Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and in my mind, the Dodgers already have a 10-game lead in the division.
Some good news, hopefully, for those of you who have tickets to games that have already been postponed and really need a refund right now while dealing with this coronavirus shutdown.
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On Tuesday, Major League Baseball told teams they no longer needed to tell fans to hold on to those tickets. In short, this means teams can finally start refunding money, if they so desire.
So what will the Dodgers do? Unclear. They are supposed to announce their policy some time today.
What should they do?
Whatever the customer wants, within reason. If they want a refund, give it to them. If they want to put the value of tickets toward the purchase of future tickets, let them do that.
The Angels are already doing this, and there’s no reason to think the Dodgers will do any different. At least now the customer will be in control of its money instead of someone else.
There are various plans and ideas on how baseball can start again in the midst of this pandemic. All of them are pure conjecture, which is why I haven’t spent much time discussing them. But one came out this week that is very intriguing, if only because it would put the Dodgers and Houston Asterisks, I mean, Astros, in the same division.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Major League Baseball is exploring a plan in which the 30 teams would be split into three regional divisions. Teams would be restricted to playing within their region.
That plan would put the Dodgers, Astros, and Angels (along with seven other teams) in the same division.
Now that would be interesting. The Dodgers and Astros in the same division? What’s the over/under for hit batters in those games?
Your first Dodgers memory
Well, I asked you to share your first Dodgers memory and you did. I received thousands of responses, so thank you. Since we have plenty of free time, I’ll continue running multiple “first Dodgers memories.” If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it may run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name. And don’t send only a sentence, tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Chris Kuser of Studio City: In the 1980s, when I was an undergrad at Fordham University (Vin Scully’s alma mater!), I would volunteer at a nearby nursing home in the Bronx every now and then. There was a nice old man there who had been a lifelong Dodgers fan, and I would read him the box scores for Dodgers games every time I went. I could see him imagining the game that had happened the day before as I gave him the stats. It was as if the game was unfolding right there before his (cloudy) eyes. Yet, there was a catch: The old man refused to accept that the team had moved to L.A., and he insisted that I call them the Brooklyn Dodgers whenever reading out the scores to him. Years later, I moved to L.A. and became a Dodgers fan, too. However, the best games I’ve ever “attended” are still the ones that played out while reading box scores in that nursing home, all those years ago.
Bruce Figoten of Porter Ranch: One of my first Dodger memories occurred in 1960 when I attended my first Dodger game with my parents and sister. The Dodgers were playing the then Milwaukee Braves and Lew Burdette was pitching and we were sitting halfway up the Coliseum down the left-field line. It was the bottom of the seventh and the bases were loaded for the Dodgers with Tommy Davis at bat. There was a very drunk guy sitting behind us. He leaned over to me and said, “If he hits a homer I’ll buy you anything you want kid.” A few pitches later Tommy hits a grand slam. My father leans over to me and tells me to not turn around and keep my mouth shut.
The drunk behind us never said another word.
Don Oldt: In 1957, due to my Mom’s health we left Chicago and moved to Los Angeles. I was 10 years old. Moving was tough because I was a Cub fan and could watch every game.
My Dad had transferred to Los Angeles within the Bell Telephone System. In 1958, when the Dodgers moved to LA, his division secretary was dating a Dodger pitcher named Fred Kipp. One night my Dada came home from work with two tickets to a Cub/Dodger game. His secretary had invited us so we sat with the Dodger wives and girlfriends, between home plate and the Dodger dugout. It was magical. The L.A. Coliseum, green grass, sunny sky and my two favorite baseball teams.
After the game we went with the Dodger wives and girlfriends down the tunnel to wait for the players to come out of the locker room. Before we left for home my scorebook was covered with Dodger autographs: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Walter Alston, Jim Gilliam, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, to name a few. The scorebook is framed and hangs in my home office. Not sure how my two sons will sort that one out.
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter is back for another season of “Ask Ross Porter.” We have a new email address this season for it. Ross will have access to this email address and will get your questions without me having to forward them. So, if you have a message (like thanking him for his years as a broadcaster) and not a question, feel free to let him know. Send your question or comment to email@example.com.
Many of you have asked, “Ross, have you spoken with Vin Scully since his accident, and how is he feeling?”
Ross: Yes, on Monday and Wednesday. He said a week ago Tuesday, he decided to go pick up his mail in the mailbox in front of his home. On the cobblestone driveway, his foot got caught and he went face down. Because Vin made no attempt to break his fall, he believes he may have fainted. The next thing he remembers was being in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Vin stayed in the hospital until Saturday afternoon when he returned home. He told me yesterday, “I had a bad fall. I’m battered and bruised, and am trying to catch up on my sleep.”
Bill Wesson of Dallas asks: When do you think this baseball season will start?
Ross: No one really knows, Bill. I’ll say June 15. Before that, players will need 10 days of spring training. That would give baseball 107 days before Oct. 1. Allow each team seven days off over 15 weeks, and play a 100-game schedule. That would put the playoffs in the same position as usual, and the season would be over by November.
Michael Gorecki asks: Hi Ross, the night in 1968 when Don Drysdale set the then record for consecutive scoreless innings, was that the same night Robert Kennedy was assassinated?
Ross: Don had pitched six consecutive shutouts, and needed two more scoreless innings to set a major-league record as he prepared to face the Phillies at home June 4, 1968. At the time, I was the weekend sports anchor at KNBC in Los Angeles. That afternoon, a few hours before the game, I said to my colleague, former Olympic decathlon gold medal winner Rafer Johnson, “I’m taking Lin to see ‘Cabaret’ tonight at the music center. I wish I had a radio so I could keep up with Drysdale’s game.” Rafer opened his drawer and said, “take mine” handing me his transistor.
With the radio barely audible in my ear during Joel Grey’s performance, I heard Don pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings to establish a new record of 58 2/3. After the production ended, we went to dinner. It was the night of the California presidential primary. Upon leaving the restaurant shortly after midnight, I was curious to know the election results so turned on Rafer’s radio and within seconds heard the words, “Rafer Johnson and Rosey Grier tackled the shooter.” Rafer and Senator Kennedy were extremely close. It was an eerie feeling holding Rafer’s radio. Kennedy had congratulated Drysdale publicly a few minutes before the shooting. Apparently, Don carried a cassette tape of Kennedy’s victory speech which mentioned him wherever he went, including Montreal, where he died 25 years later. Rafer told me the day after the shooting when he put his jacket on which he had worn the night before, he discovered the gun Sirhan Sirhan had used in his coat pocket and called the police. Rafer never returned to television. I hope I returned his radio.
Elizabeth Kelly of Milwaukee asks: Were the Dodgers the first team to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys?
Ross: No, the 1929 Indians got it started, but before that in 1916, Cleveland introduced numbers on their left sleeves. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to put numbers on the front of jerseys in 1952. The 1960 White Sox were the first club with names on their jerseys. Today, the Yankees are the only team without names. This may be a surprise. There have been 41 players who have worn number 0 and number 00.
Al Oliver, Oddibe McDowell, Junior Ortiz, and Rey Ordonez are among 21 who wore 0 and on the list of 20 who donned uniform number 00 are Don Baylor, Bobby Bonds, Jack Clark, Jose Canseco, Jeffrey Leonard, and Dodger pitcher Brian Wilson in 2013.
A Dodgers’ zoom party, featuring Justin Turner, Alanna Rizzo, Nomar Garciaparra, Ron Cey, Joe Kelly and more. Watch it here.