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Category: Charley Steiner

Dodgers announce 2012 spring training broadcast schedule [Updated]

Now that the silly, lip-synced, concussion-induced, look-at-me professional sport that doesn’t even play in Los Angeles is finally over, we can move on to the world’s greatest game?

Get those big-screen LEDs and plasmas fired up — pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in Arizona in just two weeks, and on Tuesday, the Dodgers released their spring training broadcast schedule.

Counting their three Freeway Series games against the Angels, the Dodgers will televise 18 spring training games.

The only sigh-inducing element is that Vin Scully will not broadcast any games from Camelback, so he won’t be heard from until April 3 when the Dodgers and Angels meet at Dodger Stadium. Maybe we should have sent him some cookies.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m., Feb. 7: Here's some good news. In a new announcement, the Dodgers said Scully will now broadcast a pair of games from Camelback on March 17 against the Giants and March 18 vs. the Angels.]

There are 13 games scheduled to be carried by Prime Ticket, three on KCAL Channel 9 and two on Fox Sports West. The Dodgers’ new flagship radio station, KLAC-AM (570), will air nine games and Spanish-language station KTNQ-AM (1020) will carry eight.

Once again you won’t see or hear it all, of course. On nine different game days, the Dodgers will be on neither English-speaking TV nor radio.

Scully aside, the Dodgers’ regular-season announcing duos of Charley Steiner and Rick Monday, and Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, will announce the spring broadcasts. Jaime Jarrin and Pepe Yniguez will broadcast the Spanish-language games, with Fernando Valenzeula joining for three games.

The spring opener March 5 against the White Sox will be on radio only. The first televised game is the following day on Prime Ticket with Steiner and Monday.

The complete spring broadcasting schedule can be found here.

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The Dodger who can have the greatest effect on the 2012 season

— Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers make earth move for Cardinals in 13-2 blowout

Juan3
It must have felt like an out-of-body experience. It was the Dodgers, offensive juggernaut. A team to fear.

Runs came everywhere, from most everyone. Players crossed the plate like it was an easy habit. Balls flew over the wall, off defenders, on line drives into the gap.

After five innings, the Dodgers had scored 11 times. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound throwing blanks, it was overkill.

The Cardinals looked like a team that could have used the Little League mercy rule, ultimately falling, 13-2, Tuesday in St. Louis.

It was the most runs the Dodgers had scored since a 15-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on June 27, the day the club declared bankruptcy. Which a Frank McCourt attorney actually said proved the club wasn’t bothered by the team’s financial troubles.

Continue reading »

Attempting to decipher the mysterious black hole that is the Dodgers and left field

Sands3
It's quantum physics meets Rep. Anthony Weiner meets "Ulysses" meets Charley Steiner.

Are some things really not meant to be understood?

I am referring, naturally, to the Dodgers and left field. Somebody has to play it, it just seems like figuring it out is as challenging as understanding Sarah Palin on the ride of Paul Revere.

The Dodgers have started six different players in left, but be patient, it's still early June.

The Times' Dylan Hernandez asked Manager Don Mattingly about the left-field situation and he said: "It hasn't really panned out."

Sort of like Charlie Haeger and his knuckleball.

Hernandez said the Dodgers entered Thursday's game with their six-headed left-field combo having combined to hit .216 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. And then Tony Gwynn Jr. went zero for four.

This for a position that normally provides power, on a team in dire need of some extra pop.

Gwynn is apparently the starting left fielder against right-handers, though, hold on, because these things tend to change by the day.

The original master plan was for Jay Gibbons and Marcus Thames to platoon in left, but Gibbons missed the start of his season with vision problems and then Thames went on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps.

Continue reading »

Turns out the Dodgers are an old story

Uribe_400 The Dodgers unexpectedly have an age-old problem.

They are an old team. Graybeards with gloves. Guys closer to swinging a walker than a bat. They don’t need human growth hormone, they need Celebrex, and an updated retirement program.

This goes against everything we’ve been told about the Dodgers for the past several years, which is part of the problem. Years go by, and the young aren’t so young anymore. Or at least so I’m told.

Of the 23 Dodgers you could reasonably expect to make their final roster, only two are younger than 26.

That’s it, two -- Clayton Kershaw (23 on March 19) and Kenley Jansen (23).

The average age of those 23 Dodgers is over 30.

Lilly_400 That young core of offensive players is now down to three -- Matt Kemp (26), James Loney (26) and Andre Ethier (29 on April 10).

Otherwise the Dodgers' daily starting lineup is expected to have a 35-year-old catcher (Rod Barajas), a 31-year-old second baseman (Juan Uribe), a 37-year-old third baseman (Casey Blake), a 33-year-old shortstop (Rafael Furcal), and a 33-year-old (Marcus Thames) and soon-to-be-34-year-old (Jay Gibbons, happy birthday on Tuesday) splitting time in left.

Mr. Utility is 37-year-old Jamey Carroll. The frisky backup catcher is a 27-year-old kid, Dioner Navarro.

Blake_250 The rotation has 26-year-old Chad Billingsley and Kershaw, but also 31-year-old Jon Garland, 35-year-old Ted Lilly and 36-year-old Hiroki Kuroda.

The bullpen has 26-year-old Jonathan Broxton and Jansen, but also 28-year-old (happy birthday today) Blake Hawksworth, possibly 28-year-old Ramon Troncoso, 29-year-old Hong-Chih Kuo, 32-year-old Matt Guerrier, and eventually the allegedly 33-year-old Vincente Padilla.

And then still fighting to earn final spots are 34-year-old Aaron Miles, 35-year-old Gabe Kapler, 35-year-old (on Friday) Mike MacDougal, 38-year-old Juan Castro and 39-year-old Ron Mahay.

Geritol all around!

So much for those young Dodgers. Ah, youth, where does it fly?

These guys don’t relate to Don Mattingly, they relate to Tom Lasorda. Or John Glenn. These Dodgers are older than a Charley Steiner one-liner.

The problem with all this, of course, is that older players are more likely to break down. They end up looking for love more often in the whirlpool than the batter’s box.

And for the most part, the guys backing up the old starters are even older reserves. Old teams can still win, but they can also tag-team it to the disabled list.

Forget that youthful Dodgers routine. Old news.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Top photo: Juan Uribe. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

Middle photo: Teddy Lilly. Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire

Bottom photo: Casey Blake. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

Don't look now but Dodgers have a new doctor in the house -- Charley Steiner

So how did you spend your baseball offseason?

Find a white-sand beach, put on a few .lbs, take up Texas hold ’em, fall deeply in love with Snooki?

Charley Steiner went out and became Charles Harris Steiner, PhD.

It’s true, our very own Dodgers broadcaster gave the commencement speech last month at his alma mater, Bradley University, and was presented with an honorary doctorate.

"It was among the coolest 24 hours I have ever spent," Steiner said.

Steiner was a 1971 graduate of Bradley, which has produced a stunning number of successful sports broadcasters.

"Here are some of the sportscasters that came out of there -- Jack Brickhouse [Cubs], Chick Hearn, Ralph Lawler, Bill King, Tom Kelly, Mark Holtz [Texas Rangers], Bob Starr and I’m the caboose on that train.

"When I went there, who knew? There was no program. Absolute coincidence.

"So they established a new sports broadcasting journalism school there -- now in its second year -- because of this incredible happenstance."

But it was Steiner whom Bradley, a 6,000-student private university in Peoria, Ill., asked to give the commencement speech on Dec. 18. Steiner seemed genuinely humbled by the honor.

He said the entire experience was almost dream-like, and was still moved by the experience a month later.

"They had this wonderful dinner for me the night before," he said. "They presented a newspaper column that I wrote in 1970, a music review of a relatively new blues guitarist named B.B. King.

"They had a picture of me when I was 20 years old, when I was 40 years old and when I was 60 years old. Then they gave me a microphone that we used at the college radio station in 1967 and put it on this wooden (stand), and gave me a baseball jersey.

"Then I did the commencement speech. Which I didn’t want to screw up too badly, because I’m guessing it’s the only one I’ll ever do. And it went pretty well. The nicest part was the ovation was ... louder at the end than it was when I was introduced. Which means one of two things: Either I was pretty good or they were thrilled it was over. I’m betting the latter, but I prefer to think the former."

You can view the commencement here. It’s worth it just to see him in a cap and gown, tassel included. If you just want to skip ahead to his speech, fast-forward to the 50-minute mark.

Steiner told the graduates he grew up listening to Vin Scully on the radio in New York and fantasized about one day calling Dodgers games.

"Now I’m living the dream," he said.

Favorite moment: "The older I get, the smarter my parents become."

Steiner told students he was exactly like the rest of them when he graduated, and although there were many things he did not have control over when he left Bradley, there were those he did:

"My work ethic, willingness to get my fingernails dirty, take risks, be willing to sacrifice, and to ride to the back of the bus if need be if that’s what it took to get to my destination."

He concluded his speech by quoting English playwright Tom Stoppard: "Every exit is an entry to somewhere else."

Then came the ovation, the passing out of diplomas, and later at a reception, a question-and-answer period with Steiner.

 "It could not have been any better," Steiner said. "It was an out-of-body experience."

-- Steve Dilbeck

A grand night at annual fundraiser for baseball scouts

That was some event Dennis Gilbert pulled off Saturday night in his eighth annual awards dinner to raise funds for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.

Interesting mix of people at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Scott Boras, Gilbert's bitter rival back when he was an agent, was there. (I find Boras increasingly annoying because he hasn’t aged a day in 20 years.)

Peter O’Malley was there, arriving just a few minutes before Frank McCourt, who apparently borrowed some gas money from Fox to make the three-block drive over from his Beverly Hills hotel. Don’t think they discussed O’Malley’s view on how "the current Dodger ownership has lost all credibility throughout the city."

Commissioner Bud Selig was there, but as far as I could tell, McCourt still couldn’t corral him for a few minutes to discuss his financial state.

Times columnist T.J. Simers did try to get McCourt for a few minutes, but in a packed lobby, McCourt responded: "In your ... dreams."

Some people just have a knack for continuing to endear themselves.

There were loads of former baseball greats, both as honorees and presenters -- who knew Tom Seaver was hilarious? Brooks Robinson, Robin Yount, Joe Garagiola, Bobby Valentine, Jim Fregosi and Seaver were among those honored.

Actor James Caan, Roy Firestone, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Tommy Lasorda, Dave Winfield and Selig were among the presenters.

Reinsdorf said he was supposed to present Seaver with his award but was told by Gilbert at the last minute that there had been a switch.

"I asked him why and he said, 'Because I can’t find anyone who will introduce Bob Uecker,' " Reinsdorf said. "I said, 'Who’s Bob Uecker?' "

Said Uecker after taking the dias: "Thanks, Larry."

Lasorda had an unintentionally funny slip-up when he thanked his boss, "Peter O’Malley," at first referring to him as Paul. Then he seemed to catch himself and thanked his current boss, McCourt, whom he said he'd seen in the lobby.

It seemed a highly successful event. The ballroom was packed. Regular Joes -- of the wealthy variety --  mixed with ex-Dodger manager Joe Torre (bet he was able to talk to Selig), ex-players Bobby Grich, Tim Leary, Frank Robinson and numerous others I couldn’t even begin to discover in the crowd, celebs Rob Reiner and Larry King and team broadcasters Charlie Steiner and Jaime Jarrín.

With the auction, the sponsors and the dinner tickets, some serious money was raised for the scouts. Gilbert’s awards dinner has grown into a big-time, national event, which is terrific for the often-forgotten scouts.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Notice to production truck: There's a game going on

Here’s one more reason to long for the start of the regular season: poor broadcasting.

These spring TV games sometimes can be painful to watch. Or try to watch.

They must be overwhelmed in the Phoenix area, having to broadcast so many games back to so many cities. Maybe they’re down to the Class-A crews.

But you would think Fox could bring in a top crew from nearby Los Angeles. The production is curiously off.

The stat bar across the top is frequently wrong. Either by the number of outs or the count or the correct baserunners. At one point Monday, the center-field camera  showed a runner on second, while the graphic showed the bases empty.

Later the bar simply disappeared. And then came back. Hello?

The worst part, however, is the camera work. Too often it simply fails to follow  the action.

On Monday, Charley Steiner was getting all excited about a play at the plate, his voice rising as Manny Ramirez rounded third.

Probably would have been nice to see live, but the camera remained frozen on the outfielders. Never saw it until a replay. He was out, by the way. At least in this situation, there was a replay.

Another drawback is you can’t escape to listen on the radio. Normally if the game’s on TV, there’s no radio broadcast. You can be driving around, and can’t listen to the game.

Ugh. Only two weeks until the season opener.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers announce spring training TV schedule

The Dodgers announced Tuesday that they will broadcast a record 14 spring training games this year, 11 on Prime Ticket and three on KCAL 9.

Their first televised game will be their spring home opener on March 6 against the Chicago White Sox. Their final broadcast is scheduled April 3 against the Angels in their spring finale at Dodger Stadium.

Vin Scully will be the announcer for the three 1 p.m. games on KCAL (March 21 and 27, and April 3).

The 11 Prime Ticket games will be announced by Eric Collins and analyst Steve Lyons, or Charley Steiner and analyst Rick Monday.

The Dodgers television schedule on Prime Ticket is as follows:

March 6 (White Sox) 1 p.m.; March 9 (Rockies) 1 p.m.; March 10 (Diamondbacks) 1 p.m.; March 12 (Reds) 1 p.m.; March 14 (Rangers) 1 p.m.; March 17 (White Sox) 1 p.m.; March 18 (Cubs) 1 p.m.; March 20 (Padres) 7 p.m.; March 22 (Angels) 1 p.m.; March 25 (Brewers) 1 p.m.; March 26 (Royals) 1 p.m.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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