Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and I can’t wait to see what this new kid on the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, does next season after finishing this season with a 60-point performance.
I have gotten a lot of emails this season from people who say Dave Roberts is not a good manager. They pick one thing out and use it as proof. My response: It is far too soon to make that judgment.
There will be times when Roberts makes mistakes because he has no managerial experience. The question is, will he learn from those mistakes. It seems to me he already is learning. I thought it was great that he brought Kenley Jansen in for a five-out save in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Arizona. Afterward he said he will be fine with doing that again. Maybe he learned that when the bullpen blew a 2-0 lead in Ross Stripling's almost no-hitter last week?
Roberts called for a squeeze play in the home opener, and A.J. Ellis executed it perfectly to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. These are the signs of a manager who isn’t afraid to take a risk or two and will not manage based only on computer printouts.
Plus, if you see the team on the field and in the dugout, they seem a lot more spirited. They seem more like one team instead of just 25 guys. They rallied to defeat Arizona on Thursday and took two of three in the series.
So, I remain very high on Roberts and I am willing to cut him a lot of slack the first couple of months as he gets his managerial legs under him.
Today is Jackie Robinson Day throughout baseball to celebrate the 69th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier and debuting with the Dodgers. There's nothing I can write here that will do justice to the legacy and greatness of Robinson. But here's my suggestion on how to celebrate it. Make sure your kids know about Robinson and what he went through. I think the best way to honor Robinson is to make sure the next generation knows and understands why he is such an important figure in American history.
Every Dodger will wear No. 42, Robinson's number, during tonight's game against the Giants.
"Any time you put on that No. 42 jersey you feel a little bit more empowered and your chest sticks out a little and there is a little sense of pride,” Roberts told ESPN. "I might even go with the high pants."
"Newcombe was his roommate,” Roberts continued. “As much as he wants to talk about Jackie and his story, and what he went through, and Maury [Wills] sharing stories, Manny Mota, I’ll listen. Just to be back in a Dodgers uniform and in this capacity, to have these guys who I have known for a decade and sometimes even hear the same stories, that’s what’s great about it. It’s like it’s the first time I’ve ever heard them. But today will be a special day for sure.”
Even Kenta Maeda, who spent his whole career in Japan until this season, understands:
“In Japan they actually show the No. 42 event,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “It’s actually big news in Japan that all the major league players wear No. 42. I’ve seen the No. 42 in use and know a little bit about Jackie Robinson, so I am looking forward to the opportunity of wearing No. 42,” Maeda said.
The Dodgers’ lost their home opener, and plenty can be said about how they lost, but instead, let’s focus on the pregame ceremony at which they honored Vin Scully.
The team put together a wonderful tribute, with videos of some of his iconic play-by-play calls, video tributes from legends such as Hank Aaron, and a great video tribute from former Dodger Kirk Gibson. I watched the ceremony and literally had goose bumps during much of it. And at the end, when they had great Dodgers of the past, starting with Don Newcombe, and including Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy Lasorda, Orel Hershiser, Bill Russell and Ron Cey, and ending with Clayton Kershaw, it was a reminder of just how great the Dodgers have been and why we are all fans of the team. You can watch most of the opening ceremony here.
I’ll talk more about this as the season goes on, but there will be a sad backdrop to the season knowing this will be the last season with Scully. I grew up listening to him and went to school bleary-eyed many mornings after staying up late listening to Scully call the Dodgers game on the radio.
We have been fortunate in Los Angeles to listen to three of the greatest broadcasters in sports history: Chick Hearn, Bob Miller and Scully.
I would love to hear from you just exactly what Vin Scully means to you. Email me your thoughts, and I will put them in future newsletters this season.
New kid in town
Congratulations to Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher, whose wife gave bith to a baby boy, Jensen Thomas Hatcher on Thursday. That may explain his slow start this season.
The Vin Scully call of the week
I can’t watch the Dodgers where I live, so I have no idea what his best call was.
However, if you would like to complain about the Dodgers’ horrible TV situation, here’s who to contact:
For the Dodgers, click here or call (866) DODGERS (866-363-4377)
For Time Warner, click here.
For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions for the rest of the season. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on. His latest response:
Wink Martindale asks: Hi, Ross! The Cardinals set a big league record Friday night with THREE pinch-hit home runs. Hazelbaker tied it in the 7th, Diaz hit the go-ahead shot in the 8th and Garcia homered in the 9th. How about that?
Ross: Since you are a big Cardinal fan, Wink, I know how thrilled you are with the pinch homers. It reminds me of the year Lee Lacy belted three CONSECUTIVE pinch home runs for the Dodgers to set a major league record for one season. That was 1978.
Some years later, I interviewed Lee, and asked him about his record. He told me who the pitcher was, what the count was, and what kind of pitch he hit for the home run in ALL three games. It proved to me again that athletes have incredible memories when it comes to moments in their careers. I remember Lacy saying Rick Reuschel was one of the pitchers.
Coincidentally, Lee and his family later bought a home across the street from us. He celebrated his 68th birthday Sunday.
Times columnist Chris Erskine says Uber was great as far as getting to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. But using Uber to go home? Well, let’s let Chris tell that tale.
Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston