Friday, October 31, 2008

Phillies Win! Luggage For Everyone!

Because nothing says World Series Champions like stolen luggage. Or car surfing, for that matter.

C-4 Thursdays Now On Friday!

Yes, I know just yesterday I said Connect Four would be played on Thursdays. But a sudden cancellation of a business trip has left me with some unexpected free time, as well as an oddly powerful desire to get this game past the opening stages. So last round, you folks picked Column C in a landslide. The Game Board has been updated accordingly, as well as with the Writers' subsequent move. On to Round 2!

Round 2
Where should the readers put their next piece?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
Free polls from

Happy Halloween from Sons of Steve Garvey

Earlier: SoSG: Your Source for Dodger Pumpkin Content


Other Dodger pumpkin action: Happy Halloween from Trolley Dodger!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Han Solo vs. Manny Ramirez


bitchin' sidekick Chewbacca Angel Berroa
sweet ride Millennium Falcon Chrysler 300M SRT8 w/6.1-liter hemi
example of poor business acumen dropped shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser could not sell grill on eBay
power play shooting Greedo forcing trade from Boston
mercenary quote "I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money." "I want to see who is the highest bidder."
what they're saying about him "He's got to follow his own path. No one can choose it for him." "It's just Manny being Manny."
when he showed up to save the day just as Darth Vader had Luke in his sights (last reel of movie) August 1, 2008 (2/3rds through season)
how he saved the day took out Vader's wingmen .396/.489/.743 regular season, .520/.667/1.080 post-season
reward for late heroics medal, princess MVP consideration, free agency
triumphant return The Empire Strikes Back

Colletti Tells Tabloids That Scott Won't Return His Calls In Person

I've heard of a lot of negotiating strategies, but I was a little surprised to hear Ned Colletti use the "spurned girlfriend" strategy when discussing how he hasn't been able to reach Scott Boras, Manny Ramirez' agent, about Manny returning to the Dodgers for 2009:

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday his communication with agent Scott Boras this off-season has been limited to two voice messages, meaning they might not meet in person to discuss the future of free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez until the general managers' meetings that start Monday in Dana Point.

Colletti said he hoped to talk to Boras soon and that re-signing Ramirez would be one of the Dodgers' top three priorities this winter, along with bolstering the infield and rotation.

Yikes. For the sake of Dodger fans everywhere, hoping to see us win games in 2009 in which we give up two runs or more, let's just hope this case of voicemail tag doesn't get out of hand:

Or maybe Ned should just heed the advice of these fine young gentlemen, and take his complaints to the phone company powers that be?

Connect Four Quickly Becoming Dodger Off-Season Metaphor

(Photoshop from Dodger Blues.)

Don't Worry, Readers, We'll Go Easy On You

Earlier: SoSG Connect Four Challenge: Opening Round

SoSG Connect Four Challenge: Opening Round

Finally, C-4 Thursdays have arrived! Yes...without any meaningful baseball for the next five months, the SoSG staff is re-channeling their competitive juices by hereby throwing down the gauntlet to their readership in a no-holds barred game of Connect Four. Here's how it works:

  1. For those unfamiliar with Connect Four, the game is played by having the two adversaries take turns dropping a colored piece into one of seven columns. The piece will drop to the bottom and fill the lowest-available cell in its column. Whoever is able to align four of their pieces in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally - wins.
  2. The SoSG Writers, with the black pieces, have made the first move, as indicated in the game board below. The SoSG Readers, with the red pieces, must now make their move by way of the poll.
  3. Feel free to attempt to sway your fellow Readers' vote via bribes, intimidation, or discussions of "strategy" via the comments section. Whatever you think you need to do.
  4. Every Thursday we will update the game board with both the Readers' last move (i.e., results of the previous poll) and the Writers' move in response.
  5. If you Readers win the game, a prize beyond your wildest dreams will be awarded. If the Writers win the game, we expect the same.

Your move, suckers:

Where should the Readers drop their next piece?
Column A
Column B
Column C
Column D
Column E
Column F
Column G
Free polls from

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ned and Diamond Make a Talkie

title inspired by:

Diamond Leung has been talking to Ned Colletti:

Dodgers think less is more with Russell Martin
Call Dodgers GM Colletti the Big Fundamental

Some highlights:

"We did talk about our catching situation to see if there was a way of improving it," Colletti said. "We did talk about Russell's versatility. I think it would benefit Russell to not play as often behind the plate as he did. Sometimes that's easier to be said from someone who's not making out the lineup card.

Asked if he was more open to having Martin play more third base or signing a stronger backup catcher, Colletti said, "The best scenario might be both."

Could we be looking at a regular Loney-DeWitt-Martin-(maybe) Furcal infield? Might the Dodgers be adding a catcher to their off-season shopping list?

- Blake DeWitt will be among those expected to come to Dodger Stadium in January to work on his infield versatility, as he could end up the starting third baseman or second baseman.

Joe Torre has been thinking of DeWitt as a third baseman. Guess DeWitt will be working out at second and third. And why not? Flexibility is good.

- The Dodgers want arbitration-eligible closer Takashi Saito back next season, but aren't really sure what they have with his balky right elbow.

Hopefully no balks! Ha ha!

- The Dodgers training staff has been checking in on Andruw Jones. "He's working out, doing a lot of cardio work," Colletti said.

Uh-huh. Sure.

- Asked to name some minor leaguers who might have a major league impact next season, Colletti listed Tony Abreu, Chin-lung Hu and Ivan DeJesus Jr.

Hu is still a minor leaguer?

"The little things in the game have been put aside and put away," Colletti said. "It drives me crazy watching games and small intricacies of the game are overlooked. For years, you would look at this organization, and you were in for a tough three-game series. I don't think any team is saying it right now about us. I know teams for a long, long time held us to that excellence."

The Cubs beg to differ. Apparently Ned no longer has playoff fever.


Hey, other reporters were there too!

Colletti has full plate for offseason (Ken Gurnick,

Dodgers' Ned Colletti says club hopes to talk to Manny Ramirez's agent soon (Dylan Hernandez, LA Times)

Colletti photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Phillies Win World Series, Assert NL Dominance Over Hapless AL

The Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 win over Tampa Bay tonight not only clinched the World Series, it demonstrated the dominance of the National League over the American League in baseball. The NL is now 1-0 in the last World Series, and 2-1 in the last three World Series, clearly demonstrating the NL's superiority.

What? Interleague play records? Whatever.

Congratulations, Philadelphia. Now you kids be safe out there tonight and don't do anything crazy.

Your Chance to Drink, Play the Field, Get to Third Base and Shag with Russell & Andre

Thanks to Fire Ned Colletti Now for the tip: For the low, low price of $500, you can spend a night under the stars with Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. From

The Los Angeles Dodgers invite you take live batting practice "Under the Lights" at Dodger Stadium. Hosted by Russell Martin and Andre Ethier, this premiere event will allow you and your friends, family or clients the chance to hit, throw, run, eat, drink and party in the Heart of Dodgertown. Swing for the fences during live batting practice on the field, mingle with current and former Dodgers, tour the locker room, throw in the bullpen and enjoy food and an open beer and wine bar in the exclusive Dugout Club.

The premier event will take place November 21, 2008 beginning at 6:00 p.m. and costs $500 per person. Space is limited so purchase your tickets now!

Under the Lights Features:

  • Russell Martin and Andre Ethier as your hosts
  • Live batting practice on the field
  • Indoor batting practice in the batting cages
  • Pitching practice in the bullpens
  • The chance to run the bases
  • Play the field
  • Shag fly balls
  • Behind-the-scenes locker room and clubhouse tours
  • The chance to mingle with both current and former Dodger greats
  • Live DJ
  • Catered food
  • Open bar (beer & wine)
  • VIP gift bags
  • Your name in lights on the Scoreboard and DodgerVision boards
  • Professional photographs taken on the field

A night Under the Lights also makes a great gift! For questions about this event please call Ryan today at 323-224-1355.

Any SoSG readers planning on going? If so, we want pictures!

Mo' Money No' Problem

                                                                 October 29, 2008

Dear Mr. McCourt,

What if I told you I had a way you could generate over $10 million in additional ticket revenue while reducing average ticket price by $4 per ticket? Is that something you might be interested in?

Now before I share any secrets with you, let's take a look at your current ticket revenue situation:

Current Seat Plan
Standard Tickets
# of Home Games:
Stadium Capacity:
Total Available Seats:
Seats Sold (2008 Attendance):
% Sold:
Avg Ticket Price:
Total 2008 Ticket Revenue:

Across the 81 home games, there were 4,536,000 seats available (56,000 x 81) at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers' 2008 official attendance was 3,730,553, meaning 82.2% of the available seats were filled. These 3,730,553 filled seats each generated on average $29.66 in ticket revenue, which in total sums to about $111 million.

Not too shabby, but certainly not as much as you deserve. So let's crank those numbers up. Now, as you've proven, you already know the traditional ways of increasing revenue:

  1. increase price
  2. increase sales

Being only one year removed from the biggest ticket price increase in baseball, which you deftly followed up with an additional 13% ticket price increase the next year, I strongly urge you to avoid another price increase in the short term (not to mention the current economic crisis and Bud Selig's stern warning). And while I know you're always working on increasing sales, I also know that if possible you'd prefer to avoid the costly stadium renovations, expensive superstar signings, or unguarantee-able playoff appearances that such a strategy entails.

So I suggest an alternate strategy: Take a long hard look at your customer, the Los Angeles-area baseball fan. While it's a tired cliche that Dodger fans come to games late and leave early, we all know there's some truth to it. All those folks arriving late are either tied up in traffic and/or don't really care about the early, "less important," innings. All those fans leaving early clearly aren't particularly interested in the outcome. So why not take advantage of this unique Southern California mentality to further line your pockets?

Here's what I propose: segment your target market into three different groups, and sell a specific ticket type for each, as follows:

  1. The "Experiential" Ticket. Of the 56,000 stadium seats, take, say, 16,000 of 'em and sell them to the casual, "Experiential" fan - that is, those fans who come to the game less to see who wins, and more for the "Baseball Stadium Experience". These Experiential tickets, valid from first pitch through the seventh-inning stretch, allow one to enjoy approximately two hours of the full Baseball Stadium Experience (longer than your average movie!), for a discounted price of $20. Look for yourself on Diamond Vision! Dance to the organ and yell "Charge!" at the appropriate time! Catch a bag of peanuts from a vendor! Maybe even participate in a wave! Then end your unforgettable evening with the ultimate baseball experience staple: a rollicking chorus of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". You'll even make it out of the stadium well ahead of the rest of the crowd, avoiding the post-game traffic!*
  2. The "Results-Oriented" Ticket. These 16,000 seats, good for the critical part of the game - from the bottom of the seventh onward - are for the high-powered, multi-tasking, "Results-Oriented" fan. These overachievers are overburdened with demands on their time. At the office, rather than sit through a 2-hour meeting themselves, they have their underlings provide them the 5-minute recap. They glance only at executive summaries, their time far too valuable to spend on full reports. And, alas, they don't have the luxury of sitting through a full nine innings (they're at the office far too late to arrive on time anyways). All they're interested in is the deciding 2.5 innings - the rest can be recapped for them by an intern the next morning. For the $20 discounted price, these fans can do what they do best: cut to the chase and get to the results, posthaste.
  3. The Standard Ticket. The remaining 40,000 seats would be sold as standard tickets good for an entire game, at the same $29.66 average price as today.

So how do the financials for this new plan work out? Let's take a look (figures assume same sales close rate of 82.2% as in 2008):

SoSG Proposed Plan
Standard Tickets
Experiential Tickets
Results- Oriented Tickets
# Home Games:
Available Seats:
Seats Sold:
% Sold:
Avg Price:
Ticket Revenue:
$79 m
$21.3 m
$21.3 m
$121.7 m

So, by simply segmenting your audience and catering to their priorities, ticket revenue has increased from $111 million to $122 million. That translates to almost $10 million in additional revenue**, with negligible incremental cost! When you factor in additional food, parking, and souvenir sales, incremental revenue could approach $20 million. And here's the kicker: with the influx of discounted $20 tickets, you've actually reduced the average ticket price by more than $4, from $29.66 to $25.37. Think of the PR angle!

So there you have it, Mr. McCourt, thank you for your attention. We await your reply.

                                                                 SoSG Karros

*A $200 penalty will be assessed to Experiential Ticket holders who fail to vacate their seat by the bottom of the 7th inning.

**after SoSG's standard 10% commission on incremental revenue (for providing the idea).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MLB Echoes SoSG Requests for More Oates, Less Hall

How the hell we missed this story, I don't know. Singing the anthem for World Series game 5 was none other than John Oates, who filled in for an ill Daryl Hall. Note the video link also on this page; not a bad job, Johnny! (Although I think you said "What so proudly we hailed as the twilight's last gleaming--oh well.)

Hall and Oates are seminal figures for at least three of the seven Sons, having listened to multiple soulful tracks from "the number one selling duo of all time" while on a baseball roadtrip (which included Philadelphia, among other ballparks). And after firing up the entire H+O anthology, all the roadtrippers came to the conclusion: what the world needs is less Hall, and more Oates.

Are we Out of Touch? Maybe. Say It Isn't So, some of you will say. But there was a M-E-T-H-O-D to our madness, and it was great to see MLB give John Oates the entire stage last night (frankly, it was probably too damn cold for anyone, let alone the beanstalk that is Daryl Hall):

PHILADELPHIA -- Daryl Hall was scheduled to perform the national anthem prior to Game 5 of the World Series Monday night, but after he came down with the flu, he turned to his longtime friend and bandmate John Oates for a pinch-hit appearance, so to speak.

Oates, one half of the hit band Hall and Oates that reached its peak in the 1970s and '80s, lives in Aspen year-round and received a frantic call from their manager around 8 a.m. Monday morning, pleading with the singer to hop on the first flight to Philadelphia to sing the anthem.

"At 8 o'clock, my wife starts shaking me and goes, 'You've got to go to Philadelphia," Oates said, an hour before he was scheduled to perform. "I thought she was kidding me. I thought she was just trying to get me out of bed. Then she said, 'No, no, Daryl got sick and you have to sing the national anthem at the World Series. I'm like really? I said, 'OK.'"

Turns out, that was easier said than done. Every flight out of Aspen connects in Denver, and his flight, which was scheduled to leave Denver at noon, was delayed.

"I said, 'That's it, I'm not going to make it,'" he said. "We were cutting it close as it was, I was supposed to arrive at 6. Then I saw a flight that was leaving in 20 minutes for Philadelphia. I said, 'Can I get on?'"

There was one seat left -- a middle seat, no less -- and Oates pounced.

"I guess it was meant to be," he said.

John Oates braved the snow of Aspen and the rains of Philadelphia, five hours and 34 minutes of flying (assuming he was on the 8.10am connecting through Denver to Philly on United), and POUNCED ON A MIDDLE SEAT no less (which must have been on the DEN-PHL leg, since the first leg was a puddlejumper CRJ-700 that had no middle seats). [Now get those visions of a pouncing Oates, curly hair and all, out of your head.]

This means, while Daryl Hall lounges around on a beach with a unbrella-adorned drink in his hand, John Oates is flying coach, for baseball. What an American! What a patriot! What a baseball fan!

And that's why we at SoSG toast Oates, and give Hall a pass.

photo: David J. Phillip / AP

If the Dodgers Had Gone Right to the World Series, This Would Never Have Happened

Game 5 will not resume on Tuesday (

FAQs on the suspended Game 5 (

Earlier: And If Woody Had Gone to the Police, This Would Never Have Happened

Caption Contest

"The rulebook clearly states the Commissioner's Office will find new and innovative ways to embarrass the game of baseball."

Bud Selig makes a bad call for baseball (Bill Shaikin, LA Times)

In the name of the World Series, wait until skies clear (Danny Knobler,

Bud's wild-card plan not so brilliant after all (Mike Freeman,

Selig made correct call in suspending Game 5 (Gene Wojciechowski,

Selig, MLB could've avoided this muddy mess (Ken Rosenthal,

This time, Selig got it right (Mark Kriegel,

Unconventional Thinking: MLB makes right decision to cancel (Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus/

Five Cuts: Selig made right call (Tom Verducci,

Baseball’s crown event is beyond repair (Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports)

AP photo

Selig Excited About World Series Game 5 Tie; Now Sets Sights On World Baseball Classic

"I just want to get out of the rain, go home, and finish reading my issue of Reader's Digest. You know, laughter really is the best medicine!"

Thrilled about ending a World Series game with a tie score, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig revealed last night in the post-game press conference that it has been his agenda all along to get as many key MLB games as possible to end in deadlocked scores.

"With a tie," explained Selig, "no team loses. So both teams can walk away from the field happy that they've played their hardest, and no fan turns away saddened by disappointment. For me, it's literally a win-win. Or at least, a tie-tie."

Selig revealed his master plan to the press late last evening, after calling Game 5 of the 2008 World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies tied at 2 runs apiece. "My first shot at getting a key game to end in a tie was the 2002 All-Star Game," continued Selig, "and now I've gotten a World Series game to follow suit. Just wait until you see what I've got in store for the World Baseball Classic this spring!"

When a member of the press corps attempted to clarify the situation to Selig, stating that the game was only suspended and not concluded, Selig shrugged his shoulders and left the podium, muttering to himself.

photo: Elsa / Getty Images

Philadelphia Mob Scene Hastily Reworking Riot Plans

With Game 5 of the World Series suspended late last night due to an unabating rain, angry Philadelphia fans have been forced to channel their anger and rage for at least another 24 48 hours, as the game was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning with a 2-2 tie.

A Phillies win would clinch the World Series and bring the city its first major professional sporting title in 25 years. As such, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter appealed to riot planners to postpone their revelry until the game's outcome was complete.

"I know this is a difficult thing for which to ask, as looting always yields better goods when performed on a Monday night," said Nutter. "But this wait will allow rioters a chance to pick up the new Disney Tinker Bell DVD, which doesn't release until today (Tuesday October 28) in stores. So you see, there's upside from delaying one's plundering a day or so."

Riot planners, who had been busily preparing since the clinching the NL East title almost a month ago, were disappointed to have to defer their complicated schemes until later. "We've got looters, assaulters, vandalizers, and small mobs of just pissed off people all waiting on hold here, after practicing their carefully-sequenced routines for months," said riot planner Bill Armstrong. "And we've only got the car tippers for a small window of time. The car tippers are much more fresh and primed for action now, having just come off a successful ruckus in Detroit to celebrate the Shock's third WNBA title. I just hope we can fit them in before the Chase for the Cup ends."

Some business establishments, however, were looking forward to the extra 24-hour 48-hour respite before the inevitable downtown disorder. Fred Grimbsy, proprietor of the State Liquor Store on Broad Street, was looking at the bright side of incremental revenues. "This will give me time to move the remainder of my molotov cocktail supply," said Grimsby. "I generally don't like to keep these kind of items in stock due to their short shelf life, so this helps me clear out the last ones. I may even run a 'Buy Two Molotovs, Get Free Phanatic Bobblehead' promotion."

"And then I'm boarding up my windows," Grimsby added.

photo: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

Mother Nature Not a Phillies Fan

Game 5 of World Series suspended because of rain in sixth inning (

1: photo by Brad Mangin/MLB
2: AFP photo

This Is Phillies Baseball?

top photo by Rich Pilling/MLB
bottom photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Monday, October 27, 2008

SoSG: Your Source for Dodger Pumpkin Content

Here's a simple pattern for the kids!

Welcome, Dodger pumpkin stencil seekers! The stencils you seek are you can take this:

and make this:

Here's another simple pattern that will take the kids only minutes to do:

Earlier SoSG pumpkin content:
Dodgers Not Close to Turning Into a Pumpkin
Dodger Pumpkin Stencils Teach Youngsters Valuable Life Lesson

Who Are You Rooting For in the World Series?

Who are you rooting for in the World Series?
Phillies! Go NL!
Rays! Go Cinderella!
No Dodgers? I don't care!
Free polls from

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Does Suffering Confer Entitlement?

We hear it every fall: Long-suffering fans of

  • [insert name of storied baseball franchise]

pining for finally...finally...a World Series title. This is the year! No more

  • (a) curses
  • (b) goats
  • (c) reason for elderly fans to live now their fondest wish has come true.

If the team actually wins

  • [see Sox, Red, 2004]

let's write books and make movies about it! Pink hats for everyone!

But if the team loses

  • [see Cubs, Chicago, 2008]

the fans' suffering increases exponentially.

A list of the longest World Series droughts shows us that fans of the Cubs, Indians and Giants deserve a championship the most.

Or do they? Because the media needs an angle on suffering, or the fans themselves get louder as their misery increases, the implication is that the longer you have to wait, the more you deserve success.

Then does that mean Phillies fans deserve to win the World Series more than Rays fans? What about the lifetime baseball fans in central Florida who finally have a team of their own?

Are fans who support their team regardless of management and performance loyal, or just stupid? Then what does that say about Dodger fans, who help the team annually exceed 3,000,000 in attendance—win or lose?

While fan spending on games and merchandise can be viewed as a measurement of loyalty, it doesn't account for what different fans can afford in different parts of the country; ticket prices vary, but an authentic game cap costs $31.99 no matter which team logo is stitched on it.

So forget trying to quantify loyalty—because loyalty is unmeasurable.

Forget trying to identify the best fans in baseball—because every team has the best fans in baseball.

And forget about which team has more fans—because "more" doesn't mean "more deserving."

No, the passion of fandom is essentially irrational and unquantifiable. And while suffering can create character, character simply makes you a better person. It doesn't make your team a winner.

Cubs fans photo #2 by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Dodger fans photo by Juan Ocampo/Dodgers

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The SoSG 2008 Dodgers Yearbook: Faculty


Dear Mr. Mattingly:

I guess even teachers can have girl problems, huh? Was it a coincidence that when you returned from your personal leave, the offense woke up? Let's see what you can do with a full season in 2009! Stay classy!


Dear Mr. Duncan:

You seem to get into a lot of disagreements: Jake Peavy, Davey Lopes, etc. We heard you have these arguments in order to draw attention away from the players. Or maybe you just really like arguing. Whatever. Stay classy!


Dear Lar—

For a while we didn't know if you were staying or going, Lar. We like to call you Lar in hopes that you'll suffer a Bob Knight-esque meltdown. You have an even shorter fuse than Mr. Duncan! But thanks for being cooler than Mr. Donnelly. Stay classy!


Dear Mr. Torre:

Everyone seemed so psyched when you replaced Mr. Little, but it seemed like you took half the year just to learn your players' names. A different lineup for every two games didn't exactly inspire confidence, but it all came together the last few months of the season. Hopefully in 2009 you'll deal with fewer injuries and more consistency. Keep drinking that green tea, man! Stay classy!


Dear Mr. Rawitch:

You did a very, very cool thing this year. And you won the Battle of the Joshes. And you helped rehabilitate Manny Ramirez's image. It was a good year. Stay classy!


Dear Dr. Steinberg:

You survived the Great Autograph Fiasco of '08. But you also forced Journey upon us. If you can do something about the negative element at Dodger Stadium, we'll call it even. Stay classy!


Dear Ms. Ng:

We're sorry about Seattle. But soon it'll be time to shake that off and put your arbitration cap on. Stay classy!


Dear Mr. Colletti:

For months it seemed you were going to collapse under the embarrassing contracts of Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre. But Hurricane Manny blew into town and lifted that dead weight off your back. Now you're returning in 2009 and you've got a ton of off-season decisions to make. Foist Pierre and Jones on other teams and you'll almost be back to square one! Oh, and your contract expires in 2009. Have fun! Stay classy!


Dear Mr. McCourt:

Quite a year, huh? When you're not busy hiding behind Mr. Steinberg or stepping in front of Mr. Colletti, you're referring to Manny Ramirez—the most important player you've ever employed—as, uh, "the player." But it's also true that under your stewardship, the Dodgers have seen their best season in 20 years. As long as you can avoid perpetrating more front office turmoil (a McCourt specialty!), 2008 should be something to build on rather than an aberration. Maintaining clubhouse continuity was a good start. Stay classy!


Dear Mr. Scully:

Sorry the Dodgers couldn't win it all for you this year, your 59th season with the organization. We're ecstatic you'll be returning for a 60th go-round in 2009; when you're on, life is good. We wish you a pleasant winter.

Earlier: The SoSG 2008 Dodgers Yearbook: Students, Section 1, Students, Section 2

Friday, October 24, 2008

Entire Coaching Staff to Return


The coaching staff of Dodgers manager Joe Torre will return intact for 2009, the club announced Friday.

Hitting coach Don Mattingly, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, third-base coach Larry Bowa, first-base coach Mariano Duncan, bench coach Bob Schaefer and bullpen coach Ken Howell will continue in the roles they held at the end of the 2008 season. [...]

Special hitting coach Manny Mota (entering his 30th season as a Dodgers coach) and bullpen catchers Mike Borzello and Rob Flippo also will return.

Congrats, guys!

Bill James Commends SoSG Karros, Orel, DeShields; Overall SoSG Talent Only "Mediocre"

And here comes another Bill James press release, this time breaking down Los Angeles Dodgers blogs. Though SoSG Karros, Orel, and DeShields got high marks, the overall team ranked only 13th among Los Angeles Dodgers blog organizations:

In the inaugural year of his very newly-developed "Young Blogger Talent Inventory," groundbreaking baseball analyst Bill James named Sons of Steve Garvey Eric Karros 2nd, SoSG Orel 4th, and SoSG Delino DeShields 5th on his list of the top 25 Los Angeles Dodgers bloggers under 30 years old. In the Bill James Handbook 2009, to be published on November 1, 2008, James also judges the Sons of Steve Garvey blog to have the thirteenth-best overall young blogging talent, up eight places from last year.

2008 was a really great year for the Dodgers, but not really a great year for young Dodger bloggers," James says in his new book (did we mention it comes out on November 1, 2008?). "Some young blogger columnists took a step forward, others took a step backward. But the only really huge talent to emerge in 2008 was SoSG Eric Karros of Sons of Steve Garvey."

SoSG Eric Karros put up some amazing second year blogging stats of 45.4 words per paragraph and a 2.35 Earned Babe Picture Average through the last two seasons. With a VORB (Value Over Replacement Blogger) of 84.7, SoSG Karros had a breakout season in 2008, evidenced most prominently by the honing of his "fifth tool," puzzle craftmanship.

SoSG Orel, who ranked fourth overall, had an amazing streak of 45 consecutive Game Threads in the middle of the season, including the memorable 35th consecutive Game Thread in which SoSG stopped the Game Thread after the fifth inning (when the Game Thread became official) and SoSG Orel took a lap around the blogposts, slapping hands with commenters all around. The huge "35" banner unfurled on the SoSG staff headquarters, with fireworks illuminating the accomplishment.

SoSG Delino DeShields, the fifth-ranked young blogging talent, kept up a torrid season amassing 54 XTYV (extra tangential youtube videos), despite being pulled out of everyday play mid-season with a condition which caused intense sleeplessness, and moved him to the 30-day disabled list mid-season. DeShields' return to the SoSG lineup not only spiked traffic back up to record highs, but also led to $2M in incremental site revenue through sales of souvenir knee braces.

James points out that evaluating the best young talent is a transitory task: "Virtually everyone who is on this list now will drop off within two years. In baseball blogging, you get over being 'young' really quickly. Embedding pictures, formatting tables, making your own youtube videos; it isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it, so long as you know how to type complete sentences."

James lists the Sons of Steve Garvey as the #13 blogging team in all of Los Angeles Dodgers blogging, below a number of other Dodger blogs. "Sons of Steve Garvey has very impressive young blogging talent, but their issue is depth. That, and the fact that they aren't all that funny."

Bill James Commends Kemp, Loney; Overall Team "Young Talent" Only Mediocre

A couple of days old, but Josh Rawitch over at Inside the posts a press release about Bill James' analysis of the Dodgers' young talent. Though Matt Kemp and James Loney rank in James' top 25 young players list, the Dodgers as an organization rank only 13th of 30 major league teams:

In the second year of his newly developed "Young Talent Inventory," groundbreaking baseball analyst Bill James names Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp 7th and first baseman James Loney 20th on his list of the top 25 major league ballplayers under 30 years old. In The Bill James Handbook 2009, to be published on November 1, 2008, James also judges the Dodgers to have the thirteenth-best overall young talent in Major League Baseball, up seven places from last year.

"2008 really was not a great year for young talent, except pitchers," James says in his new book. "Some young position players took a step forward (Dustin Pedroia, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Stephen Drew, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, Jose Lopez, Geovany Soto, Nate McLouth); others took a step backward (Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Alex Gordon, Jeff Francouer). But the only really huge talent to emerge in 2008 was Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays."

"In pitching, on the other hand, it was a good year," argues James. "Tim Lincecum, Jon Lester, John Danks and others emerged as major young talents--others including Jair Jurrjens, Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey and Edinson Volquez." James points out that evaluating the best young talent is a transitory task: "Virtually everyone who is on this list now will drop off within two years. In baseball, you get over being 'young' really quickly." What is remarkable about this year's list, he says, is that there is little turnover this year compared to last, which means that relatively little new talent emerged.

To achieve his inventory, James first eliminates from the list all players who were 30 years old or older in 2008. He employs two widely used statistics--"Runs Created" for position players and "Runs Allowed" for pitchers--as the basis for comparison. He makes several adjustments, including for injuries suffered during the year and the differences in predictability between pitchers and position players, and then takes into account the number of years the player should be at his peak performance.

James lists the Dodgers as the #13 team in all of baseball for young talent, just below the L.A. Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland A's: "Nobody on the A's is all that good, at least not yet, but they lead the world in guys who should get better. The Dodgers are the exact opposite of the A's; they have very impressive young talent in Kemp, Ethier, Billingsley, Loney and Kershaw, Broxton and Martin, but their issue is depth."

Only four teams--the Brewers (Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun), the Mets (David Wright and Jose Reyes), the Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester), and the Dodgers (Matt Kemp and James Loney)--placed two players in James' list of top 25 young players.

The Brewers' Prince Fielder led the list, with the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez second and Tim Lincecum of the Giants third. Other NL West representatives in the top 20 included Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) at #14, and Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) at #19.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let's Play Spot the Journalist

The SoSG 2008 Dodgers Yearbook: Students, Section 2


Dear Derek,

You're graduating from the team! You had perhaps your best year as a Dodger, you were a one-man Diamondbacks-beating machine, and we wouldn't have made the playoffs without you...yet we couldn't help but feel you never wanted to be here. Your boner for Boston isn't becoming, but you're going to earn a huge contract this off-season anyway. Hope you're happy wherever you end up. BFF!


Dear Chad,

Our ace of the present and the future. Forget the NLCS, because we know the real Chadley isn't that pitcher. The real Bills will return in 2009 another season stronger and wiser—and you're only 23! The Dodgers have been to the post-season two of your three years with the team. If that trend continues, you'll be a big part why. BFF!


Dear Hiroki,

Maybe we should nickname you "Colossus" because watching you is like riding a rollercoaster. Fortunately, you provided more thrills than spills, from your near-perfect game to your two ballsy playoff wins. For some reason you're much more comfortable at Dodger Stadium than on the road—maybe something to work on in 2009? BFF!


Dear Clayton,

The Minotaur has landed! You're like the kid who skipped grades—baby-faced but more talented than everyone else in the class. And to top it off, you handled this year's rookie hazing with humility and composure. As long as your arm doesn't fall off, we're looking forward to watching your Dodger career unfold. BFF!


Dear Greg,

You're graduating from the team! Thanks for pitching out of the bullpen—and not complaining about it. There's speculation you could retire or even become a player-coach. The Dodgers have a couple of youngsters who could benefit from your mere presence. Your call, though—the golf links are calling. BFF!


Dear Brad,

You're (maybe) graduating from the team! Brad, Brad, Brad. Where did it all go wrong? You started the year as the Dodgers' putative ace and ended it on the 60-day DL, nowhere to be seen during the team's playoff run. And because there is no such thing as too much pitching, you may be back to do it all over again in 2009. If not, you'll be at least $2 million richer. Tough life. BFF!


Dear Cory,

If Clayton was overhyped, then you were underhyped. Somehow you quietly compiled a 2.27 ERA and .925 WHIP over 71 1/3 innings. There was that one unfortunate inning against Philly (see Jonathan, below), but you've earned yourself a spot on the 2009 roster. Congrats. BFF!


Dear Hong-Chih,

How do you do it? You've had more work done than Elizabeth Taylor—FOUR arm surgeries in your history—yet you managed to pitch a career-high 83 regular- and post-season innings this year. We don't see you returning to starting duties, but you'll be a vital part of the bullpen. Stay healthy! BFF!

Chan Ho

Dear Chan Ho,

You're (probably) graduating from the team! You returned to your alma mater to state your case for starting in 2009, but your second-half numbers make that an iffy proposition. Still, we think some team will take a chance on you as a back-of-the-rotation guy. Good luck! BFF!


Dear James,

We don't want to make Clayton jealous, but you really caught our eye during your 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the NLCS. Now everyone is penciling you in for a starting spot in 2009...which may be a bit premature (you threw only 141 minor-league innings this year), but a tantalizing prospect nonetheless. BFF!


Dear Joe,

You're (probably not) graduating from the team! No offense, but you're a bit of an oddball: You're a LOOGY, you have a jersey robe and your fan is nuts. Still, you've atoned for your past sins and seem like a good citizen and a likeable guy. See you in 2009. BFF!


Dear Jonathan,

If Hiroki's a rollercoaster, then you' earthquake? The economy? We were certain you'd inherit the closer role this season, which you did...then didn't...then did. There were playoff highs and lows, but one thing's for certain: You'll keep on keeping things interesting for us in 2009. BFF!


Dear Takashi,

You're (maybe) graduating from the team! You were our bullpen savior in the post-Gagne era. Ned Colletti got you for a song—yet you remained completely professional throughout. Now it appears injuries have clouded your future with the Dodgers, and all without a bloated guaranteed contract to compensate for your cheap productiveness. Is this the end? If it is, then we thank you. BFF!

We hardly knew ye: Yhency Brazoban, Scott Elbert, Brian Falkenborg, Jason Johnson, Esteban Loaiza, Scott Proctor, Eric Stults, Tanyon Sturtze, Ramon Troncoso.

Coming soon: the Faculty!

Earlier: The SoSG 2008 Dodgers Yearbook: Students, Section 1



Dear Jason,

You've been so invisible that I forgot about you, but you can bet the Dodgers won't be forgetting about you. After all, they've paid you $35 million for one win over two years. Yowza! Tell you what: Get 59 wins in 2009 and we'll call it even.