Tagged: Dodgers

The story behind the meeting

I thought I wrote about it, but I guess not. After all, I haven’t exactly been faithful to writing on this blog.

Here it goes.
It was a Saturday afternoon game against the Rockies. My boy John Ely was starting that day. I love day games because players will stop and sign autographs and stuff. Usually it’s the pitchers who come out to stretch, run, and play catch. They sign before or after, depending on the player and their schedule I suppose.
I wasn’t expecting to see Travis Schlichting (my other boy) at the stadium that day since he’s been on the Disabled List for a few weeks. He came out after most of the players were already done. By then, I had already gotten Clayton Kershaw and Jon Link to sign my scrapbook and Hong-Chi Kuo to sign a photo. Travis came out to run some sprints and on his way back to the dugout I said, “Hey Travis” just wanting to say hi since I said hi to him whenever I could. He surprised me by coming over to the wall.
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The first time I met Travis was when he was first called up in June 2009. It was on a Saturday day game against the Phillies on June 6. To save you the trouble of searching through the archives, here’s what I wrote then about meeting Travis
It was Saturday afternoon game, and I got inside the Stadium as soon as the gates were open. Travis Schlichting and Cory Wade were throwing to each other. After they were done, I called out to Travis. He looked at me and waved. Then I asked him for a photo with him. I didn’t have anything with me, or I would’ve asked him for his autograph too.

I don’t know if you can see the difference between Travis now and then, but he lost a lot of weight since then. They talked a lot about how he had Gilbert’s Sydrome and lost a drastic amount of weight.

Back to the afternoon of Sept 18th. Travis came over and stopped. Well, I was at a loss of what to do or say since I didn’t expect him to come over. I just wanted to say hey. So, thinking quickly on my feet, I told him it was good to see him back with the team. He told me it was good to be back and he was just trying to get healthy again. He said he missed the flight in SF. I was confused and asked him about being in SF. He said something about he’s sure he’ll have to make it up somehow. Again, he totally lost me but I tried to follow along. 

While we chatting, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind signing my scrapbook. I had a spot for him from the game where he got his first major league victory (it was the extra innings game against the D-backs back in June). I said it was kind of a small spot. He said it would fit, or he could make it fit. If I don’t get this 100% right, who will know? It happened over six months ago! I thanked him of course and said something about looking forward to seeing him with the team. As he’s getting ready to walk away, someone else asked him to sign her Dodger magazine. She didn’t have a sharpie so he asked me if he could use mine. I told him anything for him. Hence the little smile you see in the video.
Random tidbit: Travis and I were born two days apart, which is kind of why I have a soft spot towards him. And I have just more things signed by Travis than I do Matt Kemp! I’m looking forward to seeing Travis at Dodger Stadium at some point this season I hope.
In case you were wondering, the Rockies pounded the Dodgers 12-2 (even though the Dodgers had 12 hits that day). Whereas, when I first met Travis the Dodgers won in extra innings thanks to Andre Ethier’s walk-off homerun against the Phillies. And, of the four times I asked Travis for a photo or autograph, this was the only time the game didn’t result in a walk off victory for the Dodgers.
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“It’s time for…”

During Tuesday night’s game between the Dodgers and the Giants, I happened to glance up during the commercials. I rarely get to watch the games on TV. Most of the time I’m either a) at the game; b) listening it to the radio, or c) not able to catch the game at all. This time, for once, I was actually able to watch it. I see it’s a Dodger commercial with different “it’s time for” slogans going across. Towards the end of it, I see Travis Schlichting going over to the baseline wall and reaching for a sharpie from a fan and then it ended with fireworks. I saw Travis and immediately said, “aww Travis!” A split-second later it was followed by, “wait! That’s me!”

It was just a quick glimpse, one of those if you blink you’ll miss it. But I was 99% sure the girl in the blue shirt handing Travis a sharpie was me!
And, of course, that commercial isn’t on their website yet.
Well, today, I saw it again. And again, I’m 99% sure it’s me. Even though all you see is like my back. My friend Edward used his DVR to go back and look at it again. It’s wedged in between “It’s time for kids to take the field” and “It’s time for the show”. Even he admitted if I didn’t point it out he wouldn’t have noticed. Like I said, it was only my back.
After trying to get to bed early tonight, I gave up and got back online and renewed my search for that commercial. I found some older ones and some on the Dodgers Media Network, but they didn’t have the one I was looking for. Where did I go to next?
YouTube!
Well, they didn’t have it either. However, another commercial in the sidebar caught my eye. Why? Because their thumbnail was the scene I was looking for! It was different commercial, but they used the same snippet. Although I think this was one second longer.

Right at the 1:02 mark is the one I am talking about and now I went from 99% to 100% certain. I can even tell you the date and the details.
I guess they have it in HD too… if it makes a difference.

First game of the year (3/28/11)

Okay, so it was an exhibition game. But it was still my first baseball game of the 2011 year, though not the 2011 season. I suppose I could list it as game A and the other game, Game B and then start the count on Opening Day. I was very much ready for Monday’s exhibition game against the Angels.

As many of you probably have heard by now, the security staff at the gates are now wanding fans before they enter the stadium.
We were late being allowed into the park so by the time we got in, the Angels had taken the field and the Dodgers were long gone. We didn’t see them again till they started coming over to stretch. We called several players over. I only managed to snag two photos.
Here’s one with Ivan DeJesus, Jr.
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And Dee Gordon.
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However, I did manage to get a few autographs. I got Tony Gwynn, Jr. to sign a photo of the two of us taken at the beach cleanup. And I got Trent Oeltjen to sign a photo I took last year. I asked him to make it out to Linda and fortunately this time he either heard me correctly or remembered how to spell it, since last time he thought I said Belinda.
It was an interesting game, the lead going back and forth. A group of people organized themselves in the right field pavilion to form the LA Logo.
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The Dodgers took the 9th inning in the lead. However, a missed opportunity at a double play that resulted in an error and the Angels taking the lead meant a blown save for Jonathan Broxton.

Santa Monica Beach Clean Up 2/15/11

Today was Day 2 of the Dodger Community Caravan. Yesterday, we spent our time cleaning along the L.A. River. Today, we cleaned up a part of the Santa Monica Beach. We started on the north side of the pier and moved north. It was a little drizzly when we arrived, but stopped by the time the players arrived. We were assigned groups, there were five total.

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The players arrived and Charley Steiner was the emcee today. Joining Charley were Rafael Furcal, Matt Kemp, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jay Gibbons, Gabe Kapler, Derrell Thomas, Shawn Green, Fernando Valenzuela, Sweet Lou Johnson, and Steve Garvey.
Here’s Matt Kemp fooling with Sweet Lou.
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Matt, Raffy, and Fernando having a good laugh.
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And of course, what’s a Dodger event without Deuce and his “chauffeur” aka dad. Even Tony Gwynn, Jr. recognized Deuce from the Stadium.
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After the groups were announced, we all headed out to pick up trash. Gabe Kapler and Sweet Lou Johnson were in my group. Like yesterday, it started out as five individual groups and later became one giant Dodger amoeba. Gabe agreed that he would say it that way too.
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Gabe working hard! The beach was unusually clean today. It was hard to find actual trash. I joked that we were putting just as much sand as trash in our bag. We did manage to find a dime and five cigarette butts, the latter being a very common thing to find. We also found bits and pieces of Styrofoam, to which Gabe commented on how he could easily see how fish could mistake that for food.
After a bit, fans started coming up to Gabe asking him for his autograph and/or a picture. Myself included.
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My friend Cat has a Gabe Kapler story. On Aug 16, 2008, Gabe Kapler made an amazing catch over the short left field wall at Dodger Stadium. Cat and her son were sitting right where Gabe made the catch. I mentioned the story to Gabe and he was like, really? No way! He asked me if I remembered who hit the ball. I wasn’t at the game that night. He remembered. It was Russell Martin. They still have the video up on MLB.com. If not, season ticket holder Dodger Films does.
It was almost time to head back, so whatever players were around I managed to get a photo with or signed my scrapbook. For instance, Tony Gwynn, Jr.
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I already had a photo with Jay. Though I wouldn’t have minded another one. Oh well. I didn’t ask for a photo. Funny story. My friend Iriz and I rushed to catch up to Shawn Green, but only one of us was allowed to get our photo take with him. So I took a picture of Iriz an Shawn. Jay wasn’t too far away so I walked over to him. Quite out of breath, I asked him if he could sign my scrapbook. Poor guy. I could barely get the words out. I think he said, “Hey, I know you” and got a surprised look from me in return. Again, I’m not sure if that’s what he said but that’s what it sounded look.
I did get my chance to get a picture with Shawn Green back on the boardwalk. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there. So I asked if I could get a picture. 
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Four years before I ever went to my first baseball game, I considered becoming a Dodger fan based on the story of Shawn Green not playing a game to support his Jewish heritage. I never got to go to a game and he wasn’t a Dodger anymore so it was four more years before I finally went to my first game.
There was just one more person I needed to sign my scrapbook and it was Matt Kemp. Unfortunately, what happened when I tried to ask him became quite an embarrassing moment for me. He saw me and said, “You have a thousand of autographs of mine. I know your face.” It took me by surprise and shocked me. I stammered out that I only had three or four, one for each scrapbook. I was quite embarrassed. Got a good laugh out of it, but still embarrassed. Roberto over at Vin Scully is My Homeboy was there and got it all on video
I understand why he said no and will respect his wishes and won’t ask him for any more autographs. But I would like to correct the misconception that I have “thousands” of Matt Kemp autographs because I have only been collecting autographs since 2007. Specifically, I only have 4 things signed by Matt Kemp, and that’s just as many things that I have signed by AJ Ellis, Jamey Carroll, Jon Garland, John Ely, Carlos Monasterios, and that’s just off the top of my head. And he is definitely the player who I have the most autographs from. Oh well.
They weighed all the bags in each of the groups and the winning group got their picture taken with their player. Our group won!!! By then Gabe had already headed towards the bus and had to be tracked down. We got our group photo taken but was still missing Sweet Lou. Sweet Lou joined us and made his way towards the front with Gabe. He gave Gabe a huge hug saying the next time they hug it will be in October. After another group photo, they too
k a huge group photo of everyone who showed up to participate. Guess who made his way to the front to stand by Gabe and ended up right in front of me. Yup, Matt Kemp.
Like the river event, I enjoyed this one (despite the embarrassing moment but oh well, what can I do besides laugh about it?).

L.A. River Clean Up

A little late, but better late than never.

Today was the first day of the two day Dodger caravan. When I read that the first event was going to be cleaning up the LA River, my first thought was … I wonder if it’s anywhere near the section of the LA River were I live.
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Sure enough, it was only a few blocks down the river from my house …
On the other side!
I know there were a lot of people who were not happy with how this year’s caravan was set up. But I enjoyed it. I had a good time. Once the players arrived and were announced, we started cleaning. The only current players were James Loney and Andre Ethier (Ethier arrived separately as he was just arriving from the airport). The former players included Tommy Davis, Rudy Law, Kenny Landreaux, Bobby Castillo, Jimmy Campanis. This event included two managers… current manager Don Mattingly and former manager Tommy Lasorda.
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At first, they had us go into our groups. The players were divided up among the groups. After about ten or fifteen minutes, it became more of an amoeba than several different groups working. Cameras were rolling and snapping every where. It was kinda interesting to be picking up trash and then realizing there was a video camera on me.
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I liked it. The players were able to mingle and talk with fans as we all pitched in to pick up trash. As bags were filling up, fans started taking pictures with players and asking them for their autographs. It was very casual. I waited till towards the end. By then, I already filled up one bag and started a second. I found a binder (full of mud), a door mat, and a golf ball. Patrick O’Neal was there and he found two golf balls.
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At least no one found a stool!
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Though there were a few rusted shopping carts stuck here and there.
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I managed to get two of the three autographs I needed in my scrapbook. I got Loney and Mattingly, and a picture with the new Dodger skipper. He is a sweet, sweet man!
Again, overall, I really enjoyed this experience. Though I may have had an ulterior motive … maybe not ulterior. But at least I get a sense of satisfaction in helping out my community since I do live in the nearby vicinity… granted on the other side of the tracks. I definitely enjoyed this one better than I have in recent past. Though Canter’s is probably still my favorite.
Now that I’ve been up for about 28 hours… it’s time for a nap!
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I love day games … (9/1/10)

We got into the stadium, and the first players we saw were Carlos Monasterios, Chad Billingsley, and Ramon Troncoso. I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chad sign before a day game. So, I was surprised when I asked him if he would sign that he came over. Not only did he sign my scrapbook, but he found a spot on my team ball to sign. He asked me if I wanted him to sign on the picture, and I said yeah. It’s funny how the players have been asking, “do you want me to sign on the picture or here?” Here, being a blank space on the page. Ted Lilly signed down by the foul pole, but I didn’t want to run over there. So, I stayed behind while my friends went. It took awhile before other players came out. Several pitchers would walk by, but say they had to go to the bullpen. Jeff Weaver came out to play catch with Belisario. He was right in front of us. I asked him to sign but he said something and went to play catch.
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I have been trying for over a year to get Weaver to sign my scrapbook from 2009. It’s the article when he and his brother faced each other last year. Today, I brought my 2010 book that’s a Work in Progress. I figured I’d try to get a few of the players while they were still with the team. I’ve gotten a lot of players in my 2009 book already. Fortunately, there’s a great picture from the LA Times from when Jeff Weaver pitched to Jered Weaver when the Angels played at Dodger Stadium. I was surprised that when I asked Jeff to sign, he actually came over to sign!
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And I also finally got a picture with him! I don’t remember who I got next, but I’ll go with Kuo. He was playing catch with Kenley Jansen, who I also asked to come sign but he said he had to go. So, Kuo came and I had a magazine I needed him to sign for my friend’s boyfriend. It’s the Dodger Magazine with the four All Stars. I got Ethier earlier in the week and Angelikna got Broxton at the signing. So, we just needed Kuo. There’s no way we’d ever get Furcal unless we catch him down in the Minors doing a Rehab assignment. So, as Kuo is signing our things, he had two baseballs in his glove. My friend asks Kuo for one of his balls and Kuo gave him a look and my friend said, “not that kind!” It was hilarious. I wish I had captured it on camera.
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Ryan Theriot came out with Stan Conte (the trainer). Guess he was testing to see how his knee felt after getting knocked over in Monday’s game. We’ve been trying to get Theriot to sign and he finally came over today. He almost didn’t sign for me. When I asked him for a quick picture, he said he didn’t have time.
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Sure. He didn’t have time. I don’t mind if they say no. I rather have them just straight out tell me they don’t want to or can’t. Casey Blake tells fans all the time he won’t take pictures. Andre was telling fans the same thing last year. If they say no, they say no. No big deal. Anyway, I’m letting go and moving on.

The players started coming out to warm up. Jamey Carroll came over to sign once he finished getting ready. Since I had my book, I thought I might as well ask him. These ladies wanted a picture with him. Not sure if they remembered to ask him, because he started to walk away. Since they had their back to him, getting ready for the picture, I spoke up for them and asked if he had time for a quick picture. He put his hand on one and was trying to position himself between the two. The other lady didn’t see what he was doing and she was blocking Jamey. It worked out and they got their picture. He signed my book. He did the same thing Chad did, and asked me where did I want him to sign. I let him choose. There was plenty of white space for him to sign on the page if he wanted to, which is where he signed.

When Andre came out to warm up, I went over with my friend’s bobblehead to get that signed. I haven’t asked Andre for an autograph for myself yet this year… at the game. It gets too crazy to go over there consistently. And I don’t want to go all the time. I think I’ve gone over there like twice this year, and both times were to get autographs for friends. As soon as I got my friend’s bobblehead signed, I got out of dodger so other people could get their things signed. I even heard one person behind me say, “get out of the way so we can get something signed” or something like that. Fortunately, I was able to get out of there. Sometimes it’s not possible!

Frank Kramer from the Frosty, Heidi, and Frank show on KABC was supposed to be up at the Loge Terrace. By the time I finished down the in field level, I was hungry and didn’t feel like going up to the Loge Terrace. So I went to get food! I’ll try to get that post up tomorrow! This post turned out a lot longer than I expected.

And the good luck is back!

Well, see, I teased my friend that today I wasn’t going to say hi to him until after the game was over. We said hi before the game yesterday, and the Dodgers lost. Today, I saw him a few times before and during the game, but I didn’t make eye contact or say hi. And guess what? The Dodgers won!!!

On top of that, Pat asked me to get two baseballs signed for someone’s kid. I said sure. One ball was for anyone and everyone. The other ball was just for Andre. I got in and Russell Martin was right THERE by the baseline. However, by the time I got to the Kiddie Korral he was already on his way to the dugout. Rats! I got the ball out and got ready to ask for whoever would stop to sign the ball for Pat. I don’t remember who was first, Reed Johnson or Loney. Honestly, I did not expect Reed Johnson to stop. Not sure if I’ve ever seen him sign. Not only did he come over and sign, he also took a picture with me 😀
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Next up, the Dodgers ran in. I looked for Juan Castro but he headed down to the clubhouse instead of coming up. Guess he remembered me from the day before. I remembered to bring my picture this time. It didn’t work 😦

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After all the players went in, I looked for Jay Gibbons. I had hurried to Wal Greens before heading to the stadium to print the picture of me and Jay from the day before. Sure enough, he was straggling behind. So, I held up the picture and asked Jay if he could please sign. He put his stuff down and came up. Hands shot out with pens and balls, but like Reed and the other players… he came to me first. Someone behind me asked him if he was starting today. He said no, he doesn’t start two days in a row. He’s too old for that. I told him he wasn’t too old. In fact, he started two days in a row last week. Okay, so maybe after that he realized he wasn’t ready to start back to back games.

I couldn’t believe I got three signatures on the baseball for Pat. It takes me a whole homestand sometimes to get three signatures on my team ball. And Reed Johnson nonetheless! Like I said, I didn’t expect Reed to come over. I was very excited and glad that he did. Now to get Andre’s ball signed. We went to the spot where Andre usually signs and waited for him. We chatted with some new friend Henry, Lauren, and… I’m drawing a blank. Hopefully, Lauren will visit my blog and correct my bad memory. Henry is a regular and I’m sure we crossed paths hundreds of times. Lauren said the last time they were at a game was when Nomar Garciaparra was still on the team. We shared tips and stuff about getting autographs. I saw them after the game to retrieve my silver sharpie. He had gotten two autographs on his baseball cap. I was looking at the second one, trying to figure out whose it was. He told me. I was like, what? His autograph doesn’t look like that. Then I turned the cap upside down. James Loney. Sure enough. His signature was upside down from the LA logo on the cap.

You knew the game was going to be tight. Ted Lilly was pitching and so far he’s been lights out with the Dodgers. He is undefeated in his first three starts with the Dodgers. Josh Suchon on Dodger Talk likes to say Lilly didn’t get much run support from the Cubs, and he sure isn’t getting much with the Dodgers either.

If you watched the game or saw the final, you would know that Josh sure was right. Lilly didn’t get much run support. Just two runs. And he made sure two runs was all he needed. And that he was not going to hand over the ball to the bullpen for them to mess it up. Guess who he two runs were courtesy of?
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Sure enough. Former Cubbie himself. Reed Johnson! The guy I got my photo taken with earlier in the game. One of the ushers was joking with me that Reed’s gonna tell the players that they need to get their picture taken with me before a game so they can hit a homerun too. And believe me, Reed’s not the first player to have hit a homerun in the same game when I’ve gotten a photo with them. 😀 Just a lucky coincidence I say. However, my usher friend said if the Dodgers lose the next three games, it’s my fault because I’m not going to any of the other games the rest of this homestand.