L.A. to The Bay…January 12, 2019

Thanks to econo bus services like Flixbus and Megabus, turnaround trips from L.A. to The Bay have been possible for me. As a freelance writer for Stadium Journey who has provided news and reviews of venues from SoCal to NoCal, these budget friendly busses do come in handy. However, every now and then I do like to travel by rail.

Last year, I was able to travel to The Bay a total of four times, reviewing both the homes of baseball’s Giants and Athletics, as well as Haas Pavilion, the college basketball home of the Cal Golden Bears.

My first L.A. to The Bay trip for 2019 will take me to the campus of the University of San Francisco, where I will be doing a review of War Memorial Gym…College basketball home of the USF Dons. But first, the journey toward The Bay…

20190112_083231Up the Grapevine, Saturday, January 12

Prior to my departure from L.A. just after 7AM, we had been rained upon heavily. As we made our way up I-5 toward The Grapevine the clouds would follow but the rain would hold off. After a little over 3 hours, our rest stop would find us in Avenal. Our choice of eats was very limited as our stop only had one gas station and one of two choices for eats…Little Cesar’s and this…

20190112_103536The nice thing about El Sabroso is that it’s a convenient 24-hour stop for those drivers along the outskirts of I-5. As for my machaca burrito…

20190112_102159Meh…But what do you expect from your typical rest stop eatery…

20190112_103523The sun is starting to peak through…

20190112_102955Waiting patiently for our driver so we can hit the road…

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After arriving to The City just past 2, with a little over 4 hours to kill I decide to walk around and take some pics of the construction of the Golden State Warriors new home over at nearby Mission Bay as well as the changes around the Giants yard… Time to change that sign…

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The future home of the Golden State Warriors, the Chase Center, located in Mission Bay down the street from the Jints, ahem, Giants playground…

After taking some pics of the construction progress of The Chase Center, it’s time to take a walk up 3rd Street…

20190112_152852(0)From the Lefty O’Doul Bridge. New board coming…

20190112_1532233rd and King…

20190112_153357Oracle Park. Oracle won the naming rights earlier in the week. In the meantime, AT&T Park signs are still up…

20190112_153813No need to change the name of our beloved classic yard, right Blue Dog?

20190112_153702Hey Sammy, that’s 4 names in 20 years already….

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One last pic before they take down the AT&T sign. Hey, I got my SF on…Forever Hella Faithful, right? Did I just say, Hella?

After a quick stop to my hotel, I head toward The Haight for a quick bite before heading to the USF campus. In the past I would have just done an immediate turnaround back to L.A. but these days I just don’t have the energy to do late night bus rides anymore…

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Something about this corner that happened in some Summer of ’67 that draws tourists here…

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USF. A Jesuit college just a few blocks north of The Haight…

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War Memorial Gym, aka The Hilltop. Tonight’s game features the USF Dons against the number 5 ranked team in the country, Gonzaga. Whenever I think of Gonzaga hoops moments taking place in The Bay, these sights and sounds, and the voice of Gus Johnson comes to mind…

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The Hilltop is your old-school gym. When filled to the rafters, as it was on this evening, The Hilltop can have that classic intimate charm. 

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The Dons would put up a great fight on this Saturday evening but the ‘Zags would pull away late. USF could be one of those sleeper teams that could wear a glass slipper come March if they can continue their strong season and show a stronger presence come conference tourney time…

Gonzaga comes out on top…

20190112_212808 USF Glory…

20190112_213815Postgame autographs…

Kickin’ it with Don Francisco…

20190112_213056 My standard postgame shot from halfcourt…

Drei’s Bites…Slice House Haight by Tony Gemignani vs Escape From NY Pizza

Prior to the game I went over to Slice House Pizza. After the game I went back to The Haight, this time to Escape From New York Pizza. After some previous Yelp searches, I decided i’d cruise through these two and do a comparison…

The Purple Haze, Slice House Haight…

My first slice for the night was the Purple Haze. Topped off with Mozzarella, Pancetta, Rosemary, Pesto, Feta, Oregano, Romano, Garlic Oil and the featured Purple Potato this slice managers to fit all these ingredients nicely while also being nicely presented. 

You Say Potato, Escape From NY Pizza…

My postgame appetite would bring me to Escape From NY Pizza for a slice of the You Say Potato. This slice would be topped off with Roasted Potatoes & Roasted Garlic Cloves over Pesto Sauce. Oh does Drei love him some garlic. 

So, between the two, which slice comes out the winner?

The Purple Haze does a nice job of putting all those ingredients together while at the same time not having any one topping be to overly dominant

You Say Potato has a nice concept and I can never have enough garlic. But unlike the thinly sliced purple potatoes on The Purple Haze, the potatoes on my slice of You Say Potato are just to thick. Even with the cloves and pesto, my potato slice probably could have used more flavor. So the winner…THE PURPLE HAZE

More on these two eateries soon…

Back to L.A., Sunday, January 13

Before heading back to L.A. I head toward the Castro for my morning bite at Orphan Andy’s for some Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. This is probably the first time I set foot into this 24-hour diner while the sun was up…

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20190113_084511My happy breakfast…

Across the street from Orphan Andy’s is this newly painted mural of Harvey Milk…

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Between the rival cities, L.A. and S.F. have their fair share of attractive murals. Here’s one of Robin Williams on Market Street…

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Allright, time to head to Oak-Town to catch my ride back to L.A. 

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Somewhere by those cranes a new ballyard will be in place for the Oakland A’s…Hopefully

20190113_101615.jpgThe ride across the Bay Bridge…

20190113_111118Down 101. Hey, I don’t see Candlestick Park anywhere…

Of course, one last rest stop before heading to L.A. This time, our rest stop takes us to Kettleman City in front of this…

20190113_152959Now we can never go wrong with an In N Out as our pit stop…

20190113_151755Oh yeah, a 3×3 with extra onions…

20190113_152043With fries, Extra Well. I always ask for them extra will. I love that crispiness that gives my fries that hot off the fryer, potato chip texture…

Well, that wraps up my first L.A. to The Bay adventure for 2019. Next one will come next month as I make my way toward Palo Alto. What will come about on my next L.A. to The Bay adventure?

20190112_152951That hella vibe I get when I visit The Bay…I’m almost to that point where every other Hella word I say is gonna Hella turn out to be…Hella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drei’s Tale…A Nine Inning Oak-Town Elephant Hunt

On my recent trip to Oakland, prior to the Mariners-A’s game on September 1st, I had a chance to cruise Oak-Town. One of the celebrations taking place as the A’s celebrate their 50th anniversary in Oakland is Stomper In The Town. Stomper is that lovable elephant mascot for the A’s and to celebrate, there are fifty six-foot tall statues of Stomper scattered throughout Oakland, each with a different theme designed by fans and artists. I had a chance to track down nine of the fifty, including the two located at Oakland Coliseum. Here they are in the order tracked…

1st Inning…Bleacher Creature

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Located in the Piedmont neighborhood, this would be the first statue i’d cross paths with prior to a hearty breakfast at Fentons Creamery

20180901_095240Crab Omelette at Fentons

Fentons, an Oakland landmark is well-known for it’s ice cream and fountain sodas with a breakfast menu on weekends. The crab omelette and potatoes we’re hearty and tasty. But of course I wasn’t stopping there…

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That’s the Banana Junior ! The Banana Special is a 3 pound version of what you see here and 6 times the size of the junior. Perhaps someday I’ll take on the Banana Split Challenge. The challenge? Down that Banana Special in 15 minutes and win a free shirt ! WOOHOO !!!

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I could use the help from Stomper and The Mariner Moose…

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Stomper and The Moose bailed on me. I guess i’m finishing this split off…

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Finish this Stomper !!!

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We did it boys !!!

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I think I had my fill for the day…

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2nd Inning…A Show of Hands

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Moving on to the Grand Lake neighborhood just outside the Grand Lake Theatre is this colorful work of art, A Show of Hands…

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Moving right along… 

3rd Inning…Golden Stomper

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This one is located outside of the Ordway Building on 1 Kaiser Plaza

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4th Inning…The Oakland A’s Rock

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Stomper Rockin’ out some of his East Bay beats…(Now why would someone tag his hat?)

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YEAH !!! 

5th Inning…MC Stomper

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Getting closer towards Broadway and MC Stomper flashing that bling and his custom made Hammer pants…

2 Legit To Quit…

6th Inning…Oaklove Stomper

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Located inside Oaklandish this Stomper statue gives a nod to Oak-Town’s landmarks

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7th Inning…Night-Night Stomper

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Stomper in his ‘jammie outside of a Walgreens 

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That’s really cool of Stomper that he’s not phased by my Niners colors. Then again, he’s also delighted he won’t have that “other team” in his house much longer…

Off to the Coliseum…

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Kickin’ it with The Greatest base-stealer of all-time (Sort of…)

8th Inning…Stomper’s Authentically Oakland Jersey

 

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Located outside The Treehouse at The Coliseum is indeed this Authentically Oakland look…

 

Finishing off…

9th Inning…#AtTheColiseumStomper

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Located at Championship Plaza between the Coliseum and Oracle Arena this one is a collage of pics taken by A’s fans over the years…

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So those are the nine Stomper Statues I was able to chase down in Oak-Town…

Of the nine, which was my favorite? They’re all unique in their own way and each certainly has it’s own story. This is not easy, and these three really do deserve top billing…

Bleacher Creature really gives an animated fan perspective of a day at the yard…

A Show of Hands show Stomper’s musical and artistic side

Oaklove Stomper really shows  his hometown love with his Oak-Town landmarks…

But now i’m gonna cut it down to these two…

A Show of Hands vs. Oaklove Stomper. Again, picking a favorite was not easy. But of all the Stomper’s stompin’ through Oaktown, Drei’s favorite?

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A Show of Hands. It came down to this pachyderm bringing out the kid side in me, particularly the keyboards, the keys i’ve tried to get back to lately.

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Even the Mariner Moose is impressed. If only I had the discipline and determination as a kid to JUST KEEP PRACTICING…

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I could be the one entertaining 56,000 fans in October and the man to my right, Dieter Ruehle can just focus on Kings fans at The Staples Center…(OK, Dieter isn’t such a bad choice for our present day Dodger Stadium organist either…). Speaking of music…

Extra Inning From The Bay…It’s Like Cruising Music

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Kid Marlz…Here he is, 2017, struttin’ his swag from across The Bay, Golden Gate Park, giving the 4-1-5 a Touch of Dodger Blue. Hey Kid? Dodgers and Oakland in October, like 1988? ‘Til the Next Episode…

 

That’s From Disneyland

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Hey everyone. I’ve been busy this weekend doing some house cleaning. But not as busy as Richard Kraft of Sherman Oaks. This past weekend Kraft has been auctioning off much of his Disneyland nostalgic collection, ranging from posters to attraction props and even actual ride vehicles. Prior to this weekends auction Kraft set up a free pop-up gallery in Sherman Oaks, some who even dressed and acted the part of their favorite Disney characters. 

Kraft plans to use the money raised through the auction to make donations to two charities that benefit children with special needs.

Here’s my collection of pictures, no particular order, that I was able to snap during my visit on August 12th…

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20180812_115935.jpg The man himself, Richard Kraft, greeting many an eager fan and capturing the moment before the gallery opens

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Of course I had to bring DodgerMickey…Lead the chorus…LETS GO DODGERS !!!

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20180812_123906.jpgShe seems very attracted to you DodgerMickey…

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He’s greeted many a guest entering one of these People Movers. Hey, how ’bout bringing back some of these and using them from Union Station to The Ravine. We found the Blue and Yellow ones. Now to find the Orange and Teal

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20180812_133454.jpg“It’s a World of Laughter a world of tears…It’s a Small World after all…”

20180812_134105.jpgDumbo playing with his favorite mouse, uh, second favorite mouse behind Timothy Q… Dumbo ain’t afraid of this mouse…

20180812_132719.jpgOf course…We can never separate these two…

I actually had several people come up to me as I was taking my pictures of my DodgerMickey statue. Of course they wanted to know if I bought it at the gift shop by the entrance. I’ve had the DodgerMickey since 2010 and of course being among Disney and Dodgers fans it was only natural that folks would want one of their own DodgerMickey as well…I guess it would only be natural that two of our favorite’s would make such magic together…Now if only that magic can continue on through October…

 

 

Drei’s Photo Blog…King Tut: Treasures of The Golden Pharaoh

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King Tut: Treasures of The Golden Pharaoh will be on display at the California Science Center through January. In celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, over 150 authentic artifacts from King Tut’s celebrated tomb–60 of which have never traveled outside of Egypt, will be on display. 

The tour lasts approximately 60-90 minutes, maybe 2 hours, depending on the visitor. The tour starts with a preshow briefing on the third floor. From there, visitors descend upon rare artifacts, many which tell a story. You will want to rent an audio-guide to assist you through each exhibit. 

For many of you, this will probably be your first time through this exhibit as was mine. If it is, I highly recommend you take your time as you witness your way through rare artifacts. Here’s a small sample of what you’ll be seeing…

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Cruising Rancho…Exploring The Mother Road…On Route 66

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LoanMart Field…Still referred by many as The Epicenter. Home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Single-A affiliate of the Dodgers. Rancho has been a stop for many who have donned the Dodger Blue, as well as a Friar or Halo, be it their first step to The Bigs or a rehab assignment…

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Prior to taking in a Quakes game on this Saturday evening, July 21, 2018, my buddy Josh Jacobs of 99.5 KKLA and I decide to cruise nearby along the old Mother Road

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Not far from LoanMart Field are markers along Foothill Blvd. paying tribute to the old Mother Road…

20180721_165809.jpgGetting my kicks on Route 66…One of my life’s goals is to one day cruise the ol’ Mother Road from L.A. to Chicago…

Josh and I are huge fans of Jack Benny. The late comedian had his ties to Rancho Cucamonga. A popular catch phrase of his radio show involved a train conductor who would announce over the loudspeaker, “Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc… amonga,” taking progressively longer pauses between “Cuc” and “amonga.” No such route ever existed. 

A statue of the great comedian, once located at the entrance of the ballpark, is located in the lobby at The Lewis Family Playhouse inside the grounds of the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center. The statue has Jack with his violin in hand. A running gag as host of his popular TV program, “The Jack Benny Program” was how badly he would play his violin..

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20180721_162224.jpgJosh mimicking Jack Benny’s frugalness throughout his program…

20180721_162916.jpgNO JACK, YOU ARE NOT PLAYING TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME WITH YOUR VIOLIN !!!!

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In paying tribute to Jack Benny, The Epicenter, as it was officially known at the time, was built on a street named after Jack. In an ironic twist, Jack Benny Way intersects with Rochester Avenue. Rochester Avenue was not named after the audience favorite character portrayed by Eddie Anderson on The Jack Benny Program. 

Josh Jacobs with some Jack Benny Fun Facts from outside of LoanMart Field on the corner of Jack Benny Way and Rochester Avenue…

 

20180721_193539.jpgPrehistoric life STILL exists along the old Mother Road…

20180721_184513.jpgJosh kicking it with the voice of the Quakes, Mike Lindskog…

20180721_163142.jpgGiving ol’ Jack a Touch of Blue…(You’re still not playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame with that violin…)

Those are just some of the sights along the old Mother Road on the way to LoanMart Field, or as some of you may still refer to as, The Epicenter…

9th Inning…Nat King Cole

 

 

Theme Park Ride Review: HangTime at Knott’s Berry Farm

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Cowabunga dudes! Welcome to the first third day of July, the day before we say Happy Born Day ‘Merica! Summer is all about fun and well Drei here had a chance to take on California’s first and only dive coaster, HangTime. 

This surf themed roller coaster certainly does have a SoCal coastal theme, painted in silver and light blue and accented with LED lights that can shine in different colors to mark holidays or special events throughout the year. 

At it’s peak, HangTime towers 150 feet over the Boardwalk area, showcasing gravity-defying inversions, mid-air suspensions and a beyond vertical drop- the steepest in California. HangTime ascends 15 stories up a vertical lift hill and come to a halt leaving riders suspended at the crest for several seconds before descending down a 96-degree drop, through 2,189 feet of steel track and five thrilling inversions. 

I made it a point to go on HangTime twice, during the day and later in the evening when the track is lighted in it’s glorious ocean blue. My first venture my buddy Josh and I we’re placed in the last row. The last row of any roller coaster is actually not a bad row as you can descend toward it’s peak you feel the sudden pull before suddenly dropping. 

As you rise toward the top you are lying flat on your back with your legs above you. 

Resized952018063095140029.jpg I’m the one on the furthest right with Josh next to me. 

Resized952018063095135903.jpgResized952018063095135914.jpg Here we are, suspended at it’s height for 10 seconds. Even form the back you get a nice view of The OC…

Once you get past that 96-degree drop, the ride is about the turns. For all it’s thrills, though under two minutes HangTime provides riders more than it’s share of thrills without it being too aggressive as even the movement through it’s five inversions at 54 MPH is fluid sans the jarring movements you would experience at GhostRider

After taking on the GhostRider, I had planned to take on Xcelerator The Ride before one last visit surf on HangTime but after taking on HangTime and GhostRider along with four less than aggressive rides in between my body was starting to remind me I’m approaching 44 not 24. 

So before taking on that last challenge on HangTime, I decide to kick it on the Timber Mountain Log Ride with my friends Josh and Leticia. 

OK. Round 2 for Drei on HangTime. This time, Josh decides he’s had enough thrill rides for the day. Logic would be for Drei to call it a day for the thrills as well. But then again, Drei doesn’t always play by logic. 

Round 2. Drei decides he’ll find a way to ride the front. After a wait of about 90 minutes as Drei gets toward the platform a single seat is available at the front. HangTime in the Dark…Does not disappoint. 

If you get a chance, you will want at least one turn at the front of the car. From the front, as you make your way up toward the peak, aside from the track nothing else is in front of you except the day/night sky. Once you get to the top of the Negative-G Stall Loop, the first of five inversions, you get 10 seconds worth a front row view of the day/night surroundings. Look to your right. If you dont see a lit halo, well…OK, i’ll put aside my Dodger Blue bias…For the 10 seconds you’re up there, the view is breathtaking. You’ll also want to take one look down. One look and you may wonder what have you got yourself into. Did I mention the highlight is that 96 degree drop. It’s really a sight to behold at night with the track all lit in that Pacific Ocean Blue. 

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20180630_231813.jpg10 seconds to hang, dude, or should I say…HANG 10 DUDE !!!

20180630_231957.jpgHang 10 before you WipeOut…Dude !!!

20180630_232005.jpg WIPEOUT !!!

After experiencing HangTime twice, i’m glad to say I was able to…Hang 10 Dude! But that second time I think I was close to, wiping out. Like I said, Drei doesn’t always do things by logic. Of the day and night experience, it’s really a hard call which is the better…

With the summer peak season in front of us, the park hours are from 10 to 10 Sunday to Friday and 10 to 11 on Saturday. With summer being one of the busiest times of the season for theme park goers, though Knott’s may not have as many attractions as it’s neighbors down I-5 you will want to go as early as possible if you plan to experience as many attractions and shows the park offers, especially if you’re bringing kids. 

20180630_234144.jpg One last view…

20180630_160051.jpgA day of fun with Leticia and Josh…

 

 

A Kid N Drei Mid-Summer Tale

With the Bucs coming to town and Drei finally crossing paths with Kid for the first time in 2018, we came up with this Kid N Drei tale, as told by Drei. Later on, Kid provides the beatz. We may not do this as often as we used, but when we do, not much has changed, you know, Kid with Da Beatz, Drei with Da Talez… As Kid once told Drei…”We Make Magic Together…”

First tale of ’18…

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It took awhile, but finally, the first Kid N Drei Tale of 2018…

Back to The Yard…Drei’s Thoughts

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It was a big Sunday at the yard for Matt Kemp as he would drive in 4 runs, including the go-ahead solo shot in the home 8th to put The Blue ahead to stay as they would stave off a three game sweep, taking down the Rockies 6-4. Prior to Sunday the Dodgers had lost three in a row and came in tied for second in the NL West with the San Francisco Giants. Kemp, whose been huge for The Blue to this point, was mired in his first big slump of 2018. His numbers compared to last year at this time are close to similar and with 14 home runs and 51 RBI’s to date, barring a major second half swoon, Kemp would be on pace for 28 home runs and 102 RBI’s. 

The recent slide brought Kemp’s average down to .302. Sunday’s performance lifted his average back to .310. His current slash line, .310 AVG/14HR/51RBI is about what you can expect from Kemp to this point as past years performances have shown. Many of us thought with his defense on the decline the Dodgers would have dealt him to a team in the Junior Circuit where he would have been more productive as a DH at this point in his career but even his defensive play, while not the Matt Kemp of 2011, has been above decent. 

Would it be too much for Kemp to carry The Blue as we head into baseball’s second half of the season? 

Baseball is a long season and every player is due for a slump at some point so I’m not really concerned that the best we’ll see of Kemp in 2018 is behind him. 

If there is any pressure on Matt Kemp to maintain his current numbers, it should be minimal at best. Other than a lighter Matt Kemp, this time around unlike 2015-17 he has a deeper lineup around him particularly in the outfield. My main concern is Kemp staying healthy down the stretch drive. 

Could Sunday’s game be the end of Kemp’s current slump? That remains to be seen. As for now, Kemp has done more than what anyone could have asked. Now it’s time to surround Kemp with some key pieces if The Blue is to make a run deep into October. 

At 43-38, the Dodgers are on pace to win 86 games. However, as we all know, baseball is full of streaks and slumps. One sustained streak and the Dodgers could find themselves over the 90 win plateau for the sixth straight season.

Extra Innings…Walk Us Off With Your Beatz, Kid !

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Gratitude is Everything…Featuring Kid’s Bro, RENO SPARKZ

 

 

 

 

 

Andrei here,Southern California Correspondent for Stadium Journey Magazine and StadiumJourney.com, along with the broham, Marlon B, aka Kid Marley Marlz. We like to call ourselves, KID N DREI…2 crazed Dodger fans bringing Da Beatz and Da Talez or sometimes, both. Kid with Da Beats on SoundCloud at MDario GlutenFreeSonds, and Drei with Da Talez.

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