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Dodgers Dugout: Send a message to Vin Scully

Vin Scully
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and there are only 21 games left in the season.

The big news of the last couple of days: Vin Scully has set up his own Twitter account.

Yes, you read that right. Vin Scully, 92, has joined the crazy world of social media. Why?

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“I miss the fans, I really do,” he told Bill Plaschke. “I’ve always said I needed the fans more than they needed me. Some of the tragedies in my life, the fans have always helped me get through them, and I owe those fans a great deal.”

“I was told the fans would like to talk to me, and I said, well, that would be very nice,” Scully said.

So, if you want to finally tell him how much he has meant to you, go over to his Twitter page and tell him.

But remember, be nice.

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“If I get a controversial question — a hot potato — I’m not going to go anywhere near it,” he reiterated. “I’m not going to have anything to do with any controversy of any kind, and if I find it’s too much, I’ll disappear as quickly as I came.”

So far, Scully has taped a video welcome to everyone and tweeted his thoughts on the death of Tom Seaver. He already has more than 127,000 followers.

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Your thoughts on the walkout

As promised, here are some of your emails regarding the Dodgers decision not to play a game against the Giants last week to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake. I’m using your initials since some people threatened to sue if I named them (shockingly, those people were all against the walkout).

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B.S. of New York: I have been a Dodger fan for 50+ years and I continue to be in spite of the “boycott.“ I do , however, have questions about what, if anything, they accomplished. Sure, they bonded with Mookie. Teammates are always special at any level and any sport. Could some of the team members have taken a more aggressive stance and gone to the neighborhood where the shooting took place and investigated (in their own way) some of the causes of the problems which created this shooting situation?

J.F. of California: I’m a white male 69-year-old Dodger fan since I was 7. My grandfather took me to games at the Coliseum. Koufax, Drysdale, Gilliam, Snider, Moon, Wills... I won’t lie, there were many years when I didn’t pay that much attention to them. But they were always on my radar and with the birth of my son, now 27, I’ve passed that interest on. Hurrah for the Dodger organization for supporting this important movement. It’s easy to become disenchanted with the world, particularly the world of 2020 but I hold out at least a glimmer of hope that we are going to “get it” and that there are enough “woke” people to overcome the racism and fear that still pervades this country. Go Dodgers. Wear a mask. Vote. Care.

D.K. of California: I condemn the Dodgers for not playing. Look at how many people got hurt. All the servers at sports bars ... fans at home ... TV crews etc. All for nothing. Nothing they did helped solve any issue.

A.N. of California: There are times in life and history when a moment matters by its sheer uniqueness and I consider the rolling protests Wednesday as one of those moments. As Dave Roberts said, “It’s a human thing.” I thought Wednesday’s protests were effective in not only drawing attention to the issues, but it gave pause and opportunity for players and coaches to voice their rightful, personal thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day, they are human beings, not “roles.”

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B.W.: As a white 9-year-old growing up in the South in 1955, I was already aware of the damage caused by slavery and understood why Black and Brown Americans were angry. With the Dodgers in the World Series, I must have seen on TV about they had integrated baseball and I adopted them as my team because of what they had done. I am sure my Sunday School learnings at First Presbyterian in Tullahoma, Tenn. were an influence on me. To me what the Dodgers did last week is part of their DNA and is why I love them. Further I do not think it is possible to separate sports from the American Gestalt, it is part of our social and cultural fabric.

D.F.: Those who are complaining about missing a game have completely missed the point. They should listen to the speech given by Jacob Blake’s mother at a news conference just after her son was shot in the back by police. It is one of the most meaningful speeches I have ever heard about how we as human beings should treat each other. Baseball, even though it is a game we all love, is in the context of all things in life, still only a game. We have a higher calling.

B.W. of California: I was incredibly proud to be a Dodger fan on Wednesday. All too often Jackie Robinson‘s story gets whitewashed, focusing on the first few years of turning the other cheek. He was a fierce competitor, outspoken against injustice, a fighter, involved until the day he died. This felt like the first time in a while the Dodgers lived up to Jackie’s #42. Jackie Robinson shouldn’t have had to be a hero. We consider what he did brave but we neglect to take ownership of segregation. We say “He was so brave” rather than “We were so stupid and hateful.” He and countless others should have been in the majors well before a few white folks finally started to say, “Okay, sure, he can play ... maybe.” His standing on the field was political. How many fans said “I’m not cheering for the Dodgers ever again” after he joined the team? I’ve seen far too many folks saying they are done with sports. Sports have always reflected the times. But it’s not too late for those reactionary folks, who bristled at the Dodgers’ choice, to change their minds. If their not playing, their standing together as a team forces a fan to think about something important to these Dodgers for a few days, minutes, hours, or even seconds, then we should support that.

E.S.: I have been a lifelong fan, season ticket holder for 10+ years. That all came to a halt when the Dodgers paid attention to the BLM. Any player who chooses to demonstrate their disdain while in the off season is well within their rights. However, using the field as a forum is absolutely wrong and at their own peril. I will no longer support a team or sport that confuses the two when it involves anything other than playing the game. They took a position, and now they have to live with it. Fans will seek other interests that will entertain us.

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A.D. of New York: I’m embarrassed for what can only be viewed as the team’s contribution to the horrible PC cancel culture. What are they protesting: that when bad things happen (and they always will), appropriate action is then taken? Or are they saying the response was not appropriate (it would certainly be too early for that to be reasonable). Or are they protesting that it ever happened (ridiculous, since in a country with 320 million people and millions of police interactions every year there will always be some bad actions). And are they saying that these very few incidents, which well could be (though the evidence is not in yet) racially motivated, is more important than the many thousands of lives ended and financially destroyed (mostly Black and minority) by the ongoing Black on Black shootings, and ongoing rioting and looting? Where is the protest against that so much more important issue? I can only say that I’m sad and disappointed in my team, and most saddened by the fact that their action undoubtedly will make the country worse for it.

J.M.: I grew up in Southern California during the Koufax-Drysdale-Wills years and have been a Dodger fan ever since. Modern professional athletes not only have a right to speak out against injustice but an obligation to do so. So on Jackie Robinson day I say “Keep it up boys….”.

E.S. of France: This Dodger fan since 1970 is very proud of the Blue Crew’s decision to sit out Wednesday’s game. Of course, being a Dodger fan means more than just balls and strikes and the box score in the morning’s LA Times: We are the team of Jackie Robinson and it was heartening to see the unanimity of the entire Dodgers’ team at this time of social turmoil. The quiet yet rock-solid leadership of Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw on this subject was inspiring. The armchair umpires with their self-centered negative reactions to the team’s actions should reflect upon the solidarity of the players to help them better understand the situation. As a white American, I have long been accustomed to hearing my African-American brothers and sisters unceasingly bemoan these social problems for decades. Their unwavering unanimous consensus on the subject should give food for thought to anyone who has the slightest sensitivity to the problems of the human condition.

J.T. of California: I would expect nothing less from the team that selected Jackie Robinson to make history and I fully support the players’ decision to support their teammate even when he gave them permission to play. I’m very disappointed to read the comments on Instagram in response to the Dodgers statement regarding the situation. Clearly racism is alive and well in this country. I don’t understand how you can see Dominic Smith’s tearful interview and think everything is fine. A special shout out to Clayton Kershaw. As a self proclaimed Christian, he continues to walk the walk while so many other supposed Christians live their lives contrary to what Jesus preached. He and Ellen have done so much for the less fortunate at home and abroad using their own money and time. It’s no surprise that Clayton stood by Mookie’s side and supported his decision not to play because as a Christian, he knew it was the right thing to do.

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M.S.: I can imagine my favorite player of all time, Pee Wee Reese telling the other ball players in Heaven, “That’s my team,” while Jackie Robinson nods to confirm him.

J.M. of Wyoming: I have always been proud of the Dodger firsts, from Jackie Robinson to Chan Ho Park to Hideo Nomo. Sitting out the Giants/Dodger game on Wednesday fits with the best parts of the Dodger history and anybody who ever talks about clubhouse chemistry should respect the decision the team made to support Mookie Betts. This ranks up there with Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson’s shoulders in Cincinnati amidst a chorus of boos.

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 rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

Gary Ryan of Tustin asks: It seems to me as I follow the Dodgers every night that they are rarely behind. Is that true or just my imagination?

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Ross: Good call, Gary. Going into last night’s game, the Dodgers had a record of 28-10. In the 10 losses, they held a lead in six and were tied at one point in another three. The only time the Dodgers have never led or been tied was August 8 when the Giants jumped ahead, 5-0, and won, 5-4. Pretty impressive, huh.

Jill Carpenter of Gardena asks: Ross, I’m curious about the number of professional athletes who have financial troubles after retirement. Do you have any information?

Ross: Your timing could not have been better. Lorimer Wilson released the results of his comprehensive study last month in MunKnee.com and they were shocking. The findings reveal that 78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA alumni end up filing for bankruptcy or are insolvent within just five years. Retired major league baseballers file for bankruptcy at a rate four times the national average. A majority of MLB, NFL, and NBA players go bankrupt within five years. I’m not sure Wilson is correct when he writes that the average pro athlete will make more money in one season than most people earn in a lifetime.

Doug Brown of Thousand Oaks asks: Why does the infield fly rule exist?

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Ross: It’s intended to prevent the defense from getting a cheap double play by deliberately dropping a fly ball in the infield. It’s in effect with less than two out -- first base and second base are occupied or the bases are loaded. If the popup is close to a foul line, the umpire shall yell, “Infield fly, if fair.”

Lucy Calfee of Seattle asks: I miss you and Vinnie. He, Lasorda and I are all the same age -- 92. I have been a Dodger fan since I was a child in the 1930’s on a drought-depressed Montana cattle ranch. I am thankful for my computer and streaming of Dodger games. Did the teams continue to play during the war years?

Ross: Lucy, it is awe-inspiring to hear from you. The Dodgers have not had many fans who supported them as long as you have. World War I first shut down the minor leagues and caused the major leagues to shorten its 1918 season, ending it on Labor Day. Eight big league players died. When World War II started in 1941, baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis asked President Franklin Roosevelt if he should cancel the season, and FDR said it would be better for the country “to keep baseball going.” Over 500 major league and more than 4,000 minor league players went into military service. Three major leaguers and 158 minor leaguers lost their lives.

Daniel Zendejas of Bakersfield asks: Hi, Ross! I miss you in the Dodger broadcast booth. Have starting pitchers always had four or five days of rest as they do now?

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Ross: In 1925, the five-man cycle eclipsed the four-man rotation for the first time. Since 1975, the four-man has become a rarity. In 2010, the five-man rotation was used in over 80% of all starts. The Dodgers popularized the five-man rotation in the 1970’s. Don Sutton, Claude Osteen, Bill Singer, Al Downing, and Tommy John started it in 1972. The average number of innings per start has not been above six since 2011.

Dave Kiffer of Ketchikan, Alaska asks: Why is a starting pitcher required to go five innings to get a win?

Ross: Because an official game has to go four and a half innings if a home team is ahead and five innings if the road team is in front.

Up next

Friday: Colorado (Antonio Senzatela) at Dodgers (Dustin May), 6:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

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Saturday: Colorado (German Marquez) at Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin), 6 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Sunday: Colorado (TBD) at Dodgers (Julio Urías*), 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

*-Left-handed

And finally

Mr. Ed tries out for the Dodgers. Watch it here.

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Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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