Hello all, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS….Only 3 months away from Spring Training !!! Well, this past 2006 season was quite a roller coaster ride for our Boys in Blue, as we reached post-season play for the 2nd time in 3 years. This past season also saw the emergence of Andre Ethier and Russell Martin, as well as a great comeback year from LA’s own Nomar, a solid SS in Furcal, some timely hitting down the stretch by old vet Kent, a surprise from Tak Saito, and of course, the “extended all-star break” to the winning streak that saw our boys win 19 of 22 and going 41-19 down the stretch to fininsh in a 1st place tie in the NL West to the division champion Padres. The 2006 season had it’s share of exciting moments, and of course many a Dodger fan would pick the 4 consecutive HR’s as their top moment of 2006. Here are my top 3 for 2006, and let’s hear your top 3 as well. So, here goes…
3. 8/10/06 vs Colorado
The previous evening, the Dodgers would have their 11 game winning streak snapped, and on this night, with the Blue up 4-3 in the top of 9th, Tak Saito would blow his first game of the season and allow the Rockies to tie the game at 3. Not bad considering that Tak was not even on the Opening Day roster and he was filling in some pretty big shoes. The bottom of the 9th, with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out, Kenny Lofton would line a single to LF to score Julio Lugo with the winning run as the Dodgers prevailed 4-3. As we left the stadium, you could feel a buz amongst the faithful and I would tell my dad and brother that that was the best game we attended this season. 3 nights later…..
2. 8/13/2006 vs San Francisco
It was a classic pitchers duel on Sunday Night Baseball between Greg Maddux and Jason Schmidt. ( Ironic how are feelings have changed about these 2 ptichers….) A packed house, a national audience watching, two rivals battling for the divisoin in mid-August….Just another Dodgers-Giants game. The game would remain scoreless throughout the full 9 frames, until the bottom of the 10th, when Russell Martin would hit the 1-0 offering over the LF wall by the Dodgers bullpen, setting the Ravine off in another frenzy as the Blue would win this pitchers duel 1-0 and sweep the hated ones. It would be the Blue’s 15th win in 16 games and this just after the so-called extended all-star break which saw us lose 13 of 14. The lull seemed like an oh-so distant memory.
1. 10/01/2006 at San Francisco
The previous day , the Blue had clinched a playoff spot to the delight of the Blue faithful who made the tip and to the ire of the locals. It was the final game of the season, and with a little help, the Dodgers still had a chance to win the NL West. But having already clinched a playoff spot, manager Grady Little decided to rest up most of the starters for the post-season, so the chances of avoiding a season-ending sweep seemed good to those in the Halloween colors on this first day of October, especially with then nemesis Jason Schmidt going for the hated ones. The Blue would jump out to and early 1-0 lead thanks to James Loney’s solo HR off Schmidt, narrowly missing McCovey Cove. Earlier in the week, Loney, who had been filling in for an injured Nomar, had a 9 RBI game at Colorado, smashing a grand-slam and a 3 run shot to boot. As for this final game, the Giants would take a 3-1 lead only to see the Blue tie things up on a 2 out double by former Giant Ramon Martinez. The Blue would take the lead for good in the 7th and finish the season by not only clinching a post-season birth on the hated ones home field, but sweeping them there as well. It would be the second time this season the Blue would sweep the hated ones, much to the dismay of those in Verizon Field, oh, I mean, Sprint Stadium , or, is it Cingular Park. I can’t keep track of which phone company the park is named after anymore….Furthermore, to hear the joy amongst the Blue faithful, and the angst hurled toward us from those in Black. Priceless.
Well, those were my top 3. As for being up north, well, I will be up north again next week, this time to see my UCLA Bruins in the Emerald Bowl against Florida State. I’m really looking forward to this game, and hopefully there wont be any emotional post $C letdown for my other team in Blue. ( 13-9 !!!! U…C…LLLL A…U-C-L-A FIGHT ! FIGHT ! FIGHT ! ) Let’s see, something tells me to don my Dodger cap with my Bruins apparell. They’re both Blue…..Well, HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone, and please be safe. We still got a lot to talk about come ’07.