Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Fans (Page 1 of 2)

Dodger fans react: 50 ways to cleave your lover

By Jon Weisman

When Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts spoke to reporters Monday, two days after the Dodgers’ season ended in Chicago, the press conference aired on Facebook Live, aka our planet’s complaint department.

Looking back at the video later, I was taken with these penetrating real-time comments from Dodger fans and thought they deserved a response.

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Vin Scully’s letter to the fans: ‘I needed you more than you needed me’

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Dodger fans attending tonight’s Vin Scully Appreciation Day game at received this beautiful letter from Vin Scully. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

Vote for MLB’s Dodger Fan of the Year

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You can now vote for the Dodgers’ Fan of the Year in an MLB contest sponsored by Esurance.

Each of the four finalists has a video supporting his or her candidacy — click the image above to see them. They are:

  • Laura Zimmerman: Zimmerman is passionate about all things Dodgers, as she attends every home game and follows the club’s Minor League affiliates.
  • Vincente Reyes: Reyes dedicates his Instagram to sharing the dazzling photos he personally captures at Dodgers games in various locales.
  • Danny Del Toro: Elvis tribute artist Del Toro has combined his love of the King and the Dodgers, and he is now renowned as Dodger Elvis.
  • Emma X Amaya: Season-ticket holder Amaya is a savvy fan who rarely goes a day without posting about the Dodgers on her Facebook page.

Voting is takes place through 10:59 a.m. PT on September 19. To vote, you must use a valid, public Twitter account to submit a tweet with the unique hashtag assigned to the nominee (limit one hashtag per tweet).

— Jon Weisman

Pantone 294 had Yankee Stadium’s number on Monday

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By Jon Weisman

Dodger fans — specifically the group from Pantone 294, whose name helps color-blind people like myself identify the precise color of Dodger blue — made national news Monday in New York, cheering boisterously, flying their flags, co-opting the Yankee Stadium roll call and generally dispelling the myth of the apathetic Dodger fan.

If you were watching the game, you couldn’t avoid noticing them. Here’s some East Coast perspective, starting with Billy Witz in the New York Times:

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Video: Dodgers FanFest recap

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A nice overview of Dodger FanFest by our crack production team above, along with some words from manager Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw below. (Plus, here’s a link to Jon SooHoo’s photos of the day at LA Photog Blog.

– Jon Weisman

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Dodgers FanFest: Vin Scully thankful for the push

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Vin pumpBy Jon Weisman

In just under the wire before an expected Sunday rainstorm, it was a whale of a day at Dodgers FanFest (presented by State Farm), with activities and athletes galore.

As usual, no one set the tone better than Vin Scully, who took the FanFest stage and told the story above.

Here’s a taste of what else was happening with your favorites …

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1000 Vin Scully Avenue

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Ultimately, when the big moment came, it came in an instant.

By a 12-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approves a motion to change the name of Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue. 

Then, we are silent, because as we have been taught, there are times when it just makes the best sense to let the crowd speak for itself.


https://twitter.com/joeesha/status/693166923672981505

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

When we return, we simply hear these words.

“I am overwhelmed.  I was raised in the streets of New York, and to have a street named after me in Los Angeles is almost too much to comprehend.  I am eternally grateful to the Los Angeles City Council and especially councilman Gil Cedillo.  A path to Dodger Stadium is a pathway to my heart.  For 55 years, it has been an honor to walk that road to one of the greatest entertainment centers in the world, a place that has brought so much joy to all of us.  I thank God for this great honor.”

And like that, Vin Scully has touched home, just as he has touched our souls. Forever.

Within 30 days, given the expected blessing of local residents, the existing street signs will be lowered and new ones raised.

“How do you get to the game?” offered Cedillo, who introduced the motion. “Go up Sunset and turn on Vin Scully Avenue.”

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

I’ll say this much, and don’t misunderstand this as opposition to today’s events: I love the words “Elysian Park.” They’re a melody in four beats, and their long association with my home away from home evokes a Proustian sensation. It had to be something special, something transcendent, to justify replacing them as the address of Blue Heaven on Earth.

Vin Scully Avenue meets that standard. One small street for Vin, one giant drive for fankind.

No name could be more worthy, except perhaps, as one citizen (a fellow Fordham grad, he told us) argued during his opportunity at City Hall for public comment, Jackie Robinson. But the groundbreaking Dodger is getting Dodger Stadium’s inaugural statue — no small honor, that.

I don’t feel Robinson has been done a disservice, and I do think it was worth showing Scully how much he has meant to all of us.

“I’d be okay if we named the whole damn city after him,” councilman Paul Koretz exulted. And who could argue?

Dodgers Love L.A.: And here come the pretzels

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By Jon Weisman

Day 4 of the Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour (presented by Bank of America) was comfortably comestible, with Dodgers Kiké Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner giving away Dodger dogs and pretzels in downtown Los Angeles.

Pretzel man Justin Turner, by the way, was just labeled the fifth-best third baseman in MLB right now, by MLB Network.

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Los Angeles Dodgers Love LA Tour at Wetzels Pretzels at Union Station

While there, Pederson spoke to MLB.com about Dave Roberts and the upcoming season.

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For more images from the day, visit LA Photo Blog.

Earlier in the day, Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization (and, oh yeah, Dodger legend) Fernando Valenzuela was on a White House conference call to discuss the launch of the White House Regional Convenings on New Americans, aimed at assisting local immigrant and refugee efforts.

“It’s a great honor for me to be here, to be a citizen and a Presidential Ambassador,” said Valenzuela. “In this role, I want to share with the United States and the city of Los Angeles the many rights that come with being a citizen. I’m excited to get to vote in my first presidential election. It’s important for the Los Angeles community to know how important it is to vote.”

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The Dodgers Love L.A. Tour heads to City Hall this morning, to see if Vin Scully Avenue becomes officially official.

Dodgers Love L.A.: A special day connecting the dots between Jackie Robinson and Dave Roberts

Jorge Jarrin, Dave Roberts and Mark Langill address students at Muir High School.

Jorge Jarrin, Dave Roberts and Mark Langill address students at Muir High School.

By Jon Weisman

It’s no exaggeration to say that Jackie Robinson is the pride of Muir High School, just as he is the pride of the Dodgers and, for that matter, the United States.

A tribute to Jackie Robinson in the Muir High School museum.

A tribute to Jackie Robinson in the Muir High School museum (click to enlarge)

So it was a special day for everyone today when this week’s Dodgers Love L.A. community tour (presented by Bank of America) made a stop at Muir, with a screening of portions of Ken Burns’ upcoming “Jackie Robinson” documentary, followed by a Q&A featuring manager Dave Roberts and team historian Mark Langill, moderated by broadcaster Jorge Jarrin.

Many of the four score students in attendance today will graduate from Muir exactly 80 years after Robinson did. But not to worry — his story still resonates.

“I loved the documentary,” said Bryan Barrios, senior captain of the Muir baseball team. “It was very inspiring (and) emotional. I walk around this campus just thinking about Jackie Robinson all the time. Sometimes I can’t believe he came here.”

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FanFest autograph vouchers, VIP experiences on sale Friday at 12 noon

Yasmani Grandal signs for a fan at the 2015 FanFest. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yasmani Grandal signs for a fan at the 2015 FanFest. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

FanFest logoBy Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have announced the autograph schedule and VIP experiences for the January 30 FanFest (presented by State Farm) at Dodger Stadium.

A limited number of vouchers for autograph and VIP sessions go on sale to the general public at 12 noon Friday at dodgers.com/fanfest. Season-ticket and premium seat holders will have a presale from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Remember: General admission to FanFest is free for all, but you must download your free tickets at dodgers.com/fanfest. (Click here for more information.) 

Vouchers ($25 each, with proceeds going to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation) must be purchased in advance for each autograph or VIP experience session.

Click to enlarge the autograph schedule below. Note: Names subject to change.

Autograph schedule

Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fanfest will take place rain or shine, although in case of inclement weather, some on-field activities may have to be curtailed.

More information follows:

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A fantasy camp veteran’s rebirth at Camelback Ranch

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DSC_2777By Jon Weisman

Larry Malcolmson knows his baseball fantasy camps. The 66-year-old Tucson resident, now retired from the medical technology industry, went to his first adult camp in 1991 and has done more than 20 in all.

He hadn’t planned it that way, and certainly didn’t expect to find himself swinging a bat at Camelback Ranch at age 66.

“I went to what I thought as going to be my last one in 2001,” said Malcolmson (pictured at left) in a phone interview from Camelback today. “The youngest guy on our team, he died, leading off first base. When they did the autopsy, he only had one coronary artery — genetically did not have the other three. They were surprised he lived as long as he did.

“By his dying, the guys who were thrown onto that team — from all over — really bonded. We have continued to go back, not because of the fantasy but because we want to see each other once a year. Those 11 guys turned into about 40 guys that became kind of a club and went back every year.”

Malcolmson’s original allegiance was with the Cubs, but having lived for many years in Montecito, he would come down to Los Angeles for about 10 Dodger games a year. When his wife spotted the news about the new Dodgers-White Sox Fantasy Camp at Camelback Ranch, he made immediate plans to attend. So did his longtime campmates.

“We got 10 of the 11 we wanted to have, and the 11th was just right on the fringe — in fact he’s coming to the camp Thursday and Friday as a visitor,” Malcolmson said.

And the result?

“This is a ball,” he said.

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Unsolicited, Malcolmson raved about every aspect of the camp, from the food during the day to the accommodations at night, from how the camp organization to the quality of the umpires and live pitching.

“The uniforms, they’re like butter,” he said. “I feel almost like I’m naked, because they’re so comfortable.”

The bonding between friends old and new remains primary for Malcolmson, but he said he has also been bowled over by the connections he and his teammates have made with Dodger legends such as Tommy Lasorda, Ron Cey, Eric Karros, Rick Monday and Steve Yeager.

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“They are really going out of their way to know everybody in camp,” Malcolmson said. “They know everybody’s name. At the end of a game yesterday we lost, Ron and Rick told us what we needed to do different than the day before. Never happened in 22 years.”

_MG_9822In the clubhouse, the Dodgers are telling tales that left the campers “belly laughing,” according to Malcolmson. That camaraderie extends to after the sun has gone down. On Tuesday night, a big group had gone out for dinner, Malcolmson said, when Karros came walking by. The campers invited him to join them.

“He spellbound us with stories for three hours,” Malcolmson said, adding that Karros will be rejoining them for dinner Friday. “He took everyone on the team and bought us all ice cream. Guys are taking photos and putting them on Facebook. Where would you meet a guy this great, this cool, this nice, who is also the all-time leader home run leader for the Los Angeles Dodgers?”

What was interesting about talking to Malcolmson is that when asked about his favorite on-field memory this week, he spoke matter-of-factly about a two-run single to left center, before enthusiastically changing his answer.

 

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“A lot of the (good) feeling you get is watching your teammates succeed,” he said. “So some of the highlights are watching these guys pound the ball, watching these guys make great plays in the field. Today, I took a couple of innings off and was just managing the team with Rick and Ron — it was fun watching the guys succeed.

“All I’m doing is yelling at my guys — quit worrying if you made an out. Just start smiling. You’re out in Arizona playing ball. Quit thinking you have to have a 1.000 batting average. Just because you wanted to have a great hit that time and didn’t — that’s why they call it baseball.”

Still, in his mind, the camp has come close to perfection.

“If I sum it up, I wanted new, fresh and first class,” Malcolmson said, “and my expectations are being succeeded.”

Download free admission ticket for FanFest

Mark Langill/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mark Langill/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

While FanFest (presented by State Farm) remains free to all attendees, the Dodgers are asking fans to download their free tickets for the January 30 event at dodgers.com/fanfest.

Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., FanFest will feature appearances and autographs from Dodger players, coaches and legends. Parking gates open at 9:30 a.m. (parking is also free), with the admission gates in the outfield plazas opening at 10.

Concerned about El Nino? FanFest will take place rain or shine, although in case of inclement weather, some on-field activities may have to be curtailed.

Autograph session tickets will go on sale soon, and an announcement will be made on the player schedule and the sale of these tickets. All autograph session ticket proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. Donations will support LADF programs and provide assistance to community organizations in the areas of education and literacy, health and wellness and sports and recreation.

VIP Experiences including player meet-and-greets and Q&As, batting and pitching lessons, and clubhouse and press box tours will also be available soon for advance purchase online.

FanFest will feature the following for all fans:

  • family-friendly activities, including interactive games and a run-the-bases experience
  • interviews with current and former Dodgers on FanFest’s main stage.
  • the @Dodgers social media lounge, with a charging station, photo area with oversized MLB.com Clubhouse stickers and RBI Baseball on XBox
  • photo opportunities inside the Dodger dugout and with the World Series trophy
  • the second-annual LADF Yard Sale, with one-of-a-kind Dodger items for budgets of all sizes, including jerseys, T-shirts and more
  • the LADF Mystery Bag Fundraiser, where fans can purchase an official Major League baseball autographed by a current or former Dodger for a $40 donation and autographed jerseys for an $80 donation (while supplies last)
  • Dodger merchandise on sale, along with food and beverages.

Fans will also be able to buy Opening Day mini plans and individual game tickets (excluding Opening Day) at FanFest. The best way to guarantee Opening Day tickets is to purchase a mini plan. (For more information, visit dodgers.com/miniplans).

Note: One day before FanFest, on January 29, the Dodgers’ exclusive online sale of tickets for all 2016 games — including a very limited number of Opening Day tickets — will be held beginning at 10 a.m. at dodgers.com.

Dodger partners State Farm, Budweiser, Chef Merito, Coca-Cola, Welk Resorts, Hi-Chew, Montejo, Sunrun, Blue Prints, Gazillion Bubbles, Los Angeles Times, Marika and broadcast partners SportsNet LA and AM570 LA Sports will partake in FanFest’s family-friendly activations and giveaways.

Don’t forget to download your free FanFest tickets today.

Dodgers to co-host January fan baseball camp at Camelback Ranch

Fantasy campBy Jon Weisman

A new baseball fantasy camp at Camelback Ranch, co-hosted by the Dodgers and White Sox, will take place for adults 21 and older January 18-24, 2016.

“This is the first time that we are staging a Dodgers’ baseball camp at our Arizona spring training home,” said Dodgers executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen, “and partnering with our neighbors, the White Sox, should make this a memorable experience for our campers.”

Former third basemen Ron Cey of the Dodgers and Bill Melton of the White Sox will serve as co-commissioners of the camp, officially sanctioned by the Dodgers. They are scheduled to be joined by Dodger legends including Tommy Lasorda, Rick Monday, Eric Karros and Steve Yeager, along with such former White Sox stars as Harold Baines, Bobby Thigpen, Rich Dotson, Tom Paciorek, Carlos May, Ron Kittle and Aaron Rowand.

Here’s more information from today’s announcement

Throughout the six nights and seven days of the camp, participants will be able to interact with and receive instruction from Dodger and White Sox greats on the field and to enjoy hours of baseball stories from the stars of the past off the field. It is 24/7 first-class baseball experience, during which campers will be treated just like the Dodgers and White Sox players when they train in Glendale in preparation for a Major League season.

The camp price includes two meals a day; single occupancy lodging at nearby hotels used by the two organizations; an authentic personalized Dodgers or White Sox uniform including jersey, pants and cap, personalized baseball cards with the camper’s photo and camp participation, in addition to so much more. Campers will play games every day, including doubleheaders on most days, at the premier facilities and fields at Camelback Ranch.

For more information or to reserve your roster spot, please call (623) 302-5078, e-mail fantasycamp@camelbackranchbaseball.com or visit dodgers.com/fantasycamp.

The politics of fandom

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s easy, even conventional, to think of a team’s rooters as something like a singular, cohesive voting bloc, which is why we have terms like “Dodger fans” or “Red Sox Nation.”  And fundamentally, Dodger fans do share a common goal, a common dream. We are Dodger fans, they are Giants fans — over there are Angels fans and Padres fans, and so on from one side of the continent to the other, all of us wearing our colors and our pride in an annual baseball Olympics.

But within a fanbase, just like within a city, state or country, there are deep divisions, with different politics, different attitudes and often a real struggle to connect, whether played out in ballpark conversations or on social media. We’re factionalized and entrenched in our beliefs, and our common passion seems at times only to intensify the divisions rather than bridge them.

After the Dodgers serpentined through an 8-5, 14-inning, 51-player, 334-minute, 467-pitch loss to the Washington Nationals on September 3, I found myself frustrated more by these inner conflicts than by the Dodgers’ inability to come out on top. The loss was painful, the anger more so.

Not everyone feels this way. Depending how you follow the Dodgers, depending on what you read, how much you interact on Twitter or comment rooms or how like-minded you and your friends are, these divisions might barely exist for you, if at all. Depending on your personality, they might not even matter.

But if you navigate the different, conflicting worlds, a day like September 3 rubbed the edges raw.

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2015 slogan: We Love LA

WeLoveLA

It was revealed this morning online and makes its full public debut Saturday at FanFest. It’s the Dodgers’ 2015 slogan, “We Love LA.”

“Since 1958, the fans of Southern California have had a love affair with the Dodgers, our broadcasters and Dodger Stadium, and the feeling has been mutual,” said Dodger executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen.  “What better way to express our admiration to our fans for their overwhelming support than with this year’s slogan.”

— Jon Weisman

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