Friday, November 30, 2007

Casting (for) Bonds' Shadow

According to "," the book "Game of Shadows" by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada was picked up by HBO and is planning to turn it into a movie. I remember reading the book a couple of years ago, and thought the most telling portion was the increase in Bonds' hat and jersey size statistics. Which makes you think, who would play the "before" and "after" Barry? Chris Rock and Michael Clarke Duncan? How about Emmanuel Lewis during the Webster days and Emmanuel Lewis during the VH1 days?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Unwatchable! Mortifying! Galling!


Now with functional video!

a.k.a. 4:55 of satiny hell

From AOL Fanhouse ("The Musical Skeleton in Hershiser's Closet") via Can't Stop the Bleeding ("Conclusive Proof Baseball’s Cocaine Problem Was Out Of Control In The ’80’s") comes this awful, awful video featuring—I think, because I don't have the stomach to watch the whole thing—Orel Hershiser (I may have to renounce my username!), Mariano Duncan, Jerry Reuss, Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia. Brace yourselves.

Happy Birthday, Vin Scully

Thanks to Jon Heyman at for pointing out the following:

Vin Scully, a marvel and the best in the business for 58 years running, turns 80 today.

By all accounts Vin is a modest and retiring man, so I don't know what (if anything) I would say if I were to meet him. So I'll say it from the anonymous safety of this blog: Thank you, Vin Scully. There aren't many things in life which are consistently wonderful. You are one of them. Happy birthday!


Jon Weisman notes that Vin shares a birthday with Ross Porter. So, happy birthday, Ross! We miss you! Notice there is no DT poster named TellMeTheScoreRossPorter!

Delino Returns with.... A Legitimate Sports Article!!!

First off, a big shout out to all the Delinomaniacs who have been flooding the SoSG offices (aka Sax's garage) with mail, begging for my return. I'll admit it - USC losing to Stanford took away most of my willpower, belief in a higher power, and ability to type. But after reading comments made by Mr. McCourt-on-BLEW in the Boston Globe, I had to put quill to parchment and return to the hallowed halls of SoSG. From the right-leaning FOXSPORTS:

After signing Torii Hunter and trading for Jon Garland, the Angels are pushing hard to acquire Miguel Cabrera. The Dodgers?

Their off-season might have been over before it began, judging from comments by owner Frank McCourt in Sunday's Boston Globe. "I think we're in good position right now," McCourt said. "We don't have to make a deal. We made the biggest move we needed to make in signing Joe." Well, Joe's not enough.

The lowly Reds, for goodness sake, are not content with the hiring of a big-name manager, Dusty Baker. They're trying to sustain their momentum and build a better team. Signing free-agent closer Francisco Cordero to a four-year, $46 million contract doesn't exactly qualify as shrewd, but at least it demonstrates commitment.

McCourt talks the talk, saying, "If there's a player or two out there that can make us better, I'm very interested."

But let's see him back up those words. The Dodgers failed to make a significant upgrade last July, discussing a major deal for A's right-hander Joe Blanton but ultimately settling for a Wilson Betemit-for-Scott Proctor exchange

That would be Joe Torre, who will neither hit nor pitch next season, but will earn more than $4 million as the Dodgers' new manager. "I don't anticipate any nonsense in that clubhouse," McCourt said. "(Torre) gives us instant credibility and we're thrilled to have him."

Perhaps Joe Torre's going to play every position. Maybe he'll use his magic dust to make the young guns and old farts to get along (he obviously kept A-Rod's ego in check).

Besides the fist-full of World Series rings, I for one have a very big reason to trust Torre becoming the Dodgers's savior: He was played by Paulie from GoodFellas in Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, now available on ebay for one whole buck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Consecutive-Vowel Fans Rejoice: No Torii, But Possible "Shuuto"?

Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times writes that the Dodgers are considering Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, whose arsenal contains the spell-checking program nightmare "shuuto" pitch:

With a shortage of quality arms among free agents and high asking prices for top-quality pitchers on the trade market, the 32-year-old Kuroda could be an affordable option to bolster their rotation. Visiting Kuroda with Saito to convey the Dodgers' interest were director of Asian operations Acey Kohrogi and scout Keiichi Kojima.

The right-hander is said to throw a mid-90s fastball, slider, forkball and "shuuto," which resembles a reverse slider. Kuroda has a 103-89 record with a 3.69 earned-run average in 11 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp. He had his best season in 2006, when he was 13-6 with a 1.85 ERA.

Kuroda, who is expected to receive at least a three-year deal worth up to $10 million a season, could be a fourth or fifth starter in a Dodgers' rotation with question marks. How Jason Schmidt will come back from season-ending shoulder surgery remains uncertain and late-season addition Esteban Loaiza was 1-4 with an 8.34 ERA in five starts.

But Kuroda has several suitors, including the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. The Arizona Diamondbacks confirmed Tuesday they had made an offer to the pitcher. Kuroda also hasn't ruled out staying with the Carp.

Come on, Kuroda. It's the Carp, not the Ham Fighters. Come to LA, we need the arms.

Seriously, I applaud the Dodgers' efforts to consider other teams for talent, including the Carp. Perhaps we can check out the AArdvark as well? That is, if Colletti isn't off skIIng this vacation. I'd like to vacUUm up all of these under-the-radar gems for our squad and have them ride in on a white eqUUS to save the day for the Dodgers. That is, except Kazuhisa IshII.

Okay, maybe that wasn't so serious after all. WhOOps.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy 40th, Jon Weisman

...from all your friends at Sons of Steve Garvey.

40 years ago...the Dodgers finished eighth in the National League. Out of ten teams. I suppose that's equivalent to last year's fourth-place finish of five teams in the NL West. Well, there's nowhere to go but up!

Apologies to the Dodgers' 50th logo, the underpinning for the latest SoSG photoshop hackjob. (Updated with the correct year: now 40% hackier!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coliseum Game to Be Played for Charity

The Dodgers' best marketing idea since the Olmedo Saenz All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion just gets better and better. Today, the Dodgers announced that the March 29 exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox (to be held at the Los Angeles Coliseum) will give all net proceeds to the Dodgers' charity, ThinkCure. This is very, very cool and Jamie McCourt deserves some serious props for this idea. Way to go, Dodgers!

The Coliseum game also has a kick-ass logo, I might add...I'll buy that t-shirt (just puh-leeeeeez, this one time, make it a small pocket logo on the front and a large logo on the back? Ideally on a grey shirt? With a blue ringer collar and sleeve? We don't need any more gaudy huge front logo shirts, which seem to be the sad default for other memorable Ddger events...Dodger fans have more style than that!).

A Belated Look at True Veterans

There's been a lot of talk about the role of veterans the in Dodgers' clubhouse, but it turns out we've overlooked veterans of an altogether different stripe. At Dodger Thoughts, "bobmac" posted the following:

The three Dodger blogs I read everyday, Dodger Thoughts for insight, Son's of Steve Garvey for humorous insight and True Blue LA for statistic insight all had one thing in common this Thanksgiving. All three posted Thanksgiving Day thoughts. On the other hand, on November 11 not one of the three gave thanks to our veterans on Veterans Day. Shame on you. It is not too late to do an article on Dodger Veterans, is it? Even Tommy Lasorda spend a couple years for his country. While not a Dodger player, as a Dodger Fan, I spent 20 years.

Bobmac, you're right. Thank you for (1) your service and (2) the suggestion.

From "Museum reunites veterans of war, baseball" (AP/

Lou Brissie and Morrie Martin shared much more than a uniform when their baseball careers briefly intersected in 1951 as teammates with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Before they were major leaguers, Brissie and Martin fought for their country during World War II. Both were wounded and nearly lost legs. Both beat long odds to play baseball again.

Brissie and Martin have kept in touch over the years, but they never traded war stories before they reunited this month at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans for the opening of a new exhibition, "When Baseball Went to War."

"You don't talk about the war in baseball," the 85-year-old Martin later explained during a telephone interview from his home in Washington, Mo....

Martin, who was 20 when he joined the Army in December 1942, had signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers before the war took him overseas, first to North Africa and later to Europe. Returning home in August 1945, he recovered from his wounds quickly enough to join the Dodgers for spring training in 1946.

It wasn't until 1949, however, that Martin made his major league debut with the Dodgers. His wounds had left the pitcher's left leg shorter than his right, altering his delivery. Plus, "Getting in shape took a little longer," he said.

Throughout his military service, Martin, a member of the 49th Combat Engineers, said he never picked up a baseball. The war took a toll on his career, but he doesn't have any regrets.

"None whatsoever," he said.

Visit The National World War II Museum site for "Duty, Honor, Country: When Baseball Went to War."

Le Russell Martin Apparaît à la Télévision Canadienne Française

Last night Russell Martin appeared on the French Canadian talk show Tout le monde en parle (which translates to "Everyone's talking about it"—Quebec's version of Politically Incorrect, according to Wikipedia). Not sure what Russell had to say; hopefully video will surface. And a translator.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Reliever Market Exploding

From "Source: Reds, closer Cordero have preliminary agreement" by Jerry Crasnick at

The Cincinnati Reds have reached preliminary agreement on a four-year, $46 million contract with closer Francisco Cordero, a baseball source confirmed to

Cordero is the third prominent reliever to sign as a free agent this offseason. Mariano Rivera will return to the New York Yankees on a three-year, $45 million contract, and Scott Linebrink has agreed to a four-year, $19 million deal with the Chicago White Sox pending a physical exam.

Just a year ago, the Dodgers lost a pre-Red Sox meltdown Eric Gagne over $2 million. Now top relievers are getting $12-15 million a year.

Is this market inevitability, or is Kevin Towers becoming the next Billy Beane? Towers is renowned for procuring effective relief pitching on the cheap, as well as causing journalists such as Tom Verducci to use the word "fungible" as it applies to the resource of relievers.

Cordero's deal also emphasizes the value of Takashi Saito to the Dodgers. Everyone's focus is on the Hot Stove right now, but the next big issue could be whether Ned Colletti decides to (1) give Saito a raise, (2) promote Jonathan Broxton to closer or (3) sign a free agent reliever.

photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Torii Hunter Off the Market

So much for the Dodgers' grand Torre! Torii! Tori! scheme. In a surprise move, the Angels snapped up Torii Hunter for $90 million over five years.

And the Angels' rookie GM, Tony Reagins, knows what to do with his garbage. From the article:

With [Vladimir] Guerrero in right and [Garret] Anderson in left, the move leaves no space in the starting outfield for [Gary] Matthews Jr. The Angels said the center fielder, who signed a $50 million, five-year deal as a free agent last offseason, could see time at designated hitter and spell the corner outfielders.

Of course, inheriting the bad Matthews contract (negotiated by Bill Stoneman) makes it easier for Reagins to essentially shelve that $50 million investment. But it's for the betterment of the team—something Ned Colletti will hopefully remember when deciding between his ego and the fate of Juan Pierre.


AP says $80 million.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Your SoSG Thanksgiving Turkey: Drew McCourt Attempts To Bend Laws of Time and Space

In honor of Thanksgiving, we at Sons of Steve Garvey want to show you the latest marketing mistake of bumbling Drew McCourt, son of Frank McCourt and nepotistically placed "Vice President of Business Development" of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Little Drew was also the "Director of Marketing" when he oversaw the stadium giveaway of a fleece blanket commemorating the Dodgers' six championships--then proceeded to stitch the wrong World Championship years into ~40,000 blankets (see 4/27/05).

So what other turkeys did Drew McCourt leave in his Marketing wake? Witness the 2006-2007 Dodgers team calendar, given away at the beginning of the season and sponsored by Panda Express. Here's the cover:

Now that we're at the end of 2007 and on the last page, I'm faced with the smiling mug of deposed Dodgers manager Grady Little:

But wait, Grady isn't even the biggest turkey associated with this calendar! Witness yet another breach in the time-space continuum, as Drew McCourt ends November on a Friday, and starts December on a Sunday:

What do we do with that Saturday, November 31st, Drew? Or is this just your way of getting an extra day of partying for New Year's Eve (now on a Tuesday, but just for you, Drew!). I realize printing team calendars may be tricky sometimes, but this just goes to show you: When Dodger Stadium marketing goes horribly awry, there's usually a turkey named Drew McCourt close by.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Apparently the Guy in the Fat Suit Has an Attitude Problem

From Robothal:

The Marlins first showed heavy interest in [Matt] Kemp last spring, but at that time the Dodgers deemed him untouchable. It remains to be seen whether the availability of Cabrera — combined with questions about Kemp's attitude — will lead the Dodgers to alter their stance.

See the guy in the fat suit? The one playing along with this year's rookie hazing? "A potential 30-homer, 30-stolen base man," says Robothal, but also trade bait because of his "attitude."

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News had this to say about the Dodgers' most tenured veteran, Jeff Kent:

[Rookie hazing] doesn't always work out well. Jeff Kent got a reputation as a spoilsport in the early 1990s when he didn't play along with the New York Mets' prank.

Kent is currently deciding whether the Dodgers should pay him $9 million next year.

I'm sick of hearing of supposed reasons why the Dodgers should get rid of Kemp. Of course he has flaws, but the Marlins want him because he's good, young and cheap.

Come to think of it, that's why we want him too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dodgers Searching for More "Type-A" Players in Taiwan?

The Dodgers are looking to extend their Asia spring training trip in March 2008 by playing games not only in China, but also a quick stop to play ball in Taiwan. Details haven't been made available, but I suppose since the Dodgers are already up a 16-hour flight, why not skip by Taipei as well and look for the next Chin-Lung Hu or Hong-Chih Kuo?

Immediately after the games on March 15-16 at the 12,000-seat Olympic baseball facility, the Dodgers are eyeing another pair of exhibition games in neighboring Taiwan on March 18-19, confirmed Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer.

"That's what they're looking at," said DuPuy, as two days of uneventful owners meetings wound down on Thursday morning.

The thing is, it won't be against the Padres, who are already planning on returning to Arizona to continue Spring Training immediately after their second exhibition game in Beijing, but against a still-to-be determined squad of Taiwanese nationals. [...]

Jamie McCourt, the Dodgers president and vice chairman, declined to comment on Thursday about the projected excursion. [...]

Beijing will host the Summer Olympics from next Aug. 8-24, and is staging what may be the final baseball medal competition of the summer games in two small ballparks outside the city. Demonstration games were already played there this past summer and the exhibition games between the Dodgers and Padres are slated for the larger of the two facilities, which holds 12,000 people. [...]

The delay in making that announcement has nothing to do at this point with MLB, DuPuy said, since the Padres, Dodgers and players union are all in agreement about going.

"It's getting the permits from the [Chinese] government," he said on Wednesday. "It's an administrative process and we want to be very sensitive to the needs and the protocols of the Chinese government. It's the first time we've ever done this and they're very busy with it being their Olympic year. They've been very supportive of it and we're hopeful of getting it done."

It may be too much to expect Frank McCourt to be cognizant of world events, given he's too busy figuring out how to justify another price increase through the Joe Torre signing. However, even a cursory read of world news would have highlighted that China and Taiwan aren't exactly on great terms right now, what with the smaller island country again taking steps toward asserting its independence from the larger mainland China government. So, if the MLB permits to (mainland) China haven't yet been issued, that Dodgers Taiwan trip may not have been something you'd want to publicize just yet.

Not to mention the fact that all this foreign travel gives a kick to the crotch of Vero Beach, which appears to be getting at best a split-squad visit this spring, in the Dodgers' final visit to Florida. No confirmation, as of yet, of the rumor that Juan Pierre is the only player currently named to the Florida split squad.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Graphs Gone Wild

It may look like a mess, but the 2007 Dodgers' "Performance/Salary Map" presented below is teeming with brilliant insight. So please bear with me (click on graph to enlarge):

Here are the basics of what's going on above:

  • The on-field performance* and annual salary** of each player on the 2007 Dodgers*** is plotted along the horizontal and vertical axes, respectively.
  • Blue is for hitters, red for pitchers.
  • The players' 2004 performance/salary is marked by the small dot.
  • The players' 2007 performance/salary is represented by the larger circle.
  • If a player was not in the majors in 2004, he has only the circle, not the dot
  • The size of the circle corresponds to the age of the player.
  • The players' 3-Year Trendline (2004 to 2007) is marked by the arrow connecting the dot and the circle.

*Measured by OPS for hitters and ERA for pitchers.
**From USA Today.
***Only players with at least 400 AB's or 80 IP's in 2007 are included, with Saito (64.1 IP) the only exception.

So what does this tell us? Well let's first look at the four primary quadrants, which players fall into each, and what it all means:

  • Upper-right quadrant (Stars) - This represents players who are paid well and perform accordingly. Jeff Kent and Brad Penny are the only players who fall into this category.
  • Lower-right quadrant (Bargains) - These guys have a relatively low salary yet put up strong numbers. Not surprisingly, all the players here in their 1st or 2nd year (Saito, Martin, Broxton, Ethier) and thus can still be gotten cheaply.
  • Lower-left quadrant (Role Players) - This quadrant is where 2nd-tier players with 2nd-tier salaries land. And sure enough, the two players in this category (Hendrickson and Tomko) personify 2nd tier.
  • Upper-left quadrant (Busts) - These guys signed handsome contracts yet aren't getting it done on the field. Sadly, this is also the most crowded quadrant on the Dodgers' Map, with Nomar, Wolf, Lowe, Furcal, and Pierre elbowing for position.

Even more can be culled from noting the direction in which the players' 3-Year Trendlines are pointing. Again, there are roughly four categories:

  • Up and to the Right (Approaching Prime) - Presumably players approaching or in their prime who show on-field improvement and receive a corresponding improvement in salary. Lowe and Penny are the two Dodgers in this category.
  • Down and to the Left (Past Prime) - Theoretically, a trendline in this direction would represent a player past their prime - i.e., one who is showing a decline in both output and salary. Gonzo and Nomar are the two Dodgers in this category, so I guess we can get rid of the word 'theoretically' above.
  • Down and to the Right (Players Getting Screwed by Their Ballclubs) - These players are getting a raw deal salary-wise from their team, as they are being paid less over the years despite putting up better numbers. Shockingly, there were no Dodgers in this group.
  • Up and to the Left (Players Screwing Their Ballclubs) - Players who have managed to get larger contracts from their current ballclub despite performance decreases. Alas, this is where the plurality of the '07 Dodgers fall, with Pierre, Furcal, Hendrickson, Wolf, and Tomko. Yikes.

So I guess it doesn't bode well that both least desirable quadrant and the least-desirable Trendline category have the most Dodgers. But I guess since I'm too lazy to create Performance/Salary Maps for other clubs for comparison purposes, I can't make any hard conclusions. But to put things in some perspective, let's see where A-Rod's would appear on this Map:

(click on graph to enlarge)

So A-Rod's performance and salary are literally "off-the-chart". That, my friends, is the brilliant insight I promised at the top.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Welcome Back, Rob Flippo!

Josh Rawitch says the Dodgers are expecting back bullpen catcher Rob Flippo. Who is Rob Flippo? Well, you can read his official Dodger biography here, but the reason he's beloved by this Dodger fan is because about ten years ago I was watching a Chan Ho Park bullpen session and Rob tossed me the ball afterward. I was too stunned to say thank you then, so I'm saying it now: Thank you, Rob Flippo!

2008 Coaching Staff Announced

From Inside the Dodgers:

In a short while, we'll be sending out the release on our coaching staff for next season. In addition to Bowa and Mattingly, Mariano Duncan will return as the first base coach, Rick Honeycutt returns as the pitching coach and Ken Howell will be promoted from Triple-A to serve as the bullpen coach. Bob Schaefer, who was the bench coach for Oakland last season, will take over that role for the Dodgers and Joe Torre next season.

So long, Rich Donnelly! Thanks for the memories!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A-Rod Off the Market

Report: A-Rod, Yankees agree on outline of $275 million, 10-year contract (AP/

Don't lose your head, Ned.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Bonds indicted on federal charges of perjury...

Barry Bonds Indicted for Perjury

Barry Bonds indicted on perjury, obstruction charges (AP/

Read the indictment! (.pdf)

I Just Changed My Mind About Miguel Cabrera

Keep the kids!

To hear Ken Rosenthal say it, Alex Rodriguez negotiating with the Yankees is huge loss of face for Scott Boras. From "Boras finally tastes a bit of humiliation":

From the furor over A-Rod opting out during Game 4 of the World Series to Boras' inability to establish the benchmark he wanted, it has been anything but the agent's finest hour....

For once Boras appears to have misread the market. For once, A-Rod didn't appear to act as his puppet. For once, the final, jaw-dropping tally will tell only part of the story.

Buster Olney at seems to agree:

Rodriguez is going to get the largest contract ever in sports, when the I's are dotted and the T's crossed. He'll survive. But Boras' reputation as a savvy negotiator will not. He somehow managed to badly overplay the perfect hand.

Yet I have a hard time believing the most savvy agent in baseball—maybe all of professional sports—has lost control of his star client. Some are suggesting that Boras was complicit in A-Rod's plans. From Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Meantime, what has been portrayed as an end-around on agent Scott Boras – Rodriguez contacted the Steinbrenners through a third party, believed to be Mitch Modell of "Gotta go to Mo's" sporting goods fame, and initiated Round 2 of negotiations – might actually have been strategic and not a breaking of ranks.

According to those close to the situation, the Yankees did not attempt to bar Boras from future negotiations and, despite appearances, Boras maintains a civil and professional relationship with his client. Indeed, witnesses said Boras was in Miami meeting with Rodriguez for the past several days and was to dine with Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

So when A-Rod signs with the Yankees—and don't hand him any humanitarian awards yet, as he will still sign the largest contract in baseball history and Boras will still receive his commission—how will it affect the Dodgers?

Of course, A-Rod's disappearance from the free agent market will increase Miguel Cabrera's worth to the Marlins. A while back I favored Cabrera over Rodriguez, mainly due to Cabrera's youth. But if acquiring Cabrera costs the Dodgers too many of those seemingly untouchable names—Kemp, Loney, Billingsley, Kershaw—reportedly requested by Florida, it won't be worth it. I don't want to see this team eviscerated.

So if Ned Colletti keeps his head, we get to keep the kids. Then it seems the youngster in jeopardy of being traded is Andre Ethier, as the hopefully exorbitant asking price for Cabrera will make Ned look toward free agent center fielders (Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand), moving Juan Pierre to left and keeping Kemp in right. (We all know it's Pierre who should be jettisoned, but we also know that ain't gonna happen.)

Jeff Kent will start the season at second base, and I expect Ned and Joe Torre to start Nomar at third. Andy LaRoche will start the season in Las Vegas as James Loney did this year, ostensibly to allow him to play every day. Maybe there will be a free agent pitcher signed as well, but with farts like Luis Gonzalez and Shea Hillenbrand gone and with Uncle Joe steering the craft, maybe we can concentrate on baseball next year instead of clubhouse politics.


As usual, Jon Weisman puts it better than I do.

illustration by Laura Cornell/Kids Off the Couch

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dodgers @ Coliseum March 29; JD Drew To Be Fed To Lions

The Dodgers will play an exhibition game versus the Boston Red Sox on March 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Coliseum:

According to a Dodgers spokesman, the March 29 game will be played at the Dodgers' original Los Angeles home as part of the franchise's 50th anniversary in the Southland.

The Coliseum, which is now home to USC football, will reflect the irregular baseball configuration that drove pitchers and hitters crazy when it was the temporary home for the club from 1958-61 while Dodger Stadium was being built.

Bring out the lions! "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???"

UPDATE: Oh, that Coliseum. Oops.


Mets: Bye Bye, Captain Red Ass

This Day in Dodger Pornstache History: Before there was Jeff kent, there was Paul Lo Duca.

From Robothal:

Paul Lo Duca appears out as the Mets' catcher, likely to be replaced by a tandem of Ramon Castro and Yorvit Torrealba, major-league sources say.

The Mets are expected to re-sign Castro on Wednesday, probably to a two-year deal. They also are pursuing Torrealba, another free agent, but not to be a 120-game starter....

The Mets' plan is a stunning repudiation of Lo Duca, a free agent who turns 35 in April. While some Mets pitchers liked throwing to Lo Duca, club officials were not as enamored with his game-calling and overall play.

Lo Duca's .311 on-base percentage last season was the lowest of his career as a regular. He also struggled with opposing base stealers, throwing out only 17 of 89.


Torrealba's agent says he will sign with the Mets.


Not so fast! Mets break off talks with free-agent catcher Torrealba (

Boston Three Party? Not Yet...

One thing Boston-haters can take solace in is that in spite of their current dominance, they technically are no closer towards achieving the ultimate sports accomplishment: the Metro-iple Crown.

What is the Metro-iple Crown? It's more than an awkward attempt at combining two words - it's winning the Superbowl, NBA Championship, and World Series in the same calendar year. And while the Patriots and Celtics seem very capable of following the Red Sox to championship glory, you can thank your lucky stars (literally) that the Sox' victory was part of the 2007 calendar year, and a Patriots and/or Celtics championship would be in 2008. So even if Brady and KG do their part, the Sox would have to repeat to consummate the Metro-iple Crown - something no metropolitan area has ever accomplished.

This led me to do a little research about what city has come the closest. Below is my breakdown of the 6 most impressive almosts since the inception of the Superbowl in 1967:

#6 - Los Angeles, 1988 (NBA Champion, MLB Champion). Four months before Kirk Gibson's HR, James Worthy put up 36 Points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to vanquish the Bad Boys. While capturing two of the three crowns is impressive, the fact that Los Angeles fielded two teams in all three sports made the feat somewhat less impressive.

#5 - Bay Area, 1989 (NFL Champion, MLB Champion, MLB Runner-up). The year after SoCal's Metro-iple Crown attempt, NoCal gave it their best shot. At the time I hated the 49ers, A's, and the Giants, yet all three made it to their respective championship games. The 49ers won Superbowl XXIII in the John Candy game, and the A's swept the Giants in the Earthquake Series.

#4 - New York, 1969 (NFL Champion, MLB Champion, belated NBA Champion). Although New York also has two pro franchises in each of the major sports, what made their attempt particularly impressive is that they indeed won all three championships - they just needed a few extra months. Joe Namath made good on his Superbowl guarantee in January of 1969, the Mets beat the O's that October, and the Knicks won the NBA Championship in May the following year.

#3 - Baltimore, 1971 (NFL Champion, NBA Runner-up, MLB Runner-Up). I don't really know anything about Baltimore's sports teams in 1971 (I guess they had an NBA team?), but I saw they did pretty good. Bonus points for being a smaller city.

#2 - Boston, 1986 (NBA Champion, NFL Runner-up, MLB Runner-up). The world might remember 1986 for Bill Buckner, but overall Boston's pro teams had an incredible 1986. Not only did the Red Sox make it to the World Series, but the Patriots made it to the Superbowl and the Celtics made it to the NBA Championship (the Sox and Patriots lost to the Mets and Bears, respectively, while the Celtics swept the Rockets).

#1 - Pittsburgh, 1979 (NFL Champion, MLB Champion). The Steel Curtain beat Dallas 35-31 in the Superbowl XIII, and nine months later the Pirates edged the Orioles in 7 games. Pittsburgh gets bonus points for being only the 24th largest US city at the time. And given that they don't have an NBA team, their pro teams were basically a perfect 2-for-2 (in case you haven't noticed, NHL doesn't count).

Worth Reading: The Dodgers' International Signings (Or Lack Thereof)

An excellent article about international signings from Dodger Thoughts poster CanuckDodger:

When the Dodgers' scouting czar Logan White engaged in an online chat at on June 12, he was asked, "Are the Dodgers looking to sign any top flight Latin American players?" White replied, "Absolutely." At that time, the next signing period for international amateur players was only a few weeks away. The window to sign Latin talent opened on July 2, and on July 7 Dominican Today quoted White as saying, "We're aggressive. We're going to spend money. The word is out the Dodgers are a player, baby." The problem with what Dominican Today quoted White as saying - aside from the fact that in 2007 the word "baby," used the way White used it, shouldn't be heard from or attributed to anyone who isn't a character in a rerun of Kojak - is that the Dodgers ended up being anything but a "player" in the market for Latin American talent. Again.

Read more....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ESPN Gets Its Sports Mixed Up

But come on, it's an honest mistake. I mean, it's not like ESPN claims to be the worldwide leader in sports or anything.

Banner ad from their website reads "GET INSIDE ACCESS TO THE 2007 COLLEGE BASKETBALL KICKOFF!":

Don't they call it a "tip-off" in basketball? I thought a kicked ball stopped play. I'm sure Hummer is quite impressed to see its ad dollars are being well-spent.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Miami: The Anti-Boston

Boston's pro sports dominance has been well documented as of late...allow me to document Miami's:

In short, Boston is good at everything, Miami sucks at everything. When all is said and done, we will see if the average win percentage of Boston's three pro teams (currently 86.4%) will eclipse the average loss percentage of Miami's three (85.4%).

MLBTR: McCourt Could Get Involved in A-Rod Talks

From MLB Trade Rumors:

I recently watched an ESPN video (top right corner) where Keith Law said he didn't see Colletti patching things up to cut a deal with Scott Boras. If the Dodgers are to sign A-Rod it might have to be Dodgers owner Frank McCourt taking care of things.

No matter what your position is on acquiring A-Rod, how troubling is that paragraph? If Ned is still pissed off at Boras over the J.D. Drew fiasco, he should use that chip in future negotiations rather than limit the team's options by refusing to deal with the agent representing such a significant portion of available free agents.

And imagining McCourt dealing directly with Boras conjures thoughts of Tom Hicks and $252 million deals. (Although McCourt somehow slipped a highly-leveraged purchase of the Dodger franchise past MLB; maybe he's got some tricks left).

MLBTR also offers this nugget:

A couple of vets would like to re-join the Dodgers in David Wells and Luis Gonzalez.

Well, a couple of Dodger fans would like to tell Gonzo to go [Rule 1 violation] yourself.


At least Colletti and Boras are on speaking terms. From Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

Colletti spoke briefly with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, on the final day of the general managers meetings last week.

"Hi Scott." "Hi Ned."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gold Glover Russell Martin Wins Silver Slugger; Bronze Plaque in Future?

From "Seven first-timers win Silver Sluggers New class of talented players joins baseball's hitting elite" by Matthew Leach at

If you got the feeling while watching baseball this year that a new class of exciting hitters was emerging, well, you were right. And confirmation came once again on Friday, when seven first-time winners brought home Silver Slugger Awards.

First baseman Prince Fielder of the Brewers and shortstop Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies, two of the top candidates for National League Most Valuable Player honors, each picked up their first Silver Slugger, along with Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco, Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings, Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena and Mets third baseman David Wright....

The Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winners were chosen by Major League coaches and managers, who voted for the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2007. Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.


From Josh Rawitch at Inside the Dodgers:

Our congratulations go out to [Martin] and to all of the people in the Dodger organization (past and present) who have helped make him who he is today - from the scout who signed him, Clarence Johns, to those in player development and scouting on his way up the ladder (Jon Debus, Terry Collins, Steve Yeager, Kim Ng, Logan White, Chris Haydock), to his minor league managers (Luis Salazar, Dann Bilardello, Travis Barbary, Scott Little, John Shoemaker, Jerry Royster).

Also, click on the link to read about Dodger scout Lon Joyce winning this year's Distinguished Scouts Award.

Your Daily Boston Illustrated Update

Yep, Boston just got its fourth consecutive Sports Illustrated cover, the latest of which compliments the Patriots' win over the previously undefeated Colts last weekend. And inside SI, in the "Leading Off" section, the editors even acknowledged what we told you on Monday of this week: that Boston's sporting world riches are really getting annoying.

So rather than show you yet another Boston Illustrated cover, SoSG is going to take the opportunity to smile upon Boston, for a non-sports reason no less. Cool sign found in a Boston dog park:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Wonder If Juan Pierre Is Named in the Mitchell Report

Report: 11 players named in Mitchell's steroids probe (

Colletti Loses Mind, Signs Chan Ho Park

And your first post-Joe Torre signing is...Chan Ho Park??? When we wrote about this back in July, we were kidding. Then we open up this morning's Korea Times and see that the Dodgers signed Park after all? Has Colletti lost his mind, or is he not in on the joke?

The 33-year-old South Korean said Thursday he signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he started his Major League career in 1994, and expected to join the team in spring camp.

Team 61, Park's domestic management agency, declined to reveal the terms of the deal, including whether it's a minor league contract or a split contract, which would provide Park a higher rate of pay if added to the Major League roster.

Park, in an entry in his Weblog, said his salary would be similar to a "rookie on the start."

"Dodgers Town is the spring camp venue where I first started my Major League dreams," Park said. "The terms of the contract are similar to a rookie on the start, but the important thing is that I will be able to play for a team that I always missed."

I can't say we missed Park all that much. Letting Park leave the Dodgers for the Rangers (were he was paid big money to compile a 22-23 record over the course of three and a half seasons) was one of the team's finest moves in the last decade. Park was once described (on a post-game show) as having "the heart of a butterfly", and it was true--any small sign of life from the opposing team's bats (like, say, a baserunner) and he would tend to completely crumble. Why we'd want to deal with this headcase again, I don't know.

Way to make a big post-Torre splash, Ned. What happened to the "Torre! Torii! Tori!" plan?

Hat tip, the ever-worldly 6-4-2.

Onion Zings Torre

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dodgers May Have Shot at Mike Lowell?

All I know is, according to the Red Sox parade in Boston, the team wants World Series MVP Mike Lowell to resign his post!

Guess they really want him out of Boston. Maybe the Dodgers can pick him up.

Hat tip, The Grammar Vandal. (By the way, shouldn't your subhead have a hyphen between "well" and "placed"?)

Overheard Yesterday at the Nail Salon

"It may be just me, but I think Joe Torre looked a lot slimmer when he was in pinstripes."

In Case You Need Help Visualizing a "Bidding War"

...The New York Times is here to help:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Miguel Cabrera. Miguel Cabrera! I Mean, Miguel Cabrera.

Jon Heyman at says Miguel Cabrera is "officially" available:

Florida will likely seek a package of three young players, including at least one or two top-tier talents for Cabrera, 24, who is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

Provided he can lay off the Ho-Ho's, Miguel Cabrera seems to make so much more sense than Alex Rodriguez (Cabrera is eight years younger than A-Rod). The question is, What package of three young players could the Dodgers offer?

Congratulations, Russell Martin, on the First of Your Many Gold Gloves

Maddux leads list for NL Gold Gloves: National League squad includes five first-timers as well (

photo by Ben Liebenberg/

Torre! Torii! Tori!

Ned Colletti, I have a simple, catchy, new jack swing catchphrase to guide you in this offseason. And the best news is, you're one-third of the way there already.

May I present to you the off-season's Dodger mandate:

Torre! Torii! Tori!

That's right. Getting Joe Torre was step one. Torre's addition was indeed a coup and we're psyched to have him and be done with Grady ball. But you're not done!

Step two involves getting a center fielder who can actually get on base every once in a while AND stop runners from taking extra bases. Torii Hunter is your man. He's two years older than Pierre, but unlike Pierre, Hunter hit above the league average for OBP the last three years, and he has some sock to his swing (.505 SLG for Hunter, relative to Pierre's anemic .353 SLG average). Pierre had 32 extra base hits last year. Hunter had 28 HR and 45 doubles (and a triple, to boot). Defensively, Pierre had five errors, while Hunter had only two (with more putouts). Adding Torre and shifting Pierre either to left field (or left out) would substantially upgrade our lineup. Andruw Jones would also be a nice catch--a term rarely mentioned in the same sentence as Pierre--but his name obviously doesn't work with our catchphrase.

Step three is wooing Tori Spelling to attend Dodger home games, preferably in the Dugout Club area. Why? Well, unlike resident Dodger nymphomaniac Alyssa Milano Tori Spelling isn't going to go sleep with half of the Dodger squad. She's married (second marriage, but still); she's hard up for cash (having inherited just $800K of her father's $300M estate), so she can't possibly spend all night carousing with the boys; and she is an ordained minister, clearly reflecting her moral righteousness. Plus, with a memoir on the way in the spring of next year, she will be looking for public relations opportunities to "be seen," so why not at Dodger games? If she becomes the (somewhat elongated) face of Dodger fandom, then perhaps we'll have a team that maintains its energy throughout the season and keeps its ballplaying on the field.

So there you have it, Ned and Frank: Torre! Torii! Tori! Get to work! (And no excuses from you Frank; I don't want to hear you mutter alternative contingencies "if I had no loot"--or you can new jack swing on my nuts.)

"I don't know my team, obviously," Torre said. "I've been in the American League for the past 12 years."

"What's next, Dodgers? Torre's hiring hardly solves all of team's problems" by Jon Weisman at

Torre photo by Dustin Snipes/Icon SMI
cheat sheet photo by Hariadhi/Wikipedia

Monday, November 05, 2007

Steve Phillips Explains It All

Tonight on ESPN News, I watched in awe as Steve Phillips took his analytical tools to insightfully break down the Dodgers' open needs for 2008:

  • Add Miguel Cabrera or Alex Rodriguez at third base.
  • Shift Juan Pierre to left and add Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter in center field.
  • Add Johan Santana to the starting rotation.

Wait, is that all we have to do? F'n brilliant! Or to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, "You bringing A-Rod, Hunter, and Santana? Shit, that's all you had to say!"

In other news, apparently there is still hope for me to become a talking head on ESPN News.

Maddux Back with Padres

Sources: Maddux agrees to terms of one-year deal with Pads (

McCourt Wedges His Way Into Torre Spotlight

It was a gloomy day here in LA today--which gave Dodger owner Frank McCourt even more reason to try and hog the spotlight that should have rightfully been squarely placed on Joe Torre. In today's article, guess who was the only other person quoted in the piece? None other than Frank McCourt, who also does a pretty good job hogging the focus in the accompanying photo! (Ned Colletti, Vin Scully, and Brad Penny were also on hand for the Torre press conference, by the way--but apparently had no comments worthy of publication.)

"It has been far too long since Dodger fans have tasted the fruits of victory or Dodger players have raised a World Series trophy," Frank McCourt said. "We want to win, make no mistake about it, but we want to win the right way, with humility, pride and sportsmanship. Winning requires leadership and today we introduce a man who is a leader, a winner, no doubt a future Hall of Famer."

I am surprised that when McCourt referenced "tasting the fruits of victory," McCourt didn't take the opportunity to plug the Olmedo Saenz All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion (one of the McCourt era's few great ideas).

But I do wonder which attribute (humility, pride, and sportsmanship) is reflected in kicking Grady Little to the curb, then rolling his own chopper over him?

Ah, enough negativity, for now. Bring on Torre, and now bring on some real players!

photo: Matt Sayles/AP

Sports Illustrated to Change Name to "Boston Illustrated"

I remember back in the late 80s, when I was in high school, Los Angeles was the place to be and Boston was hated. Oh, so hated. Luckily, we had the Lakers and the Dodgers and it didn't really matter that the Celtics were rivals, since the Lakers usually prevailed.

Now that Boston has had an abundance of sporting riches on its hands, it has turned the last three issues of Sports Illustrated into nothing more than a Boston propaganda machine:

  • November 5, 2007: Red Sox win the World Series. Red Sock Jonathan Papelbon jumps for joy with his hand on his head like he's doing a funky square dance move.
  • October 29, 2007: Celtics lead the NBA preview, with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen looking smug.
  • October 22, 2007: Tom Brady has the New England Patriots undefeated.

This is not to mention Papelbon kicking off the baseball playoffs with a cover on October 1, 2007. Maybe the New England Revolution will get the November 12 cover, after winning the first round of the MLS playoffs? At least Boston College lost this weekend, I suppose.

Now just watch as "chowdaheadz" takes over the google adsense ads on this page. Is there no end to the madness?

Sorry for yet another photoshop hackjob. Actually, no I'm not.

Great Start...Now, when's LA-Rod Getting Introduced?

And They Say Green Tea Is Good for Your Health

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Popularity of Green Tea in L.A. to Skyrocket

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Uncle Tommy's New Book

Amidst the turmoil of the Dodgers' Dog Days of Summer meltdown, apparently Uncle Tommy and his mouthpiece, err, "respected" Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, managed to write a book entitled "I live for This" (funny how that's also MLB's slogan). Anyhow, Uncle Tommy and his sycophantic sidekick will be at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena next Wednesday for a book signing. Here's a prime opportunity to see whether Plaschke's lips are physically attached to Lasorda's posterior.

Something to While Away the Time Until the Joe Torre Press Conference

Pac-Txt: Pac-Man Meets Zork (via Kotaku and Digg)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dodgers, Yankees Show History of Ponying Up

With everyone speculating a) who will spring for A-Rod and b) if the first of the 8 digits in his annual salary will reach '3' (BTW I also have an 8-digit salary - it's just that the first several digits are '0'), I thought I'd take a graphical look at mlb salary history.

The following data are plotted below from the period 1984 - 2007:

  • Average mlb salary in nominal dollars
  • Highest mlb salary in nominal dollars
  • The average 1984 salary growing at the rate of inflation

(click graph to enlarge)

Shocking discovery: both the average and the highest mlb salary have grown far faster than the rate of inflation. Equally shocking: in 3 of the last 4 years, it was the Yankees paying out the highest salary.

Sarcasm aside, I was mildly intrigued to notice that during 4 of the 12 seasons ranging from 1989 to 2000, the Dodgers paid out the highest salary (to Orel Hershiser, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Sheffield, and Kevin Brown, chronologically). Does this mean we have any hope for A-Rod? Probably not, but it does mean we have a good chance of overpaying for someone else.

A-Rod in Dodger Blue Just Got a Whole Lot Unlikelier

From "Sources: Yankees more than $100M short of entertaining A-Rod" by Buster Olney at

Before Alex Rodriguez opted out of his contract with the Yankees earlier this week, the team was told that it would not be able to meet with the third baseman unless it presented an offer of at least $350 million, sources say.

The Yankees had hoped to meet with Rodriguez this week, and would have presented him with an extension offer close to five years and $150 million, to begin at the conclusion of his 2008-2010 contract, through which he would have earned $81 million. Through the Yankees' proposal, then, Rodriguez would have made about $230 million over eight years, and during the last five years of the contract, sources say, he would have earned the highest annual salary in Major League Baseball history.

But team executives were told, sources say, that in order to arrange a meeting with Rodriguez, they would have to be prepared to make an extension offer that would take the third baseman's deal up to a total value of $350 million. That means that the offer the Yankees intended to propose would have been more than $100 million short.


Most confusing paragraph ever:

The Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Giants and Marlins are among the teams which have not publicly ruled out pursuing Rodriguez. Sources say it is highly unlikely that the Dodgers will seriously entertain the possibility.

Seriously entertain the possibility of what? Pursuing A-Rod or ruling out pursuing him? I'm confused.

photo by Richard Corman/Sports Illustrated