Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sooooooul Power FTW! (Loney Doin Work)

(The scene at home plate after James Loney's walkoff blast today)

Of all the Dodgers' top players - the last one I'd expect to hit a home run at Dodger Stadium is James Loney. He only hit one of his 13 there last season. He's far from a power hitter but he simply hits for average, drives in runs like crazy and plays Gold Glove caliber defense at first.

So imagine the shock and awe I had when Soul Brother #7 sent an Oliver Perez pitch in the 13th inning to the right field seats to beat the Mets. My favorite Dodger who's been the most consistent hitter for the team all season finally got a chance to earn some praise from the Dodger faithful.

On the field, he has great discipline at the plate, great timing and knows how to get on base. Joe Torre has often said he reminds him of his great Yankee centerfielder Bernie Williams.

Over the last two postseasons, no Dodgers hitter was more consistent and potent than Loney. Ask the Cubs against his grand slam in 2008 NLDS or the Phillies about his two homers in last year's NLCS.

You wanna talk about consistent? Dude's hit for 13 Homers and 90 RBI's in 2008 and 2009. He's on pace to possibly do that again with the chance to get 100 RBI's. That's throwback numbers to the days when non-power hitters found ways to win by get on base and driving in runs.

But it doesn't say why he's my favorite Dodger. It's because he's underrated despite the fact he's been our best first baseman since Eric Karros.

He's in the National League's top 5 in RBI's, doubles and hits and is hitting over .300 but because we're in an era of great power hitting first baseman (Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Miggy Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez), he gets overshadowed. He's overshadowed on a team with stars like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal.

But that's his nature. Quiet, professional, humble, goes about his business. Whenever I interviewed him in the clubhouse, he was chill and always answered questions in a laid-back manner. I respected him because he wasn't flashy and played the game the right way. A tribute to his upbringing in Houston.

That's why he's my favorite Dodger. He handles his business, jokes behind the scenes and embodies what it means to be a major leaguer. And that's why I'm so happy for him today! First career game winning shot and a bear hug from partner in crime Matt Kemp.

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