Saturday, March 24, 2012
Blogging at 31,000 feet
Did I ever mention I love flying Virgin America? I’m flying over Texas at the moment on my way to Florida for a vacation with my wife and grandkids. The last time I was on my way to Florida in March, the ultimate destination was Vero Beach, but we all know how that isn’t an option anymore. There’s no doubt I’ll catch a grapefruit league game or two while in the Orlando area, but Florida Spring Training will never have the appeal to me that it once had. Back to the Dodgers.
I have been intrigued by the possibilities of Chad Billingsley having a career year. I truly believe that the Dodgers future in 2012 hinges on his right arm. The loss of Hiroki Kuroda has magnified the importance of Chad stepping up and being a legitimate number 2 starter. I don’t think it was beyond the rhelm of thinking by Dodger fans two years ago to expect Billingsley and Kershaw to be the 1-2 punch that Cain and Lincecum are to the Giants. The biggest problem that Chad seems to have had the last two years since his 2009 All Star appearance was mental, not physical. Something that Chad admitted to Dylan Hernandez two days ago saying, “Sometimes I can get in my own head.”
So working on his mechanics has been the key for Billingsley this Spring. Since day one in Spring Training, Rick Honeycutt has broken down his delivery piece by piece. One mechanical flaw identified was a foot angle and landing that was determined to be throwing his delivery out of whack. A.J. Ellis is saying that his pithces have a better bite to them. A greater explosiveness as they cross the plate.
With Chad and Kershaw having all-star type stuff, The Dodgers will win this division and surprise a lot of people. The results this March so far at Camelback Ranch for Chad haven't been earth shattering, but promising. Billingsley has been working on his mechanics in detail. In the process, he has been getting men out. It will be a welcome sight to see Chad bite off the opposition with that twisting breaking stuff that he used to throw a few years ago during this regular season. I truly believe that 2012 will be his year.
While on the plane, I have had the ESPN documentary, “The Announcement,” on Magic Johnson playing in the background. Though it looks like Steve Cohen has the upper hand in landing the Dodgers, especially with his partnership with Patrick Soon-Chiong, I can’t help but hope that Magic Johnson somehow wins out in the bidding process. Twenty plus years after what many of us thought was his death sentence announcement of his contracting the HIV virus, Johnson is a finalist and possibly the first African American Owner in a Major League sport. That is quite a story. I have to believe that Magic would tackle ownership with the Dodgers with the same vigor and approach that he took when leading the Lakers to five NBA Championships.
Either way: Cohen or Magic - we are in good shape. Not sure about Kroenke though.