donderdag 1 december 2011

12 days of christmas

On the 12th day of christmas my Blue love gave to me…

12 Moves by a new owner
Chapter 11 bankruptcy
10 new bobbleheads
9 Key Moments
8 More Years of Kemp
7 Lessons Learned
6 Steps to the Playoffs
5 Areas to Address
No. 4 to be remembered, RIP Duke
3 Golden Gloves
2 Games I’ll Attend
1 CY Young

All in all a mixed bag, but with eyes on the future!

Have a great December, all!


Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

woensdag 2 november 2011

What a week!

The Dodgers organization AGAIN makes history. Sue Falsone became the first female head athletic trainer in MLB EVER! She already was the first female physical therapist in MLB in 2008. The Dodgers keep paving the way in MLB for everyone who knows their bussiness no matter if they are black, yellow, red, white or blue (that last one would be preferable, at least the color of their heart) or their gender.

More history...
For the first time the Dodgers got three Golden Gloves. Kershaw, Kemp and Ethier are the recipients.
But the best news of all came this morning (yeah, living in Europe, you sometimes miss things during our night ;)). Frank McCheap is selling the team. I've been whistling all day at work and am buying a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate tonight. It's weird how good this feels. It shows us that evil doesn't win and the combined efforts of fans on social media and the boycott have had an effect. A 21% drop in attendence, he must have felt that. It's a wonderful day!

Now what?
I have no idea who are really interested except for the usual suspects. I'm not a fan of Cuban. I can't really say why. The Garvey group would have my vote. Garvey hasn't been much of a financial wizard, but he has that much needed blue heart. If he would team up with Hershiser and a bunch of LA based investors we would sit pretty.

What might come in November
Silver slugger award, MVP, Cy Young... This season must be one of the weirdest for the Dodgers ever. So many downs and loads of ups. All in all I look to the future with confidence. Only 159 days to the 2012 home opener and believe me, Dodgers Stadium will overflow now that Frank has gone. Let's celebrate!

dinsdag 4 oktober 2011

Happy to be Stuck with Blue

We've had some fun, and yes we've had our ups and downs

What a roller coaster season. I can't remember so many ups and downs in a 162 game span. The biggest high and lowest dip combined came on opening day. It was fantastic and sad at the same time. The Boys in blue beat the reigning world series champions, ultimately winning that series 3 games to 1, but it was also the day two Dodger 'fans' beat Giants fan Stow so hard, he had to be kept in a coma for months. It lead to a lot of blue, LAPD blue that is, in and around Dodger Stadium for a big part of the season.

Sometimes that other blue dominated Dodger blue because fans were fed up with the McCourts ownership and just didn't visit home games. A strong signal they don't put up with the money grabbing practices of Frank McC. There have been protests during nation wide televised games and a debate on the net about supporting the boycott or supporting the team. My opinion is that the players know why the stadium is empty. It's not because fans boycott them, but their owner. He won't be gone soon, but I'm certain he'll leave town eventually and hopefully a Garvey/Hershiser or Magic Johnson ownership is around the corner. Hopefully within the next few seasons. Preferably next season but I don't see that happen.

The sooner this ownership episode is over the better, because this team can get on top pretty soon. We had the coming back to life of Matt Kemp which resulted in a 30/30 season, something only one Dodger did before him: Raul Mondesi (in 1997 and 1999). Only missing a 40/40 season by one homerun. Who knows, he might have hit it in the never made up game against the Nationals.
Clayton Kershaw was a certainty whenever he pitched a game ending at 20-5, winning all four times he went up to two times Cy Young winner Lincecum. The guy has a great future ahead of him, hopefully at Dodger Stadium.

Loney had a high and low season at the plate. He was at .171 one month in the season but finished strongly with a .288 BA for the year.
Ethier started strong with a 30 game hitting streak, only one behind Willie Davis who still holds the record for a Dodger with most consecutive games with a hit (31). Ethier broke the hitting streak record for the month of April (27) a record previously held by Joe Torre for 40 years (22).

Kemp and Kershaw were All Stars and because of an injury Ethier was added to the roster, replacing Victorino. The national League won with great performances by all three Dodger players (Ethier 1AB, 1H, 1RBI, Kemp 2AB, 1R, 1H, Kershaw 1IP, 1SO).

There were also some new faces who got into our hearts quickly. It's because of guys like Sands, Eovaldi, Gordon and Sellers I have a good feeling about the team in the years to come.

Last season the Cardinals were swept at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1988. This year the Cards were swept at home for the first time since 1993. That last game made the all time score between Dodgers and Cardinals 1002 won 1001 lost.

The season was a somewhat split. Before the All Star break the Dodgers were 41-51, after the break 41-28!

Been down that rocky road, but here we are, still around

And we had Vinny for a 62nd season, although he didn't do a lot of away games his voice was soothing when things went bad and an inspiration when the team did good. August 26th, just when Lilly had given up a homerun to extend that streak to 6 games, Vinny announced he'd come back for another season of Dodger baseball.

All in all it was a weird season which resulted in a 3rd place in the NL West and no post season (only 3.5 games behind the defending World Series Champs).

In April I called it the duct tape season and I think that's what it turned out to be. The team stuck together through good and bad times. And so did the fans.

Yes, it's true, I'm so happy to be stuck with Blue

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

donderdag 14 juli 2011

Stadium tour

I'd been to Dodger Stadium once, in 2003. It was great! The Dodgers beat the Pirates 4-1. Shawn Green hit a homer, Dreifort won, Gagne got the save, you get the picture. Now, we were gonna travel from Chitown to LA and I already got my tickets for a Dodgers game, but I wanted more. On Facebook I saw pics and reviews of the stadium tour, so I booked a private tour for my g/f and me.
When the day came, I hoisted myself in my 'Dutch Dodger' jersey and we set off for the stadium. We entered at top deck and it was weird to see the stadium completely empty (something we're getting used to nowadays, even during games). Just some guy with a lawn mower on the field. And our guide of course who turned out to be a very nice and knowledgable girl (okay she was in her twenties, but when you're 40 everybody younger than 30 is a boy or a girl, sorry).
She started us off with the deeper meaning of the colors of the seats. And did we know what those numbers were over the bleachers? Yes, we knew. I said it would be nice if Vin would get his own number retired. It's not uncommon. At Miller park, there's a number for Bob Uecker, so... I hope Vinny will get his.
Then it was off to the Press Box and nancy Bea's Organ. It felt great to sit there, looking to my right, seeing the field. I imagined myself playing 'charge' during a world series game.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

The Luxury Suite was big, but to be honest, I 'd rather sit on the Top Deck or the bleachers during a game. It enhances the 'Stadium Feel'. But that's just me.
The Dugout Club was amazing. Primarily because of the Commissioner's trophy of the 1981 and 1988 World Series. Very cool to be in such close proximity of these trophies.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

The highlight for me, and I guess for every fan, was the dugout. We walked along the perfectly mowed grass and took the steps down to the dugout. I had to stand there for a while, saying nothing, recalling all the fantastic moments that had happened here, on this field, overseen by the guys in the dugout.
Yeah, I had to sit on the bench, give instructions to the team that wasn't there and even had to call the bullpen, requesting a closer and hoping Broxton was still in Triple-A.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

And then it was time for something else. I thought it would be great to be in one of my favourite places in the world, with the person I'd like to be with till I die and let her know this by asking her to marry me. Now, let it be known my g/f likes baseball and will gladly visit a game when we're here in the States. But she's not a fan of any MLB team. If she likes a team, I think it's the Red Sox. But she knows how much I love the Dodgers and how I looked forward to this tour of the Stadium. I also knew she's not the marrying type, but I had to ask once, take the plunge, take a risk. And what is a better place to ask her than the dugout of Dodger Stadium? So I got on one knee and asked her.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

She declined. Ow well, the rest of the tour was great and I could have known. We talked about it over lunch and both decided that love is more important than marriage and the former can be just as true without the latter (maybe better).
Anyway, we had a great day and I hope to return to Dodger stadium many times. Cause one marriage will never end and that's the one between me and Dodger Blue!

zondag 3 april 2011


When you're Dutch and you visit the States about once a year you can be happy with the little things. When these little things involve Dodger-stuff you get a fuzzy feeling even when it's next to nothing. I wrote in my last blog entry I got excited by being at the original Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Even though I was there during the offseason and nothing was going on.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Today we visited Albuquerque and when you're a Dodgers fan, you visit Isotopes Park. Now, I knew the season hadn't started yet, so no disappoitment there. I was just happy to be there. As luck would have it some guys were working on mobile consession stands and they were unloading stuff. So we casually walked through the right field gate and I was happy to see the freshly cut, green grass in the field. A shame those BBQ Nachos weren't there yet! :)

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Outside the park there was this sign saying 'Dodgertown route of champions' and it had a map of the US and Dominican Republic with all Dodgers related sites. I loved it! But I was a bit miffed about the fact Vero Beach was not on it. Sure, I know Dodgertown is no more (at least in Florida) but I can't imagine the memories of it slipping away and future generations not knowing of it's existence.

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Then I saw the sign saying 'pro shop' and since I wanted a 'Topes cap I was eager to visit it, but no... it was closed. Bummer!

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Thank goodness the Lids at the Corona Center Mall had loads of them, so hooray, I got me one! One interesting fact is that although the Dukes moved to Portland and became the Beavers in 2001 Albuquerque seems to love the team a lot. I saw many Dukes caps at Fannz and Lids (and on people's heads). But be it Dukes or Isotopes, it's great to see a Dodgers Minor League team back in Albuquerque.

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

woensdag 16 februari 2011

Dodgers everywhere!

Even when I'm not even close to LA, I had some Dodgers related encounters during USA visits.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Dodgertown 2006
It wasn't on my itinerary, but when the road signs said 'Vero Beach' I had to go and take a peek. It was in November so there wasn't much action. As it turned out it was one of the last winters before the last Dodgers Spring Training in Florida. Good timing!
It felt weird to pass the VB Dodgers gates onto a piece of land that had been Dodger Town for so long. No groundsmen were active, not a soul kept me from going into Holman Stadium. It was a ghostlike experience. Not soon after I visited Vero Beach, the lights went out in Dodger Town for good.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Brooklyn 2008
I'd been to NYC but never off Manhattan Island. It was time to expand my horizon, so I visited Brooklyn. Great place. Very New York City, but it has a tranquil quality. And the neighbourhoods sound easy: Flatbush, Bensonhurst, Crown Heights, almost Bostonian. I strolled through Prospect Park and on my way to the subway found this mural. I don't have a lot with the Dodgers pre-LA, that's so long ago, but I felt proud when I saw the painting and it felt like the people from Brooklyn never recovered from their move to the West Coast.
At the end of my walk along the boardwalk of Coney Island I visited the stadium of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a nice little park that's flanked by a bigger than life statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Portland 2010
Okay, this may be stretching it, but when I visited America's biggest book store I went straight for the baseball section and to my surprise found a hard copy of 'Out of the Blue'. Hadn't seen any of those, ever! I also got a nice hard copy of 'Koufax a lefty's Legacy'. So a little bit of Blue in that trip after all.

dinsdag 15 februari 2011

Lights out!

So, I had a case of (what turned out to be) Transient Global Amnesia a few weeks back. My lights went out, I fell and for about 5 hours no new memories were imprinted in my brain. Funny thing is that I was able to call my girlfriend, walk to the doctor, talk to her and walk to the hospital afterwards (or so my girlfriend, who was with me, tells me). They did all kinds of tests on me (no, not THAT kind of tests :)), got blood samples, tapped some spinal fluid, did a brain wave scan and an MRI. I spend the night there and left the next day feeling better than I’ve felt in months. Two weeks later I had to report back to the neurologist for test results. All was well, no weird stuff but there was something off on the MRI. Nothing serious and I never would have known about it if I didn’t had that MRI. So, what did they find? A water filled cyst behind my left eye socket that has been there since before I was born. Where my brain was supposed to be, was a body of water!
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

How weird! This doesn’t mean I miss a piece of brain (but I’m not sure, lol!). I realized I don’t have a, what we call wiskundeknobbel (mathematics bump :)). Instead, I have a water dent. It didn’t take me long to give it meaning. Most of the time water is blue (in a child’s drawing, along the sandy beaches of Maui). Blue is also the color of my favourite baseball team, so now I can scientifically explain why I’m a Dodgers fan: I was born that way!

woensdag 12 januari 2011

Besides the Dodgers...

A while ago I posted a comment on Facebook concerning NFL playoffs. This prompted a reply from one of my Dodger fan friends. He didn't know I followed the NFL as well.
To make things clear I'll list the teams that give me fuzzy feelings right here. Note that although I like these franchises, none of them can and ever will replace my big blue love for the LA Dodgers!

It took me years to understand this game. But once you put some effort into it, you get it, it's simple as hell! I remember in high school one of my classmates did a presentation about football. Sounded interesting, but the rules didn't land that time. Once we got NFL Europe I attended some games of the Amsterdam Admirals a few times and got the hang of it. The Admirals kicker was a guy named Vinatieri. It's because he played over here I became a Patriots fan. Fan is a big word, but I liked it when they won the Super Bowl. Nowadays, I'm not commited to a team. This years I would like the Bears to win.

NCAA Football
This is much more fun for me than the NFL. I love how the young guns play. They do stuff the NFL players won't do. And the half time show is the schools brass band. How great is that? The enthusiasm on the field is sometimes overshadowed my that in the stands. The 'Jump Around' routine at a Badgers game is awesome. Videos of this won't do it any justice. You have to be there! People over here in the Netherlands wouldn't understand that a college team would get so many people in a stadium. My favorite NCAA football teams: Badgers and Hurricans. If you ever want to read how they turned the MU football program around get a copy of Bruce Feldmans' 'Cane Mutiny'. A very interesting and fun read! You'll like the team instantly!

Van Blogger-foto's

Nope! I don't know, I can't follow that puck. It's too small. I follow the playoffs on the net and thought it was funny when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup because of the Disney movies, but other than that I just take in who won the cup and turn my eye to the young baseball season again.

Also not really my sport. Dribble, dribble, dunk, 2 points, dribble dribble, dunk, 2 points, dribble, dribble, blocked shot, rebound, 2 points, foul and so on. Sure, some actions can be great. I love what Kobe can do and that kid from the Clippers Blake Griffin. That guy is fantastic! But I could not watch an entire game. I check the scores and watch some highlights and I like the Lakers. I think because they were the dominant team when I grew up and I liked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane! :)

Really football, but everybody understands 'soccer'. For this type of sport I stay close to home. I'm a Feyenoord fan. And that's hard! The last national title was won in 1999. The last eight years were kinda crappy and they are in 13th place (of 18 teams) right now and the season is halfway. And I like the national team of the Netherlands, but that's a no brainer. MLS I don't really follow, sorry!

Well that's it for team sports. Individual sports I enjoy: Tennis (Edberg in the old days, Federer now), Golf (Ballesteros then, Tiger now), Poker (Hellmuth) and then there's some other ones I won't bother you with.