When Orel Hershiser reported to me in Vero Beach many years ago, the scouts said he had the arm, but not the heart to compete. I told Hershiser that when Dale Murphy hears the PA announcer say, "And now pitching for the Dodgers, number 55, Orel Hershiser," he can’t wait to get his at-bat. So I told Hershiser that from then on I was going to rename him the Bulldog. And I told him that from that moment on I wanted him to think like a bulldog, act like a bulldog and pitch like a bulldog.
Well, you saw how his career turned out.
Now I have renamed Chad Billingsley the Pitbull. He has as good stuff as you’d want to see in a young pitcher. I wouldn’t even trade him for a power hitter because he can win games for many years to come.
Today, Pitbull climbed the hill of thrills for me in my second game back at the helm of the Dodgers. Although we lost, Pitbull didn’t give up any runs in the four innings he pitched.
The starter for the Nationals had good location and got our batters with his breaking ball. We didn’t score until my boy, Andre Ethier, hit a solo home run into right-center field. I love his sweet, left-handed swing.
We have a good, young team that is going to be competitive for the next eight to ten years. Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley… They are all young and very talented. But as I have told many players over the years; talent which is used develops. Talent which isn’t used wastes away. It is up to them. They have to make up their minds right now and ask themselves how much of a price are they willing to pay to succeed. And only they can answer that question.