The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 21

New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Thursday, July 24, 1997 - 7:05pm

Dodger Stadium

Los Angeles, California

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Pre-Game Report
 The Dodgers are making a run at the Giants for the NL West lead. Meanwhile the New York Mets -- perhaps the surprise team of the season -- continue their pursuit of the playoffs. Both teams want to win really badly and I expect them to fight until the bitter end to get the win.

Stadium Stats - Dodger Stadium

Surface: Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT)
Capacity: 56,000
Dimensions: Left Field: 330 feet, Center Field: 395 feet, Right Field: 330 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Mets Logo

New York Mets

 The New York Mets have the worst luck of any team in the majors. They have been in a perennial state of rebuilding, shuffling young talent in and out of their lineup since a league worst 103 losses in 1993. And, when they finally compile a strong pitching staff to lead them through the very tough National League East, the team loses one pitcher to depression and another with tuberculosis. Fortunately, Manager Bobby Valentine has a firm grasp of baseball's fundamentals and knows what repairs can be made on this team.

 Valentine has a strong starting rotation to build on including Mark Clark, Pete Harnsich and Bobby Jones. If Jason Isringhausen can stave of injury, he has the talent to be an all-star. And, a strong bullpen including Toby Borland, Greg McMichael and Ricardo Jordan (all acquired during a three-day span in November) should be able to nail down some key wins in the face of low run support.

 As far as offensive production goes, the Mets lack considerable power in their lineup, even with the addition of John Olerud, and shouldn't be expected to produce a lot of runs. Young stars Rey Ordonez and Edgardo Alfonzo provide strong defense but have yet to find their major league swing. And, the Mets are left to hope that veterans Carlos Baerga and Bernard Gilkey provide the leadership needed to gel this team into a contender.

Dodgers Logo

Los Angeles Dodgers

 The Los Angeles Dodgers will take the field this season for the first time in twenty years without Tommy Lasorda at the helm. But, Lasorda left behind a team full young talent that is not only expected win the National League West, but is predicted by many to challenge for the World Series title.

 The International House of Pitchers, including Ramon Martinez, Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdes, Pedro Astacio and Chan Ho Park produced a major league low 3.46 ERA last season. The ace is Martinez, having gone 44-20 over the past three years, Nomo is coming off a 16-11 season (including his first no-hitter), and Valdes is 31-19 in his short major league career. The others, including Tom Candiotti, who hasnšt had a winning season since 1990, will pitch better as a result of the successes in front of them and round out the starting battery nicely. In the bullpen, Todd Worrel is the No. 1 man, producing 76 saves over the past two seasons. He is expected to be set up by a combination of Mark Guthrie, Darren Dreifort, Scott Radinski and Antonio Osuna.

 In the field, the Dodgers add some new veteran talent to a strong young lineup. Third baseman Todd Zeile hit a career high in homeruns last season and is expected to fit in nicely with powerful catcher Mike Piazza and first baseman Eric Karros, who is coming off a record year with 34 homeruns. In the outfield, Raul Mondesi will join Brett Butler, whose emotional battle with cancer has inspired the entire Dodgers squad. And, rounding out the roster will be young talents Chad Fonville, Juan Castro, Jeff Berlinger, and Wilton Guerrero, any of which could become the next Dodger superstar.

Post-Game Report
 Hands down, the best overall experience on the Great American Baseball Trip -- great game, great meeting with management, and an absolutely gorgeous complex.

Check out all the details here, including my impressions of the stadium, batting practice, the team management I met, being up in the press box, the food, and the game and the fans

Highlights from the City of Angels

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