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Dodger Idol
2003-02-27 16:09
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I was slightly off on the box score - there weren't 30 on a side. The Dodgers beat the Tigers, 26-25. The pinch-hitting appearance by J. Price, whose first name, after all this time, I couldn't tell you (isn't that glorious?), put L.A. over the top.

Honestly, I was going to pretend to take Opening Day at Vero Beach seriously, but I just canÕt. YouÕd have as much chance picking the best Dodgers from an episode of American Idol as from a Spring Training opener.

(By the way - just wondering: What would those American Idol judges have said if a 25-year-old Bruce Springsteen came on stage and slammed out Born to Run? Seriously Š I want to hear your responses.)

Anyway, instead of extrapolating any real significance from the opener, in which the Dodgers beat the Tigers, 6-5 (if you go by runs scored), IÕm just going to stay on the emotional plane I took off on this morning, and write about who walked off the field feeling jazzed. Because whatÕs Spring Training about more than walking around with a smile on your face?

HereÕs who Simon, Paula and Randy would have sent to Hollywood:

Larry Barnes: After homering in the first two intrasquad games, Barnes had a single, stolen base and a two-run, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-winning double. He also injured his foot, but maybe this'll soften the pain.

Mike Kinkade: For the guy who is out to prove that his small sample of great hitting in 2002 wasnÕt a misleading one, two homers in an even smaller sample Š two at-bats Š ainÕt all bad.

Jason Romano: A hit in his first Dodger at-bat. (Fred McGriff did the same thing, but donÕt you suspect heÕs been around too long and too many places to even think about it? I bet JasonÕs grinning.)

James Loney: The box score has him 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter Š apparently everyone has some kinks to work out this early in the season, even the agate clerks. Anyway the 18-year-old Loney is cracking a smile about being robbed of a grand slam by an over-the-fence catch. "I was thinking, 'don't rob it, don't rob it,' but I could see he was getting ready to catch it," Loney told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "This is really fun for me. I can say I got robbed in a big-league Spring Training game."

IÕm tempted to write about the converse Š such as Calvin Maduro giving up a ninth-inning homer to a Tigers minor leaguer named Craig Monroe Š but it seems unnecessary. If you want to give Calvin a reprieve, call our 800 numberÉ

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