Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

Cruising Wrigleyville With Drei

Leading Off

Captain Clutch, back at it again as he starts the scoring off for The Blue. After a 1st inning home run from Kyle Schwarber to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead, Dre would answer back and The Blue would never look back in a decisive 6-1 win, putting them 1 game away from the World Series for the first time in 29 years ! Though Dre’s playing time has diminished the last couple of years due to injuries, every Dodger fan including Dre himself knows his time may be running out. Is this the year The Blue...Wins It All For Dre ?

 

Cruising Wrigleyville…

20171017_144546.jpg Taking in the action at Wrigley Field, June 2004

Wrigley Field is one of 16 current MLB parks I’ve had a chance to venture. It is the 2nd oldest yard only behind Fenway Park. The 3rd oldest? Of course…Our very beloved Chavez Ravine! Wrigley Field is one of those classic yards that’s got that neighborly old-school non-retro vibe. The neighborhood around Wrigley Field really does become festive on game days. Even a stroll through Wrigleyville on non-game days gives off that vibe where you can hear the great Ernie Banks yell…”LETS PLAY TWO” ! Here are some pics from my visit to Wrigley, June 2004…

20171017_224649.jpg The late great broadcaster, Harry Carey, and his famous pose encouraging the fans during the 7th inning stretch…

20171017_145135.jpg View from above 3rd base. Even in the highest reaches, your not far from the action. Now if we can just get that pole out of the way…

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20171017_144751.jpg Just a friendly rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals…

20171017_145450.jpg The famous Wrigley Field Bleachers and Ivy. Above the CF bleachers, Marlon Anderson’s in game stats for the Red Birds. 2 years after this pic, Marlon would make some kind of history for The Blue…(Kudos if you know…)

20171017_145212.jpg This mural at the El station across the street, depicting two HOFers from my childhood, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith. You can see the flash on Ozzie’s mouth as he slides in to 2nd. I hope this mural is still up at that El station. Oh, speaking of El, or the letter L…

wrigley_L

The Blue “L” flag. A very familiar site to many generations of Cubs fans. Over the years, it’s a tradition to fly a white “W” flag for a victory or a blue “L” flag for a loss after each home game to let the neighbors and commuters on the El how the Cubs fared. Recently the Cubs have rally cry has been “Fly the W”! The Dodgers and the rest of us our hoping we see that BLUE “L” flag one last time….

FLY THE L !!!

LETS GO DODGERS !!!

ethier

This could be our year Dre !!!

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A Tale of Two Yards…

Leading Off… Going Yard…King of The Hill…

Some longball from YAZ-MONEY and JT, and a masterful 6 innings from Rich Hill have moved our Blue 2 games closer toward The Fall Classic…

A Tale of 2 Storied Yards…

Wrigley Field…

Dodger Stadium…

The 2nd and 3rd oldest yards in the Bigs. Separated by 48 years. One is known as a classic. One, in spite being over 50 years old, defies the “classic” moniker. Both yards, A Study In Contrasts

Yet both yards are steeped in both history and charm. Both yards host teams that wear Blue…Both yards are a definite reflection on their cities. Putting aside for the slightest moment your Dodger Blue thoughts, if you are a true fan of baseball, Wrigley Field is a MUST…For all baseball fans to see…

WRIGLEY_Sod
Sod out on Sheffield Ave…

Both yards have waited a long time to host a Fall Classic. For the Friendly Confines, it’s been 71 years…For The Ravine, it’s been 28 years…That’s 99 years combined without a Fall Classic. Someone’s wait will be over. Why not us ?

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The Blue “L” flag. A familiar site to generations of Cubs fans…A sight seen twice already in the NLCS. Let’s hope it’s flown 2 more times

9th Inning…Spotlight’s On You Kid…

Rockies Dodgers Baseball
Does Urias get us one step closer to The Fall Classic ?…LETS GO DODGERS !!!

Win For Dre

Leading Off… The A-Gon and Clayt Show

A-Gon’s 2nd inning solo shot is all Kid K would need as he would toss 7 scoreless against the Cubbies, sending the series back here in L.A. all tied up at one.

Rich Hill will match up against Cubs sensation Jake Arrieta. The last time Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium, no one in the home white could buy a hit… So, how do these two teams match up heading to Game 3?

Dodgers_ Ethier 2006 Young Dre, June 2006. In the back, the veterans Kenny Lofton and Nomah !!!!

It’s been 10 years since Drei here has brought you his baseball tales. In 2006 some young kid named Dre came over in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. It was in 2006 that Dre would get his first taste of post-season play. It was just a blur for Dre and the Blue as they would be swept in the NLDS by the Mets…

ethier Hey Dre! Citiwalk, February 2008

2008-09. This here where Dre is starting to assert himself as a regular in right field. The Blue would win consecutive NL West titles. Dre would play a huge role along fellow star outfielder Matt Kemp. It seemed Dre and Bison would be inseparable, both coming up at the same time. It was also in 2008 when some Kid K would hit the scene…If Kid K wasn’t settling matters before the home 9th, it was Dre who would have many a clutch moment that would send opponents Walking Off…

But in spite of Dre’s heroics, The Blue would fall short both times in the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Baseball can be cruel. If not for a pitch or two from Jonathan Broxton, Dre may be the bearer of at least one championship ring….

ethier Double D…Dre and Drei…L.A River Cleanup, February 2011 

The glory of ’08 and ’09 seem all too distant now. The hated one’s have just won their first of 3 world titles. Enough time has lapsed since The Blue last won a World Series that one born in ’88 is now a college graduate…To this day, my sister, born in 1989, reminds me of the fact she arrived to planet earth one year after…

Meanwhile, Dre is now under his 3rd manager. Don Mattingly, not exactly greeted all to warmly by the Blue clad fans, has taken over the reigns. Dre and Donny would have their moments. 

The Don Mattingly era would not start off to memorably for Dre and The Blue. Opening Day 2011 would be marred by a senseless beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow. Frank McCourt’s ownership threatened to drive The Blue to bankruptcy. The Blue clad fans stayed away…

Sparse Crowd August 2011. Plenty of great seats available…

Though Dre and the fans would survive the McCourt days, on the field it would be during the Don Mattingly era where Dre’s playing status was about as certain as his relationship with good old Donny…On and off. 

It would be in 2013 when a young Cuban Kid with a missile of an arm with plenty of baggage would make his mark in right field. A spot Dre once held down…

From 2013 on it seemed there was an uncertainty who would be the regular outfielders. During that stretch, Dre, not exactly at the prime of his career, would have his name tossed around from here to Chi-Town, where the Pale Hose even expressed interest. 2014 would be the least productive of Dre’s career with a career low 4 home runs and a .249 batting average.

Dre would return though in 2015. Not exactly at the height of his career at this point, Dre still proved he could come up big in the clutch…

In spite of a return to the post-season for the 6th time, The Blue once again would come up short. 

2016…A new era begins again. Andre Ethier is now playing for his 4th manager in 11 seasons. As Dre once again tries to make a case for regular playing time, a foul ball causes a break in his leg, keeping Dre out until late August…

Dre on a rehab assignment in Rancho, August 25, 2016 

Dre would make his way back late in the season. Even the truest of Dodger fans, including this one, had to be surprised that Dave Roberts kept Andre Ethier on the post-season roster. But let’s not think for one moment this was a move based on sentiment by the rookie skipper, one who should be the top candidate for manager of the year…

Anyone playing baseball this late in the season is capable of being a hero. Does Dre have one more clutch moment in him?  It was Dre who had a key hit in the 8th inning of Game 4 to keep the inning alive for Chase Utley to do his thing. Dre would also smack a pinch hit solo shot in Game 1 of this NLDS to start the scoring for The Blue as they would later tie the Cubbies. 

In the 10 years here that Drei here has brought you his baseball tales,  Dre has gone through it all in the Dodger Blue. 7 playoff appearances, the most of any L.A. Dodger, 6 division championships, the uncertainty of when and where he will play. He’s gone from looking up to…To being looked up to. We’ve all gone through the highs and lows with him.

 Dre making a fan happy at Rancho…

At this point, Dre knows his role is limited. He’s content with it. Dre also know’s the clock is ticking on his chance to win the big one. Deep down, we all know this as well. If the crowd reactions Dre receives are any indication, deep down inside, we all feel for Dre.  

Dre is now The Dean of The Blue. Deep down, we all know that this could be Dre’s last opportunity in a Dodger Blue uniform to win that big prize that has eluded him. That grand prize that has eluded The Blue for 28 years now.

While this year’s theme may be Win For Vin, and deservedly so…Deep down we also want to say…WIN FOR DRE !

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Magic Number Countdown…7

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In his 6 plus season’s with The Blue from 2006-12, James Loney  would provide some memorable pennant drive moments, including this one against the Cubs in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS…

With Big Game James currently on the Mets and the Mets atop the Wild Card standings, it is possible we just may cross paths with Big Game James….

A Battery of 7’s…Yesterday and Today…

Yesterday…

Dodgers_Steve Yeager

Today…

 (Julio Urias. Kelvin Kuo, AP)

A battery of Julio Urias and Steve Yeager. Now that would be something…

Bottom of the 9th…

In case you didn’t have enough of last night…

DODGERS_Cap Logo

 

Drei’s 2016 N.L. Forecast

Leading Off…

Here’s what Drei had to say heading into last season…

“Since Don Mattingly took over the managerial reins in 2011, the Dodgers have improved their win total by an average of 4 games. Should that trend continue into this season, the Blue Crew should finish with 98 wins, and yet, he seems to be on the hot seat every season…It’s been 27 years now. There are enough Dodger fans out there young enough asking what was it like to have experienced a World Series victory.”

Don Mattingly guided The Blue to their 3rd consecutive division title with 92 wins, yet the hot seat never cooled, sending to a much cooler summer climate, Miami. It’s been 28 years now, and Dodgers fans of all generations are growing somewhat impatient for that October experience…

N.L. East

Two of baseball’s best pitching staffs just may reside here in the NL East. The Mets return the bulk of their starting rotation that led them to their first World Series appearance since 2000 and with Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndegaard and Steve Matz ready to take on a full season, this team could be primed for another WS run. The Nationals, last year’s favorites among many of the experts to win the WS, still posses a pretty potent all-around lineup to compliment their strong rotation, anchored by Stephen Strasburg. Injuries and the lack of team unity played key roles in the Nats late season meltdown, costing Matt Williams his job.   The lineup will once again count on Bryce Harper to put up some big numbers along Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and their newest addition Daniel Murphy. It is hoped that proven skipper Dusty Baker will be able to keep this team completely focused. Dealing with players with adverse personalities is nothing new for Dusty. Let’s not forget he managed both Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent for several seasons. The Braves and Phillies, once the class of this division, could are in serious rebuild mode and could both potentially lose over 100 games…

N.L. Central

The Cubs made some key off-season moves, including the additions of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist to an already dangerous lineup. Much of the attention will be focused on their pitching, considered to be one of the deepest with the top 3 in the rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey. Many are picking the Cubs to not only go deep into October but to also win that big Fall Prize that has eluded them the last 108 years. This could just be their year…

The Pirates, post-season participants for 3 consecutive seasons, will be highly competitive again this season even the the loss of A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ from their rotation. The rotation still has a top 1-2 tandem between Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. The lineup is still anchored by Andrew McCutchen, and his supporting cast with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco is pretty dynamic themselves. It may be a stretch to pick the Bucs to finish atop the Central, but a 4th consecutive post-season appearance is not out of the question. Now if they could just find a way to avoid that dreaded wild card game. The Pirates, riding their most successive run since 1990-92, may have 3 consecutive post-season appearances under their belt but two consecutive one and done’s may unfairly have Clint Hurdle in the hot seat should the Bucs fail to make a deep October run…

The Cardinals, owners of last years best record in baseball, lost starter John Lackey to the rival Cubs and will be without Lance Lynn for the season. If Adam Wainwright can remain healthy throughout the season, along with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, both who are still young, and the addition of Mike Leake, there’s no reason the Cardinals should not be able to compete in what could be baseball’s best division for the second consecutive season. If Matt Adams and Matt Holliday can rebound from injury plagued seasons, this lineup, along with Matt Carpenter at the top, could quietly be one of the leagues best.

N.L. West

I’m not going to lie. Though I do truly believe the Dodgers will win the West for the 4th consecutive season, I am mostly going with my heart. But hey, most so-called experts rarely ever get their predictions on the mark, right ?

Much has been made of the off-season moves within the division and it is expected to be a 3 team race between the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks. The two big additions to the rivals was the addition of Johnny Cueto to the Giants, and of course the addition of Zack Greinke away from the Blue over to the DBacks, who we’re among the league leaders in offense last season. 

Spring Training has not entirely been so kind to the Dodgers, who already are beset by some health issues in the back end of the rotation. The good news, in spite of our early season worries, not every Dodger got hurt during Spring TrainingThe top 3, led by Kid K with Scott Kazmir and off-season addition Kenta Maeda, will give the Blue a formidable front end of the rotation. My concerns however are how will Maeda, coming off a solid spring,  hold up in his first big league season… Can Kazmir stay healthy and retain his 2015 form ? Can Alex Wood bounce back from his 2nd half swoon and prove to be a legitimate 4th starter ? Hyun-Jin Ryu, who missed all of last season, is expected to give the rotation a boost if he should return by mid-May at the earliest.

The outfield, even with the loss of Andre Ethier until at least June, is still pretty deep, however these questions loom…Will Puig finally display a full season of his potential ? Can Joc Pederson cut down on his strikeouts and improve upon his on base percentage ? Can Carl Crawford stay healthy enough until Andre returns ? It’s expected that Crawford and Scott Van Slyke will be platooning in left field. The infield will be a good combo of experience and youth. This lineup has the potential to put up some big numbers and could have 3 30 plus home run boppers in Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig. If Puig can give us a 20/20 season, and Joc can hit somewhere in the .270’s our offense should be allright. 

So everyone expects a 3 team race here in the NL West. The Rockies and Padres are not expected to do much and there have been talks that the Friars are looking to unload some of their key acquisitions from last year, including Matt Kemp. If the Padres are out of contention by July, I see Kemp, who in typical fashion had a strong finish last season, heading to one of two possible sleepers, Seattle or Miami ( Yeah, Kemp reunited with Mattingly, playing with Dee Gordon, and Barry Bonds as his hitting coach. Hmmm )

NL Wild Card

Cubs over the Cards. Again, after this one-game elimination game is over, talks and debates will resume over an expanded WC series… 

NLDS

Cubs over the Pirates. The Pirates will finally be playing in an actual playoff series, only to be disappointed once again by everyone’s pre-season favorites. Does an appearance past the WC keep Hurdle off the hot seat ?

Dodgers over the Mets. In another closely contested series, this time, it’s OUR Boys in Blue who prevails 

NLCS

In a battle of two teams who have 97 years combined without a World Series appearance, someone finally ends their drought. Why not us ? Dodgers over the Cubs

As I’ve admitted, my pick of our Blue going all the way is for all intents and purposes, from the heart. The Blue is expected to contend once again this season. They may be banged up right now, but hey, no team goes through a full 162 game season without some dings and scratches, right ? 

World Series… A Battle of Blue

It’s been 27 years. In that time, we’ve endured 2 Bush’s, and we may be on our way toward a 2nd Clinton…. Oh yeah, it would be great if we can give Good Ol’ Vin a Grand Sendoff, right ?

9th Inning…A Tale From The Park…With KID N DREI…

20140831_164815.jpg Because Kid Marley Marlz has all that ” Kid Like ” energy during the off-season, Drei needs to take him to the park…

20140831_164829.jpg ” HEY KID ! When are we gonna come up with that Dodger song ? ” Kid Marley Marlz may call me Dre Beats, but it’s The Kid who spits out The Beats and the Everyday Blessings, while Drei, well, Drei just tells The Tales.  Hey Kid ! When our we gonna do that Dodger song ?… ‘Til The Next Episode…Close us out KID !!!

Everyday Blessings… Kid Marley Marlz

 

 

World Series Fun Facts… A Tale From Kid Marley Marlz

The last time the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets won the World Series, for the Royals, it was 1985. The Mets would win it all in 1986. 

Both teams would stave off elimination to win their series in 7 games.

Both teams would win Game 6 in memorable walk-off fashion…

1985, Game 6… St. Louis vs Kansas City, 9th Inning…

1985, Game 6… Boston vs. NY Mets, 10th Inning…

This year’s World Series match-up between the Mets and Royals will guarantee that one of these teams will end a World Series Championship drought. This series will be a feature between the Royals contact hitters vs. the Mets power pitchers. The Mets have caught fire coming off a 4 game sweep of the Cubs. This should be an exciting fall classic. 

Drei says… Mets in 6

Extra Innings… A Tale From Kid Marley Marlz…

wpid-picsart_10-20-11.09.03.jpg Hey Kid. You and your Cubbie bear buddy look like you have a lot on your minds. Yeah, being knocked out by the Mets was a bummer for both of us wasn’t it ? There’s always next year, right Kid ?

Magic Number Fun Facts…11

MANNYMOTA A quiet face of the franchise over the years, Manny Mota has been an integral part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as a player from 1969-1982, as a player/coach in 1980-82, and as a full time coach until 2013 though he would remain with the organization.  In 1979, Manny Mota would become the all-time leader in pinch hits, a record he would hold with 150 until recently broken by Mark Sweeney and Lenny Harris.  Mota was also an NL all-star selection in 1973 .

I Need to Concentrate ….

Perhaps you all remember this scene from Airplane, where Manny Mota is referenced…

Better Late Then Never ?

Earlier today, Time Warner Cable announced a deal that will have local independent TV station KDOC to simulcast the remaining 6 games throughout the southland , enabling all fans to catch our Boys in Blue on the tube, regardless of their cable situation.  Is this enough to make the fans forgive and forget ?  I highly doubt it.  Hey, how about extending the good-will into next season and working out a deal with the local indie to televise at least 50 games so fans not so fortunate, you know, the 70%, can watch their favorite Boys in Blue in action ?  

Watered Down Game Plan ?

During Saturday’s 17-0 beatdown of the hated ones, in the home half of the 1st, as Buster Posey singled to right and a bubble blowing Matt Kemp would gun down Angel Pagan by a good 25 feet, our favorite narrator Vin Scully made this astute observation of the Giants grounds crew over the years, going all the way back to 1962 at Candlestick Park in an attempt to slow down Maury Wills , perhaps trying the same tactic to slow down Dee Gordon.  As you will see on the replay , they may have slowed their own game plan down…. 

No Time to Let Down

After dropping the first of 3 to the hated ones, the Dodgers more than came back strong, putting a good old fashion whooping on the hated ones on a record setting Saturday evening , 17-0, all but taking away any momentum the Giants may have felt they had , then coming back on Sunday behind a 9 strikeout performance by Clayton Kershaw en route to his 19th win.  Matt Kemp, who also had a huge weekend, would supply the big blow with a run run shot to give Kershaw an insurmountable 4-1 lead, leaving AT&T Park with a 3 game lead in the NL West with 13 to play.  

I felt prior to the series that even with the rotation aligned to Mattingly’s favor, it would be hard to replicate the 3 game sweep the Dodgers pulled against the hated ones back in July because the Giants we’re a different team this time around, having won 7 in a row at their home yard and their bats coming around.  I felt if the Dodgers could take 2 of 3 up north, they would put themselves in prime position to take the NL West.  With 13 games left, 10 against the Cubs and Rockies, on paper, the Dodgers should have this division wrapped up.  But as we all know, the baseball gods do have a way of playing evil tricks this time of year, for the Dodgers will be playing teams with nothing to lose at this point.  Having said that,  this is no time for the Dodgers to take their foot off the pedal , and they are very well aware of that going into this important 3 game series at Colorado.  They finished their first task up north, they’re now in the drivers seat to take the NL West for the 2nd year in a row.  All that’s left now is the finish line to October.  

More Pre-October Awards For Kid K

KERSHAW_POW Need we say more ?