There was a guy in the stands who walked by the press box and asked if anyone had seen Manny. That was pretty much the only time Manny’s name was mentioned all day. Meanwhile, back at the Ranch — I have been waiting to use that line ever since the Dodgers announced they were naming their new complex Camelback Ranch — Frank McCourt and Ned Colletti spent the day in organizational meetings that had nothing to do with Manny. Ned said he did speak with Boras, characterized the discussion as “cordial and informative,” but other than that, there appears to be nothing new. … As for the game, well, Juan Castro continued to do his darnedest to hit his way onto the opening-day roster, even though manager Joe Torre said before the game that Castro’s track record as a good-glove-no-hit guy is such that he probably won’t be evaluated on anything he does offensively in spring training. Castro went 3 for 3 with two doubls, two runs scored and an RBI. He is now batting .750 (6 for 8), with three doubles, in four games. … Mitch Jones, who you probably won’t see in Los Angeles at any point this season, hit a grand slam in the eighth inning and has now hit two home runs and driven in six runs in the past two games. … Clayton Kershaw had a great first inning, then a rough second, giving up two runs on two hits. James McDonald and Scott Elbert, both of whom are in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation, then combined to face the minimum over the next four innings, allowing only one hit while striking out four. … Dodgers improve to 2-2. Camelback Ranch opener is tomorrow against the White Sox. Dodgers are the home team.
Attendance has been noticeably down through these first four days of Cactus League play — it HAS to be the economy — but, not surprisingly, Dodgers fans have been turning out, perhaps not in the overwhelming numbers the club expected for its first spring in Arizona but they have been turning out fairly well. A couple of innings ago, the PA guy here at Hi Corbett Field asked how many people were from Denver, then asked how many people were from Los Angeles. Although the loudest reaction came when he subsequently asked how many people were from Tucson, it was still notable that the Los Angeleses were much louder than the Denvers. And this is a two-hour drive from Glendale. The first game at the new complex is tomorrow against the White Sox.
I just said goodbye to Tracy Ringolsby, one of the true legends of the sportswriting biz and a guy who taught me almost everything I know about covering baseball back when I worked alongside him at the Rocky Mountain News. Tracy is hanging around here in Tucson tonight, then he’ll get on a plane tomorrow and fly back home to Cheyenne, Wyo. No sense sticking around spring training when you don’t have a newspaper to work for. The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper and the place that basically launched my career (I spent five years there), published its final edition on Friday. Being stuck as I have been these past few days in all-Manny-all-the-time mode, it didn’t really hit me until I arrived this morning at the Rockies’ complex and saw Tracy. In a way, and by extension, this was a victory for OUR side, as the lone surviving Denver paper, the Denver Post, is owned by the same Dean Singleton who owns your good ol’ Los Angeles Daily News. But on the other hand, it’s a loss for the industry as a whole, and the inevitable folding of a handful of other newspapers in the coming months/years will be a big blow, as well. Perhaps I’m delusional, but I’m holding out a sliver of hope (the key word being sliver) that our industry will find some way to survive. But the more likely scenario is that a decade from now, newspapers will have gone the way of rotary-dial phones and push-button cash registers. It’s funny, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in journalism school back at the University of Arkansas, listening to tweed-jacket-and-bowtie wearing professors make us wide-eyed pupils feel self-important by talking about our future profession in such romantic terms — the gatekeepers, the watchdogs, the Fourth Estate (never really figured out what that last one meant). Now, sadly, we may become as obsolete as those tweed jackets and bow ties. But I still love it, and I’m going to keep doing it as long as it’s here to be done. … By the way, shed no tears for Tracy. He is a multi-media star in Colorado and already has more than enough work lined up. If you want to shed tears, shed them for future generations, who will be blessed with increasingly superior technology but at the same time will probably never know the pleasure of sitting at the breakfast table or out on the front porch or on the porcelain throne or wherever and holding in their hands a big, bulky, cumbersome piece of newsprint that leaves ink stains all over their fingers and reading all about what happened the day before.
He had an X-ray that came back negative, which is good news, but he’ll have an MRI on Monday to make sure. It’s the same part of his groin that sidelined him last year, but no one seems especially concerned. … DeWitt just made a beautiful play, going so far to his left as to cut across the bag, to retire the first Rockies hitter of the game, Eric Young Jr. So far, the kid looks like a natural. … Torre says Doug Mientkiewicz probably will play for the first time in Monday’s B game against the Brewers. There is no Cactus League game that day. Not for nothing, but can you really call a B game a B game if there is no A game? … Speaking of Eric Young Jr., file this one in the “you-know-you-are-getting-old-when” department. The Eric Youngs mark the first time in my career I have covered games involving both ends of a father-son tandem. Big EY was the Rockies second baseman when I first started covering the Rox as a backup guy at the Rocky Mountain News in 1995. More on the dearly departed RMN in my next post, coming in a few minutes.
Remember baseball, that game played by nine guys on each side with a bat, ball and gloves? I’m not sure I ever even got around to posting here yesterday that the Dodgers lost 18-2 to the Seattle Mariners (it was 18-0 until Mitch Jones hit a two-run bomb in the ninth). Today, the boys are playing the Colorado Rockies down in Tucson, and they will get their first look at Blake DeWitt at shortstop in a game. If he can show that he is versatile enough to play enough positions that he can get enough at-bats, he’ll have a chance to make the club even after the addition of Orlando Hudson. But the guess here is that for a young player who to a large degree is still developing, it’s going to be really, really hard to get him enough at-bats in the big leagues as a utility guy to justify keeping him there. But what do I know?