We re only a couple of weeks from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.
• 1. They've Got Dodger Stadium, And That's Plenty. Dodger Stadium's original design included a huge fountain in center field, like that in right-center at Kansas City s Kauffman Stadium. ... When the foul poles were installed in 1962, it was discovered that they were positioned completely foul. So a special dispensation was received from the National League so that they were recognized as fair ... When the city of Los Angeles went looking for land to build the stadium, they claimed Chavez Ravine through eminent domain and told the residents that the land would be used for low-income housing, and that they would get first choice of the homes. Oops, just a little fib ... This season will be the franchise's 45th season at Dodger Stadium, the same number of seasons that the club spent at its first home, Ebbets Field (1913-1957).
• 2. Something You Probably Didn't Want to Know. What Dodger has the highest strikeout ratio per nine innings pitched in the history of the franchise in L.A.? (minimum two years with the team). Don Drysdale? Sandy Koufax? Hmm, how about Kevin Brown. Er, Eric Gagne? Fernando Valezuela? Don Sutton? No? Who is it!? Answer (drum roll) ... Hideo Nomo. Thank you and drive safely.
• 3. Danys Baez is a Confused Young Man. The Dodgers' pitcher defected to Costa Rica prior to the last game of the Pan American Games on August 1, 1999, while in Winnipeg, Canada. If that isn't confusing enough, his dog, a boxer, is named "Lennox" after British world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
• 4. They'll Take You on in Softball, too. Lance Carter's father, Zeb Carter, is a member of the Florida Legends Senior Softball League team for players 60 and older and was named to the World Team in 2003. Lance's wife, Amanda, is a country and western singer.
Bonus tidbit: It's virtually impossible to sneak up on pitcher Ted Hamulak without him hearing you.
(Tomorrow: The Kansas City Royals)