Dodgers Now

Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
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Category: Dodger Stadium

If employed, do not throw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game

Photo: George Lopez. Credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images. Apparently, a really bad idea. So add it to the list.

Comedian George Lopez agreed to throw out the first pitch in the pregame ceremony for Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Phillies. Lopez was representing MasterCard’s Stand Up to Cancer drive.

Alas, moments before he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, his "Lopez Tonight’’ show was canceled by TBS.

To his credit, Lopez went through as scheduled. On the mound, that is.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: George Lopez. Credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images.

Cincinnati Reds pummel Dodgers' Chad Billingsley in 7-2 victory


Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley had another terrible outing Wednesday afternoon as the Cincinnati Reds cruised to a 7-2 win over the Dodgers to sweep their three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Billingsley unintentionally helped Reds Manager Dusty Baker celebrate his 62nd birthday by allowing all seven runs on nine hits in only four innings of work. The right-hander also walked four Reds.

In his prior game, Billingsley (5-6) was tagged for six runs and a career-high 13 hits by the Rockies in Denver.

Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen did the most damage Wednesday, slugging three hits -- including two doubles -- to drive in three runs in front of an announced crowd of 30,443 on a Dodgers "throwback day," with the teams wearing uniforms from the 1940s.

The Dodgers' initial run came in the first inning when Reds pitcher Travis Wood had a shaky start and issued a bases-loaded walk to Marcus Thames. But Wood (5-4) settled down and otherwise held the Dodgers scoreless on five hits in his six innings of work.

The Dodgers added a run in the seventh inning off Reds reliever Jose Arredondo when Jamey Carroll singled, moved to third base on Matt Kemp's double and scored when Juan Uribe grounded out.

The Dodgers also threatened in the third inning when they had runners on first and second with two out and James Loney hit a line drive to the left-field corner. But Reds leftfielder Jonny Gomes made a spectacular diving, back-handed catch to end the inning.

At 31-39, the Dodgers are now eight games below .500 for the first time this season. They have the day off Thursday before opening a three-game series with the Houston Astros on Friday at Chavez Ravine.


Dodgers hope Casey Blake returns to lineup Friday

Don Mattingly, the ace, and the bullpen from hell

Dodgers lose another tight one, 3-2

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Scott Rolen of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double in the second inning Wednesday as Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas and umpire Gerry Davis look on at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Dodgers hope Casey Blake returns to lineup Friday

The Dodgers hope veteran third baseman Casey Blake can return to the starting lineup Friday when the team opens a three-game series with the Houston Astros, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday.

Blake Blake, 37, was not in the starting lineup Wednesday for the fifth consecutive game, this time as the Dodgers face the Cincinnati Reds in a day game at Dodger Stadium. He's been suffering from a sore neck that might involve a pinched nerve.

However, Blake has been able to pinch-hit in three of the Dodgers' last four games.

Asked if Blake would be ready to start Friday, after the Dodgers have a day off Thursday, Mattingly said "we're hoping" and that Blake was "going to get a cortisone injection [Wednesday night] after the game. We're hoping that's going to speed his recovery."

Mattingly said the Dodgers were not thinking about placing Blake on the disabled list if Blake doesn't quickly recover, noting that he can continue to pinch-hit and, if necessary, play first base because it doesn't require the long throws needed to play third.

"He can do it, he's just not feeling 100%," Mattingly said.

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Fire not in the Dodgers' belly Saturday in 6-1 loss to Marlins


Just another night for the Dodgers at the ballpark: Dogs in the right-field pavilion, a small but smoky Dodger Stadium fire forcing several thousand fans to be relocated in the fifth inning and another weak offensive effort on the field.

Even by the Dodgers’ standards, it added up to a bizarre 6-1 loss to the Florida Marlins on Saturday before an announced crowd of 29,971. And some 550 dogs.

Nancy Bea Hefley best learn to play some eerie organ music before first pitch.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the fire occurred in small cinderblock storage facility just below the reserved level. The smoke drifted down from the upper deck like fog rolling in, and persisted until the eighth inning.

Fans along the first base side of the reserved level and upper deck were calmly relocated to the other side of the stadium. There being another sparse crowd, there was no difficulty finding them open seats.

No one had to be evacuated, but there was enough smoke to lightly burn eyes. The LAFD said more than 40 fireman responded. No one was reported hurt.

The night began oddly enough with the Dodgers’ second "Bark in the Park" night. Fans who brought their pooches were allowed to circle the field before the game, eventually taking seats in the right-field pavilion.

Seems the dog days of summer have arrived a tad early for the Dodgers.

With Florida ace Josh Johnson on the disabled list, Marlins reliever Brian Sanches was forced to make the first start of his career.

The Dodgers roughed him up for one run in his three innings, which was more than they managed against four other Marlins relievers.

The Dodgers' offensive woes continue, no matter the hurler. In their last 14 games, the Dodgers have scored more than three runs only three times and have been held to one run or less six times.

Saturday they managed a total of six hits. A Matt Kemp double drove in their only run.

All while Hiroki Kuroda was having another off night. And when starting pitching fails the Dodgers, the news is never good.

Kuroda gave up five runs on 10 hits in his 5 1/3 innings of work. It was his second consecutive poor start, having surrendered six runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox in an interleague game last week.


Is James Loney finally on the rebound?

National League West refuses to let Dodgers go

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: A couple of dogs sporting Dodgers scarves parade on the field during the "Bark in the Park" stroll before the game against the Florida Marlins on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Small fire at Dodger Stadium forces fans to be relocated

Fans at Dodger Stadium along the right-field reserved level and upper deck had to be relocated in the fifth inning Saturday when smoke began drifting onto the ballpark from a fire in small warehouse below the reserved level.

A helicopter circled the smoke-filled area as at least four Los Angeles Fire Department fire trucks arrived at the scene. One truck extended a ladder from a lower, terraced parking lot to the upper deck.

Fans in the reserved level and upper deck were moved calmly to another part of the stadium.

The Dodgers said the small fire had been contained but were uncertain as to its origin. No one had to be evacuated.

The smoke continued to drift down the reserved level for another inning.


Is James Loney finally on the rebound?

National League West refuses to let Dodgers go

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Fans look at smoke from a fire that broke out at Dodger Stadium during Saturday night’s Dodgers-Marlins game. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

LAPD takes into custody suspect in Bryan Stow beating, bringing hope for justice

Stow Admit it, you had probably begun to wonder if the Los Angeles Police Department would ever nab the two suspects who had brutally beaten Giants fan Bryan Stow on opening day.

It was closing in on two months since the beating left Stow with brain damage, and despite mountains of publicity and a priority focus of the LAPD, time went by without an arrest.

Despite the attention, the reward money, the composite sketches -- that in truth, hardly distinguished the suspects -- and the recent billboards plastered around the city, time did not seem to be working in the LAPD’s favor.

The fear was that,  despite it all, they just didn’t have enough hard evidence to work with. Or that the suspects had long since fled the area and vanished into foreign obscurity.

Only early Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times’ Joel Rubin reported that a SWAT team descended upon a three-story East Hollywood apartment building and took into custody one of the men the LAPD suspects of beating Stow.

Continue reading »

Attendance at Dodger Stadium continues to plunge

Ih28s3kf The Dodgers are coming! The Dodgers are coming!

Are you?

Well, you haven’t been, at least not in robust Dodgers-esque numbers. The Dodgers return home Friday, but no one is expecting a giddy sellout to await them.

Whether a boycott against the McCourts, fear of safety or simply uninspired with the team after last season’s sub-.500 effort, attendance is plummeting at Dodger Stadium.

Empty seats are everywhere, at every level. Even field level seats seem only dotted with fans. Some entire sections routinely sit empty.

Baseball’s 30 teams are down 635 fans per game thus far into the season (through Wednesday) or 2%, but the Dodgers are their big drag.

Through their first 18 home dates, Dodgers are down 7,268 fans per game, compared to last year -- the biggest drop in baseball.

And remember, baseball announces tickets sold, not actual attendance. It does not release no-show numbers, but they are significant at Dodger Stadium. Several games, the old ballpark hasn’t even looked half full.

Tickets sold for the Dodgers currently are down 16.5% over last season. And it’s noticeable.

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Frank McCourt: When desperate times call for desperate measures, lots of them

"Irish" Frank McCourt is swinging in so many directions, it’s a wonder he’s not dizzy. Then again …

To say McCourt is a desperate man is to say the Mississippi is running just a tad high.

Plead your case to the media? Lose the team but keep the stadium as their landlord? Fire off a nasty letter complaining that a newly appointed assistant to the Major League Baseball trustee has ties to the ex-wife (who claims half-ownership of the team)? File bankruptcy to ward off a complete takeover? Appeal to other owners how you’ve been wronged?

There’s no landing a punch if you can’t get your feet under you.

McCourt’s strategy is apparently the ol' throw-enough-against-the-wall-and-see-if-something-sticks approach. Me, I just see it all slipping away.

MLB owners are having their quarterly meetings Wednesday and Thursday in New York, and The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports that McCourt will arrive trying to uncover eight owners willing to tell Commissioner Bud Selig to end his takeover of the Dodgers.

Wrote Shaikin: "If McCourt gets a vote from any owner besides himself, call it an upset."

ESPN’s Buster Olney likewise doesn't think much of McCourt’s chances of usurping Selig, a notorious consensus-builder.


Continue reading »

Could fall of Frank McCourt mean NFL's return to L.A.?

Ljz9qvnc It’s a 2-for-1 special! The best of two sporting worlds!

Here’s a fascinating angle written by Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole:

The demise of Frank McCourt’s ownership might not only provide a welcome new owner to the Dodgers, but hasten the return of the NFL to Los Angeles.

Cole writes that the NFL has always loved the idea of building a football stadium in Chavez Ravine in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. This was first pursued by Peter O’Malley, who was talked down by then-Mayor Richard Riordan, who wanted the NFL back in the Coliseum.

(Now that I think about it, this whole Dodgers mess is Riordan’s fault. If he had gotten behind a Dodger Stadium site for the NFL instead of the ill-fated Coliseum bid, O’Malley could have generated the funds to keep the Dodgers and probably would still own them today.)

McCourt was also interested in building an NFL stadium in his parking lot, but Yahoo Sports' Cole said the NFL took one look at his finances and passed.

Continue reading »

Dodgers players say MLB takeover of team not a distraction

Several players on the Dodgers said Wednesday that they didn't see Major League Baseball's takeover of the team's operations as a distraction, and Matt Kemp even came to owner Frank McCourt's defense.

Selig "As a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, for all of us as a team, our responsibility is to just to play baseball and win as many games as we can," said Kemp, the hot-hitting center fielder for the 8-10 Dodgers, before the team played the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium.

"We can’t really worry about off-the-field issues," Kemp said.

Citing "deep concerns" about the Dodgers' financial health, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig stepped in and said he would soon appoint a trustee to oversee the club's operations.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti held a brief, private meeting with the players about the announcement before batting practice.

Like many Dodgers, infielder Jamey Carroll said that while he didn't have details about Selig's intentions, "obviously Bud is doing something to make sure there's stability" with the storied franchise.

In the meantime, "there’s nothing that I think that’s really been a distraction to us," Carroll said.

Catcher Rod Barajas echoed Carroll's comments, saying "what we do on the field has nothing to do with what goes on off the field."

Kemp agreed that "I’m sure Major League Baseball will do what they have to do to make this team run good," and that "all I’m worried about is driving in runs, stealing bases and all that other good stuff and helping the team win."

Asked how often he speaks with McCourt, Kemp said, "I’ve had plenty of conversations with him." The center fielder added: "Frank is a good guy. That’s all I can really say about him. He’s a great guy and I have nothing bad to say about him."

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on March 12 at a spring training game in Arizona. Credit: Chris Morrison / US Presswire


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