Posted March 27, 2013 on AP on Fox
As Hollywood makeovers go, the Dodgers' transformation has been a doozy. From more than $200 million spent on upgrading the roster to another $100 million invested in their aging stadium, the team has transformed itself into one of baseball's heavyweights with sky-high expectations to match. That's uncharted territory for a storied franchise that hasn't been to the World Series since winning the title in 1988 and was in bankruptcy a year ago under former owner Frank McCourt. ''We're a great team. There's no debate about that,'' ace Clayton Kershaw said. ''We've got all the parts now. We've got the ownership group. Now we've got to go out and win games. It's only then that we'll really know.'' Led by Mark Walter and retired Lakers star Magic Johnson, the Guggenheim group that spent a record $2 billion to buy the team begins its first full season of ownership on April 1, when the Dodgers host the World Series champion San Francisco Giants on opening day. ''We've seen what the Giants have done in the last few years, winning a couple of World Series,'' Kershaw said. ''That's the team we're trying to catch. We've got to win the West.'' The flurry of moves made by the new owners - adding free agent pitching star Zack Greinke and Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in the winter after trading for Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in midseason - pushed the Dodgers' payroll to more than $200 million, into luxury-tax range. ''This city is about expectations,'' Johnson said. ''I love it because it reminds me of the old Dodgers and when I was with the Lakers. Yeah, I want a successful season. I want to go all the way, but that's just me.'' Big bucks don't always guarantee success, though. ''We hear the big expectations,'' Gonzalez said. ''But you can't be big if you don't do it on the field. Simple as that.'' The lineup has already taken a huge hit, with Ramirez expected to be sidelined for eight weeks after having right thumb surgery last Friday. Luis Cruz is expected to replace him at shortstop on opening day. Matt Kemp (shoulder) and Carl Crawford (wrist and elbow) are coming off serious surgeries and the Dodgers are counting on their return to form, along with an improved season by Andre Ethier, to solidify the outfield. Ethier spent all spring working with new hitting coach Mark McGwire on how to improve his .222 average against left-handers last season. Against right-handers, Mattingly plans to bat Ethier fifth until Ramirez is ready to play, then Ethier will move to sixth. ''The mechanics are there. It's the mental side of things. That's been my focus,'' Ethier said. ''Mostly, it's about doing the scouting report, knowing what you can expect to face that day. They know what your strengths and weaknesses are. I've got to do that kind of homework.'' Kershaw and Greinke anchor a rotation that has the depth it lacked in recent years, with Chad Billlingsley, Ryu and Beckett rounding things out. ''I don't set goals. I just try to go out and win every start,'' said Kershaw, who is 35-14 over the past two seasons. ''It's probably not so much about adding something new (to my pitches). I just try to be more consistent.'' Brandon League will open the season as the closer, and he'll be backed up by hard-throwing Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra. A.J. Ellis returns as catcher after hitting .270 with 13 home runs and a .374 on-base percentage. The Dodgers spent more than $100 million renovating their 51-year-old stadium, third-oldest in the major leagues. The project included new scoreboards, a new sound system, an improved Wi-Fi and cell antenna system, wider concourses, new food stands and menus, expanded home and visitor clubhouses, a larger weight room and batting cages under the stands. ''There's a big target on us because of how we look, how our payroll looks,'' Ethier said. ''If we succeed, it's something we're supposed to do. If we don't, then we're failures for not fulfilling those expectations. There's more pressure now, but that's the way it should be.''

Matt Kemp to get attached with Abby Cadabby

Matt Kemp will make a guest appearance on Sesame Street tomorrow, March 28th on PBS. The Dodger superstar will be featured on a “Word of the Day” segment alongside Abby Cadabby who is an adorable pink three-year-old fairy-in-training. Abby’s magical powers are limited to popping in and out of thin air, floating when she’s happy, and attaching her wand to different items...

Dodgers' SPs Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly likely to start season on DL

Maybe it's a good thing the Dodgers didn't rush to trade Chris Capuano, as Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly are both expected to start the 2013 season on the disabled list. Billingsley, who is dealing with a potential elbow issue, also is dealing with an injured fingernail on his pitching hand. He was slated to start the second game of the season after Zack Greinke had...

Kemp appears on Sesame Street

Matt Kemp fulfilled a lifelong dream this week prior to the Dodgers' game against the Angels. And no, it had nothing to do with baseball. Kemp teamed up with Abby - Abby Cadabby the Muppet, that is - to film a segment for "Sesame Street" that is set to air this Thursday. "This is a show I grew up watching as a kid," Kemp told ESPN. "To be a part...

Dodgers send down OF Puig, SS Gordon

The Los Angeles Dodgers have sent outfielder Yasiel Puig and shortstop Dee Gordon to the minors. The Dodgers moved Puig to Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Cuban leads major leaguers with a .526 batting average this spring. Puig signed a seven-year contract for $42 million on June 29. The Dodgers already have Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in their outfield...

I Got A (Spring) Fever and The Only Prescription Is More A.J. Ellis Autos.

A.J. Ellis is massively overlooked in the cardboard game, just as he was overlooked in the post-Russell Martin era until 2012. Seriously, Rod Barajas? Get that out of this piece. I digress.It's become apparent that if you want an A.J. Ellis card with just A.J. Ellis on it, the autographed route is the only way to go. Which is fine by me. And daaaamn, what a gorgeous thing this...

Matt Kemp explains the word 'attach' with Abby Cadabby on Sesame Street (Video)

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will appeared on an episode of "Sesame Street", where he appears with Abby Cadabby to explain to young viewers the meaning of the word "attach". The episode airs Thusday, March 28th on PBS. Abby tries to demonstrate the word by using magic to attach Kemp's numbers to his Dodgers jersey. Unfortunately, Abby'...

Dodgers star Matt Kemp hits “Sesame Street”

MLB opening day is just a few days away. The Dodgers have high hopes as they slide into their second season with no ownership and their roster that includes quite a few money guys. Outfielder Matt Kemp carries a lot of that load on his shoulders. But that doesn’t mean that Kemp doesn’t have time for the kids. He recently stopped by Sesame Street to visit his friend Abby Cadabby...

All MLB Media is Local- Los Angeles Dodgers

Here are the media outlets following the LOS ANGELES DODGERS. Newspaper- Los Angeles has two newspapers, the L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News. The Times sports section  has a special section dedicated to the Dodgers.  Kevin Baxter (Twitter) takes the lead on the Dodgers beat while Bill Shaikin (Twitter) writes general baseball columns.  Steve Dilbeck (Twitter)

Matt Kemp teaches the word "attach" on Sesame Street (Video)

If you had to ask any young child about their favorite television show, most of them would probably say Sesame Street and over the years, many famous athletes have appeared on the PBS production. The latest happened to be Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp who helped kids learn the word "attach" with help from Abby Cadabby:

Video: Matt Kemp visits Sesame Street

Matt Kemp appears on an episode of Sesame Street to help teach the meaning of the word attach. Kemp and Abby Cadabby show viewers two things being attached together. Before long Abby attempts to attaching Kemp’s number 27 to his jersey and ends up attached herself. Kemp and the Dodgers are hoping to attach another World Series title to the Dodgers trophy case this season.

Matt Kemp Signs 1-Day Contract...

((HT: CTW/PBS/Sesame Street)) To Sesame Street... Matt Kemp had to run full force into Abby's magic wand... To demostrate the word "attach..." No word on if Abby will be batting in front of Kemp this season until they can get unattached...
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