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Shawn's 2000 Journals

January 7, 2000

Hey everybody, happy New Year!

Thought I'd check in really quick before I head out to Palm Springs for the Pepsi Celebrity Softball game this weekend. I've participated in it before, and it's a lot of fun, and this time I think some of my new teammates are going to be playing as well. In addition to the softball game, there's a home-run hitting contest, a golf tournament and some other action as well. I don't think I'm going to be golfing -- I've played a few times, but I'm terrible, so I haven't really gotten into it. But, it should be a good time, and it will be nice to see some of my baseball buddies to get me geared up to start practicing.

Practices are actually closer than you might think. The Dodgers start voluntary team workouts on Monday, and we've got them three times a week. I'm planning on going to Monday's session, but I may not go every time because I sort of like doing my own workouts this time of year. I'm looking forward to Monday's workout though, because I don't really know too many of my teammates yet. I went to read Christmas stories to a group of kids at the Staples Center over Christmas with Eric Karros and Chan Ho Park, but that's about it -- it's all new to me.

I've got to drive out to Palm Springs now, so I'll catch up with you all again soon.

Shawn

January 10, 2000

Hey everybody,

The way I see it, John Rocker is a guy who makes life very tough for himself. These latest comments were the last straw, but prior to that, his on-the-field antics were upsetting a lot of people. I don't know him at all, but I think he obviously has trouble with his composure. He said some pretty ridiculous things, and he's certainly not making any new friends around the league. I'm sure he's going to have problems not only with baseball fans across the country, but with opposing teams as well.

Shawn

February 25, 2000

Hey guys,

Let me start off by saying thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat with me Thursday night on Yahoo! It's always a lot of fun for me to do, and I especially appreciate you guys hanging around since I was a little late. I'm usually pretty prompt, but I was out eating with the team and I got in my car to drive home for the chat and my headlights wouldn't turn on. I thought I'd just wait around for one of the guys to give me a ride home, but they weren't quite through with dinner. Eventually, I decided to just go to the payphone outside and I did the chat there. It wasn't too bad, although I did have to deal with shouting over a freight train and a helicopter in the middle of the chat, but I had a good time! Anyhow, just wanted to let you all know why I was late and say thanks again for chatting. I'll give you the Spring Training rundown next week.

Shawn


February 29, 2000

The first week has come and gone and so far, things are going well for me. I'm still getting used to everything here, but I'm really optimistic about the season. This is an organization with so much talent; it's really difficult to say why things haven't come together the past few seasons. I know we've got what it takes, so hopefully we can put it together for a winning season.

The guys have been great so far, and while I'm still really getting to know everyone, they seem like good group and I'm happy to be a part of the team. I have to say that one of the highlights of my first week was getting to meet Sandy Koufax at the start of spring training. It's a pretty awesome feeling to come face-to-face with a legend like Koufax and a little intimidating at first, but he was a nice guy, really down-to-earth, and he put me at ease quickly.

Talk to you soon,

Shawn

March 17, 2000

I've got a pretty full plate right now. Between trying to get ready for the season, getting to know my new teammates and get adjusted to the way they do things here, I'm pretty busy. But, I'm enjoying myself, and there are a lot of good guys here, so that's making it a lot easier. But, I have to admit; coming to a new team is a pretty big adjustment. At least it seems like it so far.

I started off a little slow at the beginning of spring training, but I'm coming along more now. Some years I'll feel great right away, but more often than not, it takes a while to warm up and get into a groove. After a while, you learn not to worry about it too much because you want to start peaking at the end of training so you're ready to go.

Shawn
 

March 28, 2000

We're wrapping things up here in Florida now and are ready to get things rolling in L.A. First though, we're going to take a swing up to Toronto for a couple exhibition games this weekend against my former team, the Blue Jays. I'm excited to be going back, not just for the game, but to see the fans and my old teammates. Of course, I'll get to hang out with my buddy Carlos, which I'm looking forward to. I still talk to him all the time, but it will be fun to get together with him in Toronto.

As a team, we're really starting to come together, especially in the past week or so. Everyone is starting to play with more enthusiasm, and we all, including me, seem to be finding our games. A lot of guys have looked really good so far, including Darren Dreifort, who has been pitching really well. We're pretty solid all the way around. Our bullpen is really strong, and so is our lineup and our defense. We've got three or four guys, including Sheffield, Karros, Hundley and me, who could potentially hit 30-40 home runs this season, so we've got a lot of offensive power. We also have a veteran team, which is helpful. If you really want to win, you've got to have guys who know how to go out and do it, and that's what we've got.

The only weakness I can see right now is that we're lacking a little depth on the pitching staff. But if everyone stays healthy, we're going to be in good shape. We really need to stay healthy as a team … that's absolutely key this season. There's not any one guy in particular who is going to make or break us, but there are a lot of guys without whom the lineup would suffer.

We've got a really solid team, and I'm expecting big things from us this season.

Shawn



April 18, 2000

We're back at home after a successful road trip to start the season, and it feels great to finally be playing in LA. We won Friday's home opener 8-1 against the Reds, which felt especially good since we were running on mostly adrenaline, having played a game and a half in San Francisco the night before. But, we won both of those games, so that made it fun. And even though we lost over the weekend, we played well, and I think we're going to have an exciting team. If we continue to get strong performances from guys like Orel Hershiser, guys we know are capable of having big years, we're going to be in good shape. The team has a lot of chemistry, and I am feeling really optimistic about how we're going to be performing.

I started the season pressing a little bit, trying to do too much, but now I'm feeling really good. You always want to start the season strong, and I think being on a new team added a little to that feeling. But, I'm comfortable now and feel good about the way I've been hitting, which makes playing a lot more fun.

We had an unexpected day off yesterday because of a rain out, but we're back in action tonight against the Astros. Houston is a good team, one of the better teams in the league, and it's important for us to win this series to get back on track. I think people are discounting them a little bit since they traded away Hampton, but they're a very good team and we're going to have our work cut out for us.

Shawn

May 2, 2000
Hello Everybody,

It took me a little while, but things are starting to come around and I’m feeling pretty good. It usually takes me a little while to get comfortable, but I definitely feel like things are coming together now.

They’re coming together for the team as well. We had our third sweep of the season this weekend over the Marlins, and we’re all feeling good about that. Our lineup is really solid all the way through, and that’s a big advantage for us. We’ve also got a really good bullpen, and that’s been huge. Terry Adams and Matt Herges have thrown really well for us in the late innings, and the starting pitching is throwing well too. Kevin Brown is back as well.

All in all, we’re rolling along pretty good right now. We’ve got Atlanta for three games now, though, and that will be tough. The key against them is to score some runs. They have a good lineup and are going to score some runs, and I think we’re going to have to put up five or six runs to beat them. We’re getting better and better, though, and I think as it gets further into the season, we’re going to win more of the close games.

Shawn
 

May 23, 2000

 

It took me a little while, but things are starting to come around and I’m feeling pretty good. It usually takes me a little while to get comfortable, but I definitely feel like things are coming together now.

They’re coming together for the team as well. We had our third sweep of the season this weekend over the Marlins, and we’re all feeling good about that. Our lineup is really solid all the way through, and that’s a big advantage for us. We’ve also got a really good bullpen, and that’s been huge. Terry Adams and Matt Herges have thrown really well for us in the late innings, and the starting pitching is throwing well too. Kevin Brown is back as well.

All in all, we’re rolling along pretty good right now. We’ve got Atlanta for three games now, though, and that will be tough. The key against them is to score some runs. They have a good lineup and are going to score some runs, and I think we’re going to have to put up five or six runs to beat them. We’re getting better and better, though, and I think as it gets further into the season, we’re going to win more of the close games.

Shawn

May 24, 2000

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to start off by saying thanks to everyone who has left such nice posts on the message board about my grand slam on Sunday. It was my third career grand slam, but my first with the Dodgers, so it was pretty exciting. I had no idea at the time. In fact, I just found out on Monday, that it was part of an historic day for grand slams. I was just happy to have hit one, even though it was at a point when the game was pretty much over.

It was also a great way to finish off another long road trip. That, and finding ourselves only a game-and-a-half out of first. I’m not surprised that we’re doing so well. The only surprising thing is that we’ve managed it when we’ve been on the road so much and have had such a tough schedule. To be where we are is a great thing. We started this road trip off losing three in a row, so to finish it off 7-4 and so close to the Diamondbacks is a good feeling. I think this is going to be a really great divisional race. We want to be right with Arizona through the mid months of the season, because the schedule is much more favorable for us late in the year.

Everything just seems to be clicking for us right now. The offense is really powerful, pitching is doing really well and we’ve got great team chemistry. Even though it’s tough, being on the road helps a lot with chemistry, because we all really get to know each other.

We won a close one against the Reds last night after 14 innings, and I think it’s obvious this is going to be a tough series. They’re playing really well. Griffey is starting to get hot, and Larkin’s back in the lineup, so we expect the next couple games to be tough ones. We’ve been hot too though, so hopefully we can keep putting runs on the board and we’ll be in good shape.

Shawn

 
June 25, 2000

Iím just about to head out to the stadium, but wanted to squeeze in a quick update.

Weíre playing well as a team right now. Weíre starting to get guys back into the lineup, which is a big help. Hopefully, by the All-Star break weíll be able to improve our position or at least stay where we are in the standings so we can make a run in the second half of the season. Weíre in the middle of the pack right now, but the race is really tight, with Arizona leading by only 2Ĺ games, so things should get pretty exciting down the stretch.

A lot of people have asked me about reaching base in 52 straight games. Itís cool but itís not really that important to me. The good thing about it is that I feel like by being on base, Iím helping the team more, helping to make things happen, and thatís all I really care about.

Iíll catch you all up with everything else thatís going on early next week.

Take care,

Shawn

July 22, 2000

Feeling Better at the Plate

Itís been a little chaotic for me lately, but Iíll fill you in on whatís new:

Weíre all very happy to have Davey Johnson back with us after his brief hospital stay. Everyone was really pulling for him and hoping we could do well for him while he was gone to make his life a little easier when he came back. It made Thursday nightís win all the better since we could celebrate his return with a victory over the Rockies. Hopefully, we can continue the trend with a series win over the Giants this weekend.

Iím starting to feel a little better at the plate, but Iíve been struggling for a while so I had been really frustrated. Things are starting to get a little better and hopefully theyíll continue to improve day by day. Baseball is such a mental game that you really just have to take it one game at a time, one day at a time.

Weíre right in the middle of the division race. Weíd obviously like to have won some of the games we blew, but we still have a lot of key games against the teams ahead of us in the standings, especially this week. If we can play well and start passing some of the teams in the standings, weíll be in a good position in September so we can make a run at it when weíre at home.

In other news, I sold my new place and moved back down to Newport Beach because I missed being at home with my family and friends. Itís not a bad commute, so I donít think Iíll mind it at all, and for me, Newport is home.

Shawn

July 29 2000

As of May 31st, 2000, I was named spokesperson of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, making it his new philanthropic home. I will going to bat to promote KOREH L.A.: The Los Angeles Jewish Coalition for Literacy, a program of the Jewish Federation's Jewish Community Relations Committee.

Returning to Los Angeles fulfills a longtime goal. Being in my own community inspires me to play my best and help where I can. I am going to work with KOREH L.A. because being a skilled reader is important for everyone, especially children. I am grateful to the Jewish Federation for this opportunity to make a difference.

Shawn

 

August 20, 2000

Hello Everyone,

Weíre home for a few days before we hit the road again, and even though itís a short stay, we want to make it count. With the way the division race is heating up, we canít afford to let games get by us -- every one of them matters. After a dominant first half, the Diamondbacks have fallen out of first place, which is making things interesting for us. I think itís going to be down to the wire with the Dodgers, the D-Backs and the Giants all the way until the end of the season. Obviously, we want to be in first, but we
definitely want to be within a game or two either way, so come September we can really make a run at it. Weíre closing in on it now, although we did drop one to the Cubs last night. Theyíre playing good baseball lately and have won a lot of games in the past couple of weeks, so we have got to score some runs and not make too many
mistakes tonight.

Things have been coming together for me a little more lately. This season hasnít been easy for me. Iíve had to work real hard and constantly battle through slumps and some bad habits, but I guess some years are just like that. There hasnít been a time this year when Iíve felt like Iíve been on cruise control; itís been a lot of work. I think
this year has been a big adjustment, the change of teams, the new environment; itís a lot to get used to. When I would struggle in Toronto, the surroundings were familiar and I knew who to talk to, who to go to for advice, little things that it takes a while to feel out. For the most part, you have to do it on your own though, because everyone has their own piece of advice, and sometimes you can hear too much of it. Eventually, you just have to be able to pull yourself out of it. Youíve got to know yourself.

Talk to you soon,

Shawn



August 24, 2000

Hey Everybody,

Weíve had a tough couple of weeks now, and itís put us pretty far back in the division, but our attitude right now is if we get on a hot streak, anything can happen. The frustrating part for the team is that thereís no one thing thatís holding us back, nor is there any one thing carrying us. Sometimes when the hitting is struggling, the pitching picks it up or vice versa. But lately, weíve been making mistakes defensively that have hurt, we havenít gotten some big hits when we could have and the pitching has been sporadic. Things like that happen a few times, and you lose some big games and it kills you.

When youíre going through a bad streak, it gets to a point where it seems like rather than finding ways to win, youíre finding ways to lose. But, youíve got to battle through it. There are going to be ups and downs for any team, and youíve just got to hope that youíre going to have a nice hot streak thatís going to get you into contention. For us, our backs are against the wall now, so we need to really get hot. I think weíve been trying a little too hard lately, but it seems like weíre starting to relax a bit and hopefully it will lead to some wins for us. I will talk to you all soon.

Shawn

 

August 25, 2000

Hello Everybody,

Itís been a struggle lately, but we know that thereís still time for things to change. The Giants are playing really good baseball right now and are on top of the division. Theyíve been playing some good teams and have been coming out on top so theyíve got to be happy right now. And with the new stadium and everything else, thereís a lot of excitement about baseball in the Bay Area. They are going to be hard to catch. The D-Backs are only 2.5 games back though, and I think the race is far from over. Anything can happen at this point, and itís not even out of the question to think we could come back and win the division. Weíre 7.5 back, which is obviously a lot farther back than we want to be, but if we get on a hot streak and win like 10 in a row and the Giants go .500, all of the sudden weíre only two or three games back.

I think our attitude right now is, well, weíre pretty far back right now, but we need to just play and not worry about it. When we were really close, within a couple games, guys were pressing a lot and that hurt us. I know that lot of us, myself included, felt like they should be doing more than they need to. Thatís what I felt like and Iíve had a pretty shaky couple of months. Itís been a lot work, and Iím trying to fight through it. Iím feeling better now, so hopefully I can get hot and it will help some of the other guys too.

We finished up our series against Montreal strong and we were happy to take 3 of 4. Theyíve got a good lineup and some good young players, but they are a team we need to beat. Those are the teams that have been giving us trouble lately, the scrappy teams like that. But if weíre going to have any chance at all of doing anything, we need to beat these teams. Montreal first, and then we go on the road and weíve got to win most of those games against Chicago and Milwaukee. Talk to you soon.

Shawn

September 12, 2000

Weíre making our job a little harder, but if we can get hot, who knows what may happen. Obviously, our chances are dwindling, with only three weeks left in the season, but we still have some optimism that we can make some things happen. At this point, weíre focusing on the Wild Card rather than on catching San Francisco since weíre only 6 Ĺ games back. The Giants would have to fold completely for anybody to catch them now, and I really donít think thatís going to happen.

This makes our series with Arizona even more crucial, and Iím sure theyíre looking at it the same way. We took the first game, and weíre looking to close the gap in the next few days before we face Colorado. The biggest thing right now is that we have got to pitch and play defense. Weíre going to score enough runs to win, itís just a matter of keeping other teams down.

Iíll catch up again next week,

Shawn
 

September 21, 2000

Hello Everybody,

Itís getting down to the wire, but at least weíre making things exciting! We leapfrogged over Arizona, which is big because theyíve got a bunch of games against San Francisco coming up. Weíve got to face the Giants again before the season is out, but the thing that works out nicely for us the rest of the year is our pitching matchups. We had our no. 1, 2 and 3 pitchers against Arizona, and weíll have our 2, 3 and 4 up again against San Francisco, so it works out pretty well. San Diego is still tough, but I think it will definitely be to our advantage to have the big guys again when weíre facing the Giants.

If we can put together 10 more in a row, or at least eight or nine, I think weíve got a decent shot at the wild card and thatís all we can ask for. Weíve built some momentum over the past several games and hopefully, we can continue to build on that in these final games. The key has really been our pitching. We havenít scored many runs, but our pitching has been great at a time when we really needed it.

It hasnít been easy at any point in the season for me though; itís definitely been a grind. Itís winding down now though, and once the season is over Iím going to relax and look forward to next season. Weíve got games to play before then though, so Iíll catch up with you soon.

Shawn

October 10, 2000

Hey Everybody,

Our season is over, but we finished up strong so weíre happy about that. Ten games over .500 is not badÖ itís not as good as we would have liked, but I think a lot of people are feeling optimistic going into the offseason. The season was pretty tough for me all around, so Iím happy Iím done with that first season. It could have been worse, but it was a tough year in all aspects. I definitely feel like it was a good transition for me though, and itís been a good learning experience. Going through tough times makes you a better player though, a better person.

Shawn

October 11, 2000

I am sure you have all heard about Davey Johnson. I thought he was a good manager and a good person. I understand that it was a pretty tough situation. He was getting a lot of heat from the media, from different places, so Iím sure heís probably excited to move on and put this experience behind him. With the high payroll of the Dodgers, he was kind of in a no-win situation coming in -- he had to win. But, you canít just blame the manager because a team doesnít win. Sometimes thatís the case, but I think there are a lot of other people to blame for the problems this team has had.

A manager can have a pretty big impact on a team -- heís not out there throwing and catching a ball -- but I think most big-league managers do a pretty good job calling the game. I guess some of them just have different ways of juggling the different egos, the different personalities. If things arenít working, sometimes a change is needed or wanted. Thatís not to say that heís not a qualified manager or isnít capable of doing a good job, it may just depend on what the people in the front office see as the perfect fit.

Talk to you soon,

Shawn