The Dodgers held the Zack Greinke Introduction press conference this afternoon at the Dodger Stadium club suite. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend in person, and represent Lasorda’s Lair. I rolled up at around 1:15, because of traffic en route. Once I got there, I strolled into the Dodger Stadium Club. This was the same place they held the Hyun-jin Ryu presser yesterday afternoon. I did not ask any questions, but had a great time listening to everyone speak, and absorbing the atmosphere. Normally I like to blend in during these events.
The room was filled with all the usual familiar faces of the press, media, and other various writers/bloggers. I was able to say hi briefly to Dylan Hernandez. He had finally shaved off his moonshiner beard, and fro, and looked nearly clean shaven. I then sat next to Eric Stephen of truebluela.com. The guy is very nice, and I really like talking Baseball with him. He showed me around the press box last season, and showed me the ropes when being in the Dodger Stadium Press Box. The guy is just a class act all the way. With pen and paper, and tape recorder in hand, I was ready to document the presser.
Magic Johnson was the first to speak at the podium. Magic prasied Greinke’s professionalism, and poise in the clubhouse. He thanked Ned Colletti, and Stan Kasten.
“We’re so happy to have him, Zack Welcome to the Dodgers! The Dodger Pride is on it’s way back” -Magic Johnson
Magic also went on to say that Ned Colletti deserved a vacation, before he introduced him. Magic is probably right. It’s been a busy week. Then up came Ned Colletti to the stage.
Then Colletti said something about Zack stealing his lines, and Tommy Lasorda and the queen of England? Everyone laughed, but I’m not sure what he was talking about, and I didn’t see Tommy there. Anyways, Colletti went on to talk about the Greinke contract.
“It was very important to us for Zack to know how serious we were about making this team as great as we could make it. And that the part that he would play would be a major, major part of it.”
Then Colletti introduced Zack Greinke as the newest Dodger.
“As we set out this off season to add a front line pitcher who is capable and proven, Zack was the one we zeroed in on”, We are very pleased to add a second pitcher who has won a Cy Young award to this rotation and organization. We believe he brings a lot to this team, and a pitching staff that was already very good.”
As you can see, Greinke came to the stage and put on his new Dodger uniform. The Birdman looks great in Dodger Blue I must say. After some photo opps, Greinke was ready to answer questions from the media.
“The number one goal was to pick a team that had a chance to win a world series every year”-Zack Greinke Greinke said when asked what made him choose the Dodgers over the Angels. Good answer Zack.
Greinke went on to say that he’s glad to be pitching in a pitcher’s park that allows him to pitch to his strength, since he said he is more of a fly ball pitcher. Although he can get a lot of ground ball outs with his off-speed pitches. Greinke stated that he wanted to work on his four-seamer, and doesn’t want to changeup too much, and try to mix up his pitches better.
Someone asked Greinke if the Angels were ever really in it to sign him, and his response was not surprising.
“They kept in contact the whole time from the end of the season, to the World Series was over. When the details came, they never really got into it too much.”
Then came the funniest moment of the presser. When asked what he saw that made his so optimistic the Dodgers would win the World Series, Greinke responded with this jewel….
“I thought Stan Kasten was the smartest guy I had ever talked to”. The entire room burst into laughter. It was awesome. I think Kasten was beaming from ear to ear.
Somebody then asked Magic if money is no object. I absolutely loved Magic’s response. The guy is brilliant. Magic said, point blank….
“We want to win!”-Magic Johnson
Well said Magic!
Greinke went on to talk about how good the Dodger lineup is going to be, and that there are a lot of great players on the team.
Greinke went on to talk more about why he chose the Dodgers and Los Angeles for his new destination.
He stated that he always likes to play in the city he lives in, but it’s not necessary. (Greinke and his wife live in Orlando Florida.) Greinke went on to say that people don’t really know what he considers comfortable, and that he has always liked the city of Los Angeles, and he is excited to play here. He also stated that he always wanted to play in Los Angeles.
Colletti also explained some of the processes during the winter meetings, and how the deal picked up progress during those winter meetings, but it was the November meetings earlier that really layed out the groundwork for the mega six year 147 million dollar contract. Colletti said he is very sharp, and brings much more to the Dodgers then just pitching. He also went on to say that those were the best free agent meetings he has ever had.
Greinke also gave praise to Dodger manager Don Mattingly. He said that he likes his calm demeanor, and is impressed with the way he continues to learn and get better. I did not see Mattingly at the press conference. Then again there was a huge post in front of me. It was pretty crowded and seating was limited, so I had to get what I could get.
Overall, I was very impressed with Greinke. He is well spoken, polite, but also very soft spoken. You all know that I like to call him Birdman. A fellow Milwaukee writer once said he looked like an angry bird, and after that, I noticed how bird like he really is. Tall, kind of lanky, long nose, the resemblance to Mark Fidrych is uncanny. Of course you know we like to give all the players nicknames, and we do it all in good fun.
I was able to get a first hand look at the Dodger Stadium renovations that are currently going on right now. It was hard not to notice that they’re tearing up all of the box seats in order to rebuild the clubhouses. According to Eric Stephen, they had to take out nearly all of the box seats to get to the clubhouses. And they will be putting all of the seats back the way they were once finished. I hate seeing Dodger Stadium all torn up like that. I don’t like it. But at least I feel comfortable knowing that all of the seats are being put back in the same way. Besides, enlarging the clubhouses will make the players more comfortable, and that is important.
All in all I had a great time, and having lunched served just topped it all off. It was strange being at Dodger Stadium during the off-season. I’m glad I could make it and hope to be at the next one. I want to thank Garrett Thomas and the Dodger PR department for being so accommodating and friendly. Those guys are really awesome! Of course I must thank our very own Kenny Shulsen for his due diligence. If not for him we would not have the privileges we have. Certainly last but not least, I want to thank Stacie, my partner in crime, for all her great writing.
Hopefully next year, Greinke’s fastballs and sliders will flap their wings and fly past all opposing batters and straight into A.J. Ellis’s glove. I can’t wait to see Greinke pitch in Dodger Blue next season. The whole presser was televised on Prime Ticket. Welcome to the Dodgers Zack!