Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All Star Memories, 1980 - and other stuff

I’m sure there were definitely mixed feelings for many of us watching the Giants rake during today’s All Star game.  I’ll hand it to them though, they played well and turned the game into a route after about 3 minutes of play.  The All Star game certainly has been a streaky affair when it comes to league dominance.  The National League now has a 3 game winning streak after the AL had won about 12 straight (with a tie thrown in the middle).

In 1980 I actually attended the only All Star game in Dodger Stadium history.  I remember that tickets were made available via lottery.  You had to mail in a post card and if yours was one of those selected, you would be mailed notification that you had the right to buy a pair of tickets.  This was back in the day when all the fan-fare surrounding the event was almost non-existent.  I’ll hand it to MLB.  They have made the mid-summer classic quite a few days of extraordinary baseball celebration.  Could you imagine what All Star week would be like today if the Dodgers hosted the game?

Opening Ceremonies, July 8, 1980, the only AllStar Game ever played at Dodger Stadium
I recall that for the ’80 game, the Dodgers unveiled the first version of “Diamond Vision” in the Left Field Pavilion which was quite an amazing thing for the era.  The first instant replay they showed on the “big screen” that really wasn’t so big by today's standards was of Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles making a diving stab down the third baseline of a hot smash hit by Davey Lopes in the first inning.  The replay got a Standing “O,”  and it was a Dodger player that was robbed on the play.  It was just neat to actually have a real jumbo screen at the Stadium.

The Dodgers were represented by 6 players on that roster with Lopes, Bill Russell, Reggie Smith, Steve Garvey, Bob Welch and Jerry Reuss.  Lasorda was named a coach to Manager Chuck Tanner's staff as well and Roy Campanella was the honorary NL team captain.
I sat in the Right Field Pavilion for that game.  Fred Lynn hit a home run off of Dodger pitcher Bob Welch to spot the AL to a 2-0 lead.  The N.L. rallied to win the game behind a few hits (including a homer right in front of us) by Ken Griffey Sr.  Another Dodger starter, Jerry Reuss, picked up the win as he struck out the side in his lone inning of work.  I actually held on to the ticket stub and saw it amongst my stored stuff up in the attic a few months ago. 
If I ever see a replay of that game on MLB network, I need to record it because I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to find myself attempting to catch Griffey’s home run.  It’ll be like finding a home movie 32 year later.
Newest addition to the Dodgers Organization, Shortstop Ozzie Martinez (photo by:Jake Roth/US Presswire)
Today the Dodgers acquired a minor league shortstop from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations.  Osvaldo (Ozzie) Martinez, a 24 year old infielder playing for AAA Charlotte, will report to Albuquerque to cover the shortstop position vacated when Luis Cruz was promoted to the Dodgers.  This acquisition was caused by the domino effect from the Dee Gordon injury.  The Dodgers need to beef up the shortstop depth in the minors.  Who knows what they would do if Cruz were to go down with an injury.
As many speak about the meaningless home run derby contest and Matt Kemp’s struggles in the event let’s recognize it for what it is.  A batting practice exhibition.  I’m just glad that he participated in it and came out unscathed.  The Dodgers need Matt Kemp now more than ever.  This second half schedule will have some brutally difficult stretches in it.  One thing that is certain though:
(photo by Jeff Chiu/AP)
Matt Kemp is a solid guy.    
In Bill Shaikin’s L.A. Times column today.   LINKED HERE   Matt is recognized as a loyal and true friend to Ryan Braun.  He never said a negative word about Braun even when it was evident to the whole world that he was cheated out of the MVP in 2011.  The testing procedures challenge that Braun made was a joke and we all know it.  There is no doubt that the sample he left was his.  
Kemp remained in Braun’s corner throughout the ordeal, and as a result, the MVP award that was rightfully his, went to Braun.  That took some loyalty and character on his part.  I couldn’t have done it.  I would have spoken out about the injustice.  Matt just let it go.  It couldn't have been easy because Kemp certainly thought he deserved it.  He's a stand up guy.

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