Final Score: Colorado Rockies, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 11
After much deliberation (by which I mean about ten seconds of uncertainty before making the call), I’ve decided to do this post as a combination recap of Blogger Night and the actual game. There’s going to be a lot more about the former, though.
For the tl;dr amongst you, I’ve bolded the most significant parts.
This is my first year running this blog, so obviously, this is the first time I have qualified to attend the Dodgers’ annual Blogger Night. When I got the invitation a week ago, I was surprised—after all, I’m still trying to find my voice with this blog, and I certainly don’t have the readership of some of the more prominent Dodger blogs out there—but, naturally, I was honored. Even though I go to school on the opposite coast, I am fortunate enough to have parents who realized what a great opportunity this was. So here I am.
Pictured above are President Stan Kasten and General Manager Ned Colletti. They came to our suite before the game to speak with us, fielding our questions in a somewhat informal manner, and responding as candidly as can be expected from the higher-ups in a major sports organization.
I was shocked by how…chill, for lack of a better word, Kasten is in person. He’s forthright about what makes him tick, and he’s clearly enthusiastic about what he does. Among the topics discussed were SportsNet L.A. (there’s not much to report there, but it’s coming along), upcoming offseason renovations (more fan-oriented stuff this time around), the parking situation (it’s been a problem for 50 years and, unfortunately, has no pending solution), and the Dodgers’ playoff chances (basically, any team good enough to get to October scares him, but he knows they’re all scared of the Dodgers as well).
Colletti had a lot of noteworthy things to say about the Dodgers’ approach to building and improving upon their team. The question I asked him (inspired by my pal Amy) was how the new management group changed the way he does business, beyond the financial aspects of it. He said that he works closely with Stan, and they’re in touch several times a day. It’s a “very different dynamic” than he had with the former ownership, but he also said that he “can work within any system.” He went on to talk about the fact that, as a major market team, it’s less jarring that the Dodgers have such a substantial payroll now than it is that they had such a low payroll before the new management took over.
He had a lot more to say about certain international prospects (Alexander Guerrero and Masahiro Tanaka are both on their radar), certain prospects currently in the Dodgers’ farm system (Corey Seager and Julio Urias are particularly exciting ones to watch) and deliberations over the postseason roster (do you take a long man out of the pen? Is speed or a power bat more important in a bench piece?).
Then a few members of the Dodgers’ PR and social media department stopped by to chat a bit. Jon Chapper (the guy behind @DodgersPR—I’m pretty positive I got that name right; my apologies if I didn’t) and Josh Tucker (the guy behind @Dodgers) are cool guys with cool jobs. I asked about the tweetcast they did with Vin Scully and if such a thing would ever happen again. While there are no specific plans for it, it’s something they would very much like to reprise. Other members of the Dodgers’ PR team stopped by to say hi during the game and everyone was so nice. I was very impressed by everyone I talked to, and while that may sound like butt kissing, I mean it sincerely.
As for the social aspect of the evening…what a great group of people that was. I was a little concerned that it might be awkward, as can sometimes happen when a bunch of people “from the internet” meet up with one another, but it really wasn’t. It was just a real fun group of diverse personalities. It’s so good to talk Dodgers baseball with really knowledgable fans. To actually hang out in person with all of these people who devote as much time and energy to thinking about the team as you do…it felt really, really fulfilling.
And oh, yeah, the game! Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 brilliant innings (and as this was a “tuneup” performance, he didn’t go beyond that), shutting out the Rockies on just 4 hits while striking out 8 and walking none. He took a curtain call in the bottom of the 6th when the Dodgers were at bat and it was decided that he would not come out for his scheduled plate appearance. He received a much-deserved roaring standing ovation.
Let’s just take a second to appreciate what Clayton Kershaw has done this year. The most notable and outstanding, of course, is the 1.83 ERA with which he finishes off the season. 1.83! He posted a WHIP of .915, best in the majors, and struck out an NL-leading 232 batters in 236 IP (second in the league to only Adam Wainwright). Regardless of if you prefer Fangraphs or Baseball Reference’s version of WAR, he leads all of MLB pitchers in that category. This may shock you, but it’s hard for me to believe he won’t be the overwhelming winner for the Cy Young Award.
His teammates helped him out by putting on a rout of the Rockies, scoring 11 runs on 15 hits (they also drew 5 walks, and Colorado committed 3 errors). Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford (!!) and A.J. Ellis all hit home runs. Juan Uribe was 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, a walk and a ball that came VERY close to going out. Mark Ellis was 3-for-5.
Yasiel Puig fouled a few balls off his left foot and had to leave the game following the 6th inning. With such a large lead, there was absolutely no point in risking leaving him in. The field was full of scrubs by the game’s end, anyway.
Carlos Marmol (1 K), Chris Capuano (!) (2K’s) and Brandon League combined for three scoreless innings. Only League allowed a hit, a weak comebacker that he could not pick up and throw in time.
Tomorrow, it’s Zack Greinke vs. Juan Nicasio. Game time is 6:10 PM on Prime Ticket.