Soaking up Chavez Ravine
I couldn’t see downtown Los Angeles all that well because of the smog, but I knew I was in the right place the minute I bore down on an In-N-Out burger and fries. Yeah, it’s fast food but there’s something about it I just like. It’s not as strong as Zip’s in Cincinnati or any Five Guys location but it is very, very good.
There’s nothing in the big leagues like walking into Dodger Stadium. They have you drive and park at the high end of Elysian Way and when you walk in, you’re literally at the “Top of the Park.” In the distance well beyond the outfield are the San Gabriel Mountains and it’s a rather stunning sight.
Just as I was getting settled in, Joey Votto was about to take early batting practice and yelled up to me “Hey Mark, tell everyone on Twitter I said hello. I’m enjoying Mannywood.” I asked if he was sure and since he was, I did. See — more incentive to follow me on Twitter.
A little while later, I could hear the unmistaken voice of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in the broadcast booth next door. A few years ago, I got to meet him when he popped into the visitor’s clubhouse. He offered his hand a huge smile when I introduced myself and probably like he’s done to millions before me, gave the feeling he was geniunely glad to meet me.
Hairston Jr. 6
RHP Edinson Volquez completed his first bullpen session since going on the DL with elbow tendinitis. He threw 30 pitches with no issues.
“He threw about 68 percent velocity,” pitching coach Dick Pole joked. “He had no problems. In fact, I was kind of surprised he located the ball as well as he did for as long as it’s been.”
Up next is another bullpen session on Wednesday for 35 pitches. Then some more pitches on Friday. However, a return to the Reds rotation is still pretty far in the distance. He’ll have to go through a rehab assignment first, which won’t be a speedy thing.
“We’ll see where he is when he goes out,” Pole said. “It’ll probably be like a Spring Training thing, three innings and maybe five innings. As long as he’s been off, it will take more than one or two [outings.]”
New backup catcher Craig Tatum, fresh from Triple-A Louisville, was soaking up his first big league exposure and was loving every second of it, even the $60 taxi ride he took with Homer Bailey from the hotel to Chavez Ravine.
“It’s still just so surreal. I never expectred anything like this,” Tatum said on Monday. He was called up Sunday afternoon when Ramon Hernandez went on the DL. “They were making fun of me last night because I was waiting for my bag when I got off the bus. I didn’t know anything.
“I’ve never seen a stadium this big. It’s my first time in L.A. too. There’s a lot more traffic than Hattiesburg, Mississippi.”
As much as I like Dodger Stadium, you can’t blame the Reds for hating it. Who cares how nice a park looks when you’re coming in 0-9 over the previous three seasons? This is obviously a big week for the Reds — a strong showing vs. L.A. and the Cubs and they’re still in the race. Drop a 1-5 week while the Cardinals take off and it could mean the selling season begins.
Any predictions for the series, and the trip?
Above — that’s Mannywood himself on the left talking with Johnny Cueto.
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