When Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers several years ago, one of their signature philanthropic initiatives was the Dodgers Dreamfield program, which was devoted to renovating and reviving youth baseball fields serving disadvantaged neighborhoods.
It would fit a certain storyline involving Frank McCourt if the promise of that initiative went unfulfilled. But, thankfully — and to Mr. McCourt’s credit — that is not the case. From the Los Angeles Times:
The Dodgers Dream Foundation built — or rebuilt — nine youth baseball fields across Southern California from 2003 to 2010. In 2011, as McCourt’s ownership collapsed, he radically accelerated the Dreamfield program … the Dodgers Dream Foundation delivered 10 fields last year alone.
The Dodgers are rushing to complete six more fields this year — before April 30, when McCourt is scheduled to transfer ownership to new hands. After last weekend’s ceremony, the Dodgers have five fields to complete within five weeks, which would increase the total number of fields to 25.
Now, don’t anyone ruin this by talking about how many more they could have done if for not this or that or by telling me that the only reason McCourt rushed to do this was because of some complicated tax incentive or something.
I mean, there’s plenty of reasons to dislike Frank McCourt. I would prefer it if there were one reason left to like him.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.