A Stop at Willoughby

March 24, 2014


While waiting for the next Dodgers game amongst the din of 24/7 sports channels on cable TV and hundreds of Web Sites, whose editors are imploring their writers to “push!, push!, push!” to file their stories and bring eyeballs to their screens, I got off the train at Willoughby.

The quiet was deafening as my feet alighted on the wooden planks of the station. The Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, that had been my constant companion, was missing from my pocket. At the side of the depot building, there was a curious booth, made of glass, with a double-hinged, glass door.   Inside, was an antique telephone with a fixed mouthpiece and separate handset, the type that I remember seeing once in a Humphrey Bogart film noir movie.

Across the street, the business district started with a row of shops.  On the other side of the F. W. Woolworth Company and Rexall stores, was an Allied Radio shop with some noise coming from a speaker mounted in the ceiling of its vestibule. As I got closer, I recognized the voice of Red Barber, that I had heard once in the Ken Burns “Baseball” documentary: “…and Vic Raschi, coming back for his second start.  And now for the Dodgers, the batting order, again, goes with Captain and shortstop Pee Wee Reese, leading off. With a right-hander going for New York, manager Shotton goes with his left hand hitters, which means, third baseman Johnny Jorgensen is hitting number two. Jorgensen at third, batting second. Snider in center field, batting third. Robinson, at second base, hitting fourth. Batting fifth, and in right field is Gene Hermanski – Carl Furillo is still out with that injured right groin, he just can’t go.  Hodges at first base, is hitting sixth. Marvin Rackley, who came out of the second game of the World Series… with a pulled muscle in his back, as you can recall, is the surprise nomination… Manager Shotton, at noon… talked it over, and thought that (Luis) Olmo would be his starting left fielder, but Rackley apparently told him he was all right, and Manager Shotton has changed, and is going with Rackley in left field.  Roy Campanella is catching… and Rex Barney is the pitcher.”

What in the heck was going on?  Where were all the foreign cars?   Why was there a 12″ Muntz TV in the window of a store which,  along with its neighbors,  closed years ago?   Why did that sign at the train depot say “Willoughby”,  and why was I compelled to exit the train there?  Most of all,  why was Red Barber reading off a list of Dodgers that had died years ago?

I vaguely remembered reading somewhere, maybe baseball-reference.com, that those players started in a World Series game decades ago.  As I pondered this,  a neatly dressed,  dark haired, young man,  wearing a business suit and smoking a cigarette,  opened the door,  and seeing my quizzical expression,  said “It is October 9th, 1949 Mr.  O’Connell.   Welcome to Willoughby… and the Twilight Zone.”

(Click on the above link to Red Barber to hear game 5 of the 1949 World Series.)


More Fish to Fry

August 9, 2013

More Fish to Fry

Photo Credit: The Jersey Shore by Karl Hess

The Tampa Bay Rays are another team with a better record than the Dodgers. If we are truly a championship team, that will matter little. Just keep the RISP, LOL and BABIP numbers on the good side. And keep Puig from getting too intimate with the walls.

1962 World Series? 2013 Fall Classic?

July 30, 2013

1962 World Series?

What could have been. This proposed cover for the 1962 World Series Souvenir Program still makes me sad.

The last day of the 1962 season was my saddest day as a Dodger fan. I was listening to the game on a Sears Silvertone transistor radio in my backyard. The Dodgers were four games ahead with just eight games to go and Dodger fans were eagerly anticipating another trip to the World Series. However, the team was exhausted and by the end of the regular season, they were tied with the hated Giants, forcing a three game playoff.

The Dodgers lost the first game 8 – 0 with Sandy Koufax on the mound. Koufax said he "had nothing at all" in describing his Game 1 performance. The boys in blue came back to tie the series with an 8 – 7 win. The 165th game of the season would be the decisive game. With umpires Dusty Boggess, Augie Donatelli, Jocko Conlan, and Al Barlick presiding, the Dodgers were ahead 4 – 2 with the Giants coming up in the top of the ninth inning. I was giddy with the anticipation of my Dodgers going to the Series again just three years after they won the championship in 1959.

Matty Alou pinch hit for the 1956 World Series hero, Don Larsen, and singled to lead off the inning. Harvey Kuenn grounded into a force out at second base. Willie McCovey pinch hit for Chuck Hiller and walked to advance Kuenn. Ernie Bowman pinch ran for McCovey and Felipe Alou walked to load the bases. Willie Mays hit a line drive single scoring Kuenn. Dodger pitcher Ed Roebuck barely managed to knock the ball down to hold Mays to a single and Mays said he was "still mad" after the game because he had expected more off of the hit. Stan Williams relieved Roebuck and Orlando Cepeda hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4–4 and advance Alou to third. Mays moved to second on a wild pitch to Ed Bailey and Williams intentionally walked him to reload the bases. Williams walked Jim Davenport to give the Giants a 5–4 lead, and they added to it as José Pagán reached on an error allowing Mays to score and extend the lead to 6–4. Billy Pierce pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to end the game, earning his only save of the season.

I was devastated. How could that have happened? A repeat of the 1951 season. The horror… The horror.

This series against the Yankees could very well be a preview of the 2013 World Series. The Dodgers have a nice lead and with "The Beard" on our side coming off his Tommy John surgery, the bullpen possibly just got a little better. Or not.

Off-Season Thoughts

September 5, 2011

With almost $50 mil coming off the books, and what looks like a sudden youth influx of good to OK talent, what do we need but a bat that isn’t named Uribe.  Who knows what this off-season may bring, but something that probably will occur is Bud Selig’s insistence that if Frank is still owner during off-season, that any money he takes out in loans or which way attainable, are used exclusively for the team. Pujols, Prince, etc. Maybe that Yu Darvish fellow? Who knows, but for now, this team rides the trains with the baggage they have, and a sudden resurgence of Loney and Ethier amongst others have helped ease the pain most have felt throughout the season.

Do we need more help in the rotation, or do we re-up with Kuroda-San, and keep the team as is. Do we go all in with the chance at luring Prince or getting a now 30 year old Pujols, who some consider is now in his decline. Maybe, just maybe we become buyers this off-season, probably buying way above value just to get people to sign. Or do we get new management, new front office brain-trusts, and lure someone with the promise of a new direction. All that assumed, can we as Dodger fans actually see a brighter future around the bend?

This Day in Dodgers History

September 5, 1955 – In an 11-4 win over the Phillies, Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe hits his seventh homer establishing a National League record for home runs by a pitcher in a season. The victory is Newk’s 20th of the season.

C’est La Vie C’est La Vie!!!

September 4, 2011

How about them Dodgers?

It’s become quite a ride that we’ve all been buckled into this season, as crap has piled upon crap, and yet, the weight of it all hasn’t broken the camels hump. This team has been resilient and harsh to us at the same time. How do we get so close to taking over 2nd, and then losing a 3 game series to the Phillies, at which point most of us lost confidence in anything happening. Alas, this team was on life support, clinging to the hope that this team would receive a miracle in the form of a trade or of some fortunate news (McTard ousted, Ned Fired), and yet, it never came.

Somehow someway though, they gathered the testicular fortitude, scrounged up their pair of guava fruits and manned up, winning throughout August, and currently riding a 5 game winning streak. What’s worth noting is that in all this time, when they’ve been winning, they’ve been hitting the ball better, pitching better, and more so improved upon their once horrid record. With 3 more wins, this team could be at .500, something that this team looked incapable of doing so a short while ago.

Now, many can say that there is no justice in this season, but I beg to differ. Without much media fanfare on the National Stage (ie: ESPN), two of our very own have put up amazing seasons, with a month of ball left to go.

Matt Kemp has been a great hitter for much of his career, learning through trial and error and much malign of certain people (GM) and has seemed to put everything he’s been taught throughout his career to good use. With the help of Davey Lopes, he’s become a feared runner, so much so that he’s on pace to steal at least 40 bags, and with his power, hit 40 HR’s. A 40-40 season, coupled with a great AVG and RBI total has pushed him into consideration for MVP.

Our very own ACE Kersh has been lights out. Putting it lightly, he’s tied for the NL wins  (17), leads in SO’s (212), 2nd in ERA (2.45), Innings (198.2), is tied for lowest ERA against (.211), and did I mention, he’s only 23. Heck, all this on a team that has been crap for most of the season. His biggest competition is “Doc”, but he’s had a lineup to help him, while Kersh has gutted and grinded it out to post his wins. After all, if the Pot-Head Lincecunt could win, why not Kersh, who is better than him in every which way possible. To me, Kersh and Matty are this season’s NL Cy Young and NL MVP.

Now, with all that said and done, this team still has the bleakest of hope to make the playoffs. If everything where to fall into place as follows, this team could find themselves winning the NL West, although I don’t believe they will.

For them to make the playoffs, this must happen as follows:

1. Giants and D’Backs go 3-3 vs. each other in their remaining series’

2. Dodgers must sweep Giants and D’Backs in their remaining games

3. Padres and Rockies have to beat Giants and D’Backs

4. We must sweep Braves, Pittsburgh and Washington, on top of taking 2 of 3 from Rockies and Padres games.

5. Pirates must beat D’Backs in series

The way that things go in the NL West, anything is possible. Of course, accomplishing this feat would leave many wondering what to do, go to the games or stay at home, at which time, we’d be a laughing stock as a fan base, and when we did show up, we’d be considered bandwagon fans, and as we know to be a fact, we are each far from that. Furthermore, good ol’ Frank McBroke would take that as a triumph of his doing while in time of turmoil. It’s a slippery slope on which we’d find ourselves, but again, this is the NL West, and anything can and probably will happen. With each win, this team moves closer to a brighter future and a fresh start, but maybe, just maybe, they finally put it all together, and are geared to spoil someone’s plans or put off their very own golf swings.

Let’s just all pray that this team has fun the rest of the way, and who knows, maybe Karma will be a bitch, and maybe it will come back and bite Frank, Ned, and Stan in the ass, but for now, let’s just hope that this team makes it a fun ride to the end. After all, this season is almost to a dwindle.

As the pussy french say, C’est La Vie C’est La Vie!!!

This Day in Dodgers History

September 4, 1969 – After thirty-one games, the third longest consecutive game hitting streak in National League history ends as Dodger Willie Davis is stopped by Dick Kelley and Gary Ross in a 3-0 loss to the Padres. 

P.S. The winning streak continues thanks to Blake’s big sister.  It turns out that Erin Hawksworth has an identical twin named Erica.  Bring us twice the luck girls!

Erin and Erica Hawksworth

Erin and Erica Hawksworth - A Winning Pair!

Kershaw is Pitching like Koufax

July 20, 2011

Clayton Kershaw pitched 8 shutout innings Wednesday, getting 12 strikeouts and retiring 25 out of 29 batters as the Dodgers defeated the Giants 1-0.  Tim Lincecum also pitched good allowing only a 7th inning solo home run by Dioner Navarro.  This reminds me of the Dodgers teams of the early 1960’s that depended on great pitching and had to scratch for runs.

From May 1, 1961 until June 1, 1966, Sandy Koufax pitched ten games in which the final score was Dodgers 1, other team 0.  All games were complete game shutouts except for one in which Sandy got a little help from Ron Perranoski.

Time will tell whether Kershaw will continue to put up those kind of numbers, but at the same stage of their careers, Kershaw is way ahead of where Koufax was at the same age.

Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax

Colletti Cans Coach

Ned Colletti fired Dodger Hitting Coach Jeff Pentland following Tuesday’s game.  He cited a lack of focus by the team’s struggling offense as reported by Tony Jackson in his ESPN Los Angeles blog.  Colletti said he wanted to send a message to the players.  I’m afraid that the only message he has succeeded in sending was for a player to get out of LA as soon as they hit free agency.

After Wednesday’s 1-0 victory in which the Dodgers were 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position on the first day new Hitting Coach Dave Hansen was in charge, Jackson tweeted:

A Dodgers position player who shall go nameless, as we entered clubhouse after game: `Well, that change of hitting coaches worked out well.’”

Way to help the team morale, Ned.

God Help Us

July 19, 2011

God Help Us

Thanks, Collie!  This image from your post on the previous thread says it all.

This blog will allow us to insert images inline in a reply, unlike ITD.  To do this, you just need to put the URL link inside the img tag:

<img src=”https://outsidethedodgers.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/idea.png?w=225&#8243; />

It looks like the pump is primed and this blog is off and running strong.  Thanks for making that happen.

Remember that every one of us can post a new thread if you so desire.  Thanks Enchanted for jumping in.  Check my post to see how to make a new thread.