Sunday, September 30, 2007

Game 162 Thread: Sept. 30 vs Giants, 1.10p

Dodgers start Eric Stults, LHP (1-3, 4.93) vs. Barry Zito, LHP (10-13, 4.63).

Dodgers: 82-79 (4th place NL West, 8 GB, W2)
Giants: 70-91 (5th/last place NL West, 20 GB, L4)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Stults gets a pick-up start for the season finale in place of Brad Penny, who has shut it down. This will be Stults' fourth start of the season for the Dodgers and first since Sept. 5 in Chicago. In his only appearance against the Giants this year, he pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Giants: Zito will close out the season with a final start against the Dodgers. Overall, Zito is finishing the season strong, with an impressive effort in the final two months, but he has faltered a little in his past two starts. In his start against the Padres on Monday, Zito made it only five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while putting runners on every inning, but the Giants gave him seven runs of support and he earned the win.

COMMENTS: It's fan appreciation day, and I can't wait to hear how Frankie McCourt shows his appreciation for his record-setting fan base. By screwing over the team with an inactive off-season, and more talk of clubhouse dissension? By sticking us with a manager who sleepwalks through every game for yet another year? By complicating parking flows beyond reason? By denying us the World Series title that these fans, and this city, richly deserves?

You want to show us fan appreciation, Frank? Enough with the seat cushions and free flights to Phoenix. GIVE US ALEX RODRIGUEZ NEXT YEAR. We deserve it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Game 161 Thread; Sept. 29 vs Giants, 7.10p

Dodgers start Chad Billingsley, RHP (12-5, 3.09) vs. Travis Blackley, LHP (0-0, 3.60).

Dodgers: 81-79 (4th place NL West for good, 9 GB, W1)
Giants: 70-90 (5th/last place NL West, 20 GB, L3)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: It wasn't his best outing, but Billingsley was good enough to stop the Dodgers' losing streak in Arizona. He got into the sixth inning and allowed only one run, although the four walks caused him more trouble than necessary and ran up the pitch count. Nonetheless, he's won five of his last six decisions.

Giants: Blackely made a good first impression in his first Major League start since 2004. Blackley's pitch speed hovered around 80 mph, but his command was good enough to shut out the Reds for the last four innings. Nerves and being out of practice led to a rough first inning when Blackley gave up a two-run homer, but those were the only runs he gave up during his five-inning outing. The performance earned him another start and a final chance to make an impression before the season ends.

COMMENTS: A Dodgers win tonight secures a winning record for the 2007 season. Let's go, Billingsley!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Post-Game 160 Thread: Brought to You by Berlitz


Okay, on the post-game show, Adrian Garcia is interviewing Wilson Valdez: asking him a question in Spanish, interpreting his own question for the viewer, then listening to Valdez' response in Spanish, and then interpreting Valdez' response for the viewer. Garcia is not really a great post-game interviewer in English alone, let alone two languages. What's more, Valdez is giving full 500-word essay answers, perhaps taking full advantage of the rare interview opportunity.

My head hurts. Is this dual-language thing really necessary? Is Berlitz the new sponsor of the Dodgers? Will they be interviewing Chin-Lung Hu and/or Takashi Saito tomorrow?

I'm going to bed. At least I can rest knowing that the Dodgers cannot end 2007 with a losing season. And, nice game, James Loney (HR #15).

Game 160 Thread: Sept 28 vs. Giants, 7.40p

Dodgers start David Wells, LHP (8-9, 5.53) vs. Kevin Correia, RHP (4-6, 3.20).

Dodgers: 80-79 (4th place NL West for good, 9.0 GB, L3)
Giants: 70-89 (5th/last place NL West, 19 GB, L2)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Wells struggled in his last start on Saturday against the D-backs. He was pitching on three days' rest, although he said he felt fine. The veteran allowed five runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, yielding runs in all but one of the innings he pitched in while digging the Dodgers a 5-0 deficit. He also gave up five runs in his previous start when Los Angeles lost at Colorado. Before that, the acquisition of Wells had paid off for the Dodgers, as the veteran lefty had gone 3-0 in four starts, giving up no more than three runs in any of those outings.

Giants: Correia is looking more like a full time starter with every appearance, and after his last start it looks like the transformation is complete. Correia shut out the Reds over seven innings using every pitch in his arsenal effectively, and lowered his starting ERA to 1.80. The Giants have now won six of Correia's seven starts and Correia has pitched his way into a potential starting role for next season. This will be Correia's last start of the season.

COMMENTS: When I was at undergrad, the "Big Game" between Stanford and Cal in college football was always laced with hilarity, as the two schools battled it out for 9th and 10th place in the Pac-10. Sort of reminds me of this weekend's series with the Giants, which will put a merciful end to the 2007 season. Instead of a heated rivalry, we're going to get three games without playoff implications, Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, or Brad Penny (supposedly he is not starting Sunday, after all). Yawn.

Vets vs. Youth Debate Hits New Lows

All the media coverage about this stupid "vets vs. youngsters" debate got me so riled up, that I felt compelled to write post after post after post. But eventually, like my reflections on the Dodgers' lost season, the whole brouhaha story simply became comical. Can't we all just get along?

And so, without further ado, my first video.

Thanks to our own Eric Karros for teaching me the ropes on this. I've gone from a photoshop hack to a windows movie maker hack. (Whatchoo talkin' about, Karros?)

Dodgers + Legos = FUN!

As we go into the series versus the Giants, this might cheer some people up. If we can't cheer for the current dodgers, we can certainly cheer for the dodgers of yesterday. Thanks to fuzzylogic1025 on youtube for posting this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Game 159 Thread; Sept. 27 vs. Rockies, 7.10p

Dodgers start Esteban Loaiza, RHP (2-3, 5.61) vs. Franklin Morales, LHP (2-2, 3.15).

Dodgers: 80-78 (4th place NL West for good, 8.0 GB, L2)
Rockies: 86-72 (3rd place NL West, 2.0 GB; T-2nd place WC, 1.0 GB; W10)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Loaiza been a disappointment so far. He hasn't thrown hard since he arrived and now he's saying he lacks confidence in his surgically repaired right knee, the one that he pushes off on and would help provide drive and velocity. His command improved in Arizona, but it almost had to after a seven-walk disaster in his previous start. Loaiza is also having trouble keeping the ball in the park.

Rockies: Morales was stellar Friday night in a no-decision against the Padres, holding them scoreless on one hit in six innings, with six strikeouts and four walks. It was his seventh Major League start. Morales has not given up a run in his last three starts, covering 17 innings.

COMMENTS: Instead of posting today's lineup, here's the lineup of people I'd like to put in a rowboat and push off shore, to thank them for ruining the 2007 Dodgers season (in decreasing order of culpability):

Grady "Comatose" Little
Ned "Washed-Up Arms > Power Bat" Colletti
Juan "Slappy" Pierre
Frank "Take The Money and Disappear" McCourt
Bill "Hack" Plaschke
Jeff Kent *
Brett Tomko
Roberto Hernandez
Mark Hendrickson

(*) To be fair, I'm only bidding bon voyage to Kent's surly attitude and limited defensive range; we still need his bat.

Feist Formula, Revealed

Feist = The set of natural numbers between 1 and 10 (inclusive), excluding 7 and 8.

(Thanks, ipod commercial, for getting yet another tune stuck in my head.)

Even Scully Didn't See This Collapse Coming

Christine Daniels of the LA Times has a nice piece on Vin Scully today, who was surprised by the Dodgers' freefall from first place to .500 mediocrity:

But the Dodgers' bizarre hike through 2007, a well-mapped mountain climb followed by an abrupt cliff dive, has caused those seen-it-all eyes to blink hard more than once this summer. The potential he saw in this team in March far outscaled the barely-.500 plateau of late September.

"Most bad years are bad the whole year, you know what I mean?" Scully said Tuesday evening, a few hours before he called the Dodgers' 9-7 loss to Colorado, which officially eliminated the team from playoff consideration.

"This was a different year, because this was a team that, first of all, I was positive would either win the division or certainly be the wild card. I was positive! In the spring.

"And you know they were in first place at the end of July. So that made this different. And even when they started their slide down, you kept thinking, 'Yeah, but they were in first just a week ago, just two weeks ago.' You kept waiting for them to get back up again. Well, it never happened. So it was a different kind of a year."

I'm delighted to have been able to introduce my kids to Scully as we watch Dodger games together on television. Scully has spoken to three generations of my family, rabid Dodger fans throughout. And it's sad to read his quotes, tinged with the "what might have been" ringing like an unrequited love.

If the Dodger front office had any sanity, they would stop reading the rest of the "feud" drivel and start reading stories like this, to help ground them with their responsibility to improve this team in the offseason. They owe it to the Dodger fans, who have been jerked around by parking increases, illogical lineups, and being forced to watch Juan Pierre every day. But they also owe it to Vin Scully, who deserves to call one more World Series title.

Come on, Frank and Ned. Step up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Game 158 Thread: Sept 26 vs. Rockies, 7.10p

Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (12-13, 3.93) vs. Josh Fogg, RHP (9-9, 4.99).

Dodgers: 80-77 (4th place NL West, 8.0 GB, L1)
Rockies: 85-72 (3rd place NL West, 3.0 GB; T-2nd place WC, 1.0 GB; W9)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Lowe had a day-game nightmare at Coors Field that included a six-run second inning and he was removed after walking the first two batters of the fourth inning, giving him more walks (five) than innings pitched. Whether it's the groin/hip injury or bruised hand or lack of run support, this just hasn't been his year. He'll probably make this start for a chance to finish the season at .500, regardless of its significance in the race.

Rockies: Fogg gave up mostly soft hits while going five innings in the Rockies' 6-5 victory over the Dodgers at Coors Field on Wednesday night. Fogg, however, is winless in his last seven starts against the Dodgers.

COMMENTS: Plaschke publishes a stupid rant, and Grady reads it. Result: tonight's lineup--no Kemp in sight. Perhaps Kemp is too busy massaging Jeff Kent's sore leg as Kent opines about proper baserunning techniques?

Slappy, CF
Hu, SS
Young, LF
Loney, 1B
LaRoche, 3B
Ethier, RF
Moeller, C
Valdez, 2B
Lowe, P

F' you, Plaschke, you hack.

UPDATE: If the Dodgers win all the rest of their games and the Rockies lose all the rest of theirs, we could end the season tied for third place. Uh, yeah.

The Power of Branding: 756 Ball To Get Asterisk

Mark Ecko's publicity stunt worked, as the people voted to brand the 756th HR ball with an asterisk before it goes to Cooperstown:

Over 10 million people voted and were given the options of banishing it into space, bestowing it to the Hall of Fame or branding it with an asterisk, due to the popular thought that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs to accomplish the feat.

The decision was a landslide as 47 percent of voters put their support behind branding it while 34 percent voted to bestow it to the Hall of Fame.

"We're going to be working with the folks at the Hall of Fame. It is a historical museum. We want to treat this ball as such, as an artifact with respect," Ecko said on the Today Show.

"You bet we're happy to get it," Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey said. "This ball wouldn't be coming to Cooperstown without Mark Ecko buying it from the fan who caught it and then putting it up to the vote of the fans."

I don't know if I would have voted to brand the ball, but now that the decision has been made, I hope the HOF puts the ball in a prominent exhibit, such that it raises the specter of impropriety on Bonds for all who see the artifact. Or, they could put the ball in a basement closet.

When There's No Present, Live in The Past

ESPN wrote up a pretty good story on the Dodgers' great 1993 spoiler season, albeit focused less on the Dodgers' spoiler role and more on the actual race between the Braves and Giants. ESPN's story is much more complete regarding details of the race, but SoSG's version has much better porn 'stache coverage.

Jon Weisman, Feeling You!

The Dodgers' recent media coverage has gotten so absurd over the last week, pointing fingers and fanning flames of discontent, that it's made me loopy enough to channel Vic the frickin' Brick in my headline. Sorry, Jon. But I did appreciate Dodger Thoughts' morning post echoing SoSG's sentiments this week (sorry for the long post, but it's good--the headline is even in RED for a change--and there's more on the orginal DT link):

Today, I read yet another column scapegoating one of the team's most valuable position players, Matt Kemp, for the Dodgers' fall into fourth place - and going on to suggest that he could be traded, maybe should be traded.

The player is being criticized for a bad attitude, even though he is surrounded by veterans with bad attitudes. Different kinds of bad attitudes, perhaps, but bad attitudes nevertheless.

The player is being critcized for speaking out in the press, even though he did so in response to veterans speaking out in the press.

The player is being criticized for on-field mistakes, even though veterans have repeatedly made the same on-field mistakes.

The player is being criticized for perhaps not being willing to learn, even though the veteran that started this whole thing has been one of the most irascible, stubborn people in baseball, whose baserunning in the past two seasons indicates that he hasn't learned nearly as much as he wants us to think.

Headline from inside today's Daily Irony: Sweeney hopes to stay on as a voice of experience

Yes, Mark Sweeney. The veteran who made the single dumbest baserunning mistake of the year.

I have had it with the utter stupidity that has come out of the Dodger clubhouse and local papers this past week.

Bill Plaschke writes that Kemp's "power and speed have been negated by silly at-bats and baserunning mistakes."

Negated?? Are you serious??

The silly at-bats have already been factored into his on-base percentage and slugging percentage, which currently stand at .364 and .509. Yes, those are the numbers of the irresponsible Kemp.

The baserunning mistakes? What have there been, five? Ten? Let's say the latter. Instead of 198 outs in 294 plate appearances, give Kemp 208 outs in 294 plate appearances. Wow, what a change.


Is third-base coach Rich Donnelly going to be traded in response to the baserunning mistakes on his watch?...

Here's an idea that apparently isn't good enough for the papers: Why not have the manager and coaches do the damn mentoring? Seriously, what else are they there for? If Grady Little and the coaching staff are too weak to do it, then bring in a drill seargent. Hell, bring in Lou Gossett, Jr. and have him go all Sgt. Foley on Kemp.

Couldn't have said it better.

  • Kemp has made foolish baserunning mistakes, true. But he hasn't been the only one by far. Mark Sweeney and Jeff Kent are up there as well. And, unlike Sweeney, Kemp's bat has more than made up for any mistakes on the basepaths.
  • Rich Donnelly needs to be held accountable for these baserunning mistakes in the first place. That's his job. And though I didn't mention it on last night's post, I don't know who was to blame for Kent getting nailed last night at the plate--Ethier for his weak fly ball, Kent for his slowness and lack of impact at the plate, or Donnelly for his sending of Kent (or non-sending of Kent that was effectively ignored). My guess is, it's at least 75% Donnelly if not more. We've been on this issue since the NLCS debacle last year, and it hasn't gotten any better all year long.
  • Which gets to the "what the hell are the Dodgers coaches doing anyway" point. Yeah, there's been a closed door meeting or two. Big whoop. The fact that this has leaked all over the press and Grady and crew haven't put a stop to this circus demonstrates how they aren't the proper ringmasters.
  • And LA Times, get a life. There are countless angles to this story that you haven't considered, and yet you're inundating us with the same crappy lead. Heck, if Plaschke's taken up the cause, you know it's old news. What's next? A story about how one of the Dodger rookies gets fed boxed meals of chicken by his mom? Aspire to be better journalists than at the Oklahoman. And don't make me go Mike Gundy on you.

And Jon, don't worry. I'm not feeling you, literally or otherwise. But, nice piece.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Post-Game 157 Thread: Why Roberto Hernandez Is Like Ice In A Urinal (Col 9, LA 7)


Roberto Hernandez is a nice human interest story. He's old, he's supposed to be a nice guy, he was a big-time closer about 74 years ago for Cleveland, and he recently made his 1000th appearance in a game, which (at this stage) puts him up in the all-time top 10 for pitchers.

But the Dodgers should not have a team of human interest stories. They should have a team of players. And Roberto Hernandez is not that.

Roberto Hernandez is more like ice in the urinal. When you first see it, it's interesting at which to look and possibly kind of neat. But once it's put into practical use, it melts pretty quickly and quietly and scatters piss all over the floor. And when you're done pissing all over it, there's nothing left to look at, as everything has been flushed down the drain.

Why Grady continues to trot Hernandez out there is beyond me. In doing so, he turns the Dodgers from a class act to a circus act. Stop the madness, Grady. If we want to watch old people, we'll flip on the TV Land reruns of the Golden Girls.

But let's do a recap of the key plays of tonight's game, shall we?

  • Grady pulls Penny after five innings with a 5-4 lead. Lurch comes in and promptly gives up a two-run home run in the sixth, puting the Rockies up 6-5. In fact, when Hendrickson's first pitch was stroked to right for a single, the TV caught Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on the phone to the bullpen, while Grady stoically sat beside him. Impact to the Dodgers: -2 runs.
  • Grady makes the call for Roberto Hernandez to pitch the ninth, and Hernandez gives up two more runs to turn a one-run deficit into a three-run deficit. Oh yeah, had we pitched a scoreless ninth, we would have tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Alas. Impact to the Dodgers: -2 runs.
  • On the positive side, Chin-Lung Hu knocks a two-run home run. James Loney has a three-run home run to take an ephemeral lead. Delwyn Young smacks the crap out of the ball in the ninth for a solo home run. Impact to the Dodgers: +6 runs. Enough to even compensate for Grady's ineptitude, shockingly.

If I was an LA Times reporter, I might also point out that Jeff Kent was nailed by a country mile on an Andre Ethier sacrifice fly this evening, and not only was there no collision at the plate, but what little impact there was between Kent and Yorvit Torrealba (likely) caused Kent to leave the game early. But hey, the Dodgers are one happy cohesive clubhouse, right? No need to point that out!

With tonight's win, the Rockies stay in the Wild Card hunt. With tonight's loss, the Dodgers' sixth loss in their last seven games, their Wild Card hopes offically move to "E" as in "Eliminated."

And while we're talking about letters, someone should remind the Dodgers that "spoiler" is spelled with a "r" at the end, not a "d".

Game 157 Thread: Sept. 25 vs. Rockies, 7p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (16-4, 2.93) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (4-4, 4.14).

Dodgers: 80-76 (4th place NL West, E; 5th place WC, 5.0 GB and virtually-E; W1)
Rockies: 84-72 (3rd place NL West, 4.0 GB; 3rd place WC, 1.0 GB; W8)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Penny allowed three home runs in six innings, yet qualified for a quality start and was in position to win a career-high 17th until the suddenly shaky bullpen gave away another win in the eighth inning. Penny was more effective with the bat, getting two hits, driving in a run and scoring another. He's 12-2 against the Rockies lifetime, and 2-0 this season.

Rockies: Jimenez bounced back Thursday after a shaky start in his previous outing against the Marlins when he lasted only three innings and gave up five runs -- two earned -- on five hits with four walks. Jimenez could not locate his pitches that day, but Thursday against the Dodgers his fastball command was back. While he didn't get his usual strikeouts -- he recorded only one on the day -- he held the Dodgers scoreless until the seventh inning when they scored three and he made his first mistake, leaving a fastball up to Andre Ethier, who knocked it out of the park. Even with his poor start against the Marlins, Jimenez has gone 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA over his last eight starts and helped keep the Rockies in the playoff hunt.

COMMENTS: The Rockies were a .500 team eight days ago, before rolling to sweeps over the hapless Dodgers and imploding Padres. Now they're the third horse in the wild-card race, one game out. Tonight, we have a chance to claw back into third place in the NL West, as well as spoil the Rockies' post-season hopes. Crap, as I type that last sentence I think about how pathetic the Dodgers' situation is. I need a drink.

ESPN Holds Ground on Sanity: Dane Cook Must Be Stopped

According to the AOL Fanhouse, ESPN will not show MLB playoffs commercials this postseason:

Well, it appears the four-letter network and MLB are butting heads again. ESPN will not be airing MLB playoff games this year, and they're not all that interested in advertising for the stations that will be. If ESPN doesn't relent, MLB will once again lay down the law by limiting access. From the Sports Business Journal:

The current dispute centers on ESPN's refusal to run on-air spots promoting postseason telecasts on Fox and TBS. This is the first time in years that ESPN will not run ads promoting playoff games on other networks, and, not coincidentally, also marks the first time since 1996 that ESPN will not have postseason baseball on its schedule.

Citing network policy, ESPN says it does not accept advertising that promotes competitive programming on other networks unless it is contractually obligated to do so - and it states that it's not obligated to under its new media deal with MLB. It says other networks have similar policies.

ESPN's decision greatly upset MLB executives, who are considering banning ESPN's "SportsCenter" and "Baseball Tonight" studio sets from postseason venues if ESPN does not run the spots, network sources said.

Not promoting competitors' networks seems reasonable to me. But what seems really reasonable to me is ESPN refusing to air advertisements with the talentless Dane Cook spouting off random postseason memories. If people had wanted to see Cook, they would have watched "Good Luck Chuck" this weekend; and almost twice as many people opted for the implausible Resident Evil 3 movie instead. And it's not like RE3 was much of an alternative.

MLB counters by threatening to "limit access"? Hey, limiting Cook's access on ESPN is not only sound competitive strategy--it's a sound consumer strategy as well.

LA Times Maintains Rift Story, Doubling Beat Writer Coverage

The Dodgers' internal clubhouse dissension is such a big story, according to the LA Times, that it requires TWO beat writers to pick up all the threads of this story. Don't Kevin Baxter and Dylan Hernandez have something better about which to write? Like, for example, an analysis of the impact of Colletti's moves and non-moves this year? The Dodgers' post-All Star Break fall from grace? Grady Little's inability to right the freefall? Why Roberto Hernandez' roster spot can only be explained by a backroom deal between Frank McCourt and the AARP (which I suppose in turn explains those ubiquitous hair-restoration advertisements seen in Dodger Stadium this year)?

But wait, this may be too harsh. Let's analyze today's article and try and figure out what key nuggets of information the LA Times has uncovered today.

Exhibit 1: A quote from waiver-wire pickup David Wells, 44:

"Some of the guys that you see around that are young are a little cocky," said pitcher David Wells, at 44 the oldest Dodger, yet one of the few who has moved comfortably between both sides in a split clubhouse. "But you know what? They're going to get humbled. And when they do, they'll switch their attitude. It's not my place and time to tell people how to act. But I pay attention.

"And if I feel the need maybe I'll say, 'Hey, maybe you want to try this approach.' Because I was told that."

First of all, using David Wells as the article's first quote describing the Dodgers reeks of journalistic desperation. Wells, who joined the Dodgers late in the season and first pitched for the team August 26, is perhaps less-suited to speak on any clubhouse dynamic than any other Dodger short of Chin-Lung Hu (for whom English is a second language). [And believe me, this is one of the few times Wells is "less-suited" on anything, if you know what I mean.] What's more, the quote that is picked up by BaxtHerNandez might be read as inflammatory, I suppose--but is more likely to be read as a congenial, unprovocative observation, which could be applied to the Dodgers' youngsters just as easily as it could to any team's youth. No inciting of violence from Wells.

So the LA Times' reporters look elsewhere. Witness Exhibit 2--The Trash Can Incident:

Before a game on the last homestand, an attendant placed a trash can too close to [Matt] Kemp's locker in the Dodgers' crowded clubhouse. But when the outfielder got up to move it, one veteran complained aloud -- but not to Kemp -- about how rookies today are different from those of the past.

Heavens to Murgatroid, Kemp moved a trash can away from his locker? Surely that reflects rampant insolence on the behalf of youth! Note that Kemp didn't kick the can away in disgust, or ask a veteran (or even a clubhouse attendant) to move the can. He just moved it himself. Furthermore, from the poor juxtaposition of the second sentence, it's not even clear if the veteran is even addressing Kemp's actions in the first place with his separate comment. What the hell is this incident supposed to represent, guys? Sounds pretty innocuous to me, and probably to the veteran who didn't even notice it in the first place (by the way it's poorly described, at least).

Let's take Exhibit 3--Dissecting the players' actions under a microscope:

Some players have also wondered why Kemp continues to commit the same baserunning gaffes while other veterans have noted -- off the record -- that few young players hang around the clubhouse before or after games to talk baseball. That's a practice that hasn't limited itself to young players, though, since veterans such as Shea Hillenbrand and Brad Penny are typically the first to leave the clubhouse on the road. And, home and away, Kent is habitually the last to arrive, walking silently through the clubhouse to his corner locker without speaking to anyone.

On the issue of baserunning gaffes, anyone who has watched the Dodgers late in this season knows that the errors fall on both "sides" of the debate; Kemp has been caught multiple times, but so have Kent and Garciaparra and Gonzalez. Frankly, I don't think this necessarily reflects on either rookies or veterans--I have contended all along that it reflects upon third base coach Rich Donnelly, who either has incredibly bad judgment in his baserunning calls, or is thoroughly ignored by the players in the first place, or (c) all of the above.

And on the issue of leaving early, the article goes out of its way to point out Kent's stoic nature, when a day prior it went out of its way to point out Kemp's lack of investment in camaraderie. Are both "at fault"? Probably. Kent doesn't have a history of being Mr. Clubhouse, and Kemp doesn't appear willing to take that role either--and that's okay, frankly; it hasn't stopped Kent from amassing a pretty good base of Hall of Fame credentials, and it wouldn't impede Kemp if he follows a similar trajectory. So what's the issue here?

If Baxter and Hernandez want to waste time lamenting that fact that there is no clubhouse chemistry, simplifying the issue into old vs. new, then the least they could do is provide evidence of behavioral contrasts or inflammatory quotes. Instead, they combine their grasping of straws to waste our time and a crapload of column inches (which, based on the shrinking size of the LA Times these days, is a valuable resource).

Maybe the Times reporters should spend their time focusing on a post-mortem that is based less in recapping frustrated feelings and more in analyzing substantive issues?

After all, there are two of you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

End to Dodger Career of Luis Gonzalez Makes News...

...but buried deep within an article from the East Valley Tribune, covering Metro Phoenix's East Valley region?

Sheesh, doesn't the guy who won you a World Series deserve better than that?

Sitting quietly in the visitors’ clubhouse at Chase Field, ribbing clubhouse attendants he knows so well, Luis Gonzalez said Sunday he will not be back with the Dodgers next season.

Gonzalez, who signed a one-year, $7.35 million deal after leaving the D-Backs last year, has lost time down the stretch because of development of younger outfielders Matt Kemp and Valley product Andre Ethier.

Gonzalez, 40, said he will take a step back this offseason and see what opportunities present themselves, emphasizing he still wants to play but adding that if nothing materializes he might consider retirement.

“Something always opens up in the spring,” he said.

What, and miss a front-row seat at the LA Times' favorite soap opera?

Seriously, as poorly as Gonzo has batted in the second half, I appreciated his first-half offense this year and his awesome attitude, including spearheading the rookie hazing ritual after others let the baseball tradition lapse last year. He's a hard guy to dislike and it's just too bad that we're catching him in the twilight of his career--plus, his defensive liabilities are exacerbated by standing beside Juan Penguin-Arm Pierre (who unfortunately will be back next year). Alas, Gonzo, we hardly knew ye, but thanks for the first-half of the season and being a stand-up guy.

(Hat tip to 6-4-2 for the post. (Why Rob is reading the East Valley Tribune, I don't know. Amazing stamina, that guy.))

Kids! Vets! Kids! Vets! Less Filling! Tastes Great!

With the season officially in shambles, most of the articles about the Dodgers the last week have revolved around explaining an alleged rift in the clubhouse between the Dodgers' youth movement (Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Andy LaRoche, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Chin-Lung Hu, etc.) and the veterans (Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Nomar Garciaparra, Roberto Hernandez, Olmedo Saenz, Ramon Martinez, and I'm going to throw Juan Pierre in there though he may be only 30 since his arm strength makes him appear like he's 75 (or 5, to be fair)).

Jeff Kent is "angry," "disappointed," "perplexed," and "bitter." [Shit, Jeff, how the hell do you think we feel, Jeff, since we're paying your salary?] Loney takes the bait and remarks that Kent isn't much of a leader (though actually, Kent is just that on the Dodger home run counter this year). Derek Lowe echoes the team's frustrations. Kemp sulks and forgets to congratulate teammates' home runs. Saito hides behind his interpreter. Saenz tries to make himself feel better about his .185 average by eating more in his own Pavilion.

And the LA Times reporters, who have suffered all year long through the snail-like drawl and meaningless cliche-filled-quotes of Grady Little, the inezplicable inertia of Ned Colletti, and the vacuous cluelessness of Frank McCourt, jump all over the clubhouse dissension and try and turn it into a maelstrom, like a camera crew for a reality television show.

Throw in a couple of games like this on their recent 1-6 homestand, and it looks even worse:

9/22/07 lineup 9/23/07 lineup
Pierre, CF Pierre, CF
Abreu, SS Abreu, 2B
Loney, 1B Kemp, RF
Kent, 2B Loney, 1B
Gonzalez, LF Martin, C
Kemp, RF Ethier, LF
LaRcohe, 3B LaRoche, 3B
Lieberthal, C Hu, SS
Wells, P Billingsley, P
Final: L, 2-6 Final: W, 7-1

And that's not even mentioning the Win Probability Added statistics that Rob mentioned over on 6-4-2; note Loney and Martin are at the top, no veteran is above 0.00, and Pierre and Rafael Furcal are solidly at the bottom of the page.

Youth must be served. Veterans are crotchety and pissed off. Cats and dogs are living together (or I guess in this case, not talking to each other (which I suppose would be a good thing in this metaphor but you know what I mean)).


I know, we here at SoSG have been big fans of the youth movement all year long(see: Free James Loney campaign). But the Times' distillation of this into an X vs. Y campaign is simply absurd. Rodney King is right in saying that we can all get along here, and my hope is that this will set the seeds to set 2008 right.

I want Loney, Kemp, Ethier, Martin, and possibly LaRoche in every starting lineup. Hu and Abreu should vie to become the utility infielder that Ramon Martinez will never become. Billingsley should get a starter slot, Broxton will re-find his groove again, and I'm sure more youngsters will pop up their heads from the farm system and make themselves known over the course of next year (let's face it, Hu wasn't even in the margin of the picture as of 2006 opening day).

But I also hold out hope that Furcal comes back from his bum ankle and regains his sweet stroke at the plate and on the basepaths. That Garciaparra can contribute again, probably as a reserve, after an off year. That Kent and all of his curmudgeonly ways can trim a bit more weight off (can't lose that mustache again next year, can we Jeff?) and get a bit more range to go with his power bat. That we find a veteran pinch-hitter not named Sweeney or Saenz (or even (gasp!) a true every-day power bat position player!) that can contribute all year long. That Pierre...well, I don't know what to do with Pierre, I'll get back to you on that one.

But said simply, there is a place for veterans, and a place for youth, on next year's Dodger team. And once the thoroughly understandable and frankly appropriate frustrations subside over the off-season, those who can contribute should be able to find their respective roles and coexist on the same squad. That is, IF we have a manager adept enough to manage both groups seamlessly. And that's the rub--if anything is clear about these final weeks of the season, it's clear that that manager is likely NOT Grady Little.

What bothers me the most about this whole out-of-proportion brouhaha is that Grady, in his inimitable style, has done nothing to abate the tide of frustrations either in the clubhouse, preventing a leak, or afterward, condemning a leak. Yes, I know there have been "closed-door meetings," but they don't seem to be effective at stemming the tide of barbs. Left to its own devices, the media continues to illustrate the conflict's roots as veterans' egos and rookies' sense of entitlement--which, even if it did exist at smaller levels than they would want readers to believe, wouldn't happen in the first place under a manager who defined each team member's role clearly and stuck to it.

Grady's penchant for illogical and scattershot lineup decisions can only be pulled off if countered with clarity of purpose and strength in leadership, neither of which were apparent from Little this year. And now, we are where we are--out of control and out of the playoffs.

Little's lack of control over this schism, no matter how minor, has led to a media field day--and make no mistake, this will be the story to which even the rosiest of 2008 Dodgers preview articles will allude. Little needs to get control of his squad, his team, and his clubhouse, in a way that will require more intervention than his comatose demeanor would suggest.

Is Grady up for the challenge?

Well, the lineup card for the Dodgers' last game was indeed demonstrably different than the games before. True, it took 156 games to get here. But there's always hope.

The Picture of Non Guilt

Jose Offerman pleads not guilty to charges stemming from mound attack.

Offerman's attorney Frank Riccio has said he does not believe his client struck the players with a bat.

Maybe OJ's providing his alibi.

Dumb & Dumberer

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Padres left fielder Milton Bradley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he was spun to the ground by his manager Sunday during a blowup with an umpire and will miss the rest of the season. The diagnosis came from an MRI exam, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.

AvB 24: Mama Said There'd Be Abes Like This

The puns get worse while the competition gets better.

The Abes won again to extend their season-best winning streak to two, and they did so via some unusual performances. Remember how incredulous you were in 1995 when Ken Caminiti won the Gold Glove in spite of committing more errors than anyone not named Jose Offerman? Well get a load of the following Abes, each of whom put up numbers that, while sucky, if removed from the stats would have resulted in a Babes victory:

  • Edwin Jackson - gave up 7 ERs in 10 IP (6.30 ERA), but without his W the Abes would have lost
  • Kelly Johnson - hit 0.188 with 0 HR and 0 RBI's, but his 5 runs scored made the difference
  • Dan Johnson - hit 0.133 with 1 RBI. But his RBI came on a critical HR
  • And finally, Russ Adams. Despite hitting 0.227, Adams wins Player of the Week because two of his stats swung the balance in the Abes' favor: his 1 HR and his 1 SB (he also had an incongruous 9 RBI's, although this didn't make a difference in the final score).

Thanks to these anomalies, the Abes reach their 5 win goal for the season a week early.

Week 24 Scoreboard:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.154 0.291
Runs 20 24
HRs 3 5
RBIs 13 24
SBs 1 2
ERA 4.08 6.85
Wins 2 2
Saves 4 0
Ks 18 44
Total 2 6
Normalized by AB/IP:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.154 0.291
Runs 32 24
HRs 5 5
RBIs 21 24
SBs 2 2
ERA 4.08 6.85
Wins 3 2
Saves 6 0
Ks 27 44
Total 4 3

The Babes lead the Abes 17-5-2

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Game 156 Thread: Sept. 23 @ D'backs, 1.40p

Dodgers start Chad Billingsley, RHP (11-5, 3.15) vs. Edgar Gonzalez, RHP (8-2, 4.61).

Dodgers: 79-76 (4th place NL West, 9.0 GB; 6th place WC, 6.5 GB; L7)
D’backs: 88-67 (1st place NL West, W4)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Billingsley backed away from hard-throwing and did a good job of pitching in Coors Field, allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings. His fastball was clocked three to four miles an hour slower than usual, but he used more cutters and breaking balls while avoiding the big inning. Lack of run support led to a loss that snapped a personal four-game win streak.

D'backs: Gonzalez has been a different pitcher in the starting rotation this season than in the bullpen. His ERA working in relief is 5.58 in 20 games, but in 10 starts he has posted a 3.90 mark. Since returning to starting work, which is where he began this season, Gonzalez has allowed just one run in each of his last two outings.

COMMENTS: The playoff odds statistic has been retired; who the hell are we kidding. At this stage, we're just looking for tabloid fodder from the clubhouse and to see if Grady sleepwalks his way to pencilling another predictable lineup card.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Game 155 Thread: Sept. 22 @ D'backs, 6:40p

Dodgers start David Wells, LHP (8-8, 5.40) vs. Brandon Webb, RHP (16-10, 3.03)

Dodgers: 79-75 (4th place NL West, 8.0 GB; 6th place WC, 6.5 GB; L6)
D’Backs: 87-67 (1st place NL West, - GB; W3)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 0.01%

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Wells gave up leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in Coors Field, yet was in position to gain his fourth win as a Dodger until Todd Helton's walkoff homer on Takashi Saito's final pitch. Wells had pitched only once previously at Coors Field, and it went very much like this one, when he allowed five runs in five innings. He'll be coming back on three days' rest to face Arizona.

Snakes: Webb was not crisp in his last outing, although he threw a quality start in allowing three runs over six innings. He was working behind in the count a little too often and took a no-decision in a game the D-backs eventually lost. Although this day is Webb's regular day to start, there was speculation he was going to get an extra day of rest as manager Bob Melvin has been monitoring Webb's workload more closely recently. Webb leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched, and is fifth in the National League in pitches.

COMMENTS: I guess it is hard to play spoiler, IF YOU CANT WIN! Our six game losing streak is pretty craptacular and maybe we can pull out a win or two while playing the kids. The veterans can complain all they want, but the dodgers go as the rookies go. We didn’t trade them at the deadline for a reason and now is the time to play them.

Dodgers to D-backs: You Can Do It, We Can Help

Ok, so the Dodgers are done for 2007. But can't they at least play spoiler correctly? After Arizona shellacked them 12-3 last night, it looks like instead of playing spoiler to their opponent, the Dodgers will end up playing spoiler to the team competing for the division with their opponent. That's not how it works, guys (unless of course the team competing for the division with your opponents is the Giants). To see how the spoiler role is supposed to be played, let's rewind 14 years:

Throughout most of the 1993 season (before the days of the wildcard), the Williams-Clark-Bonds Giants led the 7-team NL West. But a late surge by the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz Braves allowed them to catch the Giants in September, and the teams sat tied atop the standings at 101-58 with 3 games to play. Meanwhile, the Piazza-Strawberry-Davis Dodgers languished 23 games behind the co-leaders. But as fate would have it, the Giants' final series was against the Dodgers - a textbook chance to play spoiler against their arch-rival.

Things didn't look good after the Dodgers dropped the first two games of the series behind sub-par efforts from Ramon Martinez and SoSG's very own Orel Hershiser. Fortunately, the Braves kept pace by beating the Rockies twice. Thus, entering the final day of the regular season, both the Braves and the Giants were tied with an unreal 103-58 record. Braves vs Rockies, Giants vs Dodgers.

Enter Kevin Gross. The man took his 32-year-old low-budget arm into Dodger Stadium and left with a complete game 12-1 victory. Coupled with a Braves victory, the 81-win Dodgers had kept the 103-win Giants out of the playoffs. A lost season redeemed.

That, my friends, is how you're supposed to play spoiler. I vaguely remember some threats Matt Williams made to Orel Hershiser afterwards about hitting the ball back up the middle then next time they faced off, which only made the victory sweeter. Anyways, enough reminiscing...time to snap back to 2007 and the college football season.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Game 154 Thread: Sept. 21 @ D'backs, 6:40p

Dodgers start Esteban Loaiza, RHP (2-2, 4.55) vs. Livan Hernandez, RHP (10-10, 4.86)

Dodgers: 79-74 (4th place NL West, 7.0 GB; 5th place WC, 6.5 GB; L5)
D’Backs: 86-67 (1st place NL West, - GB; W2)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 0.20%

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Loaiza has been a disappointment so far. He doesn't throw hard, but he's not throwing strikes, either. He walked seven in 4 2/3 innings in a critical game against Arizona on Sunday, allowing a three-run homer to Chris Snyder. In three starts for the Dodgers, Loaiza has walked 12 in 15 innings. He's made six starts in his career against the Diamondbacks without a victory.

Snakes: Four batters into his last start against the Dodgers, Hernandez found himself staring up at a 4-0 deficit. The right-hander allowed a leadoff single, a walk, another single which scored a run, and then the big blow -- a three-run homer by Luis Gonzalez. Hernandez then tossed four shutout innings before giving up a solo homer to Andre Ethier in the sixth, but by then it was too late, as the D-backs fell, 6-2. In his start prior to that, Hernandez gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings against the Giants.

COMMENTS: This season is going down the drain and now Jeff Kent is sounding off to the media. I still like the youth movement and Grady should get the rookies some experience in the big leagues. Now the only thing left is whom we should we play spoiler to, Arizona or San Diego?

Bonds Away

The San Francisco Giants won't be bringing back Barry Bonds for 2008, the team confirmed with ESPN's Pedro Gomez on Friday. The slugger first reported he won't be returning on his Web site.

Kent Sounds Off

After another ho-hum loss as we've struggled down the stretch, Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent sounded off in the media about the young guys on the team costing him a chance to go to another World Series. Seems to me, Mr. Kent, that if you really were a leader in the clubhouse, you say something earlier to get guys fired up. Like in Spring you remember Kirk Gibson in 1988? Amongst other statements, Kent said when referring to the fact that young players don't get the following "...A lot of things. Professionalism. How to manufacture a run. How to keep your emotions in it. There's just a lot of things that go on with playing 162 games."But I think experience can help more than inexperience. And it's hard to give a young kid experience." How about letting them play everyday and getting that experience you jack-a$$?!? Didn't you get that chance when you were a "kid?" Let's face it, we weren't going to win the World Series this year anyway ... and we need those "kids" to learn how to play down the stretch drives of pennants long after your old a$$ is gone.

While You Were Sweeping...

What a difference 5 days make. When we woke up last Sunday morning, the Dodgers were a mere 1.5 games out of the wildcard and had a robust 29.9% postseason chance according to Baseball Prospectus.

5 days and a Colorado sweep later, the Dodgers find themselves 6.5 games out of the WC and sporting a postseason probability of 0.21%. That's not a 0.21 probability, it's a 0.21 percent probability. Yeah...divide by another hundred.

To drop so far so fast may look like an historic meltdown, but it's really not that fast. Just consider the other major transformations the world has witnessed in the 5 days since last Sunday morning:

  • The Mets and Red Sox saw their leads shrink to 1.5 games (from 4.5 and 5.5, respectively)
  • Jonathan Broxton gave up 6 earned runs (vs 6 ERs the previous 99 days)
  • The Cleveland Browns scored 51 points
  • OJ returned to jail
  • 50 Cent became the great defender of Britney
  • And, of course, Brett Tomko collected 2 wins (vs 2 wins in his 146 days as a Dodger this year) to go with his 2.65 ERA as a Padre

Not sure what the point of this post was. I think it was meant to put things in perspective, but now I just feel worse.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Game 153 Thread: Sept. 20 @ Rockies, 12:05p

Dodgers start Derek Lowe, RHP (12-12, 3.71 vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (3-4, 4.13)

Dodgers: 79-73 (4th place NL West, 6.5 GB; 4th place WC, 5.5 GB; L4)
Rockies: 80-72 (3rd place NL West, 5.5 GB; 3rd place WC, 4.5 GB; W4)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 1.06%

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Bum hand and all, Lowe pitched a gem against Arizona in the heat of the playoff race, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out five in seven innings. Lowe, who missed his scheduled start on Wednesday because of a bruised hand, used his sinker and two-seam fastball to keep the D-backs in check. Lowe threw only 74 pitches before being pulled and his only mistake was a letter high sinker that didn't sink to Tony Clark, who smashed over the wall in center. In his only start against Colorado this season, Lowe gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Rockies: Jimenez had been on hot stretch with a 2.39 ERA over his last six starts entering his start against the Marlins on Saturday. But Jimenez fell back to some of the problems that used to haunt him in the Minor Leagues. He had poor command and built his pitch count early. He lasted only three innings, throwing 69 pitches, 38 for strikes. He gave up five runs (two earned) on five hits. He did have five strikeouts..

COMMENTS: Think we can escape Coors Field with at least ONE win? D-Lowe needs to get us back on track. The season seems to be slipping away, and it would be fun to see some of the rookies play - how about Hu at shortstop?

No Justice for Pitchers...

Chris Young 28 G 162 IP 9-6 2.83 ERA

Byung-Hyun Kim 26 G 108 IP 9-7 6.06 ERA!!

Kim is playing with the house's money, while Young should be portrayed by William H. Macy (king of the lovable losers).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Game 152 Thread: Sept 19 vs. Rockies, 5:35p

Dodgers start Brad Penny, RHP (16-4, 2.88) vs. Josh Fogg, RHP (9-9, 4.98)

Dodgers: 79-72 (T-3rd place NL West, 5.5 GB; T-3rd place WC, 4.5 GB; L3)
Rockies: 79-72 (T-3rd place NL West, 5.5 GB; T-3rd place WC, 4.5 GB; W3)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 3.1%

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Penny was erratic, loading the bases in the first inning and walking in a run the D-backs first run of the game. He walked three batters and hit one on the night, but he managed to keep the Dodgers close earning his 16th win of the season. The righty went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out five. He made one major mistake, giving up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds in the fifth inning on a 96 mph fastball out over the plate. Penny is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts against the Rockies this season.

Rockies: Fogg gave the Rockies a serviceable five innings against the Marlins on Friday at Coors Field. He gave up four runs on five hits but kept the Rockies in the game and left with the lead. His location was spotty at times -- four walks -- but he was able to pitch out of jams.


It is hard to blame Saito as last night was his first blown save since July. Still, one can only assume that the Rockies have the momentum. Splitting this series, hopefully, is not going to help us get into the playoffs. Things are starting to look bleak, should we play for next year (or maybe Grady has been doing this all along)?

End the Debate - 755

WHAT?!? Another site is asking us to vote for the fate of a Barry Bonds ball? How will the Earth survive?!?

WWW.ENDTHEDEBATE.COM is allowing you to determine if Cooperstown is big enough for both 755 balls or, like The Highlander, there can only be one. Actually, they did have a lot of Highlander sequels. So maybe those rules changed. I digress - vote below.

After sitting through four games in a row to witness 755 history, with nothing to show for it besides moths in my wallet, I know where my vote's going.

Considering that 756 was only the record for ONE GAME, I'd much rather put my web clicking time to 755! (Besides, I'm not in the mood to see even more Ecko designed sneakers)


Stick a Fork In Us

Hmmm....11 games to go in the season. We've lost 3 in a row and are 5-5 in the last 10. We trail in the Division by 5 games and in the Wild Card by 4.5 games. It's over.

Something Feels Different Today...

"Stay tuned for my Drabble retrospective!"

—Orel, January 19, 2007

Something feels different today. The feeling started when I woke up naturally instead of having my warm cocoon of sleep shattered by the alarm clock. As I got up, I noticed the sky wasn't as bright as it could be. And my coffee tasted a little more bitter than usual.

Then I remembered: The Dodgers' 2007 season is sinking into the abyss.

But that didn't account entirely for the change. After all, the Dodgers still have a mathematical chance (in hell, but still). More importantly, the future is bright, with a full year of Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley and James Loney—we love James Loney!—on tap.

No, there was something more to this change. And when I opened the newspaper and inadvertently—inadvertently, I tells ya!—chuckled at today's "Drabble" strip, I knew why the world would never be the same:

"Drabble" was actually kind of funny today.

This, my friends, is news. Hard news. Anyone with a passing familiarity with comic strips knows that "Drabble" is a bedrock of unfunniness. Makes "Rex Morgan, M.D." look like a laugh riot. You get Norman being turned down by Wendy—again!—or Wally the wiener dog running in place making SKATTLE SKATTLE SKATTLE sounds—the unfunniest onomatopoeia in the world.

The unfunniness of "Drabble" gets to the point where you go, Why am I reading this? It's like panning for gold in the Sahara. But it's too late. You realize reading "Drabble" (and "For Better or For Worse," for that matter) has become an unbreakable habit. And the cycle of destruction continues.

But "men plan and the gods laugh"...and sure enough the unthinkable happens:

"Drabble" was actually kind of funny today.

Maybe we shouldn't count the Dodgers out just yet.

We Feel Your Pain, Eric Gagne

Not a fan of the Red Sox. Enjoy seeing them lose. But—big fan of Eric Gagne, even though he left the Dodgers for more money. Don't enjoy seeing him lose. A little conflicted about the picture above. But love for the Blue wins out. Hang in there, Eric!

AP photo/Adrian Wyld

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post-Game 151 Thread: Hello, 2008!


Game 151 Thread: Sept. 18 @ Rockies, 5.35p

Dodgers start David Wells, LHP (8-8, 5.27) vs. Mark Redman, LHP (1-4, 9.67).

Dodgers: 79-71 (3rd place NL West, 4.5 GB; 3rd place WC, 3.5 GB; L2)
Rockies: 78-72 (4th place NL West, 5.5 GB; 4th place WC, 4.5 GB; W2)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 14.0% (at least, before game #1...)

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: In a classic matchup with former teammate Greg Maddux, Wells got the win, although he allowed a pair of home runs in six innings and a couple other balls died on the warning track. Like most pitchers, Wells said he'd rather pitch almost anywhere other than Coors Field, where he allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings of his only lifetime start there.

Rockies: Redman pitched in relief in the Rockies' 12-0 road victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night, but he pitched like a starter, going five innings and striking out four while giving up two hits. He recorded 10 outs on fly balls against one groundout, but he has been working on getting grounders. Tuesday, however, he had a big lead and just wanted to be aggressive.


When all the Dodgers can muster is one pathetic run in support of an otherwise good outing by Chad Billingsley, at Coors Field, in a pennant race--well, turn out the lights, the party's over. 3.5 games back with 12 to play (and the other teams ahead of us in the Wild Card are winning, unlike us). Geez, Grady, you may as well play Nomar and Gonzo and Ramon Martinez and all the other veterans that you somehow insist upon playing despite their numbers/physical status.

FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 5!

Submitter: Phil Witte. Photographer: Kathy Mota. Appreciators: us.

What it would look like if Popeye entered the Matrix.

Andre Ethier, rockin' the pink dress.

Cheer up, James! You've got a Bluetooth corncob pipe!

And for you fat-suit fans...

Thanks to Chad Billingsley for posting this group shot at his blog (click on "4 photos").

FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 1!
FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 2!
FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 3!
FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 4!

Game 150 Thread: Sept 18 vs. Rockies, 12:05p

Dodgers start Chad Billingsley, RHP (11-4, 3.14) vs. Jeff Francis, LHP (15-8, 4.35).

Dodgers: 79-70 (3rd place NL West, 4.0 GB; 3rd place WC, 3.0 GB; L1)
Rockies: 77-72 (4th place NL West, 6.0 GB; 4th place WC, 5.0 GB; W1)

Current postseason odds for the Dodgers, from Baseball Prospectus: 14.0%

From, the scouting report on the starters:

Dodgers: Billingsley stepped up with another clutch start against the Padres, this time filling in for the injured Derek Lowe. he had to scramble out of two bases-loaded jams, but he allowed only one run over six innings while beating the Padres for the fourth time this year. He is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA over his last four starts.

Rockies: Francis struggled mightily in his last start, giving up eight runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of a key road loss to the Phillies. He had trouble locating his fastball and was uncharacteristically wild, walking four.


Even though we won the series against the D’Backs, it still feels like we are losing the war. Coming off a day of rest should help the likes of Martin and Kent – and we all know we need their big bats. First game of a double header will be big. COME ON, BLUE!!!

Happy 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

Growing Dodgers Despair Leads to KFWB / Dodgers Spat

I don't make a regular practice of listening to DodgerTalk, KFWB's postgame radio show, usually saving my thoughts on criticism and praise for this blog. But I have noticed (and my mom picked this up too) that the callers' rancor seems to be increasing in volume as the Dodgers' post-season hopes get increasingly more bleak. Obviously, there are a lot of topics to criticize, particularly Grady Little's bizarre and debilitating lineup choices, and callers are using the post-game show to voice their understandable frustrations.

According to Josh Rawitch, however, DodgerTalk should not be a forum for negative discussion--and moderator Bob Harvey is the problem. And apparently he called Harvey during his radio show to rip him for not being more of a homer. As summarized by LA Observed:

I got a note last night saying that Bob Harvey, who hosts the post-game Dodgers talk show on KFWB, angrily told yesterday of being berated in a phone call from Dodgers PR director Josh Rawitch. I've never heard Harvey's show, but I guess he's less boosterish than the homers who previously hosted the after-game call-in show. He was so ticked off by Rawitch's call, apparently, that when the station went to a traffic report the announcer asked Harvey "are you okay?"

I didn't hear Harvey's comments on Rawitch, but a decent play-by-play is picked up on Rawitch's mlb blog (see about halfway down in the comments).

Rawitch, from what I've read on other blogs, is a pretty good guy. But irrespective of whether Rawitch should be censoring Harvey in the first place, calling Harvey to yell at him mid-show does not seem to be a productive or appropriate strategy.

Rawitch then admitted to his actions on his blog:

Several of you mentioned the DodgerTalk program from yesterday and asked me to explain what happened so here goes:

For many years, DodgerTalk has been hosted by various people who either travel with the team or serve as a broadcaster and can provide an inside perspective on what goes on from day to day. This year, KFWB chose to change the show and to my knowledge, the host of DodgerTalk has not spoken with Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, Grady Little or a single player or coach yet this season despite repeated offers from the organization to do so.

The only thing I've ever expected of any DodgerTalk host is that they present both sides of every argument rather than just let fans rail away (or praise) a decision, player, executive, etc.

Fair, balanced and informed reporting is all we are asking for.

I have to say, I appreciate the fact that Josh maintains an "official" Dodgers blog, and I understand that his position is in Public Relations. As such, he can control what stories are placed on it (and it's not a surprise that they are uniformly positive). The outbound stories are always rose-colored, and I expect them as such. But they are not the "fair and balanced reporting" for which Rawitch asks--they are, at heart, an extension of the Dodgers' public relations campaign.

But Rawitch has got to realize that the voice of the Dodger Fan is not always positive, and forums like blogs and call-in shows are going to go negative sometimes. You can't spin all Dodger fans' opinions positively, as evidenced by the comments on Rawitch's blog, or the callers on Harvey's show. Any Dodger fan worth his or her salt should be infuriated that we are likely to miss the playoffs this year, thanks in no small part to that July/August collapse in which few changes (and fewer sustained changes) were made. And forums for free expression, like blog comments and call-in shows, are going to include those negative comments as part of the discussion. This may not achieve Rawitch's public relations goals, but I can assure him that if he or the Dodgers choose to shut these forums down, they will emerge on other channels (either other blogsites or other radio stations' "uncensored post-game shows").

LA Observed echoes these sentiments (or I suppose, we echo their sentiments):

He may have a point about Harvey's level of expertise, but I hope Rawitch doesn't actually believe that stuff about balance. It's not Josh's job, or his custom, to examine both sides of an argument or promote balance. When knowledgeable fans criticize Juan Pierre, for instance, the Dodgers blog typically points out the upside of his stats or playing style. Same for other players. You don't hear the Dodger hype machine stop a fan who is enthusing to point out, for balance's sake, that a player is slumping or not very good. I'm not saying they should, just noting that they don't.

It's the internet era, Rawitch. Information flows quickly and freely. And you can't stop it, nor can you hope to contain it.

And building on this point, I also want to note that the Dodgers' "Traffic Control Center" or whatever the hell Richard Turnidge calls it on KFWB purports outright lies and false reports. I had noticed on my own that they never make note of traffic problems getting into or out of Dodgers games, and thought this was too good to be true--and second-hand stringer reports support my theory that the reports are simply not true. When cars are stuck getting out of the Dodgers' gates, drivers are stewing in gridlock as KFWB reports fallaciously claim "all gates are moving smoothly." These bogus traffic reports sound a lot like Steve Martin's weather reports in "L.A. Story."

The Dodgers' spin campaign apparently knows no bounds--not even "news" traffic reports. Come on, Frankie McCourt, how stupid do you think we are?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Abes vs Babes 23: Lean on Me

Talk about a one man team: last week, Jack Wilson put up staggering stats (0.615 avg, 1.077 slg, and 2 HRs), but still couldn't pull the woeful Abes to victory. This week, Wilson's offense didn't change much (0.500 avg, 1.056 slg, and 3 HRs). But this time he was able to make up for guys like Kelly Johnson (3-for-20) and Dave Bush (9.00 ERA) and will the Abes to a week 23 victory.

Needless to say, Wilson wins the player-of-the-week award. Although the Abes are still getting pounded overall (note of motivation to Brad Penny: beat the Rockies this Wednesday and you'll match the Babes' 17-4 record), if they win one of the last two weeks, they'll actually hit their once-seemingly-unattainable goal of five victories for the season.

Week 23 Scoreboard:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.341 0.279
Runs 23 25
HRs 8 5
RBIs 24 29
SBs 0 4
ERA 3.86 3.18
Wins 0 3
Saves 1 0
Ks 19 53
Total 3 6
Normalized by AB/IP:
The Abes The Babes
Avg 0.341 0.279
Runs 37 25
HRs 13 5
RBIs 38 29
SBs 0 4
ERA 3.86 3.18
Wins 0 2
Saves 2 0
Ks 34 53
Total 5 4

The Babes lead the Abes 17-4-2

Bonds' Ball: Bestow, Brand, Banish?

Earlier we reported that Barry Bonds' home run #756 ball sold for $752,467. The buyer was designer Marc Ecko, who's offering fans the chance to vote on the ball's fate:

Give the ball to Cooperstown. The ball that broke Hank Aaron's career home run record belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Burn an asterisk into the ball with a branding iron, adding a permanent footnote to the record. Then, send it to Cooperstown.

Put the ball on a rocket ship and launch it into orbit, a moon shot for the ages. Out of sight, out of mind.

I know how I'm voting. Click on the picture to vote. (Voting ends September 25.)

Dodgers Rookies Got it Easy!

A pic of the Reds rookies. I'd much rather dress like Batman or Martian Manhunter than this.

Hey Kid - Pass this to David Ortiz...

I think I've got a new favorite player. From the Boston Herald:

Talk about sore winners. Griffin Whitman, a 10-year-old Red Sox [team stats] fan from Swampscott, was excited to attend his first Yankees vs. Red Sox game Friday night. The young autograph -collector was even more thrilled to score Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan’s signature before the game. That is, until Griffin read the message from the 27-year-old rookie:

“Red Sox suck! Shelley Duncan.”

“It was cool to get his autograph,” Griffin said. “It didn’t make me feel happy when he wrote that.”

Griffin’s mother, Karen, blasted the Yankees slugger’s bad manners. “This is someone who wears the Yankee uniform and is on the payroll and should be setting an example for 10-year-olds,” she said.

Duncan, son of St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, has become a fan favorite in the Bronx for hitting mammoth home runs since he was called up from the minors in July. Yesterday afternoon, a Yankee spokesman declined to comment until he got a chance to speak to Duncan.

I think he should have done a SuperBad inspired drawing of a schlong instead. Would have been a little classier. And I love how miserable this kid is for having an item that would go for hundreds on Ebay, as opposed to a signature that goes for ten bucks. Special thanks to Noah, the former lead singer of the Womprats, for passing this on.

FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 4!

FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 1!
FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 2!
FOUND: Pictures of Dodgers' Rookie Hazing! Part 3!

Sons of Steve Garvey, in conjunction with Phil Witte (submitter) and Belen Mota (photographer), proudly presents...

Russell Martin as Nacho Libre!

Who is this masked man? Identify yourself!

Unidentified Rookie Hazing Victim #2. Know who this is? Tell us!

More to come! Including more pictures of Andre Ethier in his darling pink dress and everybody's favorite sailor.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Bloated Bonds Figure: $750,000

I guess I spoke too soon. A few days ago, it looked like Bonds' 756th would fetch well below the $500,000 experts initially estimated. Alas, yesterday the ball unofficially sold for a hefty $752,467. If that price holds, it would make the top 10 list of most expensive sports collectibles (all of which, incidentally, are baseball items). Although I don't claim any expertise in the field of tainted sports memorabilia valuation, I do know it would take me almost six months to save that kind of cash.

So it looks like 752,467 will join 73 and 762+ on the list of bloated Bonds figures. And I guess Matt Murphy made the right decision to decline the $500k "sell it now" offer that was made before the auction. The buyer is as of yet unidentified. Hey buyer, if you're reading this, grab a username (now required to comment!) and please explain your reasoning.

Update 9/17/07: The buyer has revealed himself to be fashion designer and Yankee fan Marc Ecko, who is looking to you to help him decide what to do with it.