Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Crazy Baseball Memorabile Sale

In case you were wondering what the ad on the left...

was referring to, it's this...

...a one-of-a-kind Upper Deck piece featuring authentic signatures of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Roy Campanella, Pie Traynor and Cy Young.

The "$1,100,001" references the price the seller hoped to reach, beating the $1,100,000 paid for a Honus Wagner T-206 tobacco card.

He fell a little short—although the winning bid of $62,100 ain't too shabby.

USC Giving Another Type of Heisman to Bush?

From "Bush: USC asked me not to show" by Jay Glazer at

Saints running back and former Heisman Trophy winner [Reggie Bush] told FOX NFL Sunday and that USC officials have asked that he not show up on the sidelines for the Trojans' Rose Bowl matchup against the Michigan on New Year's Day.

Bush called the athletic department Friday to get his credentials for the game, but was told it would be better if he didn't attend the game.

"It's ridiculous," said Bush. "I guess I won't be going."

"Per BCS policy, schools in a BCS bowl are allowed five VIP sideline passes and we've already divvied those out," USC spokesperson Tim Tessalone said. "So it's kind of a moot issue. It's not like it's a home game where there's unlimited passes. That's what I can tell you about it."

According to Tessalone, those five passes were provided to Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott, Charles White, Matt Leinart and John Papadakis.

The article speculates USC is trying to distance itself from Bush due to allegations of financial improprieties by Bush during his time at USC.

Sounds pretty cold. I'm just glad one of those precious five passes wasn't given to O.J. Simpson.

A Bad Year for the Reynolds Brothers

From Baseball Musings:

Another Reynolds Fired

Ryan Howard fired his agent, Larry Reynolds. Larry is the brother of Harold Reynolds. It's not unusual for players to fire their agents once they turn out to be stars and are looking for a big pay day. Agents go after this type of players, saying that so and so never got a big deal but I have. Howard hasn't decided on a new agent yet, but he's close to Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins, and both use the same agency.

First Harold, then Larry. Guess baseball can be pretty cold sometimes.

Goodbye, 2006

Ken Gurnick at offers a retrospective of the 2006 Dodgers in "Dodgers dug out of trenches in '06: Despite injuries, club gained ground under new management":

In the first season with Ned Colletti as general manager and Grady Little as field manager, the Dodgers gained 17 games in the standings, finishing in a tie for the division title and advancing to the playoffs as the Wild Card, losing in three games to the Mets in the Division Series.

And there were more dramatics in September and October alone than in entire years previous.

Here's hoping 2007 has more moments like 4+1 (per Dodger Thoughts) and fewer like certain playoff baserunning disasters.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Everybody Thinks Zito Signing Sucks. Except Zito.

Joining a growing chorus of disapproval over the Giants' dramatic signing of Barry Zito, Dayn Perry at adds his opinion in "Signing doesn't make sense for Zito, Giants":

Zito has joined a team without serious designs on a title, and the Giants have now overpaid for a pitcher who, at best, is going to make them a very expensive fourth-place team. So this turn of events makes sense for no one involved.

First, there's the status of the Giants. Last season, they were one of the oldest teams in the National League, and this winter, by re-signing or signing such dotards as Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia, Dave Roberts and Ray Durham, they've managed to get even older. As well, the farm system at the moment is one of the worst in baseball, so there's precious little help on the way.

The Padres and Dodgers are far better poised to contend in the near term, and the Diamondbacks, graced with perhaps the best collection of pre-arbitration and minor league talent in baseball, should dominate in the long term. That leaves the Giants as a team of little consequence both now and going forward.

The Diamondbacks "should dominate in the long term"? That's news.

So why delay the sorely needed rebuilding process by making such a costly addition? They've now committed to a player who's not going to return value on the dollar, and by signing Zito, who was a Type-A free agent offered arbitration by the A's, they've also frittered away a high draft pick. Not wise.

Sabean doesn't seem to value draft picks like other teams do. A small sacrifice for him.

If winning were important to Zito, then he would've signed with the Mets. There, he would've been reunited with Peterson, he would've toiled in a park that's thoroughly hostile to right-handed power hitters, and he would've joined a team that won 97 games in 2006. Since he didn't sign with the Mets (or the Yankees, for that matter), we must assume that money and geography mattered more to Zito than his stated goal of winning a World Series.

By hiring Scott Boras, a player is saying exactly that: Money matters the most. It's disingenuous to say otherwise, but who could turn down $126 million?

Donnelly Invokes Stanford Band Thing

From "The wild and wacky from 2006" by Jayson Stark at

STRANGE BUT TRUE FEAT OF THE YEAR, CENTURY AND MILLENNIUM: Finally, if you needed convincing that literally anything is possible in baseball, we refer you to the astounding finish of the Dodgers' Sept. 18 game with San Diego. They entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by four runs. And then...

The same team that was last in the league in home runs (the Dodgers) hit four ninth-inning home runs in a row to tie the game.

And did it in a span of seven pitches.

And hit them off two pitchers (Jon Adkins and Trevor Hoffman) who had given up three homers all season to the previous 432 hitters they'd faced, in a combined 108 appearances.

And then, after falling behind in the top of the 10th, the same team hit another homer in the 10th to turn a loss into a win.

If Hollywood slapped that on the big screen, you'd laugh. But this happened in actual life, in the greatest sport on earth.

"It might be the most amazing thing that ever happened in sports," Dodgers coach Rich Donnelly told our Strange But True bureau. "It's like the Stanford band thing -- without the trombones."

Happy Birthday, Sandy Koufax

From 6-4-2:

Sandy Koufax BRO,LAN b. 1935, played 1955-1966, All-Star: 1961-1966, Hall of Fame: 1972 (BBWAA). Born Sanford Braun, he signed with the Dodgers as a bonus baby, coming up with the team in 1955 as a 19-year-old. Koufax's career is generally divided into two parts, 1955-1960 (during which he was poorly used and generally ineffective because of it, something that caused friction between Walter Alston and Jackie Robinson), and 1961 through his retirement in 1966. During the latter period, he was to that point perhaps the greatest left-hander in history.

A class act.

"I Hate Tommy Lasorda"

Friday, December 29, 2006

From the "You Gotta Be Kidding" Dept.

Need something to be thankful for today? True Blue L.A. brings us "Little Mac: A Retrospective In One Part"—reminding us why the deep pockets of the Fox Corporation came with a steep price.

The Garv Scores at Least One Hall of Fame Vote writer John Heyman details which players did and didn't receive his Hall of Fame votes his year. Among the former Dodgers mentioned:

My Hall of Famers

Steve Garvey. A consummate winner, at least during his playing days.

Close but not quite

Tommy John. The man lasted forever....He was not among the best often enough during those 26 years, though.

Orel Hershiser. An excellent pitcher who was the best in the world in 1988.

Nice careers, small consideration

Devon White. One of the greatest center fielders ever....He only received MVP votes one time in 17 seasons, however.

Eric Davis. A great talent who just wasn't a star long enough.

Obvious one-and-outs

Bobby Bonilla. His status as the highest-paid player at one time is testament to timing and former superagent Dennis Gilbert's skill, not Bonilla's.

Love that last line. As for "at least during his playing days"...ouch.

Just Because.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Zito Choo-Choo-Chooses Giants

From "Sources: Zito's Giants deal worth about $18M per year" at

Barry Zito is staying in the Bay Area with the San Francisco Giants.

Sources told ESPN's Peter Gammons that the former Oakland A's pitcher has agreed to a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Giants.

The deal includes an $18 million option for 2014 and a complete no-trade clause, a source told's Jerry Crasnick.

Rob Neyer's take:

The only thing this deal does is make the Giants look ridiculous. Granted, Zito's ERA will get a boost from the National League and the Giants' home ballpark. And this one isn't as dumb as the Mike Hampton deal with the Rockies. But based on the facts at hand, this looks to me like one of the dumber free-agent signings ever. Zito just isn't very good. And if he's worth $18 million per season, Santana's worth $25 million.

I say congratulations, Brian Sabean. You got the guy you wanted, even if you had to overpay (something we Dodger fans are used to).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Padres Treating Pitching Staff Like Fine Wine?

From's "Truth & Rumors" column:

The Padres have made a more attractive offer for Randy Johnson than the Diamondbacks, but the Yankees will trade Johnson only if they consider it a good baseball move.
-- Newark Star-Ledger

Are the Padres trying to out-age the Giants in adding the 43-year-old Johnson to a pitching staff that already features Greg Maddux, who'll turn 41 in April? It'll be interesting to see if Johnson will waive his no-trade clause for anyone except the Diamondbacks.

Somebody's Getting Screwed

MLB Trade Rumors has what could be the latest twist in the Red Sox-J.D. Drew drama:

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has a J.D. Drew update for us. It may be that Boras does not want to revise Drew's contract given that Boras's surgeon gave Drew's shoulder the thumbs up.

"Boras's surgeon"? Sounds familiar.

February 20, 1992: "Homer at the Bat"

Front row: Homer Simpson, Montgomery Burns.
Second row: Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Mike Scioscia.
Third row: Don Mattingly, Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr.

# Player Pos How recruited Fate
1 Steve Sax 2B playing at jazz club six life sentences
2 Wade Boggs 3B punched out by Barney
3 Darryl Strawberry RF pulled for pinch hitter
4 Jose Canseco LF baseball card convention saving burning house
5 Don Mattingly 1B washing dishes at home kicked off team
6 Ken Griffey, Jr. CF overdose of nerve tonic
7 Mike Scioscia C deer hunting radiation overdose
8 Ozzie Smith SS touring Graceland lost in Mystery Spot
9 Roger Clemens P thinks he's a chicken

From the January 27, 1992, issue of Sports Illustrated:

"Virtually all the writers on the staff are rotisserie league junkies," says Simpsons creator Matt Groening. (This explains why—since fielding doesn't count in Rotisserie baseball—Boggs is drawn with a glove on his right hand. The real Boggs throws right handed.) Last spring, in an overt act of collusion, the writers conspired to create the ultimate Rotisserie team and write a show around it, using the actual major league players to provide voice-overs. Throughout the summer, whenever one of the Springfield nine visited Southern California on a road trip, he would come into the studio to read his lines.

"I was surprised that the players were so amiable," says writer John Swartzwelder, whose script poked fun at their images. It portrays Strawberry, for example, as a spry fielder and team leader who throws around such words as "hustle" and "attitude." Mattingly is booted from the team for failing to trim his sideburns. And Boggs is punched out by a patron at Moe's Tavern after a dispute over who was England's greatest prime minister.

Not everyone appreciated Swartzwelder's sense of humor, however. "One of the players' wives objected to her husband's having an affair with Mrs. Krabappel, Bart Simpson's teacher," says Groening, who was then forced to say "No way, Jose" to the plot twist.

Thanks to The Simpsons Archive for the information.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boras Forces Clients Into Deathmatch

6-4-2 notes Johnny Damon has been named League Commissioner of the Professional Baseball Video Game League (or Professional Baseball Gaming League, or Pro Baseball Gaming League, depending on where you're looking on their homepage).

In the PBGL (shouldn't it be the PBVGL?)...

...some of pro baseball’s best players will battle online against each other and their fans.

Baseball player participants include the Dodgers' Derek Lowe, Craig Hansen, Julian Tavarez (no word on whether he will be allowed to throw at fans), Matt Holliday, Willy Taveras, Prince Fielder (specialty: Pac-Man), Josh Barfield, Corey Patterson, Rodrigo Lopez, Seth McClung, Mike Pelfrey, Luke Hochevar (specialty: Grand Theft Auto) and Dallas McPherson—all clients of Scott Boras' agency.

Not coincidentally, one of the league's partners is Boras Marketing. Can you imagine how Boras recruited his players?

    SCOTT BORAS: Hey Derek, remember Space Invaders?
    DEREK LOWE: Sure, we used to play it all the time as kids.
    BORAS: Great, I'll sign you up. [click]
    LOWE: Huh?
    BORAS: Hello, Johnny Damon? How would you like to be the new Bud Selig?

Have fun, Derek, getting your ass kicked at Gears of War by some 12-year old. Just don't let it affect that other game you play.

Desperate Dodgers Determined to Deny Diamondbacks?

MLB Trade Rumors reports the Dodgers, Padres and Angels may have joined the Diamondbacks in the hunt for Randy Johnson:

From the Dodgers' point of view, their interest in Johnson may only be in keeping him away from division rivals. Perhaps a starter would go back to New York in such a deal.

Again, is it worth trading for a 43-year-old pitcher as a defensive measure? I hope the Dodgers would be able to find a better use for Brad Penny.

In other NL West pitching news, MLB Trade Rumors (once again) says there's a report the Giants have offered Barry Zito a four-year deal, speculating, "That would have to be at least $70MM."

Could the Giants' being rejected by Soriano, Pierre and Mathews end up benefiting their starting rotation? Stay tuned—Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus writes Zito is expected to choose a team in the next ten days.

"Come On, Tommy, Use Your Head!"

    It's my pitching, Johnny! Do you think I need another starter?

    How should I know?

Tommy hands Johnny some money.

    The rigors of a full season on a four-man rotation are just too demanding. You need a left-handed swingman to fill your long relief spot. Give him an occasional start and he'll round out your staff nicely.

    You're talking about a guy like Gossage, aren't you, Johnny?

    Ah, come on, Tommy, use your head! Gossage is right-handed. Besides, he can't throw more than two innings.

Johnny hands Tommy a folded piece of paper.

    Here's the names of five southpaws with career ERAs under 2.93. And you wouldn't have been in this mess if you hadn't given up Tommy John.

Chastened, Tommy puts his head in his hand.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Desperate Diamondbacks Determined to Deal Dollars to Defunct Dude?

From "Official: D-Backs, Yanks talking Unit trade" at

In need of starting pitching -- and a marquee name that will draw more fans -- the Diamondbacks have offered a package of at least three players, including a major-leaguer. They would also want a 72-hour window to negotiate an extension with Johnson, who is owed $16 million in the final year of his contract. The Yankees, according to the official, don't want to pick up any of Johnson's salary.

Does it strike anyone else as slightly insane that the Diamondbacks want to negotiate an extension with a 43-year-old pitcher, even if it is Randy Johnson?

If this deal happens, their "marquee name" will probably end up pulling a Bill Mueller and serve out his contract in the front office.

Giving Dodger Fans a Good Name

In his "Crowe's Nest" column in today's L.A. Times, Jerry Crowe writes about Dodger fan Jim Governale:

Not everything was for sale this holiday season.

A Claremont man, for instance, discovered in an old box a rare, vintage recording of an immensely popular and critically acclaimed artist, spent hours digitizing it to improve the sound quality and transfer it to CD, ignored advice from friends and co-workers to auction it off to the highest bidder and happily handed it over to the company that signed the artist more than 50 years ago.

He did this, he said, out of respect for the artist and the artist's equally revered subject.

"I just wanted to do what was right," he said.

His name is Jim Governale and the recording is of word-painter extraordinaire Vin Scully's over-the-air description of the final inning of the Dodgers' 5-0 victory over the New York Mets on June 30, 1962, at Dodger Stadium, the only known surviving audio account of the first of Sandy Koufax's four no-hitters.

And if that story weren't cool enough, there's more: Dodgers team historian Mark Langill says excerpts from the recording will be posted at the team's website this week.

UPDATE: Audio has been posted.

UPDATE: Updated link.

Merry Christmas from Sons of Steve Garvey

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Another Three-Month Anniversary

Nomar does it again for Dodgers: First baseman's walk-off grand slam helps LA keep pace

photo by Jill Weisleder/Dodgers

Drew to Shoulder Burden of Opt-Out Clause?

According to MLB Trade Rumors, J.D. Drew's shoulder has been examined by two surgeons:

The likely result? A one-year clause similar to the one the Tigers gave Magglio Ordonez. The Red Sox would be able to opt out after the first season if Drew goes on the DL because of the shoulder.

Does Drew's shoulder last beyond the All-Star break? Post your predictions!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ng Is Ready to Rock; Is Baseball Ready to Roll (the Dice)?

"Hey Donnelly, throw me a ball! Or you're fired!"

Newsweek magazine, profiling Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng in their "Who's Next 2007" issue, puts her "in the best position to become the first female GM in a major U.S. sport—as well as an Asian-American pioneer":

While she may be the most prominent woman in the 30 executive offices of baseball's various teams, her colleagues no longer notice the novelty. They just know the 38-year-old assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers knows her baseball stuff—from negotiating player salaries in the back rooms to assessing talent on the field.

As much as I would like to believe baseball has suddenly become blind to gender and race, the reality of a league which has to mandate minority-hiring measures suggests there are more Bill Singers than Omar Minayas among baseball's decision makers.

Yet, winning trumps tradition. Here are some scenarios in which Kim Ng could be hired as a major league GM:

A small-market team hiring Ng makes sense. The attendant positive publicity combined with a lower payroll and lower expectations from fans and media alike would create an ideal market where Ng could thrive. Plus, the team's owners would be able to get away with paying her a lower salary for "giving her a chance."

Conversely, the Giants could pull a retaliatory reverse-Colletti and hire Ng, simultaneously weakening the Dodgers' front office and burnishing San Francisco's image as the most progressive city in the U.S. Brian Sabean's tenure as Giants GM will be inextricably linked with Barry Bonds; replacing Sabean with Ng would give their organization a clean slate after Bonds finally departs.

And there's another scenario which greatly increases Ng's odds: the Dodgers winning a World Series. After all, isn't kicking everyone else's ass the great equalizer?

photo by Gregg Segal/Newsweek

Tommy John Still Trying to Elbow His Way Into the Hall

Check out this informative article on Tommy John's chances of making the Hall of Fame.

Sounds like he has a lot working against him. If the Veterans Committee has been keeping Gil Hodges out, are John's chances much better?

Merry &$*%!#@ Christmas, Dave Kingman

"Dave Kingman beat us with three &$*%!#@ home runs? 'Naughty' list."

In the spirit of the season, we present an uncensored transcript of Tommy Lasorda's infamous response to reporter Paul Olden's seemingly innocuous question, "What's your opinion of Kingman's performance?"

"What's my opinion of Kingman's performance? What the fuck do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was fucking horseshit! Put that in, I don't fucking—opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ, he beat us with three fucking home runs! What the fuck do you mean what is my opinion of his performance? How can you ask me a question like that, what is my opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ, he hit three home runs! Jesus Christ! I'm fucking pissed off to lose the fucking game, and you ask me my opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ! That's a tough question to ask me, isn't it? What is my opinion of his performance?...Well, I didn't give you a good answer because I'm mad, but I mean, that's a tough question to ask me right now, what is my opinion of his performance? I mean, you want me to tell you what my opinion of his performance is....That's right! Jesus Christ! Guy hits three home runs against us. Shit, I mean I don't want to, I don't mean to get pissed off or anything like that but, you know, you ask me my opinion. I mean, he put on a hell of a show, he hit three home runs, he drove in, what, seven runs?...Eight runs! So what the hell more can you say about it? I didn't mean to get mad or anything like that but god damn, you ask me my opinion of his performance."

There seems to be some confusion as to whether Lasorda's explosion occurred June 4, 1976, or May 14, 1978—as Dave Kingman had three home runs and eight RBIs against the Dodgers on both dates.

Check out some excellent detective work behind Tommy's tirade here. Yes, even obscene rants get deconstructed.

As for the reporter Olden, CBS SportsLine reports:

Olden has since gone on to do play-by-play for the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and for many years announced the starting lineups over the public address microphone at the Super Bowl.

"I ran into Paul a few times when he was announcing for Tampa Bay," Lasorda said. "I told him, 'You didn't do anything wrong. I was the guy who did something wrong.' "

photo by Myung J. Chun/L.A. Times

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Steve Garvey

Almost missed this one—thanks to the reliable 6-4-2 for pointing out today is the birthday of our blog's namesake, Steve Garvey.

What a Difference Two Years Makes

"Remember me? I'm the Ghost of Dodger Potential."

season team HR AVG OBP SLG OPS salary
2004 Dodgers 48 .334 .388 .629 1.017 $5,000,000
2005 Mariners 19 .255 .303 .413 .716 $11,400,000
2006 Mariners 25 .268 .328 .465 .793 $12,900,000

Tiny Gems in Sports Illustrated

From an uncredited wag in this week's Sports Illustrated:

You. Can. Live. Your. Dreams. The secret? Have crappy little dreams.


It took us awhile to figure it out, but once we realized that they were the team of Bob Lemon and Jim Abbott, the New York Yankees slot machine made perfect sense.

Junior, D-Train Doing Their Best to Keep Baseball in the News

Ken Griffey Jr. breaks hand; to be tested with MRI?

Dontrelle Willis breaks law, is arrested for DUI

Boras Spins like a Dreidel

From the AP/ article "Boras refutes injury reports on Drew":

"J.D. is healthy," Boras said Wednesday night. "We've had noted experts that have demonstrated that he's without any condition that would effect [sic] him over the five years of the contract."

"Noted experts"? "Without any condition"? The Associated Press confusing "affect" and "effect"?

How that quote reads to Sons of Steve Garvey:

"J.D. is healthy," Boras said Wednesday night. "We've had guys on my payroll that have demonstrated that he's without any condition outside of his right shoulder and wrist that would affect his pay me ten percent of $70 million! Oh crap, I said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sammy Smells Money

AP/ Sammy Sosa begins training for return to big leagues

An aging slugger with a history of pouting and cheating? Sorry, Barry Bonds is already taken.

A Last-Minute Gift Idea for the Lady in Your Life

Make her fall in love with you all over again with a Dodger-themed leather recliner, now on sale for $999.00!

An Anecdotal Antidote for the Dodger Fan's Holiday Blues

Dodger blues (the depression, not the website) got you down? Can't believe we're paying Juan Pierre $44 million for five years? Crying in your eggnog because you really, really thought J.D. Drew would stay?

If you don't have blessings to count, then you can always take solace in the misery of others. For instance, check out an excerpt from this interview by Barry Wittenstein with Stuart Miller, author of The 100 Greatest Days in New York Sports:

BW: What are the top two worst days in Mets history?

SM: The Mets have had many unique ways to break our hearts or give us the book, I have Dwight Gooden giving up that homer to Mike Sciosia [sic] in 1988. And I have to say, I'm a Met fan, and I love celebrating all these moments, top 100, and the top 25 on the road, but Met fans, and Knick fans, unlike Yankee fans, invariably ask about the worst moments, and spend as much passion on them. They'll ask, "Do you have the Charles Smith game, or do you have Gooden giving up the homer to Sciosia?" I was 22 in 1988, so for people younger than me and older than me -- every age group -- I think they remember that. If a team wins the World Series twice in three years, you’re a dynasty, but Gibson’s home run off McDowell (ruined that possibility).

BW: I remember the Sciosia home run, but not the Gibson homer.

SM: It was that same game. Gooden giving up the home run to Sciosia in 1988 only tied the game. They've got a 4-2 lead in the 9th inning. Gooden is pitching a three hitter. And if they win, the Mets are up 3-1, which you have to figure is pretty tough to come back from. And then Gooden walks the lead-off hitter and Mike Sciosia comes up and hits this home run. And your jaw drops because Sciosia had only three homers the entire year. So that only tied the game and made it 4-4. The Mets still could have won it, but it went to the 12th and then Kirk Gibson, who of course, hit his famous home run in the World Series off the A's, homered off McDowell.

BW: Funny how the Gibson home run takes a backseat to the Sciosia homer.

SM: Right. People remember the Sciosia home run, and the reality is, not only did that just tie the game and not win it, but the Mets left on two guys in the 11th and in the 12th, after Gibson's homer, they got two guys on again, Greg Jeffries [sic] was called on to bunt, and failed, and then, with the bases loaded, Strawberry popped out. But you know who's pitching at that point for LA? Jesse Orosco. Orosco comes on to get the lefty Strawberry out, then they bring in Orel Hershiser who pitched the day before, and Hershiser gets Kevin McReynolds on a weak fly-out. But it was kind of that double indignity of Orosco helping to beat the Mets and McDowell, his replacement, giving up the homer. So, that's just a bad day in so many different ways.

Ah, 1988.

Gagne's Parting Gift

From "Rangers gamble on Gagne" by Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Gagne is an incredible teammate, often offering spare bedrooms to rookies and other newcomers. Russell Martin and Jason Repko are recent boarders. He even took Joe Beimel out for a couple beers in New York City, which, granted, did not work out so great for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thanks a lot, Eric. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Giants Planning on Being Zito's Second Choice?

From a San Francisco Chronicle article on recent activity by the Giants:
Even though there is a wide belief that Barry Zito will choose between the Rangers, who reportedly have a $100 million offer on the table, and the Mets, whose top officials visited the pitcher in Southern California on Tuesday, knowledgeable sources insist the Giants plan to stay in the hunt for Zito until the end.
"Until the end," but no further? Not very inspiring words for Giants fans.

2007 Dodgers Promotions: Where's The Lip Gloss Giveaway?

After a year that included the resounding success of the 2006 Smashbox Cosmetics Lip Gloss Giveaway Promotion, I looked forward to the 2007 Dodger Special Events and Promotions Calendar, which was just released. Here are some of the 2007 promotional giveaway highlights:

  • Nomar Garciaparra gets his own Dodger Bobblehead giveaway (April 26), one of three 2007 bobblehead giveaways, including a Fans' Choice Bobblehead on August 2. (Steve Garvey was one of the three bobbleheads offered last year, and it doesn't get any better than that from the SoSG perspective.)
  • Nomar also gets a Batting Practice Jersey on April 14. Want to bet he's one of the two poster boys adorning the ends of the main concourse?
  • Yay, there's a Rally Towel on April 10 (the day after opening day). Boo, they are only making 20K of them. Thanks a lot to AAA, the cheapskate event sponsor.
  • Universal Studios must have some attendance issues, as they have anniversaried their omnipresent Free Kids Ticket Giveaway events (all season long).
  • The Sleepover is back (July 27, while the team is on the road).
  • The Lip Gloss Giveaway, and for that matter any female fan-targeted promotion, is gone. Shoot, I was hoping for some Dodgers Eye Liner.
  • All in all, it looks like a pretty weak promotional schedule for the Dodgers in 2007 (unless you're Nomar and you get royalties). Perhaps this reflects the lack of fans actually attending the game (since attendance counts tickets sold, not turnstile attendance--and last year there were plenty of "full" games that were actually pretty empty). Promotional schedules for most of the other teams haven't been posted yet, but it's clear the Dodgers can't find any sponsors for creative giveaways like a Padres Yo-Yo (June 10), a Phillies Shane Victorino Hula Figurine (June 3), or even a Rangers Dreyer's Ice Cream Chatter Bats (May 24).

    Did I mention the $8 beer?

    April 2007 Can't Come Soon Enough

    I just put up the Dodgers 2006-2007 Team Calendar on my wall. December 2006 has a special Cy Young Award tribute to Eric Gagne and Greg Maddux, both of whom are playing for new teams next year.

    January and February 2007 are combined on one page, which has a nice big photo of JD Drew--former Dodger JD Drew.

    March 2007 has a photo of Brad Penny, reportedly on the trading block.

    Will I have to wait until April 2007 (Jeff Kent) for the calendar to have relevance? Stay tuned (and hope there's no truck-washing incidents this winter).

    Heh Heh, He Said "Merkle"

    An interesting historical tidbit from "Today's Birthdays" at 6-4-2:

    Fred Merkle BRO b. 1888, played 1916-1917, d. 1956-03-02. Infamous with the Giants as the author of "Merkle's Boner", a baserunning gaffe that occurred as the last play in a September 23, 1908 game against the rival Cubs. With Merkle on first, what should have been a game-winning hit instead turned into controversy as Merkle headed to the dugout, as was the custom at the time, instead of touching second base on his way to crossing home plate. As the Giants home crowd flooded the field, Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers stepped on second base while in possession of the ball (or, anyway, a ball, since Giants pitcher Joe McGinnity had appeared to hurl the game ball deep into the crowd), claiming a forceout and the negation of the winning run. With fans already making the field impassable, the game's result was nullified. At the end of the season, the Cubs and Giants were tied, and so both teams had to replay the now-missing game; the Giants lost it and the pennant.

    Also, check out a pre-Ebbets Field perspective over at The Trolley Dodger.

    Wolf and Ham: A Cautionary Tale

    From "Dodgers hand out holiday hams to fans: Farmer John, Ralphs and Food4Less help team give back" at

    LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf, general manager Ned Colletti, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and Council member Ed P. Reyes were among those spending early Tuesday night handing out holiday hams to fans at Dodger Stadium....

    "It's special to be part of helping those who might be less fortunate," said Wolf, recently signed to bolster the starting rotation. "At holiday time, it's great to help out and share. This is something the fans will remember and I'll remember being a part of."

    How that last paragraph reads to Sons of Steve Garvey:

    "It's special to be part of helping those who might be less fortunate," said Wolf, as he handed a 15-pound ham to a grateful fan. "At holiday time—AAUGH! MY ARM JUST SNAPPED IN TWO! WHY DIDN'T THEY MAKE BROXTON DO THIS INSTEAD? MY CAREER IS OVER! WHY DID I HAVE TO LIFT HAMS WITH MY PITCHING ARM?!"

    Colletti immediately got on his cell phone to deal for Chan Ho Park.

    DiGiovanna Out-snips Gurnick

    From the L.A. Times' "Angels Q&A" column by Mike DiGiovanna:

    Q: Why does the Los Angeles Times print so many more stories about the Dodgers? I hate the Dodgers. I'd prefer that The Times only write about the Angels.

    Rob Simpson

    A: Haven't discussed this with my sports editor, Rob, but my guess is that since the Dodgers draw more than 3 million fans annually, garner solid television ratings, have won five World Series titles in Los Angeles, have one of the game's greatest broadcasters in Vin Scully and are located in the heart of the paper's circulation area, which happens to be the second-largest market in the U.S., we might want to drop a few paragraphs about them into The Times every now and then.

    Who would have thought writing about multimillionaires playing a child's game could make one so jaded?

    Joe Camel Signs with Texas Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas (SoSG) — Former cigarette spokes-ungulate Joe Camel, unemployed since the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company declined to renew his contract in 1997, has apparently found employment with the Texas Rangers. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels signed Camel to a two-year, $4.5 million contract with a mutual option for the 2009 season.

    The Rangers plan to platoon Camel with newly acquired center fielder Kenny Lofton. "He's a guy who wants to win as well, so I think with him deciding to come here knowing what they're trying to do here, I think he also wants to be part of a winner," said Camel about Lofton.

    photo by Brad Newton/Rangers

    Colletti Bats 3-for-11 (.273)

    Jon Heyman from ranks the winter's best baseball deals, and of the top 11 deals listed, Ned Colletti has three of them:

  • #1 Randy Wolf, one year, $8M;
  • #3 Nomar Garciaparra, two years, $18.5M;
  • #10 Jason Schmidt, three years, $47M.
  • Not bad, although it may be a law of numbers deal given how busy Colletti was this off-season. (The Padres' signing of Greg Maddux (two years, $16M) was the only other NL West team represented on the list). And, to be fair, the Juan Pierre deal (five years, $44M) was not mentioned. But hey, at least it's not Gil Meche (five years, $55M).

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Wilson Betonit?

    From AP/ "Players rumored to throw games; league investigating":

    SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Dominican baseball officials were investigating rumors that players on a winter league team took money to throw games, the league president said Monday.

    The announcement came four days after pitcher Pascual Coco and outfielder Enmanuel Sena were dismissed by Santo Domingo's Escogido Lions amid allegations the last-place team was intentionally losing games....

    The roster of the Santo Domingo club includes Chicago White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Wilson Betemit.

    At least that could explain some of Betemit's defensive play at third base.

    (Thanks to The Trolley Dodger for the tip.)

    One-Team Players Going the Way of the Dinosaurs

    Allen Iverson on the Denver Nuggets. Eric Gagne on the Texas Rangers. Jeff Bagwell retiring after a career with the Houston Astros. Brad Radke retiring after a career with the Minnesota Twins.

    Free agency and the rising power of sports agents are turning single-team lifers into an anachronism.

    Although some teams have begun to sign youngsters to extended contracts (Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers the latest example), agents are structuring deals to free their clients for at least one more lucrative shot at free agency.

    And other teams are willing to oblige by throwing money at an aging or injured star to boost ticket sales and potentially get some decent production as well.

    So remember Derek Jeter and the Yankees, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Peyton Manning and the Colts. They may be the last of the one-team players—or the future of team-jumping free agents. illustration


    Not unlike seeing an old flame with a new beau, the sight of Eric Gagne in anything but a Dodger uniform is proving tougher to accept than the announcement itself.

    photo by R. Jeena Jacob/AP

    Giants Nab Klesko, Continue All-Veteran Crusade reports that The Giants just signed Ryan Klesko to a one-year deal.

    Klesko, 35, was the starting first baseman for San Diego from 2000-2003, but has also spent considerable time in left field and right field. He played in only six games last year due to a strained left shoulder, but posts a lifetime .280 batting average. He hit 0 home runs last year, 18 in 2005 and nine in 2004.

    Klesko will join fellow geriatric position players Barry Bonds (42), Omar Vizquel (39), Rich Aurilia (35), Ray Durham (35), Dave Roberts (34), Bengie Molina (32), Randy Winn (32), and Pedro Feliz (31). Editor's note: those are players' ages, not uniform numbers. San Francisco spent $16-20M to get Bonds back for this year, and has dropped another $71M to secure Aurilia, Durham, Feliz, Molina, and Roberts. Terms of the Klesko contract were, unsurprisingly, not announced.

    Who Says Pitchers Can't Swing a Bat?

    Certainly not the Braves. From

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A Tampa teenager drafted by the Atlanta Braves has been charged with using a baseball bat to damage a vehicle, police said.

    Steven Michael Evarts, 19, a standout pitcher for Robinson High School, was arrested Monday on charges of criminal mischief causing $1,000 or more in damage. Evarts was released on a $2,000 bond.

    Evarts and two other men were seen damaging Barbara Montague's Chevrolet Blazer on Dec. 9, said Laura McElory, a spokeswoman for the Tampa Police Department. It's believed Evarts and Montague's son were in a dispute regarding their friends competing for the same spot on another high school baseball team, McElory said.

    Damage to the vehicle, estimated at more than $3,700, included smashed windows and dents to the vehicle's body, police reports said. The other two suspects have not been arrested.

    Shades of Jack Nicholson!

    Giants Can Afford Zito; Will Zito Afford Giants the Time of Day?

    From an AP/ article on teams interested in Barry Zito:

    With Barry Bonds agreeing to defer some of the $16 million he will be owed in his one-year contract with the Giants, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean has said he has the financial resources to sign a top pitcher -- though he hasn't confirmed how much his club would be willing to spend on Zito.

    It's unlikely Zito would choose the Giants unless they offered the best deal. And the Giants don't have a history of outbidding big spenders except themselves.

    Boras Putting Words in Mouth of Mrs. Matsuzaka

    From a Boston Globe article updating J.D. Drew's status (still unsigned) with the Red Sox (bottom of page):
    When [Scott Boras] visited in Japan this summer, Matsuzaka's wife asked for a favor. "She wanted to know if I could get Daisuke the jersey of his favorite player," Boras said. "I thought it might be Ichiro, or [Hideki] Matsui. No -- it was Jason Varitek."

    And this was before the Red Sox won bidding rights? Sounds fishy.

    Comment of the Week

    Congratulations to Robert Daeley from The Trolley Dodger, the winner of our inaugural Comment of the Week:

    Likewise, I'm sure! ;) Very much digging your Sons site as well. Keep up the great work!

    Robert's prize is (checks sidebar) fame (in the form of us linking to his site, notoriety (Have you ever seen Robert Daeley and Bob Daly at the same time?) and adoration from others (see "Contributors" sidebar box).

    Thanks, Robert!

    Jayson Werth, You're a Wiener!

    Sorry for the headline. I'm trying to combine two short nuggets into one story, saving time, effort, and energy--and therefore not contributing to global warming. SoSG is nothing if not environmentally responsible.

    First, Jayson Werth looks like he has found a new home with the Philadelphia Phillies. Terms were not announced, but it's in the Philly Inquirer. Werth played hurt in 2005 with a wrist injury, batting .234 with seven HR and 43 RBI. Werth struggled through rehab throughout 2006 with the same injury and the Phils are taking a chance that he can come back. Here's hoping if the fans throw batteries at Werth in 2007, that he'll at least be wearing a wrist guard.

    Second, AOL's cityguide has posted a poll for the place with the best hot dogs in Los Angeles, and Dodger Stadium is on the list. Since Jon Weisman described his choice on DT, I thought I might add that I voted for Carney's, which I suppose is sacrilege for a Dodger fan--and I do eat a lot of Dodger Dogs (roughly two a game). However, I felt I had to give the edge to a place open year-round. (And there's chili at Carney's. And the beer is cheaper there than at Dodger Stadium.)

    I used to live in walking distance to Pink's, the other LA hot dog staple, and I agree with Weisman that I always thought it was overrated food despite being a fun experience. The long queue up the block always befuddles me, though. The last time I went to Pink's, though, I looked up at a fan that was placed over the food, and there was so much oil and condensed steam caked onto the rusted fan grill, that a brownish liquid was dripping back down into the food areas. That sort of did it for me.

    UPDATE (1p PST): According to, the Jayson Werth deal is supposedly for one year and $850K, with an additional $150K in performance incentives.

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Bostonians Expecting an Awful Lot from Matsuzaka

    "I'm also dating Bridget Moynahan!"

    Enjoy the honeymoon while you can, Daisuke Matsuzaka, because come April you'll find life in Boston isn't all ceremonial hockey pucks and "national treasure" talk.

    Alex Rios, Vernon Wells Consolation Prize?

    The latest Dodgers power bat rumor mentions Alex Rios of the Blue Jays as a potential trade for Brad Penny, according to Ben Maller of The Jays may also be looking at Jon Lieber from the Phillies for Rios. Said Maller:

    The Dodgers would seem to have starting excess now that they have signed Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf to join Penny and Derek Lowe. [Toronto GM JP] Ricciardi was asked if something might be done to solve the next problem by, say, Christmas. "No, no, no, no," Ricciardi said. "I think this would be something — if we can get it, which is going to be hard to do — that might go right up to spring training."

    The Blue Jays, who just locked down Vernon Wells to a 7-year, $126M deal, may be looking to deal Rios, 25. In 2006, Rios batted .302/.349/.516 (BA/OBP/SLG--all career years) over 128 games, with 17 HR and 82 RBI (three home runs and 18 RBI fewer than JD Drew). Rios had a one-year deal with Toronto last year for a scant $350K.

    Just as a point of comparison, Andre Ethier batted .308/.365/.477 over 126 games, with 11 HR and 55 RBI. And Marlon Anderson, over his short 25 games with LA, batted .375/.431/.813. I'm just saying.

    Three-Month Anniversary

    Nomar caps incredible win for LA: Four straight homers tie it in ninth; walk-off puts club in first

    Kent photo by John SooHoo/Dodgers
    Drew, Martin, Anderson, Garciaparra, scoreboard photos by Jill Weisleder/Dodgers

    Bidding Against Oneself for Barry Bonds

    Peter Magowan, owner of the Giants, had this classic quote when asked by reporters how he could have given Barry Bonds a $16-20M contract when no other teams were interested. Magowan had this to say to the San Francisco Comical:

    "Barry is worth more here than he is elsewhere," Magowan said, because he is popular here and the home-run record he is chasing will mean more to San Francisco fans.

    "The people who say we were bidding against ourselves and there was nobody else interested -- that's complete bull. At some price, there would have been some people interested.

    "We were roundly criticized for offering money to a player where there were no other bidders. It's more complicated than that. You have to think about what gives the guy enough money to reflect his status and what he's accomplished, and that you do want him as a player, and not look at every nickel and dime what he costs," Magowan said.

    "You want to give the player enough money that you don't humiliate him."

    So let's paraphrase, shall we? Magowan was going to pay Bonds whatever the hell he wanted. At some price, other teams might have been interested--but at the price paid, no one was even close. But to Magowan, this was the equivalent of a gold watch for years of service. A $20M gold watch.

    It is kind and noble of Magowan to save Bonds, with frail ego and low self-esteem, from any contract humiliation. As for other humiliation, Bonds can get that at all road games.

    Colletti vs. Sabean, Round 2

    It’s always good to keep tabs on the competition. In the case of the Dodgers, said competition is obviously the hated Giants. So let’s see how the lineups for 2007 compare (new players in italics):

    Position Dodgers Giants
    1B Garciaparra Aurilia
    2B Kent Durham
    SS Furcal Vizquel
    3B Betemit Feliz
    LF Gonzalez Bonds
    CF Pierre Roberts
    RF Ethier Winn
    C Martin Molina
    SP Lowe, Schmidt, Penny, Wolf, Billingsley Cain, Morris, Lowry, Hennessey, Sanchez
    RP Broxton, Kuo, Tomko, etc. Kline, Worrell, Correia
    CP Saito Benitez

    Position by position, it does look like the Dodgers beat the Giants almost all the way down the line. But I’d expect this given our relative performances last season, in which the Giants went 76-85 and ended up 11.5 games out of first place.

    Say what you will about Ned Colletti’s moves this season, both safe (Schmidt) and risky (Pierre), when you compare his moves with those of his counterpart Brian Sabean of the Giants, Colletti looks brilliant—or at least ready to make some moves to try and improve the ballclub, which is admirable (and will be even more admirable with that power-bat-to-be-named-later). All of the Giants’ new players (Aurilia, Roberts, Molina) are pretty old and/or team retreads—which is, I suppose, consistent with the rest of Brian Sabean’s re-signings of last year’s team (Bonds, Feliz, Durham, and Kline). But it is odd that, coming off an under-performing season, Sabean hasn’t shaken it up a little more.

    To be fair, it may not be all Sabean’s fault. Rumors have it that his hands may have been tied—owner Peter Magowan wants to keep a $85M payroll, of which Bonds (whom Magowan wanted back) is allocated ~$20M. Magowan even begrudged his own lineup in a recent quote: “I think the lineup is better than OK….I think the pitching has a lot of potential, but let’s face facts, it also has a lot of uncertainty, as does the closer situation. Last year I felt in some ways we were one of the favorites, and I know this year we won't be.”

    If you want to improve, you gotta spend money—and as for the incremental difference, as Frank McCourt knows, you can always stick it to the fans. But, even having been one of those fans who has been stuck (twice in two years, I might add), I have to say that I’d rather be a Dodger fan in 2007.

    Oh yeah, and we have a deep farm system, too.

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Padres Join Brotherhood

    Ken Rosenthal at reports Marcus Giles is close to joining his brother Brian on the Padres. The Giles brothers would join the Hoffman brothers on the team, which would then rename itself the San Diego Hermanos.

    Dodgers' Increase in Ticket Prices, Part 3

    Earlier today, SoSG posted the difference in salaries between players lost this year (2006 combined salaries: $43.7M) and players gained in this offseason (2007 combined salaries: $37.5M). By this math, Frank McCourt should still have about $6M dollars to spend on other players, just to come up to par with the salaries of those lost.

    But wait, he's also raising season ticket prices for 2007. And how much money will that bring in? At the LOW end, this comes out to an increase of 14%. Given attendance last year of 3,758,421 and an average ticket price of $20.09 last year, the Dodgers took in $75.5M in gate revenue alone. (Yes, some of this amount is split with the visiting team; however, the Dodgers always pull in crowds on the road, so for this exercise I've called it a wash.)

    Adding another 14% to ticket prices, and Frank McCourt could spend another $10.6M just from incremental gate revenues alone. Add 40% (the top end of the ticket hike range), and there's another $30M to spend on other players. Heck, take $10M and put it toward a remedial math class at SMCC for Drew McCourt--that still would leave $20M that the Dodgers could spend toward Barry Zito or Manny Ramirez.

    Frank McCourt, put your money where your mouth is. If you're going to pillage the Dodgers' best supporters, the fans, you can at least put that money back into the team lineup. Santa needs to bring us a power bat this Christmas.

    It Pays to be Formerly Disgruntled

    With disgruntled former Dodger Toby Hall signing a two-year, $3.65 million contract with the White Sox and oft-injured former Dodger Jayson Werth garnering interest from multiple clubs, Dodger fans might be wondering why these players weren't traded for prospects instead of being non-tendered with nothing to show for them.

    Ken Gurnick at has some answers:

    One of former general manager Paul DePodesta's first acquisitions, Werth hit 16 home runs playing part-time in 2004, but there are few people in current management or staff that have much familiarity with him....

    The Dodgers tried to trade [Hall], but interested clubs apparently were convinced the Dodgers would non-tender Hall and they could get him without giving up a player.

    Mas Moynahan, Requests SoSG Contributor "Lasorda"

    "I dig anonymous fanboy bloggers."

    The NBA Needs a Fight Code

    "Elmo!" "Barney!" "Elmo!" "Barney!"

    Baseball fans have seen it many times. Pitcher beans batter, batter charges pitcher, benches clear before the tussle gets out of control.

    In hockey, equipment issues make fights deliberate, almost dancelike routines.

    And football players use most of their energy beating each other up during plays, not between them.

    But the latest NBA brawl demonstrates basketball players could use a fight code, a protocol for fisticuffs.

    The lack of a history of NBA violence has left players feeling obligated to throw punches. The old rule of reserve players staying on the bench hardly seems to apply.

    Part of the problem is on-court personnel: There aren't enough referees and assistant coaches to separate players. Another problem is the court itself: Basketball is also the only major sport without a barrier between players and audience (as Ron Artest was reminded in Detroit).

    Since David Stern can do nothing except publicly oppose all forms of fighting, it's up to the players to write the fighting script.

    Don't expect any masterpieces soon.

    AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

    Dodgers' Increase in Ticket Prices, Part 2

    The Dodgers announced this week that season ticket prices were going up on most pacakges by an increase of 14% to 40%. Given that they doubled the prices of some tickets for the 2006 season, the rapid inflation is both annoying and painful, and at least should give some pause for reflection.

    SoSG made the point earlier that this was the cost of the new Juan Pierre era. But I wanted to take a quick back-of-the-envelope look at salaries of the players lost this year, versus the salaries of the new players coming in next year, to see why McCourt is sticking it to the fans.

    Losses (’06 salary) Holds Additions (’07 salary)
    Drew -$11M Garciaparra Schmidt +$15M*
    Gagne -$10M Saito Wolf +$8M
    Maddux -$9M R Martinez Pierre +$7.5M
    Lugo -$5M Gonzalez +$7M
    Lofton -3.5M Lieberthal +1.1M
    Cruz Jr. -$3M
    Hall -$2.2M

    So we've shed seven players whose combined salaries were $43.7M in 2006, and we have signed five players whose combined 2007 salaries will be $37.5M. (Schmidt is earning $12M in 2007 but we have a balloon payment of $10M as a signing bonus at the end of this three-year contract, so I added $3M for good measure.) Numbers also do not include incentive bonuses; it's otherwise pure salaries.

    Now I know this is pretty crude arithmetic, since some of the new Dodgers were signed to contracts which have increasing salaries over their terms. But given that the offseason market is a rich one (as every player lost got a salary increase), isn't it odd that we are paying less in 2007 salaries than we had in 2006? I mean, I have read that our payroll went from $98M last year to an estimated $114M this year, which I get. But the fuzzy math of just looking how the 2007 lineup changed from the 2006 cast certainly doesn't seem to merit the increase in ticket prices.

    By Elimination, McCourt Must Be a Lover

    Hot off of winning the Scopus award for his minty-fresh breath, Frank McCourt got a new mention at the end of today's New York Times "On Baseball" column by Murray Chass:

    Maybe it’s the environment — laid-back Los Angeles. Maybe he would have been tougher in a tougher environment — Boston. But Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers, not the Red Sox, and he is what he is. What he is not is a fighter.

    McCourt, who has been described as not being a troublemaker, chose not to pursue a tampering charge against the Red Sox over the recent signing of J. D. Drew despite the urging of officials from other clubs.

    Or maybe Frank just knew about JD Drew's shoulder?

    Congratulations, Y'all

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Ha Ha!


    The Red Sox continued to make noise yesterday, which makes their silence all the more curious. And when it comes to outfielder J.D. Drew, the Red Sox are saying decidedly little.

    The reason?

    There appears to have been a problem with the player’s physical exam.

    While Sox officials and Drew's agent, Scott Boras, have been playing word games, indications are that Drew's recent physical with the team has raised a red flag. For example, the Sox still have not announced Drew's signing despite the fact that nearly two weeks have passed since Boras stood in a Florida hotel lobby and announced that the team and his client had agreed on a five-year, $70 million contract.

    Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus has more details:

    Drew took the physical shortly after the announcement of the deal in Orlando, but sources have told me that Drew showed problems in his shoulder that "could shut down his power." Drew had minor surgery on his shoulder after the 2005 season, so it's possible that there’s more damage in there. It's important to note that in free agent acquisitions, a team often does not have the benefit of requesting medical records from his previous team prior to signing.

    The Boston Herald article suggests Drew's contract could be amended to include an injury clause, providing the Red Sox with a level of protection.

    Oh, and The Trolley Dodger beat us to the Nelson gag, but when it comes to Lady Drew, there can never be enough mockery.

    Bridget Moynahan Splits with Boyfriend, Apparently a Professional Athlete of Some Sort

    This is Bridget Moynahan. No information is available on her reclusive ex-boyfriend.

    Whither Ichiro in 2008?

    Ken Rosenthal at wonders, "Is Ichiro San Fran-bound in 2008?" (second item). Rosenthal cites San Francisco's Japanese community and Ichiro and Giants manager Bruce Bochy sharing the same agent as possible attractants.

    But unless Giants general manager Brian Sabean changes his approach to doing business, here's why Ichiro won't end up in San Francisco:

    Uninspiring quotes from Sabean like "Same old, same old. It's been slower than I expected" and "We're going to find out [about Barry Zito], I guess" (from the Rich Aurilia/Dave Roberts article posted earlier) betray a frustration with negotiations that shouldn't be made public. West coast teams are often at a disadvantage with east coast-leaning free agents; why compound that handicap?

    More significant is the disadvantage that can be expressed in numbers, namely 76 (wins) and 85 (losses). The Giants are coming off another losing season, making them an unattractive to free agents such as Alfonso Soriano, Juan Pierre and Gary Mathews Jr. Overcoming that negative perception costs money. (In the Cubs' case, $136 million for Soriano.)

    The Dodgers were in a similar position a year ago after finishing 20 games under .500, but rookie GM Ned Colletti made a statement with Rafael Furcal's contract for $39 million over three years—considered overpaying at the time.

    But the deal established Colletti's credibility and he was subsequently able to sign Sandy Alomar Jr., Bill Mueller, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton and Brett Tomko, players whose contributions helped the Dodgers improve by 17 wins this past season.

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Why "Hot Stove League"?

    A couple of fun links from Pete McEntegart's "The 10 Spot" column at

    Sports idioms explained, part 1: including Texas Leaguer, ducks on the pond, tater, bullpen, rubber match, "K," in the wheelhouse

    Sports idioms explained, part 2: including can of corn, grand slam, Baltimore chop, high cheese and the following:

    7. Why is the baseball offseason referred to as the Hot Stove League?

    Answer: The term comes from when fans would gather during the winter months to discuss prospects for the upcoming season in places such as saloons, poolrooms, barbershops or drugstores. These locations often had a coal- or wood-burning stove in the center of the room to keep patrons warm. Presumably the chatter was the most heated where the fans huddled to stay warm around the stove.

    Let the Drew Drubbing Continue

    I can't resist posting this link from Bill Simmons of ESPN, which carries a nice stretch of consecutive emails he received from ecstatic Dodger fans who are delighted to be done with JD Drew. (You need to go halfway down the link to find the Drew messages in Simmons' mailbag.) But look at Simmons' own response:

    I haven't been this horrified by a big move from a Boston team since the Celtics traded for Vin Baker four summers ago. The Sox just signed someone who, by all accounts, plays without any semblance of passion or intensity. He's the exact type of player that Boston fans have always hated. We have a century-long track record of proving this point. That's the part I don't get. It's not like Theo is from France -- he's from freaking Brookline. He should have known. Arrrrrrrrrgh.

    I also like the final email from Michael Rupp, quoting Bono's Band-Aid line, "Well, tonight thank god it's them, instead of you!" Dodger fans, do we know it's Christmas? I think we do.

    Vernon Wells, Overachiever

    This Vernon Wells quote from the article about his potential re-signing:
    "Like I said, my family comes first. Obviously this gives me an opportunity to set my family up for a couple of generations."

    "For a couple of generations"? Way to raise the bar for the rest of us, Vernon.

    Blue Jays Poised to Mount Vernon

    As referenced here on SoSG before, Vernon Wells is leaning toward the Blue Jays' offer of $126M over seven years. I have to assume that the $126M is in US dollars, though given the way the dollar has fallen, it may be a moot point. $18M/year is pretty lofty, though; I mean, that's Matsuzaka-level money. The odds are apparently "better than 50-50" that Wells will sign.

    "How can you not be happy?" asked the ever-rhetorical Wells, 28, who also said he would be willing to remain with the team rather than get more money as a free agent next year. Like the Dodgers, the Blue Jays are building their team around guys who want to play for their franchise.

    Unlike the Dodgers, though, the Blue Jays might have a power bat in their lineup. Cue the Manny circus music?

    Dodgers' 2007 Odds: 15:1

    FishStripes, a Marlins blog, just posted the odds to win the 2007 World Series, courtesy of Bodog Sportsbook. The New York Yankees lead the pack at 4:1, the Mets at 6:1, and the Red Sox 8:1. Oh no, there's no east-coast bias in sports.

    In the NL West, the Dodgers lead the pack with 15:1 odds. The Padres are 22:1, the Giants are 50:1, the Snakes are 60:1, and the Rockies are 70:1. High expectations indeed.

    Strangely, the Angels are 10:1, ahead of any other AL West team.

    The Nationals bring up the rear at 150:1.

    This Just In

    Also, Jerry Crasnick at informs us "Zito is going to strike it rich."

    Aurilia and Roberts Start Puckering Up

    Let the ass-kissing begin, according to Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts can't wait to play with the Giants' swollen-headed clubhouse cancer.

    [Said Aurilia,] "It's a thing where you just have to accept Barry for who he is. We all know the type of player he is."

    So do we, Rich. Have a great year.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Dodgers Lead League in Bleeding Dodger Blue

    "You must be this tall to work in upper management."

    From "Bleeding Blue" by Greg Patton at

    [Luis] Gonzalez nodded toward Tommy Lasorda during Wednesday's news conference and joked, "Tommy doesn't even have to give me the speech. I'm ready to bleed Dodger blue."

    [Jason] Schmidt grew up in Washington, but said, "I come from a Dodgers household and I married into a Dodgers household."

    Warms the cockles and all, but if good intentions were home runs, the Dodgers wouldn't be shopping for a power bat.

    (Thanks to DT poster "Midwest Blue" for the tip.)

    AP Photo/Reed Saxon

    Mets Could Lose Zambrano; Dodger Fans Could Have Company in "Bad Trade" Department

    From "Mets non-tender Zambrano: Talented, but oft-injured starting pitcher is now a free agent" at

    Since his acquisition in 2004 in a controversial trade that cost the Mets Scott Kazmir, [Victor] Zambrano had produced a 10-14 record and 4.42 ERA in 39 appearances -- 35 starts. He has been a perpetual project in his career, seldom pitching consistently at a level comparable with his potential.

    Can you taste the Schadenfreude? Finally, a trade that might rank down there with Pedro-for-Delino.

    Insert J.D. Drew Joke Here

    Courtesy of Bob Timmermann at The Griddle, enjoy "Baseball Batting Robot":

    Next: Verlander Afflicted with Wii Elbow?

    From Ben Maller: "Guitar video game injured Tigers pitcher?":
    [Joel] Zumaya, 22, was known to play "Guitar Hero," a PlayStation 2 game in which a player uses a guitar-shaped controller to simulate the performance of popular songs.

    During the radio interview, [Dave] Dombrowski said the Tigers' athletic training staff discovered that Zumaya's forearm pain was more consistent with the action of a guitar player than a baseball pitcher. The Tigers asked Zumaya to stop playing the video game, and he did. Zumaya then pitched pain-free during the World Series, and went 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three appearances.

    Stick to Halo, Joel. Better yet, stay in shape with DDR.

    Barry Zito Is Dreamy, Dreamed Of

    AP/ Mets' Randolph, Wright dream about Zito

    WINNER: Creepy Headline of the Week

    SoSG Becomes Trolley Dodger Stop

    Big thanks to Robert Daeley at The Trolley Dodger for linking to us.

    As the name of his blog suggests, Robert is a student of the game. Wonder why we root for a team called the Dodgers? Wonder no more.

    The cogent analysis and large typeface at Trolley Dodger make it an easy read in more ways than one. Plus, any blog which titles an entry simply "Alyssa Milano" is okay with us.

    Speaking of which, check out Robert's latest Brad Penny rumor.

    Bosox Mistakenly Sign Japanese Pimp

    BOSTON, Mass. (SoSG) — Boston Red Sox officials were shocked and dismayed upon discovering that instead of signing Japanese pitching phenomenon Daisuke Matsuzaka—whose first name is pronounced "Dice-K"—the team has actually signed a pimp named "Andrew Dice-K."

    Scott Boras, agent for both player and playa, escorted the fur-lined hoodie-wearing pimp Dice-K from a private jet at a Boston Airport. "This is a great day for agents negotiating with teams too rushed to read fine print," Boras told a local reporter.

    AP Photo/Charles Krupa

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Sounds Like Frank and Jamie Balanced the Checkbook

    So the Winter Meetings wrapped up last week, the Dodgers picked up a Schmidt and a Gonzo (I'll let you debate whether the guy the Dodgers signed was the more useful Luis Gonzalez), then the Dodgers announced that they are raising ticket prices. I guess that's the price we have to pay to enjoy the Lucky Pierre Era. Nice timing though. . .

    Some Love for Walter Alston

    Nice imagery from "The Faces in My Basement," this week's Sports Illustrated column by Steve Rushin:

    At the moment I cannot look away from the '72 Topps card of Walter Alston. On it, the Dodgers' manager—wearing an expression of pained impatience—is gazing heavenward and holding up his right index finger, as if God is his waiter and Walter would like Him to bring the check.

    Less Werth

    "Have you seen my pet caterpillars?"

    We're a little late on this, but it appears Jayson Werth's Dodger days are over. Like Orel's Dream Team member Billy Ashley, Werth was a big guy with a big bat; unlike Ashley, he didn't strike out in almost 40 percent of his at-bats.

    Here's hoping Werth's wrist heals and he becomes healthy enough to smack home runs against many teams who aren't the Dodgers.

    Matsuzaka to Challenge Otis?

    According to the AP article on the impending Matsuzaka signing:

    People on both sides of the deal said the agreement was still being worked out, including $8 million in escalators that would bring the total to $60 million over six years.

    "$8 million in escalators"? Where would he keep them?

    Thanks to Thoughts

    Jon Weisman's excellent Dodgers blog, Dodger Thoughts (part of the Baseball Toaster network), was kind enough to add Sons of Steve Garvey to its sidebar. Having admired Dodger Thoughts for years and even celebrated Weisman's deserved publicity, we at SoSG are appreciative and honored by the mention. Dodger Thoughts has a great bench corps of commenters who riff on anything and everything, and we hope to someday have a readership as vocal and insightful as DT's.

    In the meantime, we will strive to keep bringing you riffs on all things Dodgers (and the occasional random post). Weisman, in his email back to us, noted that we "sure are prolific." Hey, we're only two months into it, so who knows how sustainable this is. But we're trying to make up for mediocre quality with multiple helpings of fodder, sort of like Todai restaurant, I suppose.

    Drop a comment or email and tell us how we're doing, or we'll start adding those green onions from Taco Bell.

    Oh yeah, and Go Cardinal!