Monday, February 29, 2016

Inside Scoop: Dodger Spring Training Day 2

Howie Kendrick leads a base-running drill.
Today, I saw first hand the benefits of watching Dodger Spring Training on a lazy Monday. The weekenders that trekked from L.A. packed up for the most part, leaving an even more personal experience for the rest of us.

Clayton Kershaw on his way to throwing session.
Fly On The Wall With Ace Clayton Kershaw: I was all alone watching three-time Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw as he took on his customary springtime regimen. After stretching and running, he partnered up with fellow pitcher, Joe Blanton, for long toss, before throwing a short session of his pitching arsenal, including one of signature what-the-hell-just-happened curveballs. I was so close that I could not only hear the snap of Blanton's glove on each pitch, but I was also privy to their banter. Yes, even pro ballplayers yell, "crap, that hurt," when a ball finds its way into the thinnest part of the leather pocket.

Urias & De Leon, future L.A. stars?
Two Future Aces: Two top Dodger pitching prospects that could very well get September call-ups this season threw live batting practice today. Gotta say, the future Dodger rotation looks very promising with flame-throwers Julio Urias and Jose De Leon. Apparently, the two formed a tight bond while playing for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes team. The front office plan seems to suggest that next year they will both be holding down starting spots for the Dodgers. They already have the fan part of the game down, each signing tons of autographs today.

Fans want Andre to stay.
Dre-Watch Day 2: Still here! Outfielder Andre Ethier looked solid in the field and during batting practice. If the team does ship him out, the L.A. fan base won't be pleased, as was evidenced today when he was mobbed for autographs. Even through his ups and downs, this guy has been a fan favorite for going on 10 years. Dodger fans don't like to see their long-time guys traded. He might not be Mike Piazza, but he would be missed and the fans won't let ownership off easily if they drop him.

Find photo bomber Josh Ravin.
I got Photo-Bombed! Dodger pitcher Josh Ravin brought me a good laugh first thing this morning. I thought it would be cool to have a photo of myself with the Dodger pitching staff working out in the background. In the middle of snapping the selfie, I hear a "can I see your picture, I just photo-bombed you!" Turns out Ravin is one of the fun, goofy ballplayers out there. Nice guy, hope he makes the opening day roster.

Hard core L.A.
Freaky Fun Fans: Only hardcore fans really attend Spring Training before the actual games begin. Today, I found proof of these fans. One guy actually said he would do cartwheels if Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would convince the usher to let him cross to the side where Gonzalez was signing autographs. Of course, Gonzalez was game, and the dude proceeded to attempt some of the ugliest cartwheels I have ever seen. And then there were the three guys in this photo, who were only too happy to let me snap a picture. 

More to come tomorrow on my last day at Dodgertown.

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