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Talking Baseball with Buster Olney

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In 1989 I was chewing on the strings of my glove while patrolling the infield for the North End Little League Tee-Ball Padres in my hometown of Bridgeport, CT. We didn't lose a game. We didn't win either - they don't keep score in tee-ball.

That same year, ESPN's Buster Olney began his career as a baseball writer, covering the Nashville Sounds for the Nashville Banner. Rather than get analysis and insight on the 2008 Major League Baseball season from the guy who was drinking juice boxes in between innings back in '89, we thought we'd turn to the man who has been covering the game for the last two decades to give us some predictions and projections for this season. Olney, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, blogger for ESPN.com and a regular contributor to "Baseball Tonight" and "Sports Center," took time out of his very busy schedule to exchange emails with LAist to talk Dodgers, Angels and more.

How does a kid growing up in Vermont end up a Dodgers fan? What is your fondest memory of rooting for the Dodgers?
I read a book on Sandy Koufax when I was 8 years old -- The Baseball Life of Sandy Koufax, and, as it turns out, years later, I realized when I was working at the NY Times that the author of that book was George Vecsey, one of my colleagues... Then, my first Little League team, in Woodstock, Vt., was named the Dodgers, and that cemented my love for that team at the time. We didn't have a television, but when the Dodgers came eastward, or the East teams went west, I'd catch the bouncing radio waves at night from KDKA (Pitts.), or WCAU (Phil.) or KMOX (STL). Oddly, I could never get the Mets' station to hear the Dodgers. Mostly, I listened to WDEV, who carried the Red Sox, and this allowed me to commiserate with my friends, who were doomed (we thought at the time) to a life of failure.

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My last year of my fandom -- the year before I started covering professional baseball -- was the fall of 1988, and the Dodgers had their improbable run to the title. I still can't believe that the Dodgers beat the Mets, or beat Oakland; I still can't believe Gibson homered off Eckersley.