Jim Edmonds grew up in Southern California and debuted in the Majors with the Angels. (Scott Rovak/Cardinals)
LOS ANGELES -- You have to stretch the truth a little to make this a real local-boy-makes-good story. Jim Edmonds didn't exactly grow up in the shadow of Dodger Stadium. He's more of an Orange County kid than an L.A. guy, but stick around anyway.
Because even though Edmonds' home isn't that close to Chavez Ravine, he's still a Southern California native. And playing in the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium is special to him. Just as long as he can manage all the ticket requests.
"The first couple times I played here it was really exciting," said the center fielder, who began his big league career in Anaheim playing for the Angels. "I just loved coming home. For me, being home and being in a place that you're familiar with is one thing.
"Also you've got to love playing at this stadium. It's a beautiful stadium. The field is as good as it gets. It's flat, the grass is awesome. It's just a fun thing to come out and play in a nice ballpark with great weather, and being close to home makes it more special."
And there will be plenty of friends and family rooting Edmonds on when the Cardinals and Dodgers play on Saturday evening.
"As many as I can," he said. "The tickets are pretty hard to come by. I think I got 16 or 20 tickets, but I've got to say no in a situation like this to a lot of people. It's definitely gonna be different, but it will be fun. It's not like it's the first time I've played here. It's a little different now. But it'll be a good time."
Edmonds is 2-for-8 with a home run and five strikeouts thus far in the Division Series. For his career, he's 7-for-21 with two doubles, a home run and three walks against Dodgers Game 3 starter Jose Lima.
Rolen feeling fine: Scott Rolen is about the only Cardinal who hasn't been a part of the team's offensive explosion in the first two games, putting up an 0-for-6 -- though he has walked three times and scored a run. Rolen cautioned not to chalk that up to his calf strain from four weeks ago, however.
Scott Rolen / 3B
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"I don't feel bad," he said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball well at the plate. I felt like I put some good swings on balls, hit some balls hard. I haven't had that, one ball falls, two balls fall and all of a sudden I'm 2-for-6. I think I've hit two balls hard enough to get two hits out of, but that's not the way it works. I'm not gonna worry about personal numbers. We're playing well and hopefully we'll keep going.
"I'm out on the field. I'm in the lineup every day. So I'm accountable for my at-bats. I'll keep swinging and keep doing the best I can. I feel like I've had some decent at-bats and I haven't gotten anything out of them. [I] swung at some pitches I haven't wanted to swing at, but I'm not gonna panic too much."
Rolen conceded that he's not 100 percent recovered from the injury, quipping, "I'm getting close to being close."
Long trip: The schedule of this Division Series has been strange, with two off days already in the books before the arrival of Game 3. But you can believe the Cards were glad to have the second one.
The team's charter from St. Louis on Thursday night -- actually Friday morning -- landed in a heavy fog in the Los Angeles area. The same fog was a serious problem on ground level, forcing the bus from the airport to the team hotel to take far longer than expected. By the time the Redbirds arrived at their Los Angeles roost, it was after 4 a.m. PT.
Nonetheless, the whole squad showed for the afternoon workout on Friday, though it was quite a bit shorter than the previous two had been.
Good news, bad news: The last time Tony La Russa managed in the postseason at Dodger Stadium was the 1988 World Series, a series that didn't exactly end well for the skipper. His Oakland A's team, coming off a 104-win regular season and a sweep of the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series, dropped the first two games of the World Series to a heavy underdog Dodgers team.
Los Angeles went on to win the series in five games. The opener of that series featured one of the most famous moments in baseball history -- Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run off Dennis Eckersley.
La Russa was asked about possibly clinching the Division Series at Chavez Ravine, and maybe canceling out some of those unpleasant memories.
"I think there's places in your brain for both of them," he said. "Nothing's going to happen here, if we get a win in the next two days, that's going to make the other one disappear.
"In fact, I was talking to Red [Schoendienst] about it. The first game I ever managed in the World Series was here. But, you know, they're separate. The challenge is separate."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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