It’s amazing what a year and new ownership can do to a fan base. Especially one with as much history, tradition, and success as the Los Angeles Dodgers. Appropriately, the Dodgers rolled out an appropriate 2013 slogan “A whole new blue” (below). After a series of offseason moves and spending as if the Mayan apocalypse was coming, fans responded today by showing up in droves to the Dodger Stadium fanfest today. Bill Plunkett, Dodger beat writer for the Orange County Register, tweeted
Line to get in sakes back thru gates to parking lot. #Dodgers Andre Ethier said he thought that was where line started. Surprised at crowd
Crowds lining up for autographs at #Dodgers Fan Fest pic.twitter.com/W40uShI5
#Dodgers mgr Don Mattingly on expectations/excitement level of fans: “That’s great. Now we just have to back it up.”
Los Angeles Times writer Dylan Hernandez added:
Enormous lines at Dodger Stadium for first offseason FanFest. Andre Ethier said he was shocked by the turnout.
Credit: Bill Plunkett tweet
And the Dodgers have built a lineup and rotation to win now. The middle of the lineup will feature a (finally?) healthy Carl Crawford, 2011 NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp (who also battled injury last year), Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andre Ethier (used to bat 3rd, probably relegated to 6th). They also “armed up” the rotation by acquiring former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke and Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu to go with 25-year old Clayton Kershaw (who has a Cy Young in 2011, plus a 2nd place finish in 2012). If they can get any semblance of the Josh Beckett of old, they’ll be a Top 3 NL rotation. The bullpen is deep, too, and more help is always available at the trade deadline. Dodger fans have suffered an unimaginable indignity in watching the rival San Francisco Giants win two of the last three World Series titles while the hometown blue haven’t won the division since 2009. The Dodgers also watched cross-town rival Angels secure high priced talent Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton the past two years, furthering the frustration of the franchise before the new ownership breathed life into the roster. The Dodgers are postured for continued aggressiveness both on retaining expensive talent and raiding the free agent market courtesy of their $6B-$7B local TV deal which will pump more dollars into the payroll.
Ethier signs autographs today at Dodger FanFestCredit: Bill Plunkett tweet
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