blaming Dummy which some think is incorrect. If it is incorrect, expect to see KiKe pitching.
Team with the best record gets home field the entire playoffs regardless of who they play. That only works in the first round. That’s why the Dodgers had home field last year. The Cubs had a better record against the Dodgers last year. That’s also why the AL representative is going to have home field in the Series.
Scott, let me add my 2 cents. I really enjoy this site because you do not delve into all the saber junk. It is more about baseball than stats. It is about the personality of the folks on here and their different takes and passion on baseball. If I wanted a bunch of techno babble, I would probably be on Timmons site, but I can’t stand the pompous ass, so I stay here. We all have different ideas about what the Dodgers should be and sometimes it gets a little testy and the talk spirited, but isn’t that what baseball fans are all about? Put me in the same room with a Giant fan and I can argue for hours. Which I have done with my son in law who is a die hard Giants fan. All I get from him is grief about the 30 years without a series win. But I fire back with it took you 56 years, so 30 is nothing. I won’t live long enough to see a 56 year gap! I love the team. I have since the first game I ever saw. I was living in LA when they moved there and for a time had 2 Dodgers as neighbors. I shagged flies for them when they would get ready to go to Vero. I made friends with Wes Parker, and got to sing the anthem at the ball park, and I would put my knowledge of Dodger history up against anyone on here. Plus I played the game, collected the cards and could quote averages and HR’s with the best of them. I know the game. I know baseball strategy, but I love the old way and players better than what I see now. What I see now is a lot of players making a lot of money for being mediocre. .240 hitters making 9 million a year. It is all about the Benjamin’s now. And the Dodgers are raking in the cash. So it is easier to dislike a player making all that money and not producing. There is no way you can convince me that Rich Hill is worth more money than Koufax made his entire career for less than half a season. Different era’s, different standards, but not a better brand of baseball.
Thank you Michael, really appreciate the kind words. I appreciate your opinions and talk. Jeff does make some good points though. I think possibly things have perhaps gotten a bit stale over here. Next year we’ll start creating some new content to mix in with our normal daily content that goes up over here. Namely more minor league coverage. We’ve lost a lot of regular posters and the lack of minor league coverage probably plays a part. (Anyone seen MJ lately?) I hope everyone enjoys some of the analytical content that our new writer Chad is posting too. The main tone of the site will always be about baseball first and we’ll never overwhelm anyone here with too many stats or advanced metrics. Hopefully some of the regular posters that left will come back and participate. Everyone has a unique voice and everyone contributes to this community with their opinions and love of the Dodgers. That’s one thing we can all agree on, we all love the Dodgers and want to see them win a World Series.
I don’t think it is stale at all, but that’s just my opinion. When I emailed Badger to make sure he was all right, he was taking a break because of a lot of whining that was going on. No matter what, people are going to get chippy at one another. I think one thing that got out of hand for a while was all the political references. Some people got turned off by that. No place for that on a baseball site. But I think the way things were going with the team had a lot to do with all the vitriol too because everyone has their own opinions. They all think they know what the big fix should be. I do not claim to have all the answers, but my love of the game is still there. I get very frustrated with Roberts and the front office sometimes. For a guy who is supposed to be following their analytical program, there were times this year when even though the stats said do not do this, he did it anyway. Case in point, batting Kike in the cleanup spot where all the stats said he was terrible there. Dave put him there more than a few times against lefty’s and he never not once had a good game in that spot. Also hitting Machado in the 2 hole for so long when all his stats said he was a much better 3 hole hitter. Anyway, You do what you feel you need to do to improve the site. I care less about the analytical stuff, but there are guys like Jeff who will love it. I do like knowing what the kids are doing down on the farm. And there are times I even post the results and heroes or goats myself. I did get a little satisfaction when they played the Reds because one of the guys they traded when they got Thompson, Johnson and Montas, Brandon Dixon was playing in the majors. Before the trade, I had seen him play at Rancho and he had a 3 hit game, made some good defensive plays, and hit a homer in that game. So when he went deep against the Dodgers, I felt I had given a good scouting report on the kid.
I really appreciate your efforts with the blog however, if you never mention sabermetrics again it will be alright with me. Like Michael, I think there are many more important things that that. I think the minors are important as long as it doesn’t overtake the major league information and updates. A little bit of each goes a long way. I also remember the way it used to be and I liked those times much more than now. I know you have seen my posts on Matt Kemp and Roberts. It is wrong and very unfortunate that Matt has been demoted to platoon player even though he hits right handed pitchers better than left handed pitchers. His .301 average against rightys is the best on the team. What gives? That is why I get so upset with Roberts and no one seems to understand it except me. Roberts is hurting Kemp and it makes me dislike him a lot and I think it should bother others also. He shows favorites and that is wrong for a leader to display this habit.
That is why I call him dummy. He has made numerous easy mistakes but others let it go. I don’t.
I hope you continue much the same way as you have and you have my full support. You do a great job. Thanks
Michael, I totally get it.
We have relatives up North, and very rarely see them. But when we meet a family functions we try to sit far away from their tables because all they do is brag about their Giants and 49’rs. Gets pretty annoying. Ruins the festive family gathering.
Money has changed the game drastically. Scorecards were a quarter at the Coliseum and you really did not need one becuase you knew the lineup, you knew the players (without names on their backs). Now you really need a scorecard. Players are paid way too much, and the fans are their bankroll. I had said that I expect perfection, because these guys are making millions for playing a simple game. The passion is gone. The dedication is gone. The loyalty is gone. All these players think about is money… more then they will ever need in life. They forget the poor fan who spent his whole paycheck to go to one game, buy a Dodger Dog and beer. They forget that they cannot take all that money with them when they die.
I went to my first game at the Coliseum. I went to Roy Campenella Night. I was a little kid with my flannel Dodger uniform. My parents would drop me and my buddy off outside the ballpark, and come back to pick us up. Boy, how times have changed.
You mentioned Wes Parker….I named my son after Wes Parker.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my Grandparents, who spoke very little English, but understood every word Vinny and Jerry would say. My Grandma loved Ron Cey, probably because his name was the easiest to say. We were avid Dodger fans. My Grandpa always had that transistor blaring out the game, wherever he went.
Yeah, the game has changed.
Totally get that Blue. I was put in a home for kids when I was 10. It was in Highland Park. Never would have happened had my grandmother been alive. But she was long gone by 1958. I had been collecting cards since 54. Did not have a lot of them, but I had also seen the Dodgers on TV in the series and I guess I just loved those uni’s. So they were my favorite team. At the home, since we were underprivileged kids we got to go to Dodger games at the coliseum for free. Of course the seats were down the right field line and the players looked like ants. But the thrill of sitting there seeing my hero, Duke Snider out there was just great. I did not care about autographs and stuff like that. I loved the game and was beginning to play it a lot. We played ball every chance we got, bought baseball cards for 5 cents a pack, go a packet of 20 Dodger photos at the ball park for 50 cents. The 8×10’s were a little more, but those 5×7 photos, I bought a new one every year. We went to 76 stations and they used to give out these little books that every week featured a different player. Had all the stats and bio’s and the teams schedule on the back. Great stuff. Of course later, it was the Nicholas Volpe paintings and those things were great. By the way, I have some of those. Found them on ebay. I also found one of those packets in tact and bought that. The only one of those books I found was a Duke Snider, yeah, I bought that too. In 1960, they filled in all the valleys behind the home, it was pretty much just a dirt road and empty space, and started building homes. Ave 66 where the home was, extended about 10 more blocks with all these nice houses. Larry Sherry and his brother Norm moved in. Larry was 2 houses away and Norm was 5. They were always out there playing catch with us kids and talking baseball. It was great. Then usually in early February they would go down to Arroyo Seco Park where all the baseball diamonds were and work out. All us kids would go down there and shag flies for them. They would even let us come up and swing the bat. Imagine how a 11 year old felt swinging against Sherry, the 1959 series MVP. Wow. I was moved to another home in 62. This was a regular home with foster parents. Believe me, it was not an upgrade. But no matter how bad things were there, I continued my love of the team. I listened every night, and watched when they were in SF since those were the only games televised at the time. Vinny and Jerry, Sandy and Don, Willie and Tommy Davis. Grew up watching, living and dying with that team. After I quit school at 17 and joined the army, I still followed where ever I was stationed. I bought the media guides, the yearbooks, and every spring I would get Street and Smith’s baseball magazine. I bought the Sporting News every week. So I kept informed, read all the box scores, hoped they would do something at the trade deadline, or in the winter. And remember, the trade deadline changed. I cannot remember which year, but it used to be the 15th of June. When ever I was in California and the Dodgers were home, I would go to games. Sometimes I sat out in the Pavilion. Why not? It was 2.00 a seat. Parking was 2.00. Program was 25 cents, yearbooks a dollar, and those picture packets were still being sold. They were selling the 8×10’s in packets for a while too. Sometimes I would splurge and sit in the field boxes. But at 12 bucks, they were very affordable. That’s where I was sitting when I saw Willie Stargell hit the first ball out of Dodger Stadium. So I have a long history with the team, and a love affair with the game. I read most every baseball book I could find, including, ” The Dodger Way to Play Baseball”, by Al Campanis. I met Wes at a baseball card show. Duke was there too, but up in his suite. Wes got Duke to sign a card for me. I was playing in a country bar back then and had a show coming up, so I gave Wes tickets and he came. It was pretty cool. We kept in touch and he came to another show I did and that’s when I told him about my dream of singing the anthem. Wes helped make that happen. He found out what I needed to do and then personally delivered my tape to the promotions team. Early that year I got a letter and a date to do the anthem. That was 81, the strike year. But as soon as they settled the strike, I got another letter from the Dodgers with my tickets, parking pass, and field pass in it. September 9th, 1981. My girlfriends birthday. Dodgers-Giants. 20 of my friends and family were there. Got to go in the Dodger dugout, Wes was there and introduced me to Manny Mota, Danny Ozark and Tommy. He gave me a ball that a bunch of the guys autographed. Then it was time to go out to center field where they set up the mic in those days. Met Fernando coming in from the bullpen and shook his hand. It was totally the coolest day of my life. After I was finished singing , they took me back around under the pavilion and through the tunnel where the batting cages are and around past the clubhouse, where Rick Sutcliffe signed my ball. And up the elevator and back to my seat. Then the weirdest thing happened. People around me had me signing their scorecards. Some even came to the club I was playing at later. I do not know if you remember her or not, Frances Friedman, she used to sit in CF every game wearing her Dodger jacket and cap, and when the opposing team would start a rally, she would twirl a bag of garlic at them to stop the rally! Total character and a huge Dodger fan. She came down from her seat to shake my hand and tell me that was the best version she had ever heard. Was totally cool. So my affair with the team is over 60 years now. Great memories, some heartache. But at least I have seen them win the big one 5 times. Could have been more, but the baseball gods said no. I still think wins, batting average and fielding percentage mean a lot. And by looking at those stats, and those alone, I can pretty much tell if a player is good or not. I do not need all the garbage that the stat geeks throw around to help me understand the game. Over 60 years and the eye test are good enough for me. Here’s hoping we have a very successful playoff run.
Great story Michael. Thanks for sharing.
You are a True Blue Dodger fan.
I remember those 8×10’s and the 76 portraits. Wish I still had mine.
Sometimes you can find them on ebay. The ones I have are, a Drysdale from 1969 celebrating his scoreless inning streak. Koufax from 1964, Lasorda, Garvey, Scioscia, Russell, Dave Stewart, Sax, Pedro Guererro, Landreaux, Welch, Belanger, Mike Marshall, the OF not the pitcher. Forster, Roenicke, Monday, Derrel Thomas, Howe, Paul Popovich, Ruess and Singer no hitter commemorative, W. Davis 31 game hitting streak, 1959 World Champs, 1963 World Champs, 1965 World Champs, 1981 World Champs, Valenzuela’s’ 81 season, The infield, Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey, Mota’s pinch hit record. Wills 104 stolen bases, the 4 30 homers hitters in 77, Cey, Garvey, Smith and Baker….little tidbit. Baker hit his on the last day of the season off JR Richard. I was there. 2 other guys, Mota and Glenn Burke hit the only homers they hit all year that day. a 10th player salute to the fans. Welch striking out Reggie Jackson in the series, Roy Campanella commemorative with the scene from the night they played the Yankees and Pee Wee wheeled him out onto the field. and the last one from the 77 NL, championship series. The photo pack I got was one where the players names were printed, this was before they started putting their signatures on them, so it has to be around 1960. But I got Gilliam, Roseboro, Podres, Williams, Snider, Wills, Sherry, Moon, Larker, Drysdale, Neal, and Frank Howard. They are all in mint condition. One more story you might enjoy. I went to Mira Costa high school in Manhattan Beach. I made the Jr varsity my freshman year. Well, when we were going through our workouts in February, at batting practice one day this real tall guy took the mound. He was wearing a Dodger cap and just the undershirt you wear under your jersey. It was Joe Moeller. He was an alumni from my school who the Dodgers signed. He pitched for the Dodgers from 1962 until 1971. He was the youngest pitcher to start a game for the Dodgers in their history, 19 yrs, 56 days. His best year was actually his first year. He finished with a 26-36 record. And was out of the game at 28. He was picked by the Astros as a rule 5 pick and then returned to the Dodgers..most he ever made……24,000 in 1971. Anyway, I got in against him and to tell you the truth, I never saw the ball. I was 14 years old at the time. I heard it, but never saw it…..true story.
Michael, sounds awesome. What a treasure. Take care of them. A collection to be proud of.
I Could not help to notice the name Glenn Burke. I’m sure, you being an avid Dodger fan, know about Glenn Burke’s problems, that he encountered.
It really bothered me, when all these professional players (football and basketball) who recently had claimed to be the first to come out, and media ran with it and made these guys folk heroes for the cause. Nobody talks about Glenn Burke, who I think was the real pioneer, and suffered the most. The circumstances really impacted his career. Not a proud moment in Dodger history, and Oakland A’s history… maybe that is why baseball does not talk about it too much.
Oh well, just thought I would mention it.
First openly gay player in the majors. He died in 1995 due to complications from AIDS. Only played 4 years in the bigs. World was different back then. Especially after the AIDS thing started. He was a pretty good base stealer. Had 35 in his career. I had to look up and see who he was traded for. It was Billy North. North did not exactly burn up the place. He hit .234 that year and then was a free agent. They got him more for his defense. He was hitless in the NLCS and not much better in the series against the Yankees. Burke was a genuine American tragedy. Basically after his time in Oakland he was black balled. Never complained about it from what I read. That used to happen. It is kind of like the guys who crossed the picket line during the strike in 94. Tracy Woodson was one of those guys, and the Dodgers player rep, Brett Butler would not talk to him, or shake his hand after a HR. They were pariah’s. They have both the Volpe portraits and the 5×7 pics on ebay. The ones I have are from 1961. Danny Goodman’s idea, and a great one for the younger fans. Another tragedy was the way Willie Davis ended up. He was basically homeless until Lou Johnson and Newcombe found him. The team and community service group ended up helping him get his MLB benefits in order.
Forgot to say, I remember Joe Moeller and that he was a local boy.
I went t to school with Derrel Thomas. I remember when ho got drafted, he came back to Dorsey High, and I saw him in the locker room with his Colt 45 uniform on.
Probably one of the more famous graduates from our school. Had a great fastball. One of my memories of Joe is him serving up a homer to Duke Snider in 1964. Duke was in his last year and playing for the Giants. Duke had been sold by the Mets to SF after the 1963 season. He hit 4 dingers as a Giant.