dinsdag 18 juli 2017

Phil Foster - A Brooklyn Baseball Fan

When I was browsing on ebay for Dodgers related records I stumbled upon a 45rpm single by Phil Foster with the title 'A Brooklyn Baseball Fan'. Now, I only knew Foster from Laverne & Shirley so I looked him up and it turned out he was from Brooklyn (born Fivel Feldman) and in the 1950's was known as "Brooklyn's ambassador to the USA". I was intrigued and bought the record.

The skit begins and ends with parts of 'Take me out to the Ballgame'. In 3 minutes and 31 seconds Foster tells the listeners he's a Brooklyn baseball fan. He does an impression of some random Dodgers fans. Turns out one of them doesn't like baseball after all. Erskine is pitching, there is a debate about his quality.

Now, this single had a side B as well (duh!) It features 'The Kids on the Corner'. Not Dodgers related, so I'll leave it at that.

The record is from 1954. The only year the Dodgers didn't play in a World Series during a 1952-1956 time span and a year before the Dodgers won their first World Series. It's a funny bit, Foster's voices are awesome and when you close your eyes you can play out the scene at Ebbets Field.

You can enjoy it HERE.

Foster was a real Dodger fan. In 1957, when it was getting clear the Dodgers would be moving to the West Coast, he recorded the song 'Let's Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn'.

maandag 10 juli 2017

Blue All Stars

The Midsummer Classic is upon us. For years the League that won would have home field advantage in the World Series. Thank God, that’s over! Now it’s once again a gathering of guys who have been playing great during the first half. A week off from serious baseball, a chance for baseball fans to enjoy the more relaxed sides of their favorite players. 

Being elected an All Star is an honor. Especially because it’s the fans who decide the eight position players through fan balloting since 1970 (first time since 1957, when fan balloting was abandoned because of the Cincinnati fans ‘stuffing the ballot box’).


This year we, the Dodgers, have SIX, yes, SIX All Stars at the game. Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger (also playing in the Homerun Derby), Clayton Kershaw (who won’t play because of his Sunday start), Alex Wood, Kenley Jansen and Final Vote winner with over 20 million votes: Justin Turner. It’s the most Dodger players at the ASG since 1981 (also 6). 


Other good representation (5+) years since 1970: 1973 (6), 1974 (5), 1975 (6), 1978 (6), 1980 (6), 1981 (6), 1991 (5), 2015 (5). Having a lot of Dodgers at the ASG doesn’t mean they are in the starting line up, though. Since 1970 there were 27 starting line ups without any Dodgers. The last twenty years haven’t been particularly pro-blue. Dodgers featured in only seven of the last twenty All Star Game staring line ups. 

Is this a problem? No, most of the elected Dodgers got to playing at least some of the game. Which is nice for them. Is it a shame a great player like Kershaw won’t pitch? Sure, because it’s awesome to be able to show everybody what he can do. Especially east coast fans who might not see Kid-K do his magic all that often. But he had the sunday start and honestly I care more about what he does for the Dodgers.

 

Anyway, I expect an interesting All Sar Game with two great starting pitchers and we'll see our Blue All Stars in later innings doing their stuff. Maybe one of them will become MVP. It would be about time. It’s been 21 years since a Dodger was MVP at the Midsummer Classic. Mike Piazza was the man in 1996. Garvey won MVP twice (1974 and 1978) and Sutton was winning Pitcher ├índ MVP in 1977.


Enjoy the game! 


zaterdag 8 juli 2017

Over .500

As a fan of the Dodgers my daily mood during baseball season depends on how our boys in blue are doing. It won’t be a surprise I’ve been having a spring in my step this first half of the season.

Somehow this team seems to be able to dig deep and then some more. You can see on Dave Roberts face he’s not worried and enjoys how his guys are playing. Offensively and defensively.

The All Star Break is coming up so we say goodbye tot he first half of the season and it’s been quite some years since the Dodgers have waved from so high up and over .500. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen this before in my lifetime and many of you either. 32 is the best start at the All Star Break of the LA Dodgers EVER! 


Big numbers in LA

The last time the team was 20+ games over .500 was in 2009 (24). They reached the NLCS but lost against the Phillies.

How long ago were they 25 or better after the first half? Well, hold on to your hats and get in the DeLorean, we’re going back, back all the way to 1977. The Dodgers were up 26 and reached the World Series that year. 1974 was even better: 29 games over .500 and a World Series as well. Those 29 games over were the best first half ever played in LA, until now.


Bigger numbers in Brooklyn

30+ has been done before but only in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn team surpassed 30 on three occasions, in 1942 (31), 1952 (30) and 1955 (32). So the year the Dodgers had their best first half ever, they won their first World Series ever. Talk about making history!


Numbers and results

A good first half isn’t always a guarrantee for a good ending. In 1973 they were up 26 and in 1962 a towering 27 games. Both times finishing second in their division. On the other hand they didn’t always have to have a great first half to reach all the way tot he fall classic. The boys in blue won the World series in 1959, only 10 up after the first half, 13 up in 1965 and 12 up in 1981 and 1988.

Where ever we might end up, a solid first half is never wrong. It gets your opponents thinking ‘are they that good?’


Lesser numbers

* Their worst first half? 1979, when they were 21 games under .500

* The most recent negative start? 10 under in 2011

* Their longest negative first half streak? 7 daffy years (1932-1938)


Wherever the Dodgers end up after 162 games, this first half is in the bag and man oh man, what an awesome half it was! 

 



zondag 2 juli 2017

It....is....gone!

2017 looks like a homerun story for our boys in blue. Cody Bellinger reached 21 dingers in just 51 games, fastest guy ever to reach that mark in the majors and as a team the Dodgers hit a franchise month high of 53 homers in June, breaking the previous club record of 49 set in July AND August 1953.

With 112 homers in less than half a season they could go for a 200+ year. That, though, has only been done three times before in franchise history. Once in LA in 2004 (203 HR) and twice in Brooklyn: 1955 and 1953 (201 and 208 HR)

Those in the fifties were part of a seven year streak of most homeruns in the majors. The boys of summer hit at least 152 out there from 1949 till 1955. Gill Hodges (who weirdly still isn't a hall of famer), Roy Campanella and Duke Snider were the biggest contributers to the 1278 homers in those seven seasons.

Did that amount to anything touchable for the team, like a world series championship? Not really. Only in the final year of that stretch did the Brooklyn Dodgers win their first world series. Not that they weren't close before. They were on the losing end of the 1949, 1952 and 1953 world series.

How do world series titles and # of homeruns stack up?
1955, 1st in HR (201), played the Yankees (175)
1959, 9th in HR (148), played the White Sox (97)
1963, 15th in HR (110), played the Yankees (188)
1965, 20th (last place) in HR (78), played the Twins (150)
1981, 8th in HR (82), played the Yankees (100)
1988, 22nd in HR (99), played the A's (156)

Turns out it's not the amount of homeruns a team hits is much of a factor. Hitting them at the right time is key. Like the one bij Gibson in game 1 of the 1988 world series. But let's be honest, it never hurts to hit many. It is intimidating for pitchers to face a hard hitting team. So, that being said, let our boys in blue hammer at it all the way to October.