Wednesday, October 02, 2013

At-Game Recap: Sept. 27 vs. Rockies, Blogger Night 2013

It almost goes without saying at this point that the Dodgers are very good to bloggers. We get invited to cool events. We get press box access. (Some of us get it full time.) And, of course, we get a whole night all about us once a year.

This year, the Dodgers scheduled the 6th annual Blogger Night on the first night of the final homestand. (We thought they might not have it this year, and hey, they're not obligated to, so we've very appreciative when they do manage it.) It turns out this was a great time to have it, as the whole night felt like a victory party of sorts to conclude this crazy regular season.

One of the most fun parts of Blogger Night is sharing a suite with folks from other blogs and finally getting a chance to put some faces to the screen names (or Twitter handles). Blogs in attendance this year were Vin Scully Is My Homeboy, Lasorda's Lair, True Blue L.A. (represented by Craig and Brandon...Eric was busy, of course), Dodgers Nation, DodgerDiamond, Think Blue L.A., New Grass on The Field, West Coast Bias Sports, and Paint The Corners. (Paint the Corners is run by talented artist and Twitter snark master EephusBlue.) I joked at one point that I was surprised that Tony Jackson wasn't banished to the suite with us lowly uncredentialed bloggers after his peegate post.

The Dodgers are also great about providing guest speakers for this event. This year (as with last year), Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti spent some time with us. Keep in mind, this is an organization prepping for a playoff run. They could have easily skimped on the guests, claiming everyone is busy. Instead, we got the president and GM. Not too shabby.

Stan spoke first, mentioning how he's never quite sure how teams should handle bloggers (We're not quite press, but we're more than fans, essentially.), but that everything he was going to say would be on the record. He spoke briefly about renovation plans for the offseason (implying that he'd love to be forced to wait until November to start). There won't be any major demolition this offseason, but look for more bars, restaurants, and walk-up eating areas. He did say, if time allows, that the visitors clubhouse could get an upgrade this season. (Not sure how that fits with "no major demolition.")

I asked him about the wi-fi and cellular improvements. He said he was embarrassed that they were unable to deliver them when promised. The good news is, he received word shortly before seeing us that that there will be at least "some" wi-fi access in place for the Postseason. (A wi-fi newtork labeled "Public Access" was up and running during the game, and most of us were using it. Not sure if this is what will be available starting Sunday.) No definitive date or details on the cellular improvements were given, but Stan did mention that Sprint had opted out of the plan.

Other topics Stan touched on were the new Dodgers network (On schedule. We should hear more in January.), facing the Braves in the playoffs ("I have mixed emotions."), the Vin Scully Way plan ("I'm for honoring Vin Scully even if it means opposing Vin himself."), and the Jonathan Denver tragedy. Stan said no firm tribute had been planned for Denver, but there was a moment of silence before the game.

Up next was Ned Colletti, and the first thing I noticed was how much more jovial he was compared to last year's Blogger Night. I suppose winning the division does wonders for his mood. We shared a laugh about the idea of having a sitcom focused on Uribe/Hanley/Puig/Ryu on the new network. On the topic of Uribe, Ned strongly hinted that he'd be back in 2014. ("The guy you're seeing now is the guy we signed in 2010. I don't have an explanation for it.") Though, he was firm with us that there would be no talk of 2014 signings (Nolasco, Wilson, etc.) until 2013's run was over.

Some other highlights of Ned's talk: When he acquires a big-name player, he always thinks about who that player will be blocking. He wants prospects to get their first taste of failure in Single-A or Double-A, not in the majors. There are no Kershaw contract talks going on right now. Mattingly's job is not in danger if he doesn't win in the Postseason. (Interesting.) And, perhaps most obviously, this is the best team he's had in his term as GM.

After Ned wrapped up, we got a brief visit from Jon Chapper from Dodgers PR and Josh Tucker from Dodgers Social Media. Strange as it may sound, meeting Josh was the highlight of my night. He runs the Dodgers Twitter account, and as you might know, I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter. It was nice to get some behind-the-scenes info about how social media impacts the team. ("Juan Uribe was born for social media.") We talked about the Vin Scully Tweetcast ("Highlight of my career"), the "Stay Classy, San Diego" tweet (He thought it was harmless at the time.) and the George Lopez Twitter takeover (more popular among the general fan population than the Twitter-savvy crowd). Josh even had praise for those of us that use Twitter to both bring the funny and maintain a sense of community during games.

And then there was the game itself. To be honest, it's now just a blur of free Dodger Dogs and offensive explosions. I mentioned on Twitter that night that the game felt like a victory lap. Everything about the night reminded me of how crazy and fun this season has been, and it definitely got us all hyped for the upcoming October run. Some of us stayed in the suite until we were kicked out, unable to stop talking about matchups, rosters, rotations, and generally just nerding out completely.

A tremendous thank you to Garrett Thomas, Jon Chapper, Josh Tucker, Yvonne Carrasco, Stan Kasten, Ned Colletti (and a few more front office folks who came by but whose names I missed), and my fellow bloggers in attendance for making Blogger Night a truly special evening.


Dusty Baker said...

I will definitely be "look[ing] for more bars" next season!

Dusty Baker said...

I like what you did with Dodger Dogs --> offensive explosions.

Fred's Brim said...

Great stuff, Gnomes! Glad you got to go

Steve Sax said...

This is an awesome wrap-up, Gnomes my brother. Thanks for doing the blog proud!