Friday night Lasorda’s Lair was privileged to be invited to the Dodger’s 6th Annual Blogger Night. The Dodgers as an organization are very supportive of the Dodger bloggers `and the online fan base community. The Dodgers were gracious enough to host the evening in a beautiful suite and provided Dodger Dogs, a stocked refrigerator with beverages, and a pretty fruit platter and dessert tray. I’ve sat everywhere at Dodgers Stadium. From the Top Deck to the pavilions to the Vin Scully press box, but I had never had the experience of watching a game from a suite.
The night began with a informal Q&A session with Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti. Stan Kasten is very charismatic and funny. He really knows the business of baseball, and he was candid with his answers to our questions. He addressed the Dodger Stadium renovations and future plans, and he admitted that the after game parking logjam has always been a problem without an immediate quick fix solution. Kasten also touched on the new Time Warner Cable deal and the future programming on the new Dodger Channel. He said there will be more food choices at Dodger Stadium and standing lounge areas to gather around. When asked about his feelings of possibly facing the Atlanta Braves in the postseason, Stan said he would have mixed emotions.
Ned Colletti, adorned with snakeskin boots and a snazzy suit, answered our questions thoughtfully. It was fascinating to hear a general manager’s thought process, and Colletti is truly a professional. He cited examples from prior games, and it really showed me how knowledgeable he is not only about the Dodgers but the business of baseball management as well. Scott asked him whether a long-reliever or an extra man on the bench is more important for the playoffs, and Colletti’s answer was long but intriguing. He said that a long-reliever could be very important in the postseason, and it hinted at the idea that the Dodgers will go with either Edinson Volquez or Chris Capuano for a long-reliever spot going into the division series. Chris Capuano then pitched later that night for a perfect inning while striking out two.
Colletti also gushed about Juan Uribe, and he said he thought he was the best
defensive third baseman in the league. He said Uribe is the center of the clubhouse, and the guys just are attracted to him. That is evident in the antics we see between Uribe and Hanley and Uribe and Ryu in the dugout. It made me think that Colletti may be considering bringing back Uribe for 2014.
Colletti would not talk about any free agents or possible trades. He wouldn’t talk about any of the players who will be up for free agency after this year, and he said that Clayton Kershaw extension talks are not happening at all right now. He also spoke about the minor league system and the prospects he traded away. He said Nathan Eovaldi was one of the hardest trades he’s had to make, but it was to get Hanley and he had to give Miami a Major League ready player. He mentioned the way the financial resources he has had since the ownership change has brought the Dodgers in line with the payrolls of big market franchises. He compared the Dodgers to the Yankees as far as the fan population and the big city atmosphere which demands a big ticket team.
My overall perception of Ned Colletti is that he is wise beyond what we give him credit for. He does think about who he is blocking in the minors when he acquires a new player via trade or signs a free agent. He doesn’t just trade away prospects without realizing that some of these prospects will eventually make it to the Major League level with the other team. With the resources he now has, including money aimed toward scouting the international market, Colletti no longer has any blocked paths from designing and building the Dodgers to be a dynasty of success.
The best part of the evening was meeting the other bloggers and Dodger fans. I have met a few of the attendees before, but it was great to finally meet those I have been following and reading their work before but never had the face to go with the blog. We enjoyed the game together, and it was really fun to talk baseball with a very savvy group of Dodger fans.
We also got to meet the Dodger PR team, and I we got to ask some questions to Josh Tucker who handles the social media for the Dodgers including their Twitter account. I asked Josh if he got in trouble for the “Stay classy San Diego” tweet, and if he could tell Juan Uribe to please get a Twitter account.
The evening concluded with the Friday Night Fireworks. It was a perfect conclusion to the night, and it went well with the offensive fireworks we saw on the baseball field during the game. The Dodgers beat the Rockies 11-0 in a fun homerun derby game. The Rockies committed three bumbling errors, and the Dodgers hit three majestic homeruns. Adrian Gonzalez collected his 100th RBI of the season with his 22nd homerun, and Carl Crawford hit a beautiful (yet rare) three-run homerun. A.J. Ellis also went deep for good measure. Clayton Kershaw finished his regular season with his 16th victory with the shutout lowering his minuscule ERA to 1.83.
Thanks again to the Dodgers for putting on this annual Blogger Night.