Friday, July 31, 2009

Now What? Indians Trade Martinez Before His Bobblehead Night

On the trading deadline, the Cleveland Indians traded their catcher, Victor Martinez, to the Boston Red Sox for several young arms. The transaction wasn't out of the ordinary until you realize that tomorrow game against the Detroit Tiger is Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night at Progressive Field. It is true that only in Cleveland would something like this happen to baseball fans. I have never seen this happen in my life.

Now my only question is what are they going to do with that 40,000 or so bobbleheads? Are they going to pass them out as part, so kids could put Victor next to his catcher's mitt giveaway and the Cliff Lee bobblehead they got from earlier this season? Or are they just going to scrap it and have some employees flip them for great money on eBay, making them an awesome rare collectible?

My idea is this: Since the Red Sox and Indians have similar colors on their uniforms, why not package those bobbleheads along with Victor as offer them as part of the trade. The Red Sox employees can slap a team logo on the helmet of the doll and distribute them in a Fenway giveaway night to welcome him to town. The final line will show this: Justin Masterson, Bryan Price and Nick Hagadone for Victor Martinez and 43,000 bobbleheads.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Photo Credits: APCasey Blake wants to join the party, too. There have been a lot of heroics by the Dodgers this season. They are 20-9 in one-run games, and have won 10 games in their final at-bat. What is even more impressive is that Blake has been struggling at the plate this homestand and was held hitless for the game until his bloop single in shallow right field that scored the winning run.

As the Dodgers batted in the bottom of the ninth, the usual suspects were trying to create another comeback. Everyone on the top of the lineup batting before Blake has recently done something clutch for the team. It was fitting that it was Blake was able to deliver the hit, especially when many who were watching the game probably thought that Manny or Andre Ethier was going to get the game-winning hit. At least for tonight, they took a backseat to this underappreciated third baseman named Casey.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

...The Impossible Has Happened: Manny Ramirez Edition

Photo Credits: AP"This is more Hollywood than Hollywood! No wait, you're right, it's Mannywood."
-Vin Scully

Were you there tonight? If you were at the stadium for Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, you were in for an amazing treat and great moment in Dodgers baseball history. In front of a soldout crowd, the ultimate Hollywood (or should I just say Mannywood) story was written before our eyes.

After getting hit in the hand in last night's game, Ramirez was unable to start due to a bruised hand. That is right. Manny was unable to start or maybe even play on his own bobblehead night. However, in all of our minds, we knew that he was going to pinch hit in a key situation. Now, this is where the story becomes really improbable.

Joe Torre chose to bat the pitcher 8th tonight, which he does quite often. The Reds managed to tie the game at 2 in the top of the sixth inning, but Bronson Arroyo loaded the bases by walking Russell Martin with the pitcher's spot coming up. Pretty much everyone in the stadium knew that Manny was going to come off the bench and at least hit a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run. He looked uncomfortable all night sitting on the bench, and also went into the tunnel on one occasion, to probably hit in the batting cage. Reds manager, Dusty Baker, had a double-switch and brought in Nick Masset in relief of Arroyo. With nowhere to put Manny, everyone knew Masset would have to pitch to him. The atmosphere was intense, almost like a playoff game. The sellout crowd was the loudest it has ever been all season, and that includes the amazing World Baseball Classic Final. To a standing ovation, Manny hit Masset's first offering straight to the Mannywood section. Right after that, the crowd just erupted and everyone went crazy, high-fiving and hugging everyone next to them.

My friend and I have often called the impossible moments in sports, "Bullshit Moments". I classify this one, a 9 points out of 10 on the "BS" meter. How could it be that Manny would be unable to start the game due to an injury, come up to pinch hit for the pitcher with the bases loaded, and hit a first-pitch grand slam on his own bobblehead giveaway night? Also, he provided what proved to be the difference in the game. Masset has given up only 2 home runs all year. I believe that Dennis Eckersley gave up 5 homers all year in 1988 before he gave up the one to Kirk Gibson in the world series. Of course, Manny was no where as injured as Gibson was, and this wasn't in the playoffs. Either way, this was still a special game. And this team is definitely special. I haven't seen so many "Bullshits" in one season since the "Rally Monkey" Angels who won the World Series in the early 2000s.

One more thing to note. I am sure the Dodgers fans just shut up Bill Plaschke for his constant Manny-bashing since the end of his 50-game suspension. Did you see the fans cheer for Manny and the Dodgers? Did you see how happy Manny was when he hit the slam and the fans went crazy? Bill, I hope you enjoyed this one! I will certainly enjoy my Manny bobblehead!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kemp 4, Astros 3

Photo Credits: APRarely can you say that one guy singlehandedly won the game in the sport of baseball, but Matt Kemp showed that his career-high 4 runs were enough to take the final game of the series against the Houston Astros. Ever since being put into the Final Vote ballot, Kemp has been impressing fans on both sides of the ball. Today, he went 3-3, stole a base, scored 3 runs, and hit the game winning home run on the bottom of the 8th, allowing the Dodgers to fuel another comeback and win another one-run game. His homer was a massive blast to left-center, measuring about 450 feet.

The bottom of the lineup did all of the damage for the Comeback Kids. Andre Ethier, Brad Ausmus, and Kemp accounted for all of the team's hits. Ausmus had 2 timely doubles and 2 RBI filling in very well defensively and offensively for Russell Martin. Hiroki Kuroda looked very shaky in 5 innings of work, as his pitches weren't fulling anyone in the Astros lineup. He was fortunate not to give up more than the 3 runs he gave up in the 3rd inning.

It was another hot day at the ballpark, as I kept drinking a lot of fluids to keep from getting heatstroke. But I was glad to finally witness a late-inning comeback in person. This is my 3rd blog posting about Matt Kemp, so I might as well be joining the Kemp and also the Clayton Kershaw fan club.

Speaking of Clayton, he had another magnificent pitching performance last night, picking up his 5th straight win with his 7 shutout innings. By far, these two youngsters have carried the load for this team for the past month. Kershaw has given up 4 earned runs in the past 7 outtings (42-2/3 innings). In that same stretch, Chad Billingsley has not won a game in 6 tries, including losing 2 of them, and allowing 25 earned runs in the last 33-1/3 innings. Very interesting numbers to consider for fans and observers.

Anyways, I will be at the game tomorrow to watch the return of Jason Schmidt, our highest paid player in the pitching rotation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Are Now Entering Mannywood

Tonight was Manny Ramirez first home game since his 50 game suspension. Unfortunately, there wasn't too much to talk about, at least on the Dodgers side. The Blue Crew was shutout by the Houston Astros pitching staff despite having 8 base hits.

Manny received a standing ovation each time he went up to bat. Most of the fans in the pavilions and Mannywood remained standing and showed their support for the slugger when he took the field for defense. He looked very appreciative and acknowledged the crowd whenever they were chanting. The Los Angeles sportsfan treats their star athletes with a lot of respect and admiration. This was certainly the case tonight. It seemed more like a player coming back from an injury than from a huge suspension. The fans didn't forget Juan Pierre, who also received a standing ovation from the crowd when he came up to pinch hit.

I got to sit in Mannywood with my friend. While it definitely not my first time sitting next to the Dodgers bullpen, it was certainly special to be there on Manny's return. In addition to being poster-giveaway night, the whole Mannywood section was given free Mannywood tshirts to signal the return of Manny and the Mannywood seats. A very nice gesture, as the organization showed a lot of appreciation for the fans.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Manny Meets Mantle, Kemp Does Mays Impression

Yesterday's game against the Brewers, Manny Ramirez tied Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list, but that was not the only historical homage that would happen. If you read my previous post, I praised Matt Kemp's amazing week. After hitting a grand slam in the top of the 10th last night, he did his best impression of Willie Mays in the bottom of the 10th to end the game and prevent a disastrous night from Jonathan Broxton.

Here is the picture of the catch taken from Orel's blog on Sons of Steve Garvey. Remember, he had his back to the flyball. Enjoy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Matt Kemp, Where Amazing Happens

A couple days after losing the MLB Final Vote and being snubbed by Charlie Manuel, Matt Kemp is showing the nation where amazing happens. Though he isn't an elite player just yet, Kemp has been playing on an impressive and all-star caliber level for the past week.

Just to illustrate how much of a tear Kemp is actually on, here is what Kemp has been doing on the roadtrip: He has a 7-game hitting streak, batting .556 (15-27) with 1HR and 9 RBIs. Also, Kemp has 5 multi-hit games during the roadtrip. In the past 3 games, he has gotten 9 hits in 12 official at-bats (.750).

Tonight, Kemp went 3 for 5 with a grand slam in the top of 10th, which proved to be the difference in the game. In the bottom of the 10th, he ended the game with a Willie Mays-esque basket catch running towards the center field warning track, preventing an extra base hit.

Now, my question is will Raul Ibanez play in the All-Star game? Also, if he doesn't play, will Manuel pick Kemp to fill in? Gut feeling he will not pick Kemp even if Ibanez sits out.