Time to cue up the Randy Newman and the Danny Kaye, the Dodgers won a heck of a game today. I was hoping to watch it on ESPN, which I did for the first inning, until the Comcast realized their error and cut out the game seconds before Kent’s homer. So, it was back to my two favorite announcers, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. Tried to get KABC on Gameday Audio, but that didn’t work, so no Scully for me today.
There was a lot to like in today’s game. Although he still looks a little slowed by the hamstring problem, Jeff Kent did not disappoint. Blake DeWitt is making me hope Colletti gives the phone a rest for a while. Although Andre Ethier didn’t have a good offensive game today (or any offensive game at that), his defense was what kept the Giants scoreless, snagging Aaron Rowand’s single to left and firing it to hold the runners at the corners. Matt Kemp and Rafael Furcal came up big too, especially Furcal’s future Web Gem, swiping a grounder with his back to the plate and gunning it to first in time for the out.
A key point in this game for me, and a testament to how Torre does business, was in the top of the eighth. Scott Proctor started the inning after relieving Penny with two outs in the seventh. The first batter, Giants rookie Bocock, got a free trip to first after a four pitch walk. Torre immediately left the dugout, and Proctor had this surprised, are-you-effin’-serious?!! look on his face. Five seconds later, he was gone. Surprising, since Proctor was Torre’s workhorse for 3 years on the Yankees before he was traded here for Betemit. Not that I thought Torre would’ve let him walk the bases loaded or anything, but I would’ve thought his rope would’ve been at least a little longer considering that history. If anyone still had doubts about Torre’s ability to put the best team on the field, this should’ve quashed them.
I’m sure I’ll get dirty looks wearing my Dodgers jersey on campus, though the fact it’s a Jackie Robinson jersey seems to get more respect than, say, a Drysdale jersey (Krukow and Kuiper still go on about how Drysdale “cheated” by rubbing shoestrings on the laces and whatever else). I would’ve worn it even if we lost, but now it’ll be a lot sweeter.
During today’s final exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Red Sox, Charley Steiner was talking about it being a sleepless night, for the likely Opening Day 3B starter Blake DeWitt, for the people working for baseball teams who have put in an entire offseason dedicated to the new season, and the fans/fanatics who are in anticipation of a new season they’ve been waiting for since the last outs of September and October.
I’m in that last category, since it’s 4:19 AM on March 31st, and I’m still awake. Opening Day is my favorite day of the year. I remember many seasons of going to the stadium with my family, the bunting all over the stadium and the giant flags that stretched the entire infield during the National Anthem. Now, I doubt I can get Opening Day tickets if I tried, but it doesn’t matter, being 400 miles away from Dodger Stadium. Yet, thanks to the Internet, I can listen to Vin Scully call the first 3 innings, which I do even if the game’s on T.V., picking a 45 second delay over hearing Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow cracking themselves up drawing on fans with a telestrator.
So yeah, I’m psyched for another season of Dodger blue, happy to see Andre Ethier in LF, and at the same time hoping Juan Pierre isn’t taking it too hard, as they had to put the best team on the field, and with his Spring Training performance, he isn’t at that level yet. I’m still getting used to seeing Joe Torre in a Dodger uniform, but I like it. He seems to have a good effect on all who come in contact with him. When he put his arms around Frank McCourt and Ned Coletti at his introductory press conference, it looked like he had been here for years, and that was a feeling I haven’t felt since Tommy was in charge.
Although the new season begins with uncertainty, I’m certain that this team is in position to exceed what was accomplished (or not accomplished) last season. It seems like the divisiveness of last year’s clubhouse is gone, and Joe’s got them all playing for the name on front of the jersey. And after 20 years, I’m ready to see the Dodgers go farther than the first round in October, and I think they’re ready, too.