dinsdag 24 juli 2012

Think Blue Sign

In no particular order Vin Scully, Jaime Jarrin, Nancy Bea, Dodger Dogs, the Left Field Pavilion, Breaking the Color Barrier, Walter O’Malley, Dodger Town, 1, 2, 4, 19, 20, 24, 32, 39, 42 and so many more makes the Dodgers what they are today. It’s a club soaked in tradition. History has been made ever since they played in Brooklyn and still is today with players like Kemp, Kershaw and Ethier. Fans bleed blue and are quite vocal about their club. If things are going great it’s all good, if the club hits a bad streak because of losing games or bad management they lash out, but also try to come up with a solution for the problem. THAT is what makes a ballclub: The fans! And the Dodger fan thinks blue.
Which brings me to another, more recent, addition to the list above. Something that reminds us that in good times and in bad, we all love our Dodgers and the color which represents them: the THINK BLUE sign.
I’ve tried to look up when the sign was put up there. It was during the O’Malley era, which means it has been there since 1997 at least. I know it was there when I first visited Dodger Stadium in 2003. It sat there, in the hills, like it was reassuring the visitors of the games. “We might lose games, but think blue and we’ll still have the edge”.
Then, from one day to the next… the sign was gone. Santa Ana winds blew some of the letters down and the complete sign was removed. Apparently a Dodgers spokesman told the LA Times the team would repair the sign. But it never resurfaced. Maybe they’re planning something, but word hasn’t come out.
The sign is a regular topic among Dodger fans on Facebook. Talking about it is one, but doing something about it is something else. So that’s why I started the “Bring the Think Blue Sign Back” petition.
I set myself a goal of 500 signatures. Which should be doable among Facebook Dodger Fans only. So, bottom line, I want to ask you to sign the petition. Follow the link, that’s all there is to it. Ow, and spread the word. The word is Blue!

maandag 23 april 2012

Through a Blue Lens: Review

I’ve always been mainly an LA Dodgers fan. I knew they played in Brooklyn, but that's way in the past. But last year I had this feeling I wanted to know more about the team during their time in Brooklyn. I read ‘Forever Blue’ which I reviewed last month. The book had some photos in it and my curiosity was piqued. During my stay in LA a few weeks back I stubled upon the book ‘Through a blue Lens: The Brooklyn Dodger Photographs of Barney Stein 1937-1957’. It opened up a whole new world for me. Stein was the Jon SooHoo of his time and paints some great pictures with his camera. Fantastic pictures of Snider, Robinson, Campy, Reese and more. You know the names and seen their faces, but not as intimately as in the photos in this book. All black and white photos, which gives the Brooklyn era that 'old days' look. Not only are there photos, the accompanying text is interesting as well. All in all a great book to have on your shelf and to leaf through once in a while.

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

donderdag 19 april 2012

Dodgers Home Opener 2012

The morning of April 10th was sunny. A perfect day for a home opener. I had accepted an invitation to a tailgating party at Elysium Park from one of my fellow facebook Dodger fan friends. I arrived at 9am and people were already firing up the bbq’s, wrapping Dodger Dogs in bacon, East LA style, and playing catch. It was fun to see how people reacted when they saw this fan from the Netherlands, actually at opening day. I talked to some people and we had a group picture taken. Turned out, most of them were Left Field Pavilion season ticket holders. I told them I had an LFP ticket for tommorows game. And what do you know, I’d be right in their section.

Van LA Trip

Around 11am I walked to the stadium and the place was a already filling up nicely. When I arrived at the stadium club level I heard someone call my name. It was Dodger Bobble. I was surprised he recognised me since I was donning my Dodgers Jersey and cap. So was everybody else. He’s a great guy. We talked for a while and during that time we saw Larry King walk by and Maury Wills. Old dudes, but highly respected ones. Larry was already a Dodgers fan when they still played in Brooklyn.

Van LA Trip

The pregame stuff was awesome. The Beach Boys, including Brian Wilson (the only Brian Wilson who is welcome at Dodger Stadium), sang Surfer Girl, which gave me goose bumps since it’s all so very California for a guy from the Netherlands. A group of at least 200 army personnel walked in this (excuse the language) fucking huge American flag which was rolled out and the Beach Boys sang the national anthem.

Van LA Trip

White doves were set free and two F18 planes did a fly over. Only in America! Retired Dodger players came onto the field. Then the daughter of former owner Walter O’Malley threw the first ball, to Tom Lasorda. It was all very impressive, but what we came for was only just beginning.

Kershaw, who had a cold a few days earlier, was lights out on the mound. Dee Gorden was the first hitter, got on base, stole second and before we knew it, he scored and we were 1 run up. The Pirates scored a few innings later. Kenley Jansen (a real Dutch Dodger) threw an amazing inning and in the eigth inning, Andre Ethier celebrated his birthday by hitting a ball out of there. Final score 2-1 in a short game (2 and a half hours). I met up with Enrique who had saved all six bobble heads that were given out last season as SGA’s. He lend me his MVP card zo I could ho on the field and play some catch. Unfortunately there was a long line and I didn’t bring a glove.

It was the experience of a lifetime. That first week in which every fan dreams of the Commissioner's Trophy, everthing is possible at that moment.

Some more impressions in frozen and moving pictures:

Van LA Trip

Van LA Trip

Van LA Trip

maandag 9 april 2012

101 Reasons to Love the Dodgers: Review

Being a Star Wars fan and having a nice collection of books about the subject I can say I don’t like books with titles like: trivia book, quiz book, the real fan’s book of knowledge, facts about... Most of these books include the same information. Stuff we already know or is so far fetched, we don’t care!
This is why I was not tempted to buy “101 reasons to love the Dodgers”. But when I leafed through it, I was surprised by the quality of the images they used in this hard cover book. It really has a great look and feel. And... Some interesting facts. Most of them well known to a Dodger fan, but some fun surprises. Best of all this is a book I can hand to friends who ask me “why the Dodgers?” well, read this, there are (at least) 101 reasons why!

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

woensdag 4 april 2012

50 Years Later

Can you connect the past with the present? Or can you arrange it in a way you are part of it? I like to think so. I had my picture taken with Ethier in 2007, a few years before his hitting streak. I can say "That's me and that guy, who had a record breaking hitting streak in April". Or that pic I'm in with Orel Hershiser. "That guy had a great season in 1988". It's fun to briefly cross someone's lifepath like that. So when I realized it will be exactly 50 years ago on April 10th the Dodgers played their first game at Dodger Stadium ánd that game is the season home opener for the 2012 season I didn't have to think twice (or even once).
So I asked my g/f nicely and booked a flight to LA. Made reservations at a hotel and impatiently waited for the single game tickets to go on sale. I got a ticket on the first try and so I got confirmation my ticket to the home opener and the game the next day will be waiting for me at the Will Call window.
Things got even better when word got out that McCourt picked a new owner. He's finally leaving, which calls for a magical party at the home opener. With the sounds of the one and only Beach Boys. Hope to see some of you there!

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

maandag 2 april 2012

My Bat Boy Days: Review

“my bat boy days: what I learned from the boys of summer” is the full title of the book written by Steve Garvey. A bit of a long title for a thin book (148 pages) with a large font.
Garvey describes what he’s learned in the six years (1956-1961) he was a bat boy for The Dodgers during spring training or exhibition games. After a short intro about how he became a bat boy, Garvey describes the players all in their own chapter: Reese, who I learned is part Dutch, Hodges, Robinson, Erskine, Snider, Campenella, Koufax and non-Dodgers Mantle and Kaline. Most of those players have an (auto)biography, but here you get a mini biography of each of them.
It’s an easy book, Garvey put in loads of quotes from biographies. One of the up sides, if you don’t know whose (auto)biography you want to read, is that you can read this book and pick the Dodger you want. A bit like CliffsNotes.
I felt the need to know more about The Duke so I’ll read ’The Duke of Flatbush’ first. Once again: an easy book, but it’s nice to see one of the Dodgers best players of the 70’s and 80’s paying tribute to those who wore Dodger Blue before him.

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

zaterdag 31 maart 2012

Forever Blue: Review

“Forever Blue, the true story of Walter O’Malley, baseball’s most controversial owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles” is the complete title of Pulizer Prize winning writer Michael D’Antonio’s book.
And yes, it’s first and foremost subject is O’Malley. His life from childhood (he grew up being a Giants fan!!), his years at Culver and Penn. How he build his enormous network and, most importantly, how he became the owner of and ran the Dodgers organization.
There is some baseball action, but it’s not the main business of this book. If you’re interested in the Dodgers and their rise under O’Mally’s ownership, you should read it. It can be a bit dry at times, but you know where it’s heading and once you’re in the late 1940’s the story unfolds before your eyes.
D’Antonio describes Brooklyn, the Brooklynites, Ebbets Field and the players with an eye for detail and you almost see yourself in the stands at Ebbets, rooting for Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider and all the other Boys in Blue.
It’s essential history for Dodger fans who want to know more of their team, the time before Los Angeles, how the process of moving the team went. O'Malley was often seen as a money grabbing owner, but the fact is he tried and tried to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn.
How did the spring training stadium at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, come by the name Holman? Did you know that the Angels really were an LA team before the Dodgers came to town? These and many more facts can be found within the pages of this well written book.
Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

vrijdag 30 maart 2012

Magic Dodgers Deal!

Yes, it happened and even before the deadline. McCourt is gone! Magic Johnson, still is a popular figure in LA, and Kasten who has the necessary experience with ballclubs, and their Guggenheim Partners will hand over $ 2 billion to become owners of both the club, the stadium and 50% of the parking lots. McCourt is gone? No, that other 50% is his. Thankfully he won’t receive any money for parking on Dodger game days and he can’t do anything with his share without consent of Johnson and co. That’s a relief, but he’s still not entirely gone and that bugs me.

So we’ve seen all the news sites and the LA Times opens with “It’s showtime for Dodgers”. I’m willing to bet Magic, with Dodgers cap, will appear on the next issue of Sports Illustrated.

But enough about the US press, what about the press in my country? Did anyone pick up the news about this deal? You betcha! No big analyzing articles, but still. A selection of Dutch news sites:

De Volkskrant


Zie.nl (video with Dutch commentary)


And even in some papers. I had to white out parts because of copyright issues, but it gives you an idea.

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

De Volkskrant

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Algemeen Dagblad

maandag 26 maart 2012

Naming Dodger Stadium

Until a few days ago, I never heard of something called 'naming rights'. Bill Shaikin of the LA Times wrote about it and it scared the bejezus out of me. Was there a chance McCourt kept the naming rights and, after selling Dodger Stadium, was gonna name it Frank's McCourt? Or was he gonna sell the rights to a bank or other organization? Were we about to hear Vin Scully say: "welcome to venerable Trader joe's Stadium"?
Before all these options will surface, I want to give the potential buyers two naming options I could live with:

Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger


Van Ramblings of a Dutch Dodger

Dodger Stadium, there is no substitute!