ST. LOUIS -- As Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson came to learn the ins and outs of running a baseball team, he gained a keen appreciation for his National League Championship Series opponent. Earning seven playoff berths and winning three pennants and two World Series titles over the past decade, all while maintaining a strong farm system, has earned the Cardinals a reputation as one of the game's premier franchises.
"I mean, this organization is unbelievable," Johnson said prior to Game 1 at Busch Stadium. "Hats off to the ownership, to the players and the city that supports them. If we could model our organization [after someone], it would be them with the consistency that they've had. They've won so many years in a row -- losing players, [Albert] Pujols, and then still getting back here is truly amazing. And the fans all dress up in red. It's outstanding what they've built here. We want to build the same thing back in L.A."
Johnson, who also traveled to Atlanta to watch the Dodgers in the NL Division Series, said the emotions of October outweigh anything he felt playing postseason NBA games for the Lakers.
"This is worse," Johnson said. "I can't stand it. I'm nervous, I'm crazy, and I've got to sit in the stands and be more nervous and crazy."
Ryu to start Game 3 of NLCS, Nolasco to follow
ST. LOUIS -- Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game 3 (Monday at 5 p.m. PT on TBS) and Ricky Nolasco will get the nod in Game 4 (Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT on TBS) for the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
Manager Don Mattingly confirmed the rotation that begins with Zack Greinke in Game 1 and Clayton Kershaw in Game 2 in St. Louis.
Ryu is coming off a disappointing three-inning start in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against Atlanta. In his only start against the Cardinals this year, he pitched seven scoreless innings in a win.
Nolasco stepped aside to let Kershaw pitch the decisive Game 4 of the NLDS. He was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA against the Cards while with Miami.
Kershaw receives his second Spahn Award
As his Dodgers prepared to open the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals on Friday, left-hander Clayton Kershaw was announced as the recipient of the 2013 Warren Spahn Award.
The award is presented annually by the Oklahoma City Bricktown Rotary Club and the Jim Thorpe Association to the top left-handed pitcher in the Majors, and it is named after Hall of Fame lefty Warren Spahn. Spahn's 363 career victories are the most by any southpaw in MLB history.
"It is such an honor to represent Warren Spahn and his many accomplishments on the mound," Kershaw said in a statement. "Thank you to the Bricktown Rotary Club for awarding me this prestigious honor. I'm ever so grateful for your ongoing support. Lord willing, I look forward to being a good steward of all this award embodies."
Kershaw, a three-time All-Star and the 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner, went 16-9 with a Major League-best 1.83 ERA in the regular season, along with an NL-best 232 strikeouts.
This marks the second time Kershaw has won the Spahn Award after receiving the honor in 2011. He will be presented with the award during a ceremony in Oklahoma City in January.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.