The moment you have all been waiting for

Clinching the division was great and all, but today, the Dodgers announced their all-time Los Angeles team. Here it is, lifted straight from the PR release.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been celebrating their 50th anniversary all season long, unveiled the results of a season-long voting process on that yielded the fans’ choice for the All-Time L.A. Dodger team. Voting to find the Los Angeles Dodgers’ all-time team began back in September 2007 and concluded nearly a year later, resulting in a team of 15 players, deemed the greatest in the storied history of the franchise since moving west in 1958. The team was revealed to fans in attendance at Thursday night’s regular season home finale.

The All-Time Los Angeles’ Dodgers team:

FIRST BASEMAN: Steve Garvey appeared in a then-National League record 1,207 games played from 1975-81. Garvey also set the Los Angeles Dodger record for games played at first base (1,672) and won four consecutive Gold Gloves at the position (1974-77) while going a Major League record 193 consecutive games without an error. In 1974, the 10-time NL All-Star won the MVP, hitting .312 with 21 homers and 111 RBI. Garvey had 200 or more hits in six seasons and batted .393 in All-Star Games, while winning the MVP of the Midsummer Classic in 1974 and ’78. The current member of the front office won the 1978 NLCS MVP and batted .338 with 11 home runs in 11 career postseason series.

SECOND BASEMAN: Davey Lopes played for the Dodgers from 1972-81. He was a converted center fielder who became part of the Dodgers’ record-setting infield for eight and a half seasons along with first baseman Steve Garvey, shortstop Bill Russell and third baseman Ron Cey. Lopes stole 418 bases with Los Angeles, including a career-high 77 in 1975. He won a Gold Glove in 1978 and was a four-time All-Star (1977-81). Lopes hit 98 home runs as a second baseman, which is the most in Dodger franchise history.

SHORTSTOP: Maury Wills began his first tenure with the Dodgers in 1959 and proceeded to make the All-Star team five times over the next eight seasons while taking home the 1962 National League MVP Award. The two-time Gold Glove winner was traded after the 1966 season, but returned to Los Angeles in 1969 and retired a Dodger after the 1972 campaign. Wills stole a then-Major League record 104 bases in ’62 and ended up swiping a Dodger record 490 bases, leading the NL for six straight seasons (1960-65). Wills was a member of four National League pennant winners in Los Angeles, including three World Championship teams (’59, ’63, and ’65) and hit .367 with three stolen bases in the 1965 World Series against Minnesota.

THIRD BASE: Ron Cey started at the hot corner for the Dodgers from 1973-82, finishing sixth in the Rookie of Year Voting in ’73. From 1971-85, Cey played in 1,468 games a third base, which is the most in franchise history. Beginning in 1974, Cey made six straight All-Star teams and started the Midsummer Classic in ’74, ’75 and ’77. “The Penguin” led the Dodgers in home runs four times and had career highs of 30 homers and 110 RBI in 1977, finishing eighth in the MVP voting and leading Los Angeles to the NL pennant. In the 1981 World Series, Cey batted .350 with a homer and six RBI, including a key three-run blast at Dodger Stadium in the first inning of Game 3, which jump-started the Dodgers to four straight wins over New York. For his efforts, Cey was named the 1981 World Series Tri-MVP along with Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.

CATCHER: Mike Piazza was drafted by Los Angeles in the 62nd round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft, but took the league by storm in his rookie season of 1993. The Pennsylvania native hit .318 with 35 homers and 112 RBI (both Dodger rookie records), made the All-Star team, and was unanimously selected as the NL Rookie of the Year. Piazza also won the Silver Slugger Award, an accolade he would win every full season he finished in a Dodger uniform (1993-97). Viewed by many as the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, Piazza finished second in the MVP vote after the 1996 and ’97 seasons and was named the 1996 All-Star Game MVP in his hometown of Philadelphia. In the five full seasons Piazza played for the Dodgers, he averaged 33 home runs and 105 RBI while batting .337. Piazza also set the Los Angeles Dodger single-season mark with a .362 batting average in 1997 and remains the only Dodger to hit a home run completely out of Dodger Stadium during a game.

OUTFIELDER: Rick Monday, a former Arizona State University star and current Dodger broadcaster, played for the Dodgers from 1977-84. His most memorable hit was the ninth-inning home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship Series at Montreal, which propelled the Dodgers into the World Series. Yet his most memorable moment might have been saving the American flag from being burned by two fans on the field at Dodger Stadium in 1976 when he was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs.

OUTFIELDER: Reggie Smith, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in June 1976, joined teammates Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Dusty Baker in 1977 as baseball’s first 30-home run quartet. The switch-hitter finished with 314 career home runs, spanning from 1966-82. He was a key member of the 1977 and ’78 pennant-winning Dodger teams and the 1981 World Series championship team. Smith was a three-time All-Star in L.A. and finished fourth in the NL MVP voting in both 1977 and 1978.

OUTFIELDER: Duke Snider, inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1980, hit 389 home runs with Brooklyn and Los Angeles between 1947 and ’62. He compiled a .300 batting average in 1,923 lifetime games with the Dodgers. Snider also collected the first Dodger hits in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Dodger Stadium. His uniform No. 4 was retired by Los Angeles on July 6, 1980.

STARTING PITCHER: Orel Hershiser, whom manager Tommy Lasorda dubbed “Bulldog,” may best be remembered for his 1988 season, when he won the National League Cy Young Award and helped his Dodgers to the World Series championship, going 23-8 with eight shutouts and a 2.26 ERA. That same year, Hershiser spun 59.0 consecutive scoreless innings to break Don Drysdale’s Major League record of 58.2 innings. The right-hander burst onto the scene in 1984, when he went 11-8 with eight complete games and a 2.66 ERA to finish third in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. He followed that up with a solid sophomore season in 1985, going 19-3 with a 2.03 ERA. Hershiser was an NL All-Star from 1987-89, getting the start against the American League in both of the first two years. He finished in the Top 3 in ERA in the NL five times (1984-85, 1987-89), and led the NL in innings pitched three years in a row from 1987-89.

STARTING PITCHER: Sandy Koufax, one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball history, won 165 games and compiled 2,396 strikeouts in 2,324.1 innings during his 12 seasons with the Dodgers from 1955-66. He won the Major League Cy Young Award in 1963, 1965, and 1966, and also earned National League Most Valuable Player honors in 1963. The Brooklyn native led the NL in ERA for five straight seasons from 1962-66, including three seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA. He pitched in four World Series, going a combined 3-1 with a 0.95 ERA in eight games while taking home the championship in 1959, 1963, and 1965. Koufax, a seven-time All-Star, was named World Series MVP in 1963 and 1965. The left-hander tossed four no-hitters during his career, including a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs on September 9, 1965. From 1965-66, his final two years in baseball, Koufax went 53-17 with 54 complete games and 1.89 ERA in 84 games. His No. 32 was retired by the Dodgers in 1972, and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame that same year.

STARTING PITCHER: Johnny Podres will always be known as the baby-faced kid who defeated the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, giving the Brooklyn Dodgers their only World Championship. Podres did, however, pitch eight-plus seasons in Los Angeles as well, helping them win two more World Series titles (1959 and 1963). Podres’ best season in Los Angeles came in 1961, the Dodgers’ last year playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum, when he won a career-high 18 games. In 1963, Podres pitched Game 2 of the World Series against the Yankees, defeating them 4-1 and helping the Dodgers sweep New York in the Fall Classic. The left-hander was selected to four All-Star Games, all in a Dodger uniform, and he got the start in the second of two 1960 Mid-Summer Classics. Podres also led the NL in 1957 with six shutouts.

STARTING PITCHER: Don Sutton spent 16 of his 23 Major League seasons with the Dodgers, and is atop the franchise’s all-time leader board with 233 wins, 550 games, 3,814.0 innings, 2,696 strikeouts, and 52 shutouts. Sutton was a 20-game winner just once in his career, going 21-10 for the Dodgers in 1976, but he did win in double digits for Los Angeles in 15 of his 16 seasons with the team. He would also average close to 230 innings pitched per season while with the Dodgers. He also tossed 156 complete games in a Dodger uniform. Sutton was a member of five pennant-winning Dodger teams in 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, and 1988. He was a four-time All-Star for the Dodgers, and he pitched in three World Series in Dodger Blue (1974, 1977, 1978). Sutton also led the National League with a 2.20 ERA in 1980, and he had an NL-best nine shutouts in 1972. His No 20 was retired by the Dodgers in August 1998, just one month after he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

STARTING PITCHER: Fernando Valenzuela exploded onto the scene with his rookie campaign in 1981, becoming the first pitcher to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same season. He also started for the National League in the All-Star Game that year. Fernandomania swept the country during that strike-shortened season of 1981, as the 20-year-old from Sonora, Mexico, went 13-7 with eight shutouts and 11 complete games to help the Dodgers to a World Series championship. Valenzuela spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Dodgers, earning All-Star honors for six years in a row from 1981-86 and winning a career-high 21 games in ’86. On June 29, 1990, the current Dodger broadcaster tossed a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals.

RELIEF PITCHER: Eric Gagn was the most dominating relief pitcher in baseball over three seasons, saving 52, 55 and 45 games in 158 chances (96.2 %) from 2002-04. Gagn won the 2003 National League Cy Young Award with an amazing 1.20 ERA while going a perfect 55-for-55 in save opportunities. Most impressively, his consecutive saves streak of 84 games, which lasted from Aug. 14, 2002 until July 3, 2004, set a Major League record that may not ever be broken. Gagn also spawned a ninth-inning Dodger Stadium phenomenon, as the Dodger faithful couldn’t wait until the first few guitar licks from “Welcome to the Jungle” were played so they could stand up and scream while the Canadian closer charged in from the bullpen to electronic signs that proclaimed “Game Over.” Gagn’s 161 saves as a Dodger are first in franchise history.

The 2008 season marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles. All year long, the club has celebrated their golden anniversary with fans around the world through a series of historical, cultural and promotional events that are unique to Los Angeles and honor the legacy of the franchise and its players and the loyalty of Dodger fans.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5

It’s extremely late. I’m extremely tired. And this game meant extremely nothing. I promise to blog more tomorrow. If you care, Dodgers fall to 83-77, their first two-game losing streak since their eight-game losing streak. Snakes won, so they pull within … oh, forget it.

Padres 7, Dodgers 5 … let the celebration begin

Actually, it’s pretty well in full swing already. By the time I got to the clubhouse, the smell of champagne already permeated everything. Joe Beimel just told Patrick O’Neal, in an interview broadcast on the DodgerVision board, that the Dodgers “can definitely win it all.” The revelry has now spilled from the clubhouse onto the field, giving a chance for the fans who stuck around to join in. Manny Ramirez and Pablo Ozuna just emptied the contents of whatever they could find in the clubhouse — boxes of sunflower seeds, tubs of bubble gum, whatever — onto the folks in the front row. Frank McCourt, who earlier today stressed the importance of the Dodgers actually taking this thing a step farther this year than they did in 2004 and 2006, is now on the big board getting doused by Matt Kemp and Pablo Ozuna. Frank just said, “It’s great to have a guy like Ned with the temperament that he has.” Read into that whatever you will. If you care, Dodgers fall to 83-76 and still lead the newly eliminated Snakes by four games.

Pitching plans …

… have yet to be finalized, or at least if they have been finalized, no one is talking. Greg Maddux was scratched tonight in favor of Eric Stults, and you’re smarter than I am if you can figure out what any of this means: Maddux is now starting Saturday, with Billingsley coming in behind him, and Kuroda is pitching Sunday. It is clear that D-Lowe and Billingsley are the starters for Games 1 and 2, respectively. It would SEEM that Kuroda is now the starter for Game 3. Torre said he might go with three starters because there is a second off-day on Oct. 6, which is between Games 3 and 4. But even then, Lowe would have to start Game 4 on three days’ rest, so they might end up going with Maddux in Game 4. Also, don’t forget Kershaw. Joe SAID that he hasn’t ruled out Clayton as a starter, and Ned Colletti said he is comfortable with Kershaw pitching throughout the playoffs.

Introducing the 2008 National League Western Division champions

That would be your Dodgers. The clincher wasn’t that exciting, no walkoff grand slam by Steve Finley or anything like that. It happened just now, when the Diamondbacks lost to the Cardinals. Dodgers won’t even take the field for almost five hours. It will be interesting to see what kind of lineup Joe sends up against Jake Peavy tonight. But it really doesn’t matter how the Dodgers did it. The fact is, they did it, for the first time in four years and for the 10th time since the inception of divisional play in 1969, and it can be argued that none of the previous nine were as tough as this one. It was less than a month ago, after all, that the Dodgers were all but written off. They had lost eight in a row, including the first game of a critical, three-game series at Arizona, and they were 65-70 and going nowhere. And now, here they are, ready to douse each other with champagne after tonight’s game, win or lose. Joe Torre has now won 12 of these things as a manager (10 with the Yankees, one with the Braves and one here), and I can’t imagine any of the previous 11 were as challenging or as gratifying as this one will be. It’s anyone’s guess at this point how long the Dodgers will last in the playoffs. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess, who they’ll play in the first round. But considering where they came from, the simple fact that they have gotten here makes this a season no one will forget anytime soon.

Dodgers 12, Padres 4

NOW are you starting to smell it? I’m just wondering about that sellout crowd that is coming to (they hope) watch the boys clinch tomorrow night. What happens if the boys clinch before the gates even open? The Snakes play at 11:15 our time. That game will be over around two-ish, which is FIVE HOURS before the Dodgers even take the field. Talk about anticlimax. What we learned after the game is that there will be NO team watch party at the stadium. Everybody will just arrive at the usual time. If the Snakes lose, thus clinching the title for the Dodgers, the Dodgers will save their celebration for AFTER their game with the Pods. Except that I’m guessing (Torre didn’t say this, I’m just guessing) that if the Snakes lose, the Dodgers will throw something akin to a spring-training split-squad lineup out there against Jake Peavy, which means there is a good chance the Dodgers will lose. And then, after losing, they will go to the clubhouse and douse themselves with champagne. Talk about double anticlimax. What I DID learn after the game is that division title or no, the annual rookie hazing will go on as scheduled for tomorrow night’s flight to San Francisco. I’m sworn to secrecy on what the costumes are going to be, but let’s just say it’s an eclectic mix. The veterans found a costume rental place in South Pas that was going out of business, so they loaded up. … Dodgers go to 83-75 and, if you care, now lead the Snakes by four games with four to go. Tonight will NOT be the Dodgers’ last home game of the year. The only way they can blow this now is to lose out while the Diamondbacks win out, then lose to Arizona in a one-game playoff on Monday night at Chavez Ravine, hence at least one more home game.

Penny to 60-day DL, ineligible for the postseason

This clears a 40-man spot for Furcal. Not a huge surprise, as Penny wasn’t expected to pitch again anyway, even in the playoffs. Torre said he’ll ease Furcal in, probably finding an innocuous situation for him the first time plays (think the late innings of last night’s game, when the Dodgers had a nine-run lead). Asked him whether Furcal could start a game and play nine innings, and Joe was non-committal. Said he would have to see how things went.