Baseball was still reeling at the arrival of the new high-spending Dodgers when the biggest name in Saturday's trade, Adrian Gonzalez, homered dramatically in his first at-bat (on his second pitch seen) in the LA uniform. The Dodgers got him to hit home runs, and maybe draw more Latino fans to the stadium, and the San Diego-born Mexican-American got off to a good start. He's wearing number 23, worn previously by Dodgers sluggers Kirk Gibson, Eric Karros and Jimmy Wynn.
The Dodgers went on to beat the Miami Marlins 8-2. Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett and utility infielder Nick Punto flew west from Boston to join the Dodgers this afternoon. Gonzalez went right into the lineup without batting practice.
The trade, meanwhile, is being called one of the biggest and most surprising in the history of baseball. There have been trades involving bigger and more stars, but never one this late in the season or with two players owed more than $100 million on their contracts. It's the dollar commitment by the new Dodgers owners that is getting all the commentary.
Columnist Buster Olney at ESPN.com:
Winners: The Dodgers of 2012
They are markedly better today than they were before this deal. Adrian Gonzalez is perfect for their lineup, their lineup balance, their defense and their ballpark, and he knows the division from his many years with the Padres. Beckett might be energized, and he gets to shift out of one of the best-hitting divisions to one of the worst.
Winners: Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and the rest of the Dodgers' ownership group
In less than four months, these owners have managed to completely rebrand the franchise, and, even if the Dodgers don't make the playoffs this year, they've set themselves up for a major bounce forward in attendance and interest and team success in 2013. The city might throw them a parade even if they don't win the World Series because, ding-dong, the Frank McCourt era is over....
Losers: The Dodgers of 2017
The team's stunning spending spree feels good today, but Los Angeles has set itself up to have a roster loaded with aging stars in about five years -- Matt Kemp, Gonzalez, Crawford and Andre Ethier all have contracts that run through that season. By then, the Dodgers' farm system should be replenished, and the club's ownership should have the resources to pave over that type of problem in the way the Yankees have -- and, in any event, Dodgers fans won't have to worry about that for a while.
Gonzalez appeared for a post-game press conference on the field, televised live on Prime Ticket, wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. He took questions in English and fluent Spanish. Gonzo, as the players call him, has averaged 33 home runs over the last five years, most of that time for the San Diego Padres.
MLB.com screen grab