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Better Know a Dodger . . . Joe Beimel

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Three Dodger pitchers combined on a 2-hit shutout, and Nomar Garciaparra hit a 2-run single to lead Los Angeles to a 3-0 victory last night over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Left-handed set-up relief pitcher Joe Beimel was not one of the pitchers involved in the shutout. Nevertheless, Mr. Beimel does have the good fortune of being the subject in Part 2 of our 436-Part series, "Better Know a Dodger".

Joseph Ronald Beimel was born April 19, 1977 in St. Mary's Pennsylvania (guess your evite to Joe's big 30th B-day bash next week at LAX must not have made it over the firewall at work). A true Keystone Stater, Joe went to college at Duquesne University, then signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1998 amateur entry draft.

Joe Beimel's most famous moment with the Dodgers occurred in New York last October prior to the Dodgers' matchup against the Mets in the National League Divisional Series. The memorable moment was not on the mound at Shea, rather, it was at 2:30 am in a Manhattan bar where Beimel ripped open his left hand on a shattered glass. The wound would require 10 stitches, and, to quote Beimel, "I wasn't there drinking sodas all night." Beimel initially lied and told the club he sliced open his hand in his hotel room, but came clean eventually. Regardless, the Dodgers went on to lose the series in 3 straight without Beimel's services. And thus, a scapegoat was born.

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Beimel has returned to the Dodgers this year, with a new attitude and a broken heart tattoo on his right shoulder, superimposed over the New York City skyline with the motto (People I'm not kidding here - you can't make this stuff up) "Only God Knows Why" surrounding the image. The motto is actually the title of one of Beimel's favorite Kid Rock songs.

Joe Beimel is 6' 2" tall and weighs in at 201 pounds. He lost an arbitration case this offseason (darn binge drinking) and will pull in only $912,500 this season. Joe and his wife Emily (sorry again, ladies) have two children, Andrew (10) and Claire (5). Joe wears the number 97 to recognize his first born's year of birth. It is the highest number ever worn by a Los Angeles Dodger.

Joe's presence on the ebays is minimal, a few 8X10 photos and some signed baseballs. The classiest item is a black Joe Beimel fielding glove he used in Spring Training, autographed by the man himself. Starting price, $49.99. No bids, yet.

A bit more on Joe Beimel's playing career after the jump.

Beimel spent the first three seasons of his professional baseball career in the Pittsburgh Pirate farm system, mostly as a starting pitcher. His most successful stint was in 2000 with Lynchburg, where he went 10-6 with a 3.36 ERA and 82 K's in 122 innings.

The southpaw made his big league debut in 2001, starting and earning the victory against the Houston Astros on April 8. Beimel's stay in the rotation didn't last long, and by the end of the season (and for the next two years) he settled into his role as a mediocre set-up reliever for the Pirates, consistently posting ERA's in the high 4's and low 5's.

Beimel was released by the Pirates in spring 2004, spent the '04 season with the Minnesota Twins organization, then 2005 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A non-roster invitee in the Dodgers' 2006 Spring Training camp, Beimel stuck with the organization, and posted solid early season results at AAA Las Vegas. He was promoted to the big club in May, and was a solid contributor for the rest of the '06 season, appearing in 62 games, with a 2.96 ERA in 70 innings pitched.

Joe Beimel is off to a strong start in 2007, appearing in 4 games so far this young season, and picking up the win in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Colorado. Hard to say what has caused Joe Beimel's career to turn around since he's donned Dodger Blue. Perhaps only God knows why.

AP Photo courtesy of Luis M. Alvarez

Thanks to and Kevin Modesti's 3/12/07 Daily News article on Joe Beimel titled "Second Chance", which provided much of the fodder for this profile.