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Dodgers need to stay the course for kids to cash in

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

We’ll bounce back.

It’s like Jeff Kent was saying after the game, “This team won’t quit,” which was so encouraging to hear seven games into the season, because if we were quitting already, we might have reason here to be a little concerned.

But we’re not like that. Another four runs, and we would have beat those mighty Colorado Rockies. We were that close to pulling it out.

We’ve just got to hang in there, especially now that Dodgers Manager Grady Little has pledged to donate $100 for each team victory this season to the kids on the cancer ward at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.

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We get to the playoffs, and knowing Little, he’ll probably make it $500 a win. And even though we’ve only won one playoff game since 1988, who’s to say we can’t win two playoff games before getting eliminated.

We won 88 games a year ago, and we’re better than that this year. At $100 a win, that’s a pretty handsome donation, which means Little and I are probably going to have to work more closely together this year to make sure we don’t leave a pitcher in the game too long -- if you know what we mean here.

Now the last time I did something like this, it was with the Clippers, Corey Maggette putting up a ton of money for the kids in the cancer ward for every team win. Donald Sterling, and Clipper fans Marty Adelstein and Steve Soboroff joined Maggette’s efforts, and call it a coincidence if you like, but the Clippers then set a franchise record for team wins, while advancing beyond Round 1 of the playoffs for the first time since being called the Clippers.

Maggette & Co. donated more than $100,000 to the hospital.

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We might be asking too much of the Dodgers to win 103 games this season and set a franchise record, but 100 wins would make for a nice round number for Little, and I see no reason to ask the man to pull out a calculator.

We just got to get a move on, though, if that’s going to happen. We need 96 more wins, and we’ve only got 155 games to go.

THE CARS were lined up everywhere outside Dodger Stadium and the gates remained closed. The Dodgers opened Lot 15 early, since it takes two days by foot to walk to the stadium, but a team official said the other lots would remain behind closed gates until 10:40 a.m. -- to give it that demolition derby feel when the gates opened.

But why not throw them open at 7:40 a.m. instead of pushing the waiting line of cars back to the freeways and frustrating the faithful?

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“We don’t allow tailgating because we want to keep Dodger Stadium a family environment,” said a Dodgers spokesman, the family environment just dreadful, I guess, by Dodgers standards at UCLA and USC football games.

“We’ve never allowed tailgating at Dodger Stadium,” the spokesman said, and as I recall, the Dodgers never charged fans $15 to park before, although that didn’t seem to stop them from trying something new.

IT WAS nice to see the Tipper Gore Lady had recovered from her parking lot illness. She said the Parking Lot Attendant walked through the stadium from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. and Frank McCourt didn’t hear a single complaint about parking, “and in fact he got several compliments.”

The people who might’ve complained, of course, were stuck in traffic -- and still a good hour away from arriving.

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DODGERS FAN Harry Myers e-mailed to say, “My family went to the Dodger home opener [I had to work]. They got to the Stadium Way off ramp at about 11:45. It took them more than an hour to go the length of the off ramp and make the turn on to Stadium Way. There was nobody directing traffic.

“It’s 1:50 and they still aren’t in the stadium, although they’ve arrived at the park. That’s two hours to go less than two miles. We aren’t novices getting to Dodger Stadium. We have been to about eight home openers out of the last 10. This is the first time we have ever missed any part of the game. I’m so angry.... I called stadium operations and they said they were ‘unaware of the situation.’ ”

Obviously, sir, your family was the only family to run into this problem.

ONCE THE game was over, the e-mails detailing the mess around Dodger Stadium began to arrive, beginning with timmyers, who e-mailed from his Blackberry. “Lot 11 here. Twenty minutes and no sign of the whiz bang parking plan.”

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CAN’T THE Dodgers find a uniform that fits Juan Pierre? Right now it looks as if he’s been given a Jonathan Broxton hand-me-down.

JUST GOT an eight-minute update from myers: “Still in Lot 11. Parking people walking around aimlessly.”

LITTLE TRADED his uniform No. 9 to Pierre in exchange for a new motorcycle, which Pierre ordered through one of Kent’s motorcycle shops.

“It’s being delivered [today],” Kent said.

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“Did you sell it to Pierre at cost?” I said.

“He makes what, $20 million a year?” Kent said. “Come on now, I’m a businessman.”

A MYERS update: “Still in Lot 11. A pretty good game of touch football has started.”

SWITCH-HITTING third baseman Wilson Betemit, and maybe “hitting” is a stretch, is batting .067. You would think the team’s batting coach, Hall of Fame switch-hitter Eddie Murray, would be just the right guy for Betemit. We’ll see.

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IT’S BEEN more than 90 minutes since the game ended. “Still in Lot 11,” myers wrote. “Green-vested parking guys have raised the white flag of surrender.”

WHEN I mentioned to Kent that I’m behind the Dodgers all the way this season, he said, “The only way I want you behind me is if I’m in a truck and backing up.” We know he’s kidding, don’t we?

PRESUMABLY, myers has finally escaped Lot 11 by now. Or his Blackberry has run out power.


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