Jul 09

Crowd control: Before near no-hitter, fans stay away


Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comDodger Stadium at the first pitch.

Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comScene minutes earlier at the corner of Sunset and Elysian Park

The crowd Saturday at the first fan-organized protest against Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt might have been small, though nothing felt as sparse as the inside of Dodger Stadium.

About 75 people gathered at the southeast corner of Sunset Blvd. and Elysian Park Ave., down the hill from the ballpark, in the hour before Saturday’s Dodgers-San Diego Padres game for the “We Take Our Team Back” demonstration, designed to draw more attention to the frustration a number of Dodger fans have with the team ownership situation.

That turnout was less than organizer Roger Arrieta of West Covina, Calif., anticipated, but perhaps reflected a crowd that largely chose to avoid all things Dodgers on a vintage Southern California summer day.

“It’s a step,” said participant Joe Gonzalez of Boyle Heights.

As galvanized as the boycotters were by their protest, they might have been even more heartened by what was happening inside the stadium. The season-long attendance decline, amped by a national TV broadcast of a game originally scheduled for the evening, led to swaths of empty seats for the first pitch, at a level that even the cliche of late-arriving Dodger fans couldn’t explain.

Dodger attendance this season, amid increasing dissatisfaction with ownership and a team that has fallen into last place, is more reliant than ever on discounts just to mitigate the decline, something that wasn’t lost on protester Jesse Delgado of Monrovia, who manned the megaphone with equal parts anger and levity.

“Do not support the McCourts!” chanted Delgado. “Do not fall for his $1 hot dogs!”

Delgado earlier commented that while fan grievances toward McCourt might be well-known, there was an urgency for a solution.

“Our biggest concern as fans is, is it going to be in a timely manner, before (Matt) Kemp and (Andre) Ethier leave as free agents?” Delgado said. “How long can McCourt damage our team?”

Noting the declining attendance, Gonzalez believes that non-Dodger fans should take up the cause.

“The teams back East are used to getting revenue sharing,” he said. “They’re used to getting 40-45,000 a game (at Dodger Stadium). … They should be out here.”

With fans chanting, holding signs and buying and selling anti-McCourt T-shirts, Arrieta monitored reaction to the protest on his cellphone. The rather soft-spoken organizer calmly discussed his amazement at the state of the franchise and its fans.

“I just want to keep drawing more attention at this,” Arietta said. “Frank comes out and says, ‘I just keep doing this for the best interests for the community.’ Does he not see what’s going on?”

Jun 16

Dodger Stadium, 2061

Jon WeismanCh-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

At the Los Angeles Magazine 50th anniversary party Wednesday (deftly chronicled by Michael Schneider at Franklin Avenue), they had a series of covers imagining the magazine in 2061. A sample of one can be seen to the right. It appears that Dodger Stadium will have come full circle by then.

Elsewhere … Eno Sarris of Fangraphs takes a stab at what’s wrong with Chad Billingsley.

For what it’s worth, Billingsley, who has a .379 on-base percentage and .538 slugging percentage in 33 plate appearances, is now the No. 1 hitting pitcher in major-league baseball. Clayton Kershaw is also in the top 10.

Jun 05

Where’s Kempo

Where Matt Kemp ranks among National Leaguers, according to Baseball-Reference.com:

1. – offensive wins above replacement (2.9)
1. – power-speed number (14.5)
1t – RBI (46)
1t – total bases (125)
2. – games played (59)
2. – home runs (15)
2. – slugging percentage (.576)
3. – runs created (49)
3. – win probability added (2.6)
4. – at-bats per home run (14.5)
4t – adjusted OPS (170)
4t – intentional walks (6)
4t – times on base (98)
4t – wins above replacement (2.9)
5. – offensive win percentage (.759)
5. – OPS (.971)
5t – stolen bases (14)
6t – strikeouts (55)
7t – hits (69)
8. – on-base percentage (.395)
8t – extra-base hits (26)
9. – batting average (.318)

Kemp is fifth in the NL in total average (.341), according to Baseball Prospectus. Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness has more on what Kemp could achieve this year.

* * *

  • Fasten your seat belts. Here are the scheduled pitching matchups for the upcoming Philadelphia series:

    Monday – Ted Lilly vs. Cliff Lee
    Tuesday – Rubby De La Rosa vs. Roy Oswalt
    Wednesday – Hiroki Kuroda vs. Cole Hamels

    The Phillies have lost four straight games, two each to Washington and Pittsburgh.

  • Via Baseball Think Factory comes this March 1957 Sports Illustrated piece that is said to be the first mention of “Chavez Ravine” in the magazine. It acknowledges that Walter O’Malley’s primary desire was to stay in Brooklyn, but here’s my favorite line: “It was even suggested that with the coming of the jet age, when the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will be only three or four hours apart, New Yorkers could get to a Dodger game in Chavez Ravine in less time than it now takes to reach Ebbets Field.”

    Conclusion: “The next chapter in the serial will now have to be written by the City of New York some time before next October. Should they fail to get busy, O’Malley and his Dodgers will almost surely head west like so many other overcrowded, ill-housed Easterners. In that event, major league baseball will be a coast-to-coast reality no later than 1960.”

  • Orel Hershiser has joined Steve Garvey’s group that’s interested in purchasing the Dodgers, reports Jill Painter of the Daily News. It’s still not clear what kind of financing the Garvey-Hershiser group would have, because initial reports linking it to billionaire Ron Burkle have been disputed.
  • Red-hot Dodger minor-league reliever Shawn Tolleson (0.63 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings this year) and Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw were groomsmen at each other’s weddings this offseason, notes Inside the Dodgers, which passes on a link to an upcoming Dodgers Magazine feature on the pair.
  • Dennys Reyes, who made his major-league debut with the Dodgers in 1997, is one of 21 players to steal a base in his first game and then never do so again in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Reyes has by far the most appearances of anyone on the list. On July 13, 1997, Reyes walked, went to second on a single, stole third and scored on an error. He pitched six innings that game and got the win, one of 10 in his career as a starting pitcher.
  • Oakland has designated former Dodger Andy LaRoche (.654 OPS) for assignment.
  • Not a Dodger note, but I thought it was cool: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jose Reyes is only the second player since 1926 to have 10 triples by June 4. Willie Wilson in 1985 was the other.
May 18

Dodger Stadium works its way back into being a ballpark

Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.com

Heading from the press box to the club level admissions entrance on the port side of Dodger Stadium, you walk through the recently installed exhibit celebrating the history of the Dodger franchise.

It’s overflowing with mementos so engrossing that you could spend your entire evening inching through the halls. It was also a little too perfect a reminder of what’s at stake when you’re talking about the fate of the team at Chavez Ravine.

I didn’t know what to expect when I came out the other side, minutes after the gates opened to let customers into the ballpark for the first new Giants-Dodgers series since Bryan Stow’s beating in the parking lot March 31. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, other than a vague sense of wanting to capture what it was like.

While I was fairly confident that there wouldn’t be any overt hostilities between Dodger and Giants fans in the hopefully New World Order of Sanity, I did recognize the possibility of a heightened level of wariness among the ticket-holding people.

What caught me off guard was how mellow it was. How completely quiet.

Outside of the disembodied, prerecorded voice of Vin Scully, recalling animatronic Abraham Lincoln at Disneyland as he recited the rules of good behavior, there was such tranquility in the air. I don’t mean just, “Hey, we’re not at each other’s throats.” I mean a place where you could let out that deep breath that you’ve been holding since McCourt, since Stow, since the offense disappeared.

The way you’re supposed to feel at the ballpark.

Emphasis on park. Early morning rain had given way to perfect May billows of clouds. The temperature was ideal. A cotton-candy evening. Grab a spot and sit a spell.

Yes, there were more police, on foot and on horseback and on Segway, but they chatted amiably like they were at the county fair. Fans strolled.  They saunted. They perambulated.

On nights like this, you remember that Dodger Stadium sells itself, if you just let it.

I continue circumnavigating the globe, as it were, working my around the back of the outfield pavilions and heading up along the right-field side, past Loge, past Club. I see a couple, the man wearing an SF cap on his white hair, and I engage them in neighborly conversation.

“We came to a game the same series [as the Stow incident],” recalls Richard Tetu, a San Francisco transplant now residing in Pasadena, “and I deliberately didn’t wear [the cap].”

What changed? Smiling at his wife, he says, “She called me a wuss.”

Says Linda Tetu, a Dodger fan with her L.A. cap: “These people [around us] were all decked out in orange.”

But in addition to becoming more courageous, Richard, who brought Linda to Wednesday night’s game for free using the Dodgers’ promotion for military veterans, realized there was less reason for fear now.

“We knew the security would be better,” he said, noting that he has been following the story raptly since it began, “and we knew the crowds would be smaller.”

For Los Angeles resident Carlos Flores, a Giants fan from the days of Will Clark — “not Barry Bonds; Will Clark” — there was a sense of patient bemusement at all the fuss. A regular attendee decked in a Giants jersey, he’s already been to a few Giants-Dodgers games this year. He never lost sight of why.

“I think too much was made of it, but they had to put a stop to it,” Flores said of the abusive fans. “They’re not here for the game. They’re here for the violence.”

Now, one can believe, or at least hope, that violence is off the menu. (You know, like the Cool-a-Coo. Or like an evil Cool-a-Coo.)

We, the people of Dodger Stadium, had to start over. We had to stop being held captive by our basest fans. We had to find our way back to the way a ballgame was supposed to feel. It’s come at an egregious, horrific price, a man in a coma, the lives of his family in suspended animation. Many fans are still staying home. Those that remain are still impatient with the performance of the team and utterly exhausted by its owner.  The bitterness is legitimate, but it’s not a weapon to be used on the game itself, or on each other.

Wednesday night, as the Giants pushed their first run across the plate, you could hear cheers. I was back in the press box, having long since completed my around-the-stadium in .08 days walk. I can only hope that the cheers by one group were met with nothing worse than jeers from the other. I can only hope that when the game ends, after I publish this piece, the fans’ journey to the parking lot will be the safe, exhaling stroll it was when they came in.

But unlike before March 31, I can believe. I can believe that people remember that it’s a game. At a ballpark.

The foundation for Dodger Stadium’s rebirth has been laid. Now, we just need the team to catch up.

Apr 07

Momentum builds for greater Dodger Stadium security presence

Welcome back to Turning Point Central. A week after the beating of Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and a day after the Dodgers hired William Bratton, the charge against stadium violence has gone full speed ahead.

A security presence once deemed unfeasible is now considered indispensable:

… Calling the incident an “absolute abomination,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday: “We are investigating this matter around the clock and take this horrific crime very, very seriously.”

The mayor and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck held a news conference Thursday and vowed a bigger police presence at Dodgers games, starting with the next home game in a week against the Cardinals.

“You are going to see a sea of blue. And it’s not going to be Dodger blue. It’s gonna be LAPD blue,” Beck said.

Beck asked the team to pay for the deployment of uniformed officers and was negotiating the amount with team officials.

Beck declined to estimate how much the extra personnel would cost or how many officers would be deployed but said he would spare no expense to ensure public safety at Dodger Stadium.

“Well, up until this incident, we try to let venues take care of their own security, you know, if they’re unable to do that then I do it,” Beck said. “And so, I will make decision about how many Los Angeles police officers are deployed in and around, and I emphasize around, Dodger Stadium, based on public safety needs.”

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said the club will cover the overtime costs.

“People will be awed by the response of the Los Angeles Police Department to this because we will not suffer this as a city again,” Beck said. “People have a right to enjoy the American pastime and we are going to assure that right.” …

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com takes an extensive look at the Giants’ security approach for AT&T Park.

Apr 06

Dodgers hire former L.A. police chief Bratton for security

Former L.A. police chief William J. Bratton has been hired by the Dodgers to assess and consult on security needs for Dodger Stadium and its parking lots. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the details:

… Bratton presently serves as chairman of Kroll, a company described by its website as “the world’s leading risk consulting company.” According to a release issued by the Dodgers, Bratton will be assisted in his work for the Dodgers by a team from Kroll.

“Bill Bratton is widely credited with spearheading modern community policing in America,” Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said in the release. “There is no one better to lead a top-to-bottom review of our current practices and make recommendations to be implemented now and into the future. … We are committed to ensuring that Dodger Stadium remains a family-friendly environment for all baseball fans.”

Bratton, 63, was chief of the LAPD from 2002 until his resignation in 2009. He previously served as commissioner of both the New York and Boston police departments. …

This marks a step that could provide some optimism about a problem that isn’t going to be solved overnight. You need tangible, creative, real actions, and you need to be able to sell them to a wary public. The hiring of Bratton doesn’t guarantee anything, but it increases the chances on both fronts.

Apr 06

Vigil tonight for Bryan Stow and against fan violence

Many of us are hoping that somehow, what happened to Bryan Stow becomes a turning point in the problem of fan violence. Here’s an example of some Southern Californians showing some initiative:

A community vigil in support of Bryan Stow, the victim of a beating in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after last week’s opening game, is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles County Medical Center.

The vigil’s grass-roots sponsors, which include the Garfield High School Healthy Start Collaborative, East Los Angeles Prevention Project and the Latino Equality Alliance, are supporting Stow’s recovery while also taking a stand against the violence of his attack. Stow has been in a medically induced coma for the past several days.

He suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain’s frontal lobes, Dr. Gabriel Zada, a neurosurgeon, said Tuesday.

At one point, doctors had to remove the entire left side of his skull to ease pressure on his brain. The pressure is now normal but Stow remains in a coma from his injuries and from sedation to reduce his brain activity, Zada said.

“There is evidence of brain injury and dysfunction,” Zada said.

It was reported Tuesday that Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, sent a text message while inside the stadium to family indicating that he was scared of what might happen to him.

“In response to this tragic event and to show our support for the victim, we call upon all community leaders, Dodgers fans and Angelinos to stand in solidarity with Giants fans and the family of Bryan Stow against any form of violence,” said a statement on the vigil’s Facebook page. “We call upon our community leaders to address this growing problem with our urban youth and young adults. We need to evaluate and respond to the issue of alcohol and substance abuse association with community violence.”

Organizers said a press conference would follow the vigil.

The L.A. County Supervisors, the L.A. City Council, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants and Stow’s employer, American Medical Response, have led contributions to a reward now totaling $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the individuals who inflicted the beating on Stow, a paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Giants announced Tuesday that “The Bryan Stow Fund” had been established through the San Francisco Police Credit Union. Donations can be made and further information can be found at www.sfpcu.org.

Here’s more of the latest news on Stow, a combined report by wire services and ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Tony Jackson.

* * *

  • Jim Murray on Jim Gilliam, 50 years ago today (via the Daily Mirror):

    … You might say Jim is with the Dodgers but not of them. The distinction is important. He starts every season in the dugout. He sleeps every night with his bag packed at his feet and rumors of a trade swirling around in his dreams. He lives his life in a kind of limbo midway between the Dodgers and the rest of the National League.

    Then the season starts and some “phenom” begins to leak at the seams, the stuffing oozing out of him at every trip to the plate. The manager sets a hysterical search amid the bat bags, locker room towels and press clippings of his wunderkind — and there sits Jim Gilliam, waiting. …

    When the Dodgers came to L.A., they brought Jim along with all the enthusiasm of a man asking his mother-in-law on the honeymoon. They had a hot-shot third baseman named Dick Gray, and began to offer Gilliam around like a claiming horse until Gray began to leak like a sieve in the field and strike out on balls the catcher couldn’t get his glove on.

    Gilliam became a third baseman and the Dodgers became World Champions …

  • Here’s a really nice column on the passing of a TV insider by Variety’s Brian Lowry.

    … His most memorable line is a cautionary one I’ve quoted for years — one that addresses the way coveted Hollywood promotions are often fraught with peril: “The best job you’ll ever have,” he said, “is the one that precedes the one you always wanted.” …

Apr 01

Impact of banners flies south


ESPN’s Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine recap the Dodgers’ win over the Giants. Note in the video that Matt Kemp is already standing on third base in the sixth inning when Buster Posey’s throw is just coming into the picture.

A final thought about airplanes flying banners. When I see them high above the Pacific Ocean at the beach, advertising this or that, they pretty much have no impact on me.  It’s hard for me to believe it was any different with the banners (as pictured on Vin Scully Is My Homeboy) flew over Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

Elsewhere …

  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs is pretty much in awe of Clayton Kershaw at this point. Colleague Dave Allen has more on Kershaw’s hard slider.
  • Dodger fans offer Frank McCourt advice, via Molly Knight of ESPN the Magazine.
  • Here’s one more installment of the LADodgerTalk interview series with Logan White. Lots of Rubby De La Rosa discussion.
  • Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes about Ron Mahay, whose release by the Dodgers might mark the last we see of replacement players from the 1994-95 strike.
  • Eric Nusbaum’s profile on former Dodger talkcaster Ken Levine is in the Seattle Weekly.
  • After 1,759 career hits, Randy Winn retired, bucking some expectations by never playing for Ned Colletti in Los Angeles.
  • How Justine Siegel almost threw batting practice for the Dodgers last month. Maybe it will still work out at some point.
  • Greg Simons of the Hardball Times takes a turn on the annual “Five questions” feature on the Dodgers.
Apr 01

An inexcusable act at Dodger Stadium

One incident of violence at Dodger Stadium is one too many.

Los Angeles police are looking for two men who beat and critically injured a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the opening day game.

Sgt. Sanford Rosenberg says two men in Dodgers clothing followed three men in Giants gear as they walked to their car after Thursday night’s 2-1 Dodger victory.

Rosenberg says the attackers yelled slurs against the Giants and began kicking and punching the men.

One victim suffered a head injury and was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

Rosenberg says the injury is not life-threatening.

“It is extremely unfortunate that this incident took place on what was otherwise a great day at Dodger Stadium for tens of thousands of fans,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “We’re committed to having the most fan and family friendly environment in baseball and will continue to make that a top priority. We are cooperating fully with authorities during their investigation and we wish this fan a speedy recovery.”

Investigators don’t have the identities of the suspects and are asking anyone with information on the attack to call police.

I really lack the words to describe my feelings of how disturbing this is.  There absolutely has to be zero tolerance. It’s just appalling. Even though I’m not responsible, as a Dodger fan it’s hard not to feel shame, let alone regret.

Just a thought, but maybe it’s seriously time, maybe at the start of the eighth inning when people have consumed most of their liquor (alcohol sales stop after the seventh inning), for Dodger Stadium officials to pause during games against the Giants and remind fans — with a new public address announcement and scoreboard message — that we’re here to win, not to maim. Because even if 55,997 fans know this to be true, we still need to get the message to the other three.

People get the advisories about fan behavior in the first inning, but that’s a long time and a lot of beers in the past — plus, those advisories focus on in-stadium behavior, and could leave the impression to a few people that the parking lot is some kind of demilitarized zone.

I’m not blaming the Dodger organization, whose Opening Day otherwise was quite successful — just offering a suggestion. I’m open to others. I realize you can’t prevent all crime from happening, but this is starting to seem like an annual event, and I’m not sure we’re at the limit of measures to be taken. The game needs to remain a game, not a war.

Mar 08

March 8 game chat

Enter, stage left …

  • Buster Posey will make $575,000 next season, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Hardball Talk). That’s $75,000 more than Clayton Kershaw despite more than a year less in service time. I understand that Posey is underpaid with regards to pure talent, but I’m a little surprised he got that nice a raise.
  • Don Mattingly told reporters this morning that James Loney and Jamey Carroll are expected to return to game action Wednesday.
  • Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness is the latest blogger to be interviewed by Howard Cole of Baseball Savvy. Petriello was a huge contributor to the 2010 Maple Street Press Dodgers Annual, and one of the main reasons I was sorry Maple Street chose not to do one again this year.
  • Evan Bladh Sr. of Opinion of Kingman’s Performance has a healthy post on an obscure but memorable record: Rod Carew stealing home on seven straight attempts in 1969.
  • The Onion posts too many great headlines to consistently track, but I couldn’t let this one go: “Jim Joyce Accidentally Deletes Book He’s Writing With Armando Galarraga.”
  • Five-time Oscar nominee King Vidor wrote to Jim Murray about deplorable Dodger Stadium bathrooms in 1974. Letters of Note has the full text.

* * *

Dodgers at Brewers, 12:05 p.m.

The Dodgers also had a B game this morning against the Mariners.

Mar 02

Treble was I ere I saw Elbert

Royals 11, Dodgers 5

Highlights:

  • Tim Redding pitched three shutout innings, giving him five for the spring with three strikeouts.
  • James Loney went 2 for 2.
  • Relievers Ramon Troncoso and Carlos Monasterios pitched shutout ball.
  • Jamie Hoffmann (1 for 2) is now, like Loney, 4 for 8 this spring.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run.

Lowlights:

  • Scott Elbert had a nightmare outing, walking four of the five batters he faced. From Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.:

    … With assistant GM of player development DeJon Watson in the broadcast booth with Charley Steiner, Elbert was missing the strike zone every which way. Elbert came in the game in relief of Jon Link in the fifth inning, then pitched into the sixth. Watson spoke of how Elbert got more consistent in his delivery over the winter, and was able to show two dominant pitches in the Arizona Fall League, but as those words were being spoken Elbert was missing the strike zone quite often. Elbert faced five batters, and walked four of them. He threw 21 pitches, only five of them for strikes.

    On the broadcast, one could hear Watson rooting for Elbert, the Dodgers’ 2009 minor league pitcher of the year, even as he was struggling. Watson said Elbert has great stuff that is “electric through the strike zone,” and Watson seemed to take Elbert’s outing in stride. “He’s having a tough outing today, but I think you’ll see better outings from Mr. Elbert in the future,” Watson said. Elbert better hope so; he has faced 10 batters this spring, and walked six of them. He did strike out two, and the other two batters didn’t hit the ball out of the infield, but Elbert needs to show some control before he even sniffs the 25-man roster. …

  • Jon Link was charged with three runs while getting two outs; Luis Vasquez was charged with four runs while getting three outs.
  • Aaron Miles had a double but made his second error of the spring.
  • Xavier Paul struck out twice, dropping to 1 for 8 this exhibition season.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run.

Sidelights:

  • Clayton Kershaw, not yet eligible for arbitration, signed his one-year 2011 contract for the expected figure of $500,000. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details.  In fact, every man on the 40-man roster has now been signed for 2011, with Ronald Belisario having his contract renewed and then getting placed on the restricted list.
  • The adventures of Dee Gordon, again courtesy of Mr. Stephen:

    There was a funny moment in the fifth inning, when Mike Moustakas lofted a foul pop near the photography well adjacent to the back of the Dodger dugout. Aaron Miles was in pursuit of the ball, but Dee Gordon, who was not in the game and sitting on the steps of the dugout, tried to evade Miles by moving out of the dugout. Instead, Gordon got the way of Miles, who was unable to make the catch. Watson, who was in the booth with Charley Steiner, could be heard saying something like, “Jesus criminey” or something to that effect.

  • Remarkable: Larry Granillo researched “Peanuts” comic strips for Baseball Prospectus and found Duke Snider was mentioned twice (once with Willie Mays, once with a host of players), compared to three mentions for Mickey Mantle and Mays combined, once for Mantle alone and four times for Mays alone (including the famous spelling bee episode).
  • James Loney fares a bit below average in David Pinto’s defensive statistical rankings of first basemen from 2006-10 at Baseball Musings.
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven posted photos of the new grass being installed at Dodger Stadium.
  • Charlie Sheen meets Ron Swanson x John Wooden: The Sheen Pyramid of Greatness.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run. From Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

    When he left the game after five innings and returned to the clubhouse, this note was posted on the bulletin board:

    “Juan Castro: Please report to [Dodgers trainer] Stan Conte after the game for a mandatory steroid test.”

Update: Jackson writes about Castro and Elbert.

Feb 25

Think this shade of blue

These 1940s Brooklyn road uniforms will be worn by the Dodgers at six midweek day games in 2011.

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

From the Dodgers:

Each of the games will feature half-price food and drink, including alcoholic beverages, for the first time ever at Dodger Stadium, with a special half-price six-game ticket plan available for fans who want to attend each of the games.

Nearly 50,000 votes were cast at dodgers.com/throwback with the winning uniform edging out the 1911 road uniform by less than 2,000 votes.

Though the original uniform worn in the 1940s was made of a highly reflective satin fabric to make it more visible under the lights for night games, the throwback jerseys will maintain a similar feel as those worn by the Dodgers throughout the 2011 season.