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…

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

On Deck With Steve Garvey

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Steve Garvey enjoyed 14 of his 19 big league seasons in the Dodger Blue. A two-time NLCS MVP, a 10-time All-Star and a two-time MVP of the All-Star game and the 1974 National League MVP.  These days, Garvey does about 45-50 motivational speeches a year through Garvey Media Group working with clients in stadium advertising. At Dodger Stadium he helps with the Kings Hawaiian Grill stand, introducing and marketing new BBQ sauces. 

I had a chance recently to speak with Garvey prior to the Dodgers alumni game on May 12th…

GDWKND: You we’re part of the longest running infield from 1973-81. What was the key in maintaining the infield for as long as you all did?

Garvey: I think the key was staying healthy. We continued to grow as players and understand our roles and performances. We started to work together, the team started to do well and Al Campannis signed us to long-term contracts. When it was all said and done that recipe was a great recipe of success during what I call the Golden Era from 1973-82.

GDWKND: When you we’re being groomed in Albuquerque you had Tommy Lasorda as your manager. When you came up to The Blue you we’re under the guidance of Walter Alston. How was the transition like from Lasorda in Albuquerque, to Alston and then eventually back to Lasorda?

Garvey: It was night and day, it was a 180. Walter Alston was very stoic and quiet, very strong man, Hall of Fame quality. Tommy was gregarious, outgoing, became really the heart and soul of Los Angeles Dodger Baseball by the way he talked about the team and got the fans involved. There’s more than one way to manage success. I was blessed to have Walter Alston to teach me certain things and Tommy Lasorda to teach me the rest. 

After the 1982 season, Garvey would head south and finish his career with the San Diego Padres. Though he wouldn’t put up the same numbers wearing the Padre Brown, Garvey would nonetheless have an impact on the Padres, highlighted by the city’s number one sports moment in 1984 with his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the NLCS off Lee Smith of the Cubs, forcing a decisive 5th game which the Padres would win en route to the organizations first World Series appearance. 

GDWKND: You played for three storied managers, Alston, Lasorda and Dick Williams, three HOF managers. How was it like playing for all three?

Garvey: Dick was tough, very demanding. Dick had won a couple of World Series with Oakland in the 70s, he had some strict rules that he expected you to adhere to. He was a veterans manager. He let the veterans do a lot of the leadership within the team. A very good X’s and O’s in game manager so he ended up in the HOF one way, Tommy one way and Walt one way. There’s no one way to be a leader to produce success. It takes the ability to communicate as the one common ingredient. 

GDWKND: You had an impact not only here but in San Diego as well during your 5 year stint from 1983-87. You will always be remembered for the home run you hit in Game Four of the 1984 NLCS. Do you do any work with the Padres as well?

Garvey: From time to time I get a call from the Padres to do things. I always look forward to it. I always say once I go south of Camp Pendleton I’m a Padre down there. I’m a favorite son and we had some great moments during my five year run capped off by our World Series. It’s like a second home in San Diego, 15 years in L.A and 5 in San Diego, a very blessed career and friendships on both sides. 

As Garvey would be a huge catalyst for the Padres first World Series appearance, they would run into a buzz-saw of a Detroit Tiger team that started off the ’84 season 35-5 en route to 104 wins, breezing through the ALCS in a three game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. In Game Five of the ’84 World Series, some future Dodger named Kirk would hit a huge home run in the 8th inning of a one-run game that all but ended the Padres faint hopes. It would be Kirk Gibson’s biggest home run of his career…To that point…

GDWKND: You had a chance to face Kirk Gibson when he was with the Detroit Tigers in the 1984 World Series. Kirk had that huge home run off Goose Gossage in Game Five that for all intents and purposes closed out the series. What was your thought of seeing Gibby in Dodger Blue in 1988, one year after your final season in baseball?

Garvey: That home run in ’84 had to be a prelude to the ’88 World Series. The irony of Gibson’s home run in ’88 was people thought it was Game Seven when it was actually Game One, he never made another World Series appearance again but it was so momentous a hit that it kick-started the momentum and along with Orel Hersheser’s fabulous pitching performances and a great team of executioners and it turned out a World Championship. 

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Drei’s memories of The Garv…I started watching Dodger Baseball in 1980 at six years of age. My first ever Dodger game at Dodger Stadium would be on my eighth birthday in 1982, one year after baseball’s longest running infield broke up. I would get to see 3/4th’s of the longest running infield twice. Then Garvey and Cey would leave Dodger Blue after the ’82 season. 

I may not have seen much of Garvey in Dodger Blue. I do remember he was one of the more popular Dodgers. Every kid in school wanted to be like Garvey. He was, in the eyes of manyMr. Clean (That’s a topic for another discussion…). 

Most of my childhood life as a baseball fan was at the end of his prime. This eight year old kid can remember the night he made his first appearance in that Padre Brown on April 15, 1983. He was given a thunderous standing ovation that seemed to last an eternity. 

To this day, the Dodgers have yet to retire number 6. They have this unwritten policy of only retiring players enshrined in Cooperstown, Jim Gilliam being the exception. It’s a debatable discussion, much like Garvey’s number 6 being retired in San Diego

You could debate that the standards for retiring a number are much higher within the walls of Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers already had a rich history prior to Garvey’s arrival in 1969. The Padres we’re still looking for a baseball identity. One swing of Garvey’s bat in 1984 gave them that. 

When talking of Garvey, baseball fans talk of him in the Dodger Blue, a fact that the most ardent Friar fan will admit. It’s been said down south, ” It took a Dodger to put your team on the map” Ouch. 

I have no problem with Garvey’s number 6 being retired down south. It’s already been done. Without Garvey’s blast in ’84, the Padres may still be looking for a baseball identity. 

How much longer until the Dodger brass retires number 6. Only time will tell. 

This is the first of hopefully more detailed interviews I’ll conduct with former Dodgers as they celebrate 60 years here in L.A. 

I also had a chance to briefly catch up with other former Dodgers during Alumni Weekend. Check it out and other sports news and stadium reviews on Stadium Journey at StadiumJourney.com

20160522_131045.jpg (Just retire Number 6 already !!!)

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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