Dodgers Dugout: Chase Utley and Kirk Gibson, separated at birth?

Chase Utley

Chase Utley watches his grand slam.

(Elsa / Getty Images)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. Remind me never to irritate Chase Utley.

The game is in the Chase

Before the season started, I said the Dodgers made a bad move in bringing Chase Utley back. I was 100% incorrect.

Throughout this season, I have had this sense that Utley brings something to the team that I haven’t seen since the days of Kirk Gibson: a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners attitude that sets a great example for the rest of the team. Saturday’s win against the Mets just proved that.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard threw a pitch behind Utley (a big no-no in itself, because the natural reaction of a batter is to lean out of the way, which would make him lean right into the pitch). The umpire immediately ejected Syndergaard, which seemed to me to be a bit of an overreaction. He didn’t hit him, he just was giving a small bit of payback for Utley’s slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg in last season’s playoffs.

In years past, Gibson was the type of guy who answered that by putting his team on his back and carrying them to victory. And that is exactly what Utley did. He hit two homers, including a grand slam, in a 9-1 victory.

If that spirit can be transfused into the rest of the team, they could win the World Series. It seems like it has been forever since a Dodgers team has had that mentality. Remember Chan Ho Park and Barry Bonds?

The best part of Saturday’s win? Watching a lot of crybaby Mets fans complain that Syndergaard was ejected. This on the heels of some Mets fans complaining about Utley's slide, when the Mets have done the same type of slide for years. Now I know why some of their fans wave towels during games. When you cry that much, you need a towel to dry your eyes.

Not the best debut

Remember all the excitement Friday before Julio Urias’ debut? Well, he’s back in the minors now. Let’s just pretend Friday never happened.

The Dodgers were encouraged by his outing, though. Manager Dave Roberts: “We thought Julio threw the ball well. But just with where he’s at and where the ’pen’s at, we need to get coverage in the bullpen for the next couple days. He’s going to go back down there and make a couple, two, three starts. We’ll see when it makes sense to get him back here. What’s best for us and as well as him.”

Urias will be back, and he will do well.

The magic number

Each week I will look at a uniform number a current Dodger is wearing and go through the history of that number with the Dodgers. When I was a kid and went to games, I was always curious who wore the number of my favorite players. Then again, I was a strange kid. For “best Dodgers to wear the number,” only the stats a player compiles while he was with the team and wearing that number count.

Next up is:

No. 21 (Trayce Thompson)

Best Dodgers to wear No. 21: Spider Jorgensen (1947-50), Jim Brewer (1964-75), Zack Greinke (2013-15).

Others to wear No. 21 with the Dodgers: Joe Shaute (1932-33), Harry Smythe (1934), Phil Page (1934), Dazzy Vance (1935), Buster Mills (1935), Sid Gautreaux (1936), Nick Polly (1937), Bill Posedel (1938), Al Todd (1939), Lee Grissom (1940), Lou Fette (1940), Wes Ferrell (1940), Newt Kimball (1941-43), Luis Olmo (1943-45), Art Herring (1946), Clyde King (1947), Tim Thompson (1954), Bill Harris (1957-59), Ed Rakow (1960), Andy Carey (1962), Ed Goodson (1976-77), Dennis Lewallyn (1978-79), Jay Johnstone (1980-82), Ricky Wright (1982-83), Bob Bailor (1984-85), Reggie Williams (1986-87), Tracy Woodson (1988-89), Hubie Brooks (1990), Rafael Bournigal (1993-94), Roberto Kelly (1995), Billy Ashley (1996-97), Eric Young (1992, 1997-99), Chad Kreuter (2000-02), Jeromy Burnitz (2003), Milton Bradley (2004-05), Rickey Ledee (2006), Marlon Anderson (2006-07), Mark Sweeney (2007-08), Esteban Loaiza (2008), Randy Wolf (2009), Tony Abreu (2009), Nick Green (2010), Scott Podsednik (2010), Jon Garland (2009, 2011),  Juan Rivera (2012).

What Vin Scully means to me

I asked you to tell me your best Vin Scully memory, and I got a lot of responses. I will publish selected ones in each newsletter. And keep emailing them to me.

Chris Raines: As a young boy in the late ‘60s and into the early ‘70s I had adopted from my mom and brother the love of Dodger baseball and its voice, the great Vin Scully (Jerry Doggett was truly appreciated as well). It is kind of a ‘chicken or the egg,’ though,when considering whether I loved the Dodgers first, or whether I loved listening to the best baseball broadcaster ever, first.  

My Vin Scully story begins in 1972, age of 13, when my dad takes a job in Honolulu, moving the family from Orange, Ca., to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Life would take getting used to, though (it wasn’t all beaches and pineapples). Our two dogs would be in quarantine for three months, I wouldn’t have any friends for a while, and all sports TV broadcasts, except those special events (World Series, Super Bowl, etc.) would be broadcasted a week late! Kill me! Oh, and there would be no LA Times sports page to read. 

But there was one saving grace. My mom found out that the Dodger games were broadcast on the radio on the weekend! I can’t remember the station, but I do remember the sponsor was the Columbian Inn, a restaurant in downtown Honolulu. Oh,man! This was a game changer! Sure, we didn’t get Vinny every night, but at least we could get a fix on the weekend! At this point I would take anything. So listening to Dodger games became our ritual on the weekend. It was sort of like drifting back to the‘40s or the ‘50s when families huddled around the radio to hear a game being broadcast. That was us in Honolulu over the next several years.

 The TV situation

If you would like to complain about the Dodgers’ TV situation, you have three options: The Dodgers, Time Warner Cable and whatever local cable or satellite provider you have that doesn’t carry the Dodgers. Here’s who to contact:

For the Dodgers, click here or call (866) DODGERS ([866] 363-4377). (I hope you like form letters).

For Time Warner, click here.

For DirecTV, call (800) 531-5000 or click here.

For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.

And finally

Dave Roberts knows why the offense is struggling. Read all about it here.

Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston

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