Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Torre Renders Minority Candidates Moot

From "Selig Allows Dodgers to Bypass Hiring Rules" by Murray Chass at the New York Times:

The legacy of Jackie Robinson lives on.

The Dodgers, who when they played in Brooklyn broke baseball’s color barrier a half-century ago, have such a good minority employment record that Commissioner Bud Selig exempted them from following his directive on interviewing minority candidates for decision-making positions.

Once Joe Girardi became the Yankees’ manager, the Dodgers wanted to hire Joe Torre for what they expected would be their managerial vacancy and they didn’t want to delay doing it. They called Selig and asked to be allowed to skip the mandatory interviews of minority candidates....

Before he acted on the request from the owner, Frank McCourt, Selig studied the Dodgers’ hiring history. What he found surprised even him. The Dodgers had perhaps the best diversity record in the major leagues. Thirty-eight percent of their staff consisted of blacks, women, Latinos or Asians....

The highest-ranking minority, Kim Ng, is an Asian woman. She is a vice president and assistant general manager, the same titles she previously held with the Yankees. Ng was the first woman who was interviewed for a major league general manager’s job when the Dodgers interviewed her two years ago.

A month ago, the Dodgers promoted De Jon Watson to assistant general manager, about a year after he joined the club as director for player development. Watson, 40, is highly regarded in baseball and is seen as a certain general manager of the future....

Two other blacks — Toney Howell and Vance Lovelace — are special assistants to Colletti, who estimated that half of the organization’s player development staff, managers and coaches are minorities.

Dodgers' Manager Search Hits Craigslist

1:30pm PT, almost a full day after Grady Little has been publicly humiliated in his "resignation," and Ned Colletti is still searching for a team manager:

"As of [noon PT Wednesday], I'm telling you, we do not have an agreement [with Joe Torre]," said Colletti. "In the last 72 hours, I can't believe what I've been watching. I've seen more inaccuracies than I can ever remember. We do not have an agreement."

And then, poking around craig's list this afternoon, I spotted this:

los angeles craigslist > los angeles > general management
Manager, Major league baseball team

Reply to:
Date: 2007-10-31, 12:30PM PDT

MLB team seeks candidate, preferably with prior experience, to manage team. Responsiblities include batting practice, media relations, organizational and people development, and occasional public speaking. Candidate must have written skills to complete lineup cards, verbal skills to debate with umpires (former Lincoln-Douglass experience a positive!), and ability to deal with and subside clubhouse dissension. Candidate will get full and complete support from general manager and ownership until they change their minds, at which point candidate will learn about it from the media.

Location: LA
Principals only. Recruiters, or Scott Boras, please don't contact this job poster.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 555963658188

I don't know what to think of this ad, but I am starting to get concerned with what the hell is going on here. As an aside, can Jim Tracy apply?

Baseball Prospectus Tells Dodgers What To Do...

Nate Silver of BP has been running a series of articles on what each MLB club should do in the offseason to prepare for next year. Echoing the SoSG mantra of "Free James Loney," here's what Nate has to say about the Dodgers:

Los Angeles Dodgers
2007 Record: 82-80, fourth place
2007 Attendance: 3.9 million, first in the NL2007
Payroll: $108 million, sixth in MLB

Key Free Agents (2007): LF-L Luis Gonzalez, LHP David Wells, RHP Rudy Seanez, 1B/3B-R Shea Hillenbrand, C-R Mike Lieberthal, 2B-R Jeff Kent (club option), LHP Randy Wolf (club option)
Key Free Agents (2008): SS-S Rafael Furcal, RHP Derek Lowe, INF-R Nomar Garciaparra, LHPs Joe Beimel and Mark Hendrickson, RHPs Brad Penny and Esteban Loaiza (club options)
Key Long-Term Commitments: RHP Jason Schmidt, $12M/year through 2009; CF-L Juan Pierre, $9.1M/year through 2011
Key Ready-Now Youngsters: OF-R Matt Kemp, 1B-L James Loney, 3B-R Andy LaRoche, SS-R Chin-Lung Hu, LHP Clayton Kershaw, RHP Jonathan Meloan, INF-S Tony Abreu
Needs: 1. SP depth; 2. CF

What They Should Do: Hold. Play. The. Kids. The Dodgers simply need to deploy their existing assets correctly, rather than seek help from elsewhere. To get a bit more specific about it, next year’s lineup should look as follows:
SS Furcal
C Martin
1B Loney
2B Kent
LF Kemp
RF Ethier
3B LaRoche
CF Pierre

That group would be significantly better than league average at two positions (catcher and second base), slightly better than average at three positions (shortstop, left field, and probably first base), about average in right field, and slightly below at center and third (though not for long in Andy LaRoche’s case, especially with Nomar Garciaparra serving as his caddy). Overall, it’s one of the better position player groups in the league.

So then you take the money you’re saving yourself on Luis Gonzalez and spend it on a mid-level starting pitcher, to round out a rotation with Penny, Lowe, Schmidt, and Chad Billingsley. Coupled with the great one-two punch in the bullpen, that is also an above-average group.

That’s it. You’re done. You’ve spent next to nothing--and you still have a potential pennant winner on your hands. It looks like about an 88-win core that can creep into the 90s if the veterans stay healthy.

What They Will Do: Strong Buy. There is no bigger disconnect in baseball between the Dodgers’ ability to develop talent and the front office’s lack of appreciation for that talent. Matt Kemp is someone that they should be thrilled to have in their lineup for the next six years. Andy LaRoche’s time is now. So is Chin-Lung Hu’s, and the Dodgers should consider trading Rafael Furcal to make way for him. Instead, all rumors are that Ned Colletti’s compass is pointed in the opposite direction.

What I envision happening is something like the following: Kemp or LaRoche are included in a deal for a premium starting pitcher. And then-–guess what-–you do have a hole at left or third, and you do need to work the free agent market to repair it. But it isn’t a hole that existed before; it’s one that you’ve created yourself. The behavior is literally almost pathological, a kind of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome: Colletti seems determined to make the Dodgers sick so that he can make them well again. Playing the kids-–these talented kids from your farm system that embody everything that used to be called the Dodger Way-–well, that’s just too darn obvious.

If the Dodgers feel like they have to have a 94-win club instead of an 88-win club-–and there’s no reason they should feel that way after drawing almost four million fans last year-–there are still a couple ways they could accomplish this. For instance, beat Curt Schilling’s second-best offer by 30 percent, which probably means something like $18 million. By definition, you’re overpaying, but the magnitude of the mistake is much, much smaller than trading Kershaw and Kemp for one year of Johan Santana, or signing Alex Rodriguez and permanently burying either LaRoche or Hu.

Or, beat Torii Hunter’s second-best offer by 10 percent, and see if you can’t get someone else to eat most of Juan Pierre’s contract. Of course, all of this speculation may be premature; the Dodgers haven’t done anything yet this winter but replace Grady Little with Joe Torre, which surely has to be considered an upgrade. But based on their past performance, they’re not a club to which I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

With Joe Torre Comes What Extra Perk?

No, it's not (necessarily) Alex Rodriguez. Check out the tidbit buried in this morning's update on the ongoing saga, "Dodgers inching closer to Torre", from

LOS ANGELES -- Club officials say there still is no deal to announce, but all signs are pointing toward the imminent hiring of Joe Torre as manager of the Dodgers.

A Dodgers official said that no press conference has been scheduled, although there were indications that an announcement could come as soon as late Wednesday, with an introductory press conference on Thursday. According to reports, the Dodgers and Torre have in place a three-year deal, with estimates of the package ranging from $12 million to $14.5 million.

In addition, a source told that the club and Torre are also discussing Torre having a say in player pesonnel, which he did not have in his final years with the Yankees.


Still to be determined is the makeup of Torre's coaching staff, although there are indications that Don Mattingly will follow Torre as bench coach, and Larry Bowa also might come from the Yankees as third-base coach. Little's coaching staff was signed through the end of the 2007 season.

An end to watching Dodgers get thrown out at the plate on a regular basis, by replacing Rich Donnelly as the third-base coach? Sign Torre up, that's worth $12M alone!

Mike Cameron Overstimulated

From "Baseball suspends Cameron 25 games for failed test" (

SAN DIEGO -- Mike Cameron, the Padres' Gold Glove center fielder, was suspended for the first 25 games of next season on Wednesday after testing positive a second time for a banned stimulant.

Cameron, who plans to file for free agency, said he believes he took a tainted supplement.

"The one thing I wanted to make sure was explained is, no steroids," Cameron told AM 1090, the Padres' flagship radio station. "I never took nothing like that before in my life. That would be 50 games, and that would affect me a whole lot more."

Cameron issued a statement through his agent, saying doctors for the players' association helped him narrow down what triggered the positive test.

"After all of the analysis and testing, I can only conclude that a nutritional supplement I was taking was tainted," he said. "Unfortunately, the actual supplement is gone, and therefore cannot be tested. Without the actual supplement in hand, the rules are clear, and I must accept the suspension."

Players who initially test positive for a stimulant receive counseling. Suspensions begin only with a second positive test.

Donnelly: Veterans Forced Little's Hand

From "Torre could step right into Little's shoes" by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times (reg.):

Third base coach Rich Donnelly thought Little resigned as a result of what he endured over a trying season.

"He was beaten down," Donnelly said. "He said, 'I don't know if this is worth it because I'm miserable.' "

Donnelly said it pained Little to be forced to move down veteran players in the batting order or sit them.

"I don't think he wanted to," Donnelly said. "He was forced to because the guys weren't doing their jobs."

Donnelly said that the Dodgers' offensive shortcomings were such that at one point, he scribbled pitcher Brad Penny's name in the eighth slot in the lineup in an August game in Cincinnati. Little later decided against the idea.

So veterans disappointed Grady on the field, then he lost the clubhouse because of a rift between veterans and rookies. I don't know if Joe Torre is the answer, but I'm pretty sure signing more Shea Hillenbrand-types isn't.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hi-Diddly-Ho, Mike Piazzarino!

Fickle Frank McCourt Sacrifices Little for New Flavor of the Month

Well, there you have it, it's done. Grady Little is gone as the Dodgers manager, as announced on the Dodgers' own website, and in his place it is assumed (though not yet locked) comes former Yankees manager Joe Torre. I wasn't a fan of Grady, both on the field (for his ridiculous and often momentum-killing lineups) as well as off the field (for letting the veterans-versus-rookies clubhouse dissent spillover into a media circus).

The best I could say about Grady as a manager is that he's an even-keeled leader, which has its value at times. But when your team slips from first to fourth place in the division and you don't make any significant or lasting roster or lineup changes to address the month-long freefall, it looks less like even-keeled nature and more like utter complacency. It would be nice to have a manager with a sense of excitement, with a sense of urgency, with a pulse.

And so that leaves us with Joe Torre, recently deposed Yankees manager whose latest stint in New York brought four titles in twelve years. His lifetime managerial record is solid, he seems like a nice and classy guy, he brings with him a real hitting coach in Don Mattingly (which the Dodgers desperately need), and he probably is one of the few people fit to run this team from a "star power" perspective.

And I keep thinking: Why the hell would he want to join Frank McCourt's crazy team? Frank McCourt is exactly the type of mercurial, back-stabbing owner that would drive any team manager nuts. Didn't Torre just leave that situation in New York, amazingly leaving with his pride and dignity intact? Then why would he join up again with a guy with half the brains and half the wallet and none of the pennants?

McCourt's firing of Little makes this the third manager in his four seasons as the Dodgers owner. He's basically like the freshman frat boy walking along the Manhattan Beach strand; a new beauty comes along, and he bails on his current girl like she's the plague. Jamie McCourt would normally be worried, except for the fact that she probably runs the team anyway. But Frank is the kind of boss for which you would hate to work.

I've already taken the time to list the litany of poor decisions and executional miscues that Frank McCourt has made as Dodgers owner. But now we can add to the list "backstabbing your employees," since he's fired the person that he publicly supported less than one month ago. He is as fickle as the wind.

Since McCourt's public announcement of support for Little, the Dodgers have played exactly ZERO games. They've made ZERO off-season moves (short of letting Shea Hillenbrand and Olmedo Saenz go, only the latter of whih frees up any significant space in the lineup (rim shot!)). And yet McCourt, busy ripping up the field level concessions, has decided to take his sledgehammer to the pillars of the team that he just reinforced 30 days ago.

Well done, Frank. Under your management, nothing is logical and no one is safe. Even the HR moves that should make sense are executed like a Keystone Kops routine. I'm sure morale around Chavez Ravine is a an all-time high--that is, if anyone still wants to work for you anymore.

(I guess this means SoSG won't take over the Inside the Dodgers blog space next year.)

Stay on Target: Torre Deal Closer

From "Little resigns; Torre, Dodgers close" by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times (reg.):

On the day Manager Grady Little resigned, the Dodgers were close to a completing a deal that would make Joe Torre their manager, a move that could result in the free-agent signing of Alex Rodriguez.

Sources said that the Dodgers and the former Yankees manager have agreed to the terms of his contract, and what remains to be done is to agree on issues about the coaching staff and his input on player personnel moves. Torre wants to choose his own coaches, among them Don Mattingly, and is negotiating the amount of money to be spent on them. The deal could be completed in the next day.

The signing of Torre would end the two-year reign of Little, whose resignation was announced by General Manager Ned Colletti on a conference call this afternoon, and would make the acquisition of Rodriguez a serious possibility. Rodriguez, who opted out of the most lucrative contract in baseball history and filed for free agency Monday, has a close relationship with Torre.

I swear, Ned's as smooth as Milhouse Van Houten. Let's get this deal done with and move past the embarrassment.

Grady Little Jumps Ship...Or Was He Pushed?

Rafael Furcal's not the only one who's moving. From "Sources: Little resigns as Dodgers manager" by Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

According to a source, Colletti met with Little and his coaching staff in the manager's office on Sept. 30, shortly after the Dodgers ended their season with an 11-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants....

In that setting, Colletti opened the meeting by blaming himself for personnel decisions that might have left the team thin in the starting rotation and everyday lineup, then put equal responsibility for the 82-80 record on Little and his staff. Little, according to the source, "didn't take it well."

Little defended himself and his staff, saying they'd worked harder and gotten more out of the team in 2007 than they had in 2006, when the Dodgers won the National League wild card, ultimately losing in a division series to the New York Mets.

"It went downhill from there," the source said.

When the meeting was over, Little left with the impression Colletti would rather he not return, but would have him back because he was under contract for 2008, the option for which was exercised in March. Colletti believed Little would take two weeks to consider his future with the Dodgers. By the end of three weeks, when he hadn't heard from Little, Colletti began the process of identifying a potential replacement, turning first to Girardi, whom he knew when both were employed by the Chicago Cubs.

By then, however, Little had decided he was of the mind and heart to manage the Dodgers again in 2008. He called Colletti, they talked through the pointed parts of the meeting, and told him so.

Colletti, by then, had what he believed to be an agreement with Girardi's agent, and couldn't be sure of Little's enthusiasm for the job. When he was notified of Girardi's decision, therefore, Colletti engaged Torre in conversations, still unsure if he was in a full-scale manager search or simply hedging against Little's hesitation.

A friend of Little's said Little was eager to continue as manager of the Dodgers and that his relationship with Colletti was not irreparably damaged.

Joe Torre had better be already signed, sealed and delivered, because it'll be a disgrace for the Dodgers if he turns down the job.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dodgers Appeal for Public Donations, But Give No Charity of their Own

This took me a couple of days to realize what was awry. When I first read this story on about how the Dodgers "contributed" to the Red Cross campaign to aid wildfire victims, something just seemed off.

Was it the fact that the picture depicts one volunteer receiving what appears to be a small handful of change from a single motorist? Or that no other cars were visible for a quarter-mile in the background?

Only a careful re-read of the article illuminated what was missing: The Dodgers are asking for public donations to the wildfire victims, but aren't ponying up any money of their own. At least, any donation of funds directly from the Dodgers is noticeably absent from any of the article's nine paragraphs (here's the first four graphs):

LOS ANGELES -- With the Southern California wildfires displacing more than one million people so far, the American Red Cross is mobilizing to raise funds to aid victims of the devastating fires that have ravaged the southland since Sunday.

As it has done in the past, the Red Cross reached out to the Los Angeles Dodgers to help, and within 24 hours, people were driving up to Dodger Stadium to make donations.

"We talked to our partners at KCBS/KCAL television, we did a program with the Red Cross and it was done very quickly as you can see," said Howard Sunkin, senior vice president of public affairs for the Dodgers. "The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles and the nation, quite frankly, and we believe we are a rallying point for all Angelinos and we like to set that leadership bar very high."

So the Dodgers and their partners set up donation tents at the Elysian Park entrance, where volunteers with donation buckets are standing by for people to drive up and place cash and checks in the buckets.

Nice PR job, Howie Sunkin, and way to set that bar high, leading by coercion rather than example! A tragic event hits right in your own backyard, and all you can do is ask others to contribute to the offering plate. Oh sure, it's your offering plate, but there wasn't anything in it when you started passing it around.

Or (to put it in Olmedo Saenz Pavilion terms), that's like going to a potluck dinner, but only providing the plastic tupperware jello mold.

Shouldn't charity begin at home, Frank?

And you wonder why we think you're cheap.

photo: Ben Platt/

Furcal Moving!

According to "Real Estalker," Rafael Furcal is putting his townhouse up for sale for $1,159,000. This 3 bedroom, 4 bath apartment features mahogany floors, Viking appliances, a private elevator, and a private 2 car garage. If you make the open house, please look for the storage chamber for his bionic arm and the Grady Little voodoo doll holding the sign "Why not leadoff?".

If McCourt Can't Replicate the Red Sox, Will He Try to Create Yankees West?

Today's update of "As The Yankees Turn":

I think my bigger fear is that shelling out $7M for Torre--which I think would be a premium over the infuriating Grady Little--would satisfy Frank McCourt's spending. In his own mind, he'd be offering new food concessions and a new manager, so what else would the fans need? The reality, though, is that the Dodgers would once again enter a season without a power bat, without an center fielder who could bat for average, and without a back half of a starting rotation. And it's not like the NL West is going to get any easier.

Stay tuned, loyal readers--for both the Yankees' saga, as well as the Dodgers'.

PS. Since when did the Dodgers wear black undershirts underneath their visiting greys?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Congratulations, Eric Gagne and Alex Cora!

Sons of Steve Garvey would like to wish beloved former Dodgers Eric Gagne and Alex Cora a hearty congratulations on their World Series win—the first for either player. We wish you could have won your rings while wearing Dodger Blue, but it must be pretty sweet for you guys nonetheless. Well played, gentlemen!

This Comes as a Complete and Utter Shock

Rodriguez opts out of $252 million, 10-year contract with Yanks (

What Exactly Is Dodger Blue?

What exactly is Dodger Blue? Conceptually it's what we bleed, certainly, but I'm talking about its place in the color spectrum. Is it the recently restored color of Dodger Stadium's outfield wall, which seems to have found a home on some RGB color charts?

Or is it Pantone 294, the darker blue on the Dodgers' uniforms and caps?

Or is it somewhere in between?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dodger Pumpkin Stencils Teach Youngsters Valuable Life Lesson



In high school English we learned the difference between should be and is. In literature, this difference provides opportunities for irony or symbolism; in real life, this difference gives today's children a peek into the realities of adult life.

Thanks to the Dodger pumpkin stencils at the Fan Forum, we are reminded of the difference between should be ("Hey, we'll sign Juan Pierre! Give him a fifth year to seal the deal! He'll hit for average and steal bases!") and is ("Pierre turns singles into doubles—for the opposing team! His OBP is .331! We're out $45 million!").



Happy Halloween from Sons of Steve Garvey!

stolen base photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP

Friday, October 26, 2007

Robothal Stirs the Pot: Colletti's Turn in Rumor Barrel

Less than a year ago we were basking in the Dodgers' lack of organizational drama. Fast forward to Robothal's latest:

Is Colletti also in trouble? McCourt announced that the Dodgers would keep Colletti as well as Little on the day the season ended. If he is willing to dump one, he might be willing to dump the other.

Colletti is said to enjoy a strong relationship with Little. He surely would understand the rationale for hiring Torre. But he might need convincing that Girardi would be an upgrade.

It would be a significant blow to Colletti if the Dodgers hired Girardi because of a McCourt power play. But after a series of dubious free-agent signings last off-season — right-hander Jason Schmidt and center fielder Juan Pierre, most notably — Colletti might be losing influence.

"McCourt power play"? What are you basing this on, Robo? I'd like to think that Frank learned his lesson from the DePodesta era...we'll see.

Brain Teaser, part 2

I don't know if this is a brainteaser so much as I am asking for help with my homework.

Games Magazine's current online contest has "ten tough analogies," of which I can answer nine. The tenth is stumping me, though, so I'm hoping a faithful SoSG reader can help me out.

The question:

SILVER is to BONDS as GOLDEN is to ???
a) Stocks
b) Strong
c) Weak
d) Calliope

Any help would be appreciated. In exchange for the answer to this one, I'll trade you any of the other nine answers (at least, what I believe they are). Thanks.

MLB.TV Promises World Series Brawl

"And Helton's got Varitek in a headlock. But here comes Manny, dogpiling on the entire group!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two Magazines, One Cover Story

They say nothing is original anymore. So look what greeted me at my mailbox this evening:

ESPN the Magazine and Sports Illustrated, same cover story, same cover team, same cover pose (mirror images, with the same three guys). Basically, they're the same magazine. Great. For this, I bought two separate subscriptions? What a waste.

Next they'll be telling me Rick Reilly writes for ESPN the Rag.

Guess Who's Hurt Again

Repko shut down but still optimistic: Old ankle injury flares up again for Dodgers outfielder (

Next Stop in Rumorville: Joe Girardi Could Manage Dodgers

From "Sources: Developing opportunity for Girardi in L.A." by Buster Olney at

Joe Girardi might have an opportunity to manage in the majors in 2008 -- even if he doesn't get the Yankees' job.

Officials familiar with Girardi's job prospects said Thursday if the Yankees do not hire him to succeed Joe Torre, then Girardi could have a developing opportunity with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The agent for Girardi, Steve Mandel, was asked if Girardi had been approached about a job opportunity with the Dodgers, and Mandel would not comment.

Dodgers manager Grady Little is under contract for next season after the team picked up his option for 2008 on March 7. Little also has a club option for 2009.

"Grady Little is our manager," a Dodgers spokesperson said Thursday.

Dodgers executives could not immediately be reached for comment about Little's status.

Girardi and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti have known each other for almost two decades. Colletti came to know the former catcher as media relations director for the Cubs; Girardi was selected by Chicago out of Northwestern as a fifth-round pick in the 1986 amateur draft.

"Grady Little is our manager." Now there's a vote of confidence.


The managerial replacement talk continues with more hearsay and conjecture, this time about Joe Torre. From Robothal:

Managers, even expensive managers, are far cheaper than players. The Dodgers could give Torre a two-year, $14 million contract — the approximate terms he wanted from the Yankees — and trumpet him as their big off-season acquisition.

Are you freakin' kidding me? If all Frank McCourt's price increases go toward a non-player acquisition, I'll march down to Elysian Park Avenue and punch him in the face myself.


Ken Gurnick at has some thoughts on Girardi:

If the report is true, Girardi's "opportunity" could be a position on Little's coaching staff or a role as an assistant to general manager Ned Colletti, who worked for the Chicago Cubs when Girardi played for the Cubs. Colletti was not available to comment.

Little's coaching staff is not under contract for next year and there have been indications that some members will not return, including -- but not limited to -- hitting coach Bill Mueller, who is expected to return to a front office job. The entire staff was given permission to seek opportunities elsewhere at the end of the season.

Brain Teaser

What uncommon attribute do the following four people share?


Barry Bonds Doesn't Have Fans In San Francisco

From "Bonds likens departure from Giants to being 'fired' (AP/

Barry Bonds is a tad bitter about his departure from the San Francisco Giants.

The 43-year-old home run king heard a long list of his accomplishments read during a special speaking forum Wednesday night hosted by the Commonwealth Club, then was asked by KGO Radio host Ray Taliaferro if he'd really reached all those feats.

Fourteen All-Star game selections. A record seven NL MVPs. Eight Gold Glove awards.

"I did, and then I got fired," Bonds told a group of about 450 people in the audience. "Shame on me, huh?"

Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's home run record with No. 756 on Aug. 7, was told last month by Giants owner Peter Magowan that he would not be brought back for a 16th season in San Francisco.

Bonds, dressed in a dark suit jacket and tie, entered to a roaring standing ovation and repeatedly drew loud applause from an adoring crowd through the nearly 90-minute forum. They chanted, "Barry! Barry!" One person hollered, "We love you." Others took pictures on cell phone cameras or sported shirts with Bonds' No. 25.

Yes, this was a glorified pep rally in a swanky downtown San Francisco hotel featuring five ovations and two of those standing -- for a star baseball player who didn't even stick around when his team paid tribute to him with a video presentation during the final home game of the year. Outside the ballroom where he spoke, Game 1 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Rockies at Fenway Park showed on a TV.

"I don't have fans in San Francisco -- this is my family," said Bonds, who used to bounce around the clubhouse at Candlestick Park as a boy while hanging out with his late father, Bobby, and Hall of Fame godfather Willie Mays.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dodgers Evoke Abbott and Costello: "I Don't Know" Is On Third

The latest entry on (devoid of any post-season coverage, since we were one of two NL West teams to miss post-season play) was a mailbag entry from Ken Gurnick which focused on our third base abyss:

If A-Rod doesn't opt out of his contract and the best free agents are center fielders Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones, which one would the Dodgers pursue? -- Corey N., San Dimas, Calif.

Maybe neither. If the Dodgers try to solve their offensive problems by acquiring an outfielder, it won't solve their third-base situation. I can't believe management is secure turning that position over to either Nomar Garciaparra or Andy LaRoche based on their play in 2007.

One scenario discussed internally is moving Matt Kemp to center field, Juan Pierre to left and targeting a third baseman through a trade. Miguel Cabrera is the obvious impact bat that many teams would covet, although the return of Adrian Beltre would also be an upgrade defensively as well as offensively. Whether either of them, or any other quality third baseman, will be available is another question altogether.

I continue to read that the Dodgers are in need of a power-hitting third baseman. Where does this leave LaRoche? -- Jay O., Bakersfield, Calif.

It leaves him needing to prove he can be a healthy, power-hitting third baseman in the Major Leagues. While his chances with the Dodgers have been limited, so has been his success. Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, James Loney and Kemp produced pretty much immediately and have earned more secure spots in the club's future.

LaRoche has not, and his tendency to get hurt at the age of 23 might be of greater concern than his lack of production. Back and shoulder injuries like the ones he has can become chronic.

Will Garciaparra be the starting third baseman next year or will he return to first base? -- Dennis M., El Monte, Calif.

Probably neither. Garciaparra had a truly unspectacular 2007 after a Comeback Player of the Year season in 2006 led to his re-signing and the expectation of production in the middle of the batting order. He hit only seven home runs with 59 RBIs, which isn't nearly enough for an everyday player at either corner infield position.

And he hasn't stayed healthy through an entire season since 2003. He's a wildly popular player, but the Dodgers need to make personnel decisions void of emotion. It would be great if Garciaparra could suddenly regain his form of four years ago, or even of 2006, but expecting it isn't logical.

With Olmedo Saenz gone, Garciaparra could be very valuable as a clutch right-handed bat off the bench with the defensive ability to fill in anywhere around the infield. Whether he would be accepting of that diminished role is another huge offseason issue for management, but it's probably time for somebody to find out.

All right, let's get psyched! To recap Kenny G., (1) Don't bother me with center fielder questions, since if we can't get A-Rod we're cooked; (2) LaRoche is not the answer; (3) Nomar should better get comfortable in an Olmedo Saenz, one-at-bat-a-week role, as he isn't the answer at third either. I Don't Know is alive and well and playing third for the Dodgers. Whoo hoo!

I have a signed Adrian Beltre baseball at home that I bought in a charity auction after his kick-ass, 2nd-in-MVP-vote 2004 season. Those were the days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why ESPN's Cell Phone Gambits Are Inevitably Doomed

No amount of "booyahs!" or "Mike and Mike" cross-promotions can substitute for basic math skills. And if you can't add, how can you make a viable business plan?

From Bugs and Cranks (Hat tip, Deadspin):

The above image came from an ad for the ESPN MVP feature for Verizon cell phones in the sports section of last Friday’s USA Today. At first glance, the advertisement appears ordinary enough, with a description of all the benefits of the package, including live game updates on your cell phone. However, a closer look at a sample screen shot of ESPN MVP in use (the part circled in red) reveals a bit of a problem:

Yup, that’s right, 7 + 17 = 23. In other words, either ESPN MVP will f' up the score of the game or they just can’t do simple arithmetic in Bristol.

Equally disturbing is Steve Dele's catch for 165 yards and the touchdown.

UPDATE 4.18pm:

You know, if this is the Steve Dele to which ESPN MVP is referring (see the end of the first row; they even post his common nickname, Oluwaniyi (which is Nigerian for "he whose receptions span multiple football field lengths")), they may be in luck. I don't know if Dele is much of a football receiver, but he is a Slovenian Mathematial Olympiad Deputy Leader--and ESPN could use the math refresher!

Charity for Red Sox Fans

Oh, the poor Red Sox fans, with their sad $143M payroll that all but guarantees their pending World Series victory. Now, a few of them even have homework to do:

BOSTON -- Seven rowdy Red Sox fans have a homework assignment, and it has nothing to do with baseball.

A judge has ordered them to write a five-page essay explaining what they have learned from their experience of being arrested after the Red Sox won the American League Championship Series on Sunday night.

The defendants must also provide proof to the court that their parents are aware of their arrests.

The seven were among 26 people -- many of them college students -- charged with disorderly conduct charges. A spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's office says many were arrested for ignoring police orders to clear the area around Fenway Park after the game.

Some in the crowd allegedly threw rocks and bottles at police.

"We wanted to send a strong message that shenanigans would not be tolerated," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald. "We were a lot better prepared this year than we were in 2004."

Boy, I'm feeling awful about these poor downtrodden Red Sox fans. First they only eke out their first World Series title in 86 years, and then they aren't even allowed to celebrate without getting stuck in study hall detention. Since their essay is bound to be rife with grammatical errors and devoid of complex sentence construction, SoSG wants to help out with a potential structure for their thesis (that means, "a subject for composition or essay"), free of charge:

I have learned many valuable lessons after being arrested after my Red Sox won the ALCS. Throwing bottles and rocks, even at Cleveland Indians fans, is not an appropriate way to express discontent at the offensiveness of their mascot or stimulate debate about the economic benefit that Jacobs Field has brought to their downtown area. Dumping bowls of chowda on pocked cahs is also not a civilized way to act. And the police outside the Cask and Flagon are technically not allowed to join the revelry until they are off-duty. In conclusion, just because Manny may be allowed to be Manny doesn't mean Joey P. is allowed to be Joey P.

Monday, October 22, 2007


As I watched former Cleveland Indians' 3rd base coach Joel Skinner give the hold sign as speedy Kenny Lofton (former Dodger) rounded 3rd with the potential tying run, I heard Superintendent Chalmers bellow his name in anger and disbelief. What a goof that was...changing momentum 180 degrees. Casey Blake hits into the inning-ending double play and the Red Sox roll towards the World Series. I'm betting Skinner sees that play in his nightmares for years.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

J.D.'s Muenster Jack Melts Away His Regular-Season Blues

So he dumped us for the Red Sox and $70 million. So he was a "high-priced bust" during the regular season. Don't feel sorry for J.D. Drew—we never did—because with one monster jack, he's become the latest former-Dodger-turned-Boston-hero, following in the steps of Dave Roberts.

The former-Red-Sox-star-turned-Dodger-goat line starts with Bill Mueller. (I'm giving Nomar a pass because of this and this.)

Meanwhile, Julio Lugo awaits his turn in the spotlight....


Don't think Mueller misses the glory days? He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park last night. Oh well, maybe the $4.5 million the Dodgers are paying him this year will ease the pain of not being on the Red Sox roster.

cheese photo by Thomas Guschl; cheesy Drew photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy 1st Anniversary, Sons of Steve Garvey

Today marks the first anniversary for Sons of Steve Garvey.

Believe me, I had no idea it would last this long or evolve into the Los Angeles Dodgers blog you see today. And I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect a bit on the past 12 months, cognizant that I’m coming from the perspective of profound appreciation for what we’ve managed to produce over the course of a year, as well as extreme bitterness over the corrosive way that the Dodgers’ 2007 season cratered in the second half (as well as the smoldering wreckage that has been left in its wake). My perspectives carry a little bit of both emotions, so what you’re about to read (besides being ridiculously lengthy; sorry about that) is probably reflective of revisionist history; I reserve the right to further edit the post later.

When we started this blog, we ended up hitting the ground running without knowing what the hell we were doing. In many ways, we still don’t know what we’re doing. But what’s fascinating is that, without guardrails or initial guidance, SoSG developed its own voice, position, and direction, evolving into its own through a collaborative effort that sort of found itself. Not that we haven’t had the occasional internal discussion about the direction we’re headed or things we want to improve or change, but they have been few and far between. SoSG is much more accidental in its development, which really makes the last twelve months all the more remarkable.

I want to start out this post by reflecting on the one question we get the most over email:

Who are the Sons of Steve Garvey?

The Sons of Steve Garvey are basically seven guys who hail from different walks of life, live in different cities, work in different industries—and by nature bring different perspectives to the table. The only unifying attribute is that we are all passionate Dodger fans—and to be totally truthful, I can’t even fully say that since one Son is only a new Dodger fan (this Son's favorite team hails from the NL East)—but all of us can write about the Dodgers with passion having followed them since we were kids. Since we cherish our anonymity, I can’t get into too much detail on an individual level, but I can say this:

  • We are indeed seven different people.
  • We currently live in four different cities. Four Sons currently live in Los Angeles. One Son has spent a significant amount of time living abroad.
  • Five sons went to the same high school.
  • One Son is a season ticket holder.
  • Only two Sons have met the entire SoSG staff.
  • One Son has gone on at least one baseball trip (i.e., beyond Dodger/Angel Stadium) with five of the six other Sons (at different times).
  • When seated at a round table, if Son A is sitting to the right of Son C, then Son E is not sitting in between Son F and Son G.
  • In aggregate, I believe the seven of us have 15 graduate and post-graduate degrees among a variety of fields. These degrees come from a variety of schools, but I will say that we have a good cross-section of the Ivy League and Pac-10 schools covered.
  • I believe that all of us have been published before (beyond this blog).
  • At least two of us have formal journalism (specifically, newspaper) experience, and one Son makes a living writing (beyond the income from this blog, of course).
  • Three Sons are associated with the entertainment/media industry, and have entries on
  • One Son was at the 1988 World Series Game 1, Kirk Gibson game.

Why we started Sons of Steve Garvey

About this time last year, I went and cleaned out my Dodger-related emails that my friends and I had emailed from the 2006 season. The number of emails was a surprising amount—something like 3000 in total. Most of the emails had content consisting of no more than little quips, many of the quips developed into inside jokes, and a scant few of them were worthy of public consumption. Many times, bolstered by the power of blackberries and treos, the conversation would be fast and furious during a specific game or following a specific roster move; I can recall times when I would come back to my desk at work after a quick one-hour meeting, only to find a chain of thirty emails piling on a specific topic.

Developing a blog seemed like a logical method of collecting the random thoughts among this core group of Dodger fans, in one live document, all in one place. The Game Threads in particular were designed so all of us Sons could chip in and comment on a game in progress, whether one of us was at the game or watching the game on TV or streaming over And since we all have random interests beyond the Dodgers (gasp!), SoSG speaks to the entropy in many of the blogposts which go beyond Dodger fandom. To be honest, I guess what I’m trying to say is, SoSG was originally developed for us, sort of like our own clubhouse—but we would let others in if they wanted to sink down to our level and join in.

What I’ve learned from the past 12 months

And that’s what makes this first-year anniversary so amazing—it seems that there are a couple of other people who have enjoyed visiting SoSG too, beyond the seven of us. At first, we were a little surprised by this; the fact that people might actually find us relevant, interesting, and possibly even funny (notice I didn’t say the words insightful or thought-provoking) was a nice bonus.

But when the Sports Illustrated 2007 Baseball Preview issue came out, I think that’s when we really realized we might have a wider audience than we had initially thought. In that issue, SI mentioned Sons of Steve Garvey as one of four blogs in an online poll for the honor of best Dodgers blog (specifically, it asked for the blog "with the best Dodgers info" (it can be found at And after only six short months of blogging-—again, without knowing what the heck we were doing or where we were going-—to be even mentioned alongside such basic blog necessities like Dodger Thoughts and True Blue LA (6-4-2 was categorized as an Angels blog) was absolutely mind-blowing for us. These are blogs which are the canon of Dodger fandom, and to be even loosely associated with them in a major national magazine was quite an honor. One of us happened to be on an elliptical machine at the time, working out while reading this issue of SI, and has this hilarious story of almost falling off the machine when he saw SoSG mentioned.

Suddenly, we had an audience. And suddenly, this became something bigger.

The rest of the year we were always pleasantly surprised to be linked from ESPN, the LA Times, and USA Today. From a macro level, today’s democratization of media and power of the internet is so astounding, that we were blown away by how wide our random missives could carry, shocked not only that they resonated with anybody at all, but also that they got to these people in the first place. It was even more surprising that these other readers wanted to join the fray and comment with us, agreeing or disagreeing or even just chiming in. And it’s been a fun, fun year from our side; we hope that those of you that have read SoSG have had as much fun as we have had these twelve months.

So where does that all of this leave us now?

To be brutally honest, this offseason comes at a good time as we try and figure out if we want to re-up for another year of this mayhem or not, and how we would take this blog into year two. All of the Sons have full-time jobs and competing interests and shifting priorities and worldwide travel, and keeping up the blog has been rewarding but far from effortless.

As we still are, and always will be, huge Dodger fans, you can tell we have no shortage of opinions. And we're proud of the fact that, almost accidentally, we've helped to cultivate a territory for the Dodgers community, where true Dodger fans who share our zeal can come and express their opinions on our favorite team. We love the Dodgers, deeply, and we root for our team with passion. And hopefully, this passion has come through on our blog.

I know I for one am interested in what you think of Sons of Steve Garvey, what you’d like to see more/less of, what we do well/poorly, etc.—so please post a comment or drop us an email. This month, we've been busy recharging our batteries, but now that we’re aware we have some readers out there, we’d love it if both of you could give us some feedback and/or words of encouragement (or discouragement). In the meantime, we do have some changes in store for next year (if we all agree to do this again and re-up our contracts); I can't get into details but it basically falls under the guideline "more rock, less talk"--except for the "less talk" part.

And above all, thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed the ride, glad we could help. If you haven't enjoyed the ride, there are other Dodgers blogs to read (and again, that's why we're anonymous--it makes us harder targets at which to throw tomatoes). But above all, thank you. It’s been a great 12 months, and we hope it’s been as fun for you as it has been for us.


Friday, October 19, 2007


In a move driven by greed, paranoia, and a week to kill, The Colorado Rockies are attempting to register the term "Rocktober." From's coverage of this fascinating saga:

The Rockies filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 4 asking for exclusive rights to the name (Rocktober) on stuffed animals, Christmas stockings, baby booties, T-shirts, bobble-head dolls and the like.

The filing came two days after Gov. Bill Ritter declared October would be known as "Rocktober" after the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres in 13 innings to win the wild card.

I think the Rockies organization have a good case. After all, we've NEVER seen that term anywhere else. (Cue Rocktober collage).

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are trying to get a trademark on their own month-inspired nickname.


From "Red Sox, fans turning into what they loathe" by Mark Kriegel at

Do the math. Add the salaries of C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore, Franklin Guttierrez, Jhonny Peralta, Chris Gomez, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez and Ryan Garko.

Now what do you have?

About a half million less than J.D. Drew.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dodgers Sponsor Yankees

...Damn Yankees, that is. The Dodgers are an official sponsor.

"Seinfeld" alum Jason Alexander, artistic director of Reprise! Broadway's Best, is hoping "to expand Reprise’s audience with more diverse work, such as a [primarily] African-American and Latino cast for...Damn Yankees."

The show runs November 6 through 25 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. You can buy tickets here; if you go, be sure to file a "Show Thread."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Call It The 'Curse of Piazza'

An Open Letter to Jim Buss - Dear Mr. Buss. Judging by what's been going on in the newspapers, internet, and various blogs it is clear to this SoSG that you're a little bit green around the collar when it comes to running a professional sports franchise. And not just any but perhaps arguably the most successful one in history. Allow me to let you in on a commonly known fact (one that your predecessors knew all to well having taken advantage of others with Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal)....DON'T TRADE FUTURE HALL OF FAMER SUPERSTARS IN THEIR PRIME. As Edmund Burke said, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." Please reference Babe Ruth, Wilt, Kareem, Mike Piazza as examples. The teams that dumped those players...they've sucked for decades following those ill-fated decisions. Now, with this new found knowledge in hand, make nice with Kobe. Love, Pete.

Two Weeks Till Halloween...

In honor of the Rockies historic run, I present... VAMPIRE DENTIST. Try to watch more than twenty seconds. If you dare.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sounds Suspiciously Like a Foreign Affairs Policy I Know

From Diamond Leung, a great quip from Luis Gonzalez, 2007 Dodger:

Luis Gonzalez spoke with Dan Patrick on KLAC-AM (570) today and had this to say about the idea of a split clubhouse:

"It was not as bad as the media made it out to seem. That was not the issue."

Then Patrick asked what was the issue, and here's Gonzo's answer:

"We went away from a game plan. We had no game plan.

"If you look at our record, we had the best record in the National League at the All-Star break. And we brought up a lot of young kids, and when they brought the kids up, they did well. There's no doubt these are all great young players. They were hitting .340, .350. Loney, Kemp, Martin, Ethier - they're all great players, but we weren't winning games. They're getting three and four hits, but you're not winning games.

"So in baseball a lot of times people look at the numbers instead of the results, and the results for us were we were not winning games, but that's what the organization wanted. They wanted to develop these young kids. And instead of us going out there and winning games, we ended up finishing in fourth place and the fans are ticked off, and the organization is now going to continue to this youth movement, which is great for them. I mean, they've got great young players."

Commenters on Diamond Leung's blog have made the comment that Gonzalez's quote lacks logic (which it does) and may make no sense (true). But what is really striking to me is the point that there was no gameplan uniting the team that this player could understand. Is that the player's fault, or management's?

Without clear direction and leadership, should we be surprised that the players could not understand crazy lineup decisions, or why Brett Tomko and Roberto Hernandez were allowed to pitch, or why Shea Hillenbrand was the answer for our power bat woes, or why Juan-For-Four Pierre was even in the lineup at all? Without a clear vision, whispers of dissension metastasize into rampant discontent.

And if Grady and Ned and Frank won't stop the cancer from spreading, well, who will?

(By the way, I'm still bitter about the 2007 season, if you can't tell from my posts.)

Let's Go Rox!!!

Let's Go Tribe!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dodgers Expect World Series Title in 2015

From the, exciting news about the ticket price increase plan, a.k.a. the field-level renovation:

Demolition of the Field Level at Dodger Stadium took place this week, clearing the way for a $70 million renovation of the ballpark that will focus on bringing the concession stands and restrooms into the 21st Century.

Wow, and just think, the hard-working Dodgers fans get welcomed into the 21st 2008. Only a scant seven years after the 21st century began! At this rate, we'll get a World Series title in 2015!

Heck, after this 2007 season, I was thinking third place might be too much for which to ask.

50 Years in LA

This is pretty cool. The Dodgers will be celebrating their 50 year anniversary of the move to LA-LA land next season. They're starting the campaign now. Including a chance to vote for the "All-time" LA Dodger team and Best All-Time Moments. I better see some of the Sons amongst the All-time Team. And, you can guess what I think is the All-Time Moment.

Cook on SNL

Even SNL thinks those Dane Cook commercials are lame.

Finally, Los Angeles Can Get Its 9.30pm Traffic Reports

The Dodgers are moving away from KFWB and its critical post-game shows, and back to KABC 790 AM.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have reunited with KABC AM 790 as their flagship radio station, club owner Frank McCourt announced Monday. McCourt cited the station's strong signal as one of the reasons for making the switch. He said communicating with fans that aren't able to get to the ballpark is a team focus as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary in Los Angeles next year.

"Coming back to KABC is like coming home," McCourt said.

With the change, the Dodgers will have a Sunday night DodgerTalk show. Also, more Spring Training games will be broadcast than in recent years, although not every game will be carried.

KABC was the Dodgers' radio home for 25 seasons from 1973-1997. The Dodgers' flagship station from 2002-2007 was KFWB AM 980 and from 1998-2001 was KXTA AM 1150. Prior to that, they aired on KFI AM 640 for 13 years and KMPC AM 710 for two years.

Leading the Dodgers broadcast team is Hall of Famer Vin Scully, who returns for his 59th season at the Dodgers microphone. Scully broadcasts the entire game on television, with the first three innings simulcast on radio.

Random thoughts: (1) How would Frank McCourt know what "coming home to KABC would be like," since he wasn't the owner in the KABC era? (2) More Dodger shows and spring training game coverage is fine by me, so I'm in favor (so long as the signal strength is good). (3) Mention of Vin, but no mention of Charley? Or Rick? Or Jerry Reuss??? Hmm.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dodgers Trivia Question #2: Where Is This Man?

In the long tradition of SoSG Trivia Questions comes entry #2:

This unnamed man claims to be the fourth owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he is more like an owner in absentia. Despite early-tenure hopes to bring the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise back to the glory of World Series titles, and promises to build upon the hopes of a 2006 post-season appearance, he simply vanished from the public eye from July 2007 onward.

In 2007, his second-half disappearance from media activity coincided perfectly with the Dodgers' collapse from first place to a fourth place position barely above breakeven. Not that this man's disappearance was unusual; earlier in the season, he pulled this "cut and run" maneuver after permanently snarling stadium traffic patterns, poisoning the ballpark experience for all attendees, once widespread public criticism began (and did not abate). Though he has not won any Rookie of the Year awards, he has instead left in his wake a team rife with dissension and a management lineup whose overall ineffectiveness and questionable decision-making rivalled...the first management lineup's ineffectiveness and questionable decision-making.

And this man is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, dodging all accountability.

By the way, his only second-half public appearance was to announce that he is raising ticket prices next year.

Where is this man? What is he afraid of? Perhaps the mob of angry citizens, robbed of the quality product they deserve? (Hey, we can still storm the castle with our torches. Which are already lit, by the way.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dodgers Trivia Question: Who Is This Man?

16 Dodgers have been named Rookie of The Year. This man has the distinction of being the a Dodger Rookie of the Year to have played the most games in a Dodgers Uniform (1,956 career games as a Dodger). Who is he? (Don't cheat by looking it up on Google until after you've thought about it)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shut the F*ck Up

"Here's to alcohol : The cause of ... and answer to all of life's problems." - Homer Simpson Months after Kobe Bryant demanded a trade, Lakers owner Jerry Buss openly talked about the possibility of dealing his star player this past offseason or even before February's trade deadline. "I would certainly listen," Buss told Lakers beat writers on Wednesday. "At any time, I think you have to do that with anybody. It's just part of the game, to listen to somebody who has a dissatisfied player that you think is going to fit. You can't keep too many loyalties. You've got to look at it as a business. He looks at it the same way I look at it." Hey Jerry, if Kobe's expected to be a professional and stop his yipping in the press...maybe you should do the same. If you stayed off the sauce, maybe Jerry West would still be running the show instead of your kid and we'd be fighting for championships instead of with ourselves.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still Some Things to Cheer For at USC

photo by John Cordes/Icon SMI

Hail, Stanford, Hail

Following the shocking and unexpected upset of USC, Stanford and its mighty football team got a nice article in the LA Times Sports section today...extolling the virtues of its academically oriented squad. Okay, it wasn't exactly the "football program on the rise" article that I had expected, but I was struck by the noblesse of Kurt Streeter, author of the article and Cal alum:

Moreover, Cardinal football players are almost certain to leave Palo Alto with diplomas. A study released last week by the NCAA, which tracked freshmen who entered college from 1997 to 2000, shows that 93% at Stanford graduate.

At USC, it's 57%.

At UCLA, 56%.

I went to Cal, which calls itself the finest public university in the land. I co-captained a tennis team that won a national indoor title. When I looked at the NCAA study and zoomed in on my alma mater, I felt an urge to lose my lunch. Cal might have become a football power, but at what cost?

Its graduation rate for football players? Just over 52%.


Not every school needs to be as strict as Stanford. Some kids deserve a second chance at taking education seriously. But graduating only half of the athletes on a major-college football team is a scam.

I can imagine that an article like this can't go over too well in the Cal Alumni Association, so I applaud Streeter for his incredibly complimentary article on his alma's arch-rival (talk about football program on the rise!). Not only is he a better writer than Bill Plaschke, but he's fair, too.

So, in the "what's fair is fair" column, I should at least reference another paragraph in the story:

Cardinal players don't take Underwater Fire Prevention. This year, Stanford has 15 players majoring in engineering. They cannot take an easy course load. There isn't any.

To be fair, there was a class at Stanford called "Group Communication," in which you got an A for attending without fail. A holdover from the sixties, the popular course would group students by different criteria each session and have the group tackle issues of race, class, orientation, etc. in a discussion format. I don't know if it was more challenging than Underwater Fire Prevention, but it may not have been too far ahead. I have no idea if the course still exists, either. I'm sure every college has these--but so too did (does?) Stanford.

To be unfair, I also have to call out that in the print edition of the LAT, the above sentence originally read, "They cannot take an easy coarse [sic] load." (The error was corrected in the online edition.) Cheap shot, I know, to point out a simple mistake! Hey, Cal is still my rival, after all. Go Cardinal!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Delino After the USC Meltdown...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Is this Worse? Neuter Dame 20 UCLA 6

How do UCLA fans and Stanford alums handle the flip-flopping caps and twisted allegiances anyway? Now granted being a 41 pt favorite and losing when you're the #1 team at home is worse, but SC wasn't the only one with a putred performance at home in So Cal. See ya Karl Dorrell...hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yeah, Baby!: Stanford 24, USC 23

Major props to the then-last place Cardinal for marching into the Coliseum and knocking off John David Booty and the #1 Trojans. Call it 'Booty and the Least.' I'll let Sax post the meat on this one, but what an un-frickin'-believable game.

Now it's time to replace my Cardinal cap with a Gators one...

Friday, October 05, 2007

What About All Those Dodgers Playoff Predictions?

The Wall Street Journal had their annual baseball contest, and the chances of picking this year's playoff teams was really small:

This year's playoff field confounded the 177 readers, nine guests and two Fixers who entered our seasonlong baseball contest. Just 11 entrants got five out of eight of the playoff positions right (no credit if you chose a wild-card team to win a division, and vice versa). And everyone else was no better than 50% right. Three NL teams -- the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies -- were especially surprising.

What is interesting though is the how so many picked the Dodgers (the NL West votes were as follows: Los Angeles 109; San Diego 34; Arizona 19; San Francisco 11; Colorado 3), and how their freefall flummoxed everyone (my bold emphasis added):

Paul Steiger focused on the fourth-place finish of the Los Angeles Dodgers, last year's NL West champion; he had predicted they'd win the wild card. "OK, so it wasn't an epic, last-minute horror like the one in Flushing," Steiger writes. "Still, the LA Dodgers did a pretty impressive nosedive -- 54 wins and 41 losses and the best record in the National League in mid July, followed by 28-39 the rest of the way. The reasons: In late September they ran into the hottest team in baseball, the Colorado Rockies, whom they ordinarily dominate but who beat them seven in a row during a depressing two-week period. Before that final, 3-11 dive, they had pulled to within 3.5 games of the NL West lead with a 19-10 run. There was also the loss of Randy Wolf for the season in June, with a shoulder injury. But most important are the moves that general manager Ned Colletti and Manager Grady Little made and didn't make over the winter and in the first half of the season. The previous year, they were geniuses. Not this time. The worst of the bad moves: acquiring Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez; letting Nomar Garciaparra clog first base and third base; and hiring journeyman outfielder Brady Clark. They need to do better this offseason, starting with the starting rotation and the offensive black hole at third base."

Rockies Play for Mike Coolbaugh's Family

As if there wasn't enough reason to root for the underdog Rockies, the expansion team with the crazy short-sleeve uniforms and ridiculous triceratops mascot. In all seriousness, it is admirable that the team members are generous, too. From the Globe and Mail:

The Colorado Rockies are playing this postseason for Mandy Coolbaugh and her children.

The Rockies have voted to give a full playoff share to the widow of Mike Coolbaugh, a first-base coach with their Double-A Tulsa affiliate, who was killed this year when he was hit with a line drive during a game.

The Coolbaughs had two children and a third on the way at the time of the accident.

“Some of the older guys talked about it and brought it up and it was something we all wanted to do,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said yesterday. “We felt that, as a team, it was the right thing to do.”

Players on teams with a chance at the playoffs convene a meeting late in the season to vote on how many full and partial shares will be doled out from a pool of revenue generated during the league championship series and World Series. (Players get 60 per cent of ticket sales from the first four games in each series.) It's a political matter that often tells a great deal about the makeup of a clubhouse.

Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals, the World Series champions, divided more than $20-million, with 48 players and club employees getting full shares of $362,173. Twenty-three others received partial shares.

The American League champion Detroit Tigers divided $13.3-million among 39 people who received full shares of $291,667, while 15 people received partial shares.

League championship series losers (the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets) received $124,430 for each full share.

Full shares for teams that lost in the divisional series ranged from $37,539 for the Minnesota Twins to $27,035 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Second-place teams that didn't make the playoffs also receive payouts, with the Blue Jays making $11,830 for each full share.

“Doesn't surprise me with this group we have – and they didn't do it just for you guys to find out, either,” Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said.

“That's what happens when you have a team like ours [largely home-grown]. There's a common thread you don't find when you bring a lot of players in from outside the organization.”

Playoffs Day 2 Recap: 80's Music Explains It All

Recapping yesterday's games reminded me of the power that is the Oracle of 1980's Music.

Dare to question the predictive powers of the Oracle of 1980's Music? Witness (in chronological order of completion yesterday):

Today's Game #1: Rockies 10, Phillies 5.

Oh sure, it was Kaz Matsui's grand slam that blew the game open. But Matt Holliday's second home run in the series, in the second inning, was the harbinger of blasts to come for the Rockies, who now lead the series 2-0 going to Coors Field.

Today's Game #2: Indians 12, Yankees 3.

And here, grasshopper, is where the Oracle of 1980's Music shows it does not discriminate. For Cleveland fans, C.C. Sabathia's 114-pitch, five-inning outing was certainly gonna make you sweat, hence the C+C Music Factory reference. For Yankee fans, everybody [saw] Wang choke tonight, giving up 9 H and 8 ER over 4.2 innings--not an outing that reflected his mastery this year. Indians lead 1-0 with Game 2 again at Jacobs Field.

Today's Game #3: Diamondbacks 8, Cubs 4

The Diamondbacks, fresh from shedding their teal and green skin for a blood-red shade, again beat up on the Cubs to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Chris Young hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the second, but with contributions up and down the Arizona lineup, it was clear that the union of the snake is indeed on the climb. The series heads to Wrigley Field.

The Oracle of 1980's Music has spoken. Do not question its powers! Now go grow a mullet and pull that shirt collar off your shoulder.

Technically, C=C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" was released in 1990. The Oracle knows this, and has accounted for this, but its judgment is final. Kinda makes you go hmmmmm, huh?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Shadow Knows....

From Aaron Rowand of the Phils,

"[The series] isn't going to be as high scoring as you think," said Aaron Rowand, who homered for the first of Philadelphia's two runs. "It's hard to see with the shadows. That's why you saw so few hits from the two best offenses in the National League."

Rowand made it clear he wasn't thrilled with television dictating the start time. "I want to have a conversation with the president of TBS," he said.

The President of TBS was quoted as saying "NUT UP AND SHUT UP!"