The Morning Column: September 16, 2021
The Dodgers honored Fernando Valenzuela on Wednesday, but what’s stopping them from officially retiring his No. 34 and properly honoring him alongside other Dodger greats?
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1. ⚾️ Dodgers should retire Valenzuela’s No. 34
The Dodgers honored Fernando Valenzuela with a bobblehead night ceremony Wednesday.
It was a beautiful celebration emceed by actor Edward James Olmos, who spoke about how Valenzuela helped Latinos feel welcome at Dodger Stadium and became a unifying figure in Los Angeles. Anyone who was in Los Angeles 40 years ago for “Fernandomania” remembers how magical that time it was.
Valenzuela won the NL Rookie of the Year award, NL Cy Young award and the World Series in 1981. He was also a six-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger award winner and a Gold Glove award winner during his time in Los Angeles. He pitched his only no-hitter at Dodger Stadium in his final season with the Dodgers in 1990 and also hit .304 with 5 doubles, 1 home run and 11 RBI in 69 at-bats that year.
Valenzuela has been a member of the Dodgers’ Spanish-language broadcast team since 2003 and continues to connect the Dodgers with Latino fans everywhere. There are few players that have meant more to the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles than Valenzuela but yet his No. 34 is not retired.
The Dodgers only retire numbers of hall of fame players and Valenzuela is not in the hall of fame. The Dodgers, however, have unofficially retired Valenzuela’s number. No one has worn his No. 34 since he left the team in 1991 but what’s stopping them from officially retiring it and properly honoring him alongside other Dodger greats?
There’s nothing the Dodgers can do about who does and does not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That’s up to the Baseball Hall of Fame voters, who are members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Those voters decide who is immortalized in Cooperstown but why do the Dodgers allow them to also decide who is also immortalized at Dodger Stadium?
One question hall of fame voters across all sports often ask themselves and their colleagues when deciding if a player is a hall of famer is, “Can you write the story of (insert sport) without (insert player)?” It’s a question teams should also ask themselves when considering whose number to retire. Forget about the hall of fame, can you write the story of your team without this player?
It’s a simple question for the Dodgers. You simply can not write the story of the Dodgers without Fernando Valenzuela.
The Dodgers should do the right thing and retire his No. 34 and make him only the second Dodgers player after Jim Gilliam to get his number retired despite not being in the Hall of Fame. The Dodgers retired Gilliam’s number two days after he died suddenly before Game 1 of the 1978 World Series. On Wednesday, Dodgers’ hall of fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin said he hoped to be alive to see the day Valenzuela’s number gets retired by the Dodgers.
It’s a moment he deserves and every Dodgers fan would love to see. It’s a move the Dodgers could make today if they wanted to. It is their call and one that should not be made by baseball writers from around the country.
2. 😷 New mandate for outdoor sporting events in L.A.
It will become harder to go to sporting events next month in Los Angeles if you haven’t been vaccinated.
Los Angeles County plans to issue a health order this week requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for all attendees, employees and participants at outdoor mega-events such as Dodgers, Rams, and Chargers games. It will take effect on October 7.
This is part of Los Angeles County’s plan to begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, lounges and nightclubs next month. Proof of at least one dose will be required by Oct. 7, with proof of full vaccination to become mandatory by Nov. 4, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
3. 👑 LA Kings partner with law firm
As teams look for new partnerships and streams of income after a year without fans, personal injury lawyers have become a new category for team sponsorships. Everyone has heard of CallJacob.com and Jacob Emrani, who has signed multi-season partnerships with the Lakers and LAFC and now the Kings have entered the space as well. The team announced today that Movagar & Yamin Personal Injury Lawyers have signed a deal to become the first-ever law firm to partner with both the LA Kings and Ontario Reign.
“We are very pleased to welcome Movagar & Yamin Personal Injury Lawyers into our sports family,” said Kings President Luc Robitaille in a statement. “The LA Kings represent the Los Angeles community, and we are incredibly proud to be working with a leading LA-based law firm that is equally committed to serving and helping the people of Southern California as we are. I believe that together we have created a first-of-its kind partnership that will allow our fans to be the true benefactors of this dynamic new relationship.”
4. 📸 Photo of the Day
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Sept. 16, 1957: LA City Council approves Chavez Ravine
On this day 64 years ago, the Los Angeles City Council approved the Chavez Ravine site for what would become Dodger Stadium. It’s a big moment in the history of Los Angeles and the Dodgers but also the beginning of a dark legacy as described in this video from Vox.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Orel Hershiser
Happy birthday to Orel Hershiser. “The Bulldog” is turning 63 years old today. The Los Angeles Dodgers great and current Dodgers broadcaster has done it all for the teams but he will always be remembered for his magical 1988 season. That year he led the Dodgers to a World Series title and also won the World Series MVP, NLCS MVP, NL Cy Young and pitched an MLB -record 59 consecutive scoreless innings.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game:
⚾️ Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels – $6
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 11 a.m. – Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox – Bally Sports West
🏀 4 p.m. – Los Angles Sparks at Atlanta Dream – Amazon Prime
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Wednesday’s show, we talked about USC's head coaching search and also talked to Derek Stevens, the owner of Circa, The D and Golden Gate in Downtown Las Vegas.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. I’ll be on the road on Friday so I’ll talk to you all on Monday!