Jan 25

Remembering Christina-Taylor Green

APChristina-Taylor Green

On the morning of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ emotional resignation from the House, I checked in on the website in memory of Christina-Taylor Green, Dodger scout John Green’s 9-year-old daughter who died in the mass shooting that severely wounded Giffords.

Here’s what the memorial foundation has been up to:

At the time The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation (C-TGMF) was being formed, The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) held funds in Christina-Taylor’s name. CFSA provided a way to capture the outpouring of love that we felt from our community, many other parts of the nation, and the world.

As CFSA handled the financial oversight of the donations, they provided time for the new foundation to define its mission and initial goals. Before the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation’s 501c3 status was finalized, CFSA funded several projects, including upgrading the technology at Mesa Verde Elementary and Cross Middle schools with SMART Boards, Physical Education equipment, computers and arts programs.

In conjunction with The Allstate Foundation, The Christina-Taylor Green Little Hands Playground was built at Mesa Verde Elementary School, an outdoor space open to students and to neighborhood residents.

Several other contributors participated in the completion of the playground. Community volunteers provided help with construction. Donations were provided by The Little Tikes Corporation, The Sundt Foundation and The JohnJay and Rich Care For Kids Foundation. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health also partnered on building the project by, among other things, getting design ideas for the nearly 2,000-square-foot play area from Christina-Taylor’s classmates. For details about the playground and its dedication, read more at AZStarnet.

Before school started in August, our foundation partnered with Tierra Antigua Real Estate to collect school supplies and backpacks. Hollaway Elementary and Drexel Elementary schools were the recipients of these items.

“Stuff the Hummers”, our last project of 2011, was a huge success. C-TGMF partnered with Team up for Tucson to benefit The Salvation Army in their annual toy collection for Tucson area children in need. Not only did we surpass all goals for toys donated,  we also collected 125 bikes, setting a new record of 10,000 toys/bikes.  Our foundation and its volunteers look forward to a long term partnership with Team up for Tucson in hopes of breaking records every year so we can continue to help our local Salvation Army provide toys for needy children in the Tucson Area.

The C-TGMF will be issuing a call for Grant Proposals in the spring of 2012, and we hope to fund multiple small projects. The goal is to give out approximately $50,000 in grant money for projects that will help carry out the mission of the foundation:

The mission of the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation is to honor the life and memory of Christina-Taylor through charitable and educational projects that reflect and embody her interests, values and dreams.

Earlier this month, on the anniversary of the shooting, Karina Bland of the Arizona Republic wrote movingly about Christina’s survivors, including mother Roxanna and friend Suzi Hileman, who had taken Christina to meet Giffords.

… “Suzi is a dear friend and neighbor,” Green says. “I want Suzi to heal. I don’t want to bring any more sadness to her.”

Each woman has a strong network of friends, but they circle back to one another. A glass of wine. Coffee. Lunch. They live blocks apart.

At times when Green wants to cry, or shout, or rant without someone hushing her, or trying to fix what is upsetting her, she turns to Hileman: “If I need to whine, I go to her house.” Hileman does the same.

There is no comforting them: Christina-Taylor is dead, and nothing anyone can do can change that.

“We both get it because we both went through it,” Green says.

A year later, Green still cries most days. Time hasn’t changed that. …

Here are some pictures of Christina.

Oct 09

Stuff and such

Slow news day? Not for these folks …

  • Former Dodger outfielder Mike Marshall was relieved of the general manager job with the independent North American League’s Chico Outlaws, who have an uncertain future because of their stadium lease, reports Travis Souders of the Chico Enterprise-Record (via Baseball Think Factory). Marshall’s wife Mary, the assistant general manager, was also pink-slipped. “With everything up in the air, it’s not fair to Mike or Mary to keep them in Chico and running the team when we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen with the stadium, first and foremost,” league commissioner Kevin Outcalt said.
  • Dodger assistant trainer Todd Tomczyk has left to become head trainer with the Pirates. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has details.
  • Evan Bladh writes at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance about “the King of Infield Conversions,” former Dodger coach Monty Basgall.
  • Justine Siegel had Christina Taylor Green on her mind when she wrote about her graduation from MLB Scout School.
  • “Shoeless Joe” author W.P Kinsella has released his first novel in 13 years, “Butterfly Winter.” Eric Volmer of the Calgary Herald (also via BTF) talked to Kinsella.
  • Fresh off their great interview with Bryan Cranston, the Kamenetzky brothers have another baseball-entertainment broadcast with actor and Tigers fan J.K. Simmons.
Mar 25

Tragedy and survival

Just after 7 a.m. Tuesday, I got in my car for a three-minute drive to our neighborhood bagel store. As I moved into the left-turn lane, a many-wheeled truck was lolling the opposite direction past the driveway of the mini-mall parking lot. And then, just as I began to make my left turn, the truck driver suddenly put his truck into reverse, blocking the driveway before I could get through.

I was on the wrong side of the street, perpendicular to traffic, with nowhere to go and a car coming at me at regular speed from about 75 yards away.

I threw my car into reverse in the middle of the boulevard to get out of the oncoming car’s way, and lived to breathe for another day.

* * *

Today in Tucson, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will gather to play a baseball game in memory of those killed in the January 8 mass shooting in Tucson and to raise money for the Tucson Together Fund, sanctioned to assist victims, families and witnesses of tragedy.

Spirits will be heightened, but I imagine they will also be high. They’ve wrapped this day around a game, after all. It’s going to be a day where life is celebrated, even in death’s immense shadow.

The best antidote to sadness is the argument that things will get better, and short of that, to find happiness in the moments that follow, and short of that, to just find meaning. But there’s no throwing tragedy into reverse. The players and the fans will go home, will go on with their lives. The survivors will go forward into their suffering. They walk a different path.

* * *

My first depression of note came when I was in college, though it was mild by any serious standard. It was over a girl, a girl I never really had but just seemed so perfect. No, not so perfect, but so right. And in order to make sense of why she didn’t want me, I started weighing the conclusion that there might be no reason anyone would want me.

Over the next couple of years, the stakes seemed to increase. I dated, but there would be times a girl would reject me and it would just devastate me, and I truly, truly feared that I was going to spend my life alone. My biggest breakup of all, in my mid-20s, pulverized me.  I walked through life with a constant weight in my head for a couple of years. I bought books on depression. I sought therapy. It felt like the end of the world, and yet this was with the full knowledge that no one had died. It seemed so likely to me that things would be worse before they would get better.

People told me that I was being too negative. “You’re a good person. You’ll be fine.” I just had to rebuild my self-esteem, they said. I had to like myself again before anyone else could like me. But they didn’t know. They didn’t know like I did.

Each miserable day seemed eternal, and yet within five years, I did rebuild, and I met the woman I would marry.

You’d think that have taught me a lesson but good, but I can still struggle with a positive outlook, to this day. Despite my best efforts, my household outlives its means, and I cannot seem to find a solution. It weighs on me repeatedly. It doesn’t mean I don’t have happy days in between, but I do worry. My self-esteem rises and falls like the Dow.

Still, people can tell me things will get better, and they might be right.

What are those who lost loved ones in the Tucson tragedy told? What do they tell themselves?

As the Dodgers play baseball in his daughter’s memory, what is Dodger scout John Green to think?

Do they say to live each day in honor of your lost love? Do they say to just live?

This is not a self-esteem issue. The man lost his little girl. There is no going back from that.

And this happens every day, every hour, every minute. I know it has happened to readers of Dodger Thoughts.

It takes a special person to be able to survive this kind of loss. I don’t feel that I’m special in that way. But somehow people are?

I thought about this post as I kissed my daughter goodnight on her forehead last night. I wish I were going to be at today’s game.

* * *

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 1:05 p.m.

Feb 24

Padilla has surgery, could resume work in three weeks … or more

Vicente Padilla had his surgery today. From Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

… The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steve Shin, who conveyed the results to Dodgers trainer Stan Conte at Camelback Ranch.

“Stan said it went well,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “[Padilla] is supposed to be back in Arizona sometime [on Friday], and he’ll start the rehab process. What I got was that his best outlook is three or four weeks, then he’ll start tossing.”

Because this type of surgery is so rare among pitchers, there are no plans for how long the rehabilitation will last. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday, the day before the surgery, that he had been given reason to believe Padilla would return sometime during the season’s first half. …

* * *

  • Kenley Jansen’s spot on the roster seems even more secure to me after this tweet from ESPN the Magazine’s Molly Knight from Camelback: “Mattingly says Jansen will work 7th inning typically, 8th when Kuo is unavailable and could close if Broxton has gone three days in a row.”
  • My favorite tidbit from Ken Gurnick’s roundup of Dodger non-roster invitees at MLB.com is on Ramon Colon: “This is his 15th professional season and he had a great Spring Training last year to make the Royals Opening Day roster, but after a month he was released and wound up pitching in Korea. He signed with the Dodgers because they became his favorite team when they signed his older brother, Daniel, in 1989.”
  • More details on the pitching plan on Saturday from the Dodger press notes: “In Scottsdale, Dodger right-handed hurler Tim Redding will get the start and is scheduled to be followed by RHP Carlos Monasterios, RHP Oscar Villarreal, RHP Jon Huber and LHP Wilkin De La Rosa. Over in Tempe, RHP Hiroki Kuroda will make his first start of the spring and is scheduled to be followed by RHP Rubby De La Rosa, LHP Scott Elbert, RHP Lance Cormier, RHP Roman Colon and RHP Luis Vasquez.”
  • Also from the press notes: “A contingent of Dodger employees will take on a group of White Sox employees looking to avenge their loss in the 1959 World Series in a “friendly” softball game on Field 1. The skirmish will take place at 6 p.m. and admission is free.”
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven passes along this photo of Walter O’Malley in Cuba in 1959. Cutline: “Officials and players of the Reds and Dodgers received a warm welcome from Fidel Castro’s forces when they played two games at Havana, March 20-21. In front row, left is Gabe Paul, general manager of the Reds. In the second row, standing, are Bud Holman (with beret), a Dodger director, and Walter O’Malley (wearing deputy sheriff’s badge), Dodger prexy.”
  • Happy birthday, Nancy Bea Hefley …

* * *

Update: The Dodgers “plan to add one more Cactus League game to their schedule to be played sometime in late March in Tucson, Ariz., to benefit the Christina Taylor Green Memorial Fund,” according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Jan 18

Dodgers invite Gabe Kapler to Spring Training, exchange salary arbitration figures with Kuo and Loney

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com updates the arbitration situation with Hong-Chih Kuo and James Loney:

… In each case, the gap seemed small enough that the sides would appear likely to reach an agreement well in advance of going to an arbitration hearing in February.

Kuo, who made $975,000 last season, is seeking $3.075 million through the arbitration process, while the club filed at $2.55 million. Loney, who made $3.1 million last year, is asking for $5.25 million while the club filed at $4.7 million.

If either player goes to a hearing, after hearing each side state its case, a three-person arbitration panel would be forced to choose one of those two figures, with no wiggle room in between. Until such a hearing, though, the two sides are free to reach an agreement at any figure, and the sides often settle at the midpoint.

The mathematical midpoint for Kuo is $2,812,500. For Loney, it is $4,975,000.

Only two players — pitchers Eric Gagne in 2004 and Joe Beimel in 2007 — have taken the Dodgers all the way to an arbitration hearing in the 10 years that assistant general manager Kim Ng has been handling cases for the club. Both of those players lost their cases. …

* * *

Gabe Kapler, who returned in 2008 from a year-long retirement to a major-league playing career, has signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers.

Last season, the 35-year-old outfielder had a .288 on-base percentage and .290 slugging percentage in 140 plate appearances with Tampa Bay.

After retiring following the 2006 season, Kapler managed the Greenville Drive of the Single-A South Atlantic League to a 58-81 record. He then returned to the playing field in 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers, for whom he had one of his best seasons: an .838 OPS in 245 plate appearances.

The Dodgers have already made several signings this winter to try to fill out their outfield alongside Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, agreeing to terms with Marcus Thames, Jay Gibbons and Tony Gwynn Jr. In-house options Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann, among others, also return.

Detroit selected Kapler, a graduate of Taft HS in Woodland Hills, in the 57th round of the 1995 amateur draft out of Moorpark College.

* * *

  • Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports writes about the reaction of baseball scouts, who spend week after week on the road away from their families, to the murder of Christina Taylor Green, daughter of Dodger scout John Green.
  • You think Jose Offerman made a mess of the Dodger infield? Look at what Monster Jam is doing (via Vin Scully Is My Homeboy).
  • Rather than face another round of surgery, Gil Meche of the Kansas City Royals retired — leaving $12 million in 2011 salary on the table. I guess you can’t say it never happens.
  • The Detroit Tigers signed former Dodger Brad Penny — and designated near-perfect-game pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment. That caught me off guard. Galarraga had agreed to a $2.3 million contract for 2011 a day ago. He had a 4.49 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings last season.
Jan 14

Fried day

Thanks to everyone for their feedback Thursday ….

  • As I suggested a month ago, Tony Gwynn Jr. might end up being the best option for the current Dodger outfield. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com talked to Ned Colletti about it.
  • Joe Torre’s future employment with MLB could depend on his willingness to leave his newly adopted California home, writes Jackson. “Torre, who grew up in Brooklyn, moved his family to Los Angeles when he took over three years ago as manager of the Dodgers, and he seemed to hint to media members Wednesday that he would like to stay there even if he goes to work for the commissioner,” Jackson says. “But at least one source in the league office said earlier this week that the position of VP of operations probably can’t be done from outside the office.”
  • No expanded playoffs or instant replay will be coming in 2011, reports Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com (via Hardball Talk).
  • Kathryn Bertine writes at ESPNW about how Christina Taylor Green affected her.
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports shares some chilling information about the gun culture among ballplayers in Latin America.
  • The Dodgers just released 47-year-old Pat Borders — who apparently has been on the team’s restricted list since 2006 — according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
  • In his discussion of the career accomplishments of Jamie Moyer, Rob Neyer of ESPN.com excerpts a piece of writing from Will Carroll talking about how legitimate it would be for the 47-year-old Moyer to use a banned substance to aid his recovery from Tommy John surgery:

    Moyer could, with a year out of baseball, take an intriguing step, one that seems out of character with his reputation on the one hand, but in line with his noted desire to return. What if Jamie Moyer started using HGH or other banned substances to return from his injury? At his age, getting prescriptions for HGH and testosterone would be easy. MLB had no problem allowing testosterone to be advertised during its playoffs last year, despite the fact that it was a substance that caused it no end of problems over the last two decades. There is a waiver policy that would allow for the use of banned substances, but as a free agent, Moyer would not need to have this waiver. Moyer is free to do anything his doctor prescribes. He might need a waiver when returning, if he’s taken any substance that would cause a positive test, but most of what is used medically has a fairly short detectable period.

    Would anyone begrudge Moyer if he decided to use a legal, effective substance to help in his return? Each week, some pitcher or another takes an injection of cortisone. The injection, usually mixed with a painkiller, is a quick fix, but a dangerous one. Corticosteroids can have an almost acidic effect on structures, doing long-term damage while allowing a player to come back in the short term. Many of these pitchers make a choice: take the spike and pitch, or don’t and don’t. Finding someone who declines takes quite the search; if someone does, they’ll often end up with a reputation or that tag of “bad teammate” or worse, “soft.” Moyer’s never been those things, so given a chance, would taking another kind of injection be wrong? Moyer fought through multiple surgeries prior to the 2010 season, including a nasty infection that could have been deadly, so he’s a fighter, a struggler … but could he go this far?

  • Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News profiles ESPNLosAngeles’ very own Brian and Andrew Kamenetzky. Nice story!
Jan 11

Memorials for Christina Taylor Green

The Dodgers have created a memorial fund for 9-year-old Arizona shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green and provided addresses where people can send condolences.

Green, the daughter of Dodgers national crosschecker scout John Green and granddaughter of former major league manager Dallas Green, was killed Saturday in a mass shooting at a Tucson, Ariz., mall that claimed five other lives and injured 12 more, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Condolences can be sent to greenfamily@dodgers.com or to Dodger Stadium, c/o the Green Family, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90090.

Donations can be sent to a memorial fund created by John Green and his family at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, which can be accessed at www.cfsoaz.org. Donations can also be sent by mail to The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, In Memory of Christina-Taylor Green, 2250 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85719. More information can be acquired by e-mailing christinataylorgreenmemorial@cfsoaz.org or by calling (520) 545-0313.

“Our family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our sweet Christina,” John Green said. “This memorial fund will ensure her legacy for the children in our community.”

A public memorial service for Christina is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m.

Jan 09

Arizona shooting victim was daughter of Dodger scout

One of the victims of the tragic shooting in Arizona on Saturday was the daughter of Dodger scout John Green and granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.

Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was among six people killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, and 12 others wounded, including Arizona congressperson Gabrielle Giffords, on Saturday in a mass shooting in a Tucson mall.

“We lost a member of the Dodgers family today,” Dodger owner Frank McCourt said late last night in a statement. “The entire Dodgers organization is mourning the death of John’s daughter Christina, and will do everything we can to support John, his wife Roxana and their son Dallas in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.  I spoke with John earlier today and expressed condolences on behalf of the entire Dodgers organization.”

Christina Taylor Green was born the day of the September 11 tragedy in 2001 and was featured in a book, “Faces of Hope,” on children who shared that birthday. According to reports, she had just been elected to the student council in her elementary school and had been invited to meet Giffords’ at her community gathering as a result. Her father told the Arizona Daily Star that she had become interested in politics from a young age. She also played second base on her Little League baseball team, the paper said.

John Green is the Dodgers’ East Coast supervisor of amateur scouting. Dallas Green pitched for eight seasons in the majors in the 1960s, then managed the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980. He later managed the Phillies and Mets.

Dodger general manager Ned Colletti’s first job in baseball, as assistant to chief publicist Bob Ibach of the Chicago Cubs, came at the same time as Dallas Green was hired as general manager of the Cubs.