East Central University baseball player Chris Lane was laid to rest in Cannberra, Australia yesterday, and today his childhood baseball coach wants to create a little good out of something so tragic.
Already over 33,000 people have supported coach John Edwards' petitioning of Major League Baseball and Little League Baseball to help build an Australian “Chris Lane Memorial Field” in the slain 22-year-old college catcher's honor.
Edwards explains in a Change.org press release:
The outpouring of support and feeling from around the world in relation to Chris's tragic death has been astonishing. It has warmed the hearts and made dealing with his situation just that much easier for those of us who knew him best. Now we want to create a living memory and tribute to Chris.
Australia does not have one little league field in the whole country, despite the fact that Australia this year put its first ever team in the Little League World Series…We need and we want a Chris Lane Memorial Field. This is a chance to build an ongoing tribute to a man who deserves to be remembered and to help us build something that will be used and treasured for decades to come by generations of young ball players.
The L.A. angle? Well, there isn't much, but it seemed like a worthy project to note on a day without baseball in a local stadium. And the Dodgers, often the leaders in international signings, have had three Australians play for them during their history. So there's that.
Shortstop Craig Shipley was drafted by the Dodgers in 1984, played in their minor league system for four years and hit .194 in 36 games with the big club in 1986 and 1987. Los Angeles signed Luke Prokopec in 1994, benefitted from his eight wins in 2001, and used him in trade to acquire Cesar Izturis and Paul Quantrill in December of that same year.
More recently, Trent Oeltjen came to L.A. as a free agent in 2010, hit .220 in parts of three seasons in the majors, and may appear in the this year's Pacific Coast League playoffs as a member of the Angels' affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
Additional Dodger fodder as the team enjoys its Thursday off:
While I'm tiring of the Yasiel Puig discussion — and believe I covered it with The Most Interesting Man in the Baseball World post last week — there was more controversy yesterday, so we'll invest another minute of our lives on the young man this afternoon.
Ken Rosenthal provides a good summary and the correct take at FoxSports.com, and I'll just add my two cents. Or a nickel.
First, Don Mattingly was 100% right in his schooling of Puig but missed the mark by almost as much with his postgame comments. After keeping the media sitting in a room twiddling their Twitter feeds for half an hour, the skipper stuck to the thoroughly insufficient “I thought Skip [Schumaker] gave us the best chance to win today” and “in-house” type of lines that were relied upon after the Andre Ethier benching in May.
In both cases, in perhaps trying to avoid the obligatory throwing of his man under the bus routine, Mattingly did just that. And it's crap. All he needed was a sentence — one thoughtful and possibly even rehearsed phrasing — for the respect in the clubhouse to equal what it now is, and for the story to have been put to bed forever. Or at least until a similar situation arises.
For example, the manager could have said something like this: “I didn't like the effort I was seeing from Yasiel today, thought a benching was in order, we've discussed it and it's done.”
My second point is a piece of hopefully-sage and baseball savvy advice for the Dodgers' right fielder. You want to look cool; you want to be cool? You know what's cool? Winning. Help your teammates get that ring. Now that's cool. Next.
The Dodgers have signed Endison Volquez, late of the San Diego Padres, to a major league contract, and he could join the team at almost any time. It's a bizarre signing, because Volquez isn't much of a pitcher these days, but it's costing the team nothing in terms of personnel and almost nothing in salary, so I say what the hell.
But Volquez is — or should be — well known for his 2008 PED suspension, and it's disappointing to see the drug bust absent from today's news. I read a dozen stories about the deal, and not a peep about the right-hander's suspension. It's part of his bio and it should be mentioned at least, say, yearly or whenever he changes jobs. If no one else thinks it significant to include in a story, I certainly will.
And on a more pleasant note, former Dodgers' owner Peter O'Malley has changed the name of the team's longtime Spring Training home, from “Vero Beach Sports Village” to the more celebratory “”Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida.”
And remember, glove conquers all.