Saturday, February 21, 2009
Live from Glendale
Missed the last couple of days due to workload and late afternoon golf games (sorry, but someone has to test out the new courses here to see which ones to recommend … Ozzie calls me the “Director of Golf,” which I should add to the back of my business card). (Note: I understand there is no sympathy for me for golfing on February 20th and in fact some of you might become hostile because I missed posting in order to golf. My wife and kids aren’t really speaking to me right now as the snow falls and blows in Chicago, so I’ll just have to wear it. I understand. It comes with the job.)
The last two days have been absolutely beautiful with temperatures around 80 degrees. Yesterday was the annual photo day and a tour of the Dodgers side of the complex, at least for me.
Today was a short camp day.
Biggest news seemed to be that Alexei hit a line drive that caught DJ Carrasco on the right arm. He seemed to be fine, Ozzie said afterward, and would likely just be sore for the next day or so. Didn’t seem to be a big deal.
Irony was that earlier in the BP round, DJ had hit Alexei with a pitch.
“Take it,” Ozzie yelled. “We’ve got plenty of ice.”
Today was a case of hitters trying to catch up with the pitchers. At one point, Carlos Quentin managed a line drive to the outfield, prompting Ozzie to stand and applaud, drawing a smile from Q.
Ozzie seemed to chuckle about how much attention his reaction to Lou Piniella’s off-season book club seemed to generate. Ozzie reads a lot, mainly Venezuelan politics and Columbian crime stories, he said. You’ll often find him on the couch in his office reading early in the afternoon during the season.
Ozzie spent much of the post workout media briefing talking about Joe Crede’s signing with Minnesota.
“If that kid’s healthy, he can help any team in baseball,” Guillen said, congratulating Joe and his family. “Too bad he’s in my division.
“But it’s good to see one of my favorite guys back on the field. This entire organization, all of his teammates, we all have a lot of respect for him.”
Guillen spoke about Joe’s heroics in the postseason of 2005, his clutch hitting and how Ozzie ranks Joe ahead of teammate Robin Ventura.
“A lot of people get mad at me about that, but I playyed with Robin,” said Ozzie. “Joe Crede is one of the best third basemen I’ve ever seen.”
He was asked if this makes the Twins the favorites.
“He’s not pitching,” Guillen responded. “He will make their pitching staff better. If Crede’s on the field, they’re going to be better, but I don’t think they win the division because of one guy.”
As part of photo day’s activities, several PR staffers have questionnaires they fill out with the players, fun stuff like “which teammate is most likely to be President” or “who would you like as a teammate”, stuff like that. Some guys take it like a test, some take it off by themselves, others took a unique approach this year. Jim Thome took his and then quizzed Paul Konerko, studiously writing down each of Paul’s questions.
Three guys sat at a table comparing notes.
“There are no wrong answers,” I said.
“Oh, yes there are,” one replied. And as I thought about it, he was right.
Jerry Reinsdorf walked into the lunch room and Thome began asking him questions.
“Who would you want as a teammate?” Thome asked Jerry.
“Pee Wee Reese,” Jerry replied, showing his youthful passion for the Dodgers.
A day after taking the quiz, Thome sought out the PR rep who interviewed him. He had left one answer blank. It obviously had stuck with him and he had thought about it all night.
“Affordable healthcare for everyone,” he said. That’s what he would do if he was President.
And what scares Jim Thome most?
His daughter’s teenage years.