Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kadir Nelson

Art by Kadir Nelson: "Jackie Robinson steals home past Cleveland Buckeye catcher, Quincy Trouppe."

From a Dodgers press release:

Second Annual Jackie Robinson Legacy Day: A Celebration of Life

The [Dodgers Community] Caravan begins [today], January 31 on the eve of "Black History Month," with a tribute to Jackie Robinson on what would have been the pioneering Dodger Hall of Famer's 90th birthday. Several hundred Los Angeles school children will come to Dodger Stadium to hear Dodger Legends Don Newcombe, "Sweet Lou" Johnson, and Tommy Davis, and artist and author Kadir Nelson speak about Jackie Robinson's impact on society. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Stadium Club.

I've had Nelson's book, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, unread in front of me for far too long, and this press release was the perfect reminder to take a look at it. The artwork is AMAZING, and Nelson has provided an informative historical narrative to accompany his paintings.

The book is highly recommended, and if anyone meets Nelson at the Caravan today—let us know!

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (Hyperion)

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (

The Art of Kadir Nelson (official website)

interview with Kadir Nelson (Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Things I Don't Understand: Ed Hardy T-Shirts

Ed Hardy does what "Bonds on Bonds" could not: make Barry smile.

Having declared it effete, I've placed a personal moratorium on using the word douchebag. But I'm gonna dust off the old 'bag for the latest TIDU in order to ask: Have you noticed Los Angeles has a lot of douchebags? Seriously, it's true! And all our douchebags seem to be wearing Ed Hardy T-shirts.

"So it's just a bunch of random douchebags," you say. "What does this have to do with baseball?" Well, it turns out baseball's finest douchebags—see above and below—have also cottoned to Hardy.

"I wonder if Joe Torre approves of this shirt."

So why is the modern-day douchebag so inextricably drawn to these garish, overpriced pieces of "Vintage Tattoo Wear"? The answer lies in that slick marketing phrase:

  • VINTAGE. "Vintage" means "old." I do not believe Christian Audigier is selling used clothes here. Therefore people are willingly buying new clothes manufactured to look old. Just like "antique" furniture! The hipster T-shirt revolution has reached Rodeo Drive!

  • TATTOO. Tattoos were intended for your skin. But now you can wear a T-shirt with a tattoo design silk-screened onto it, making temporary tattoos seem like a long-term commitment in comparison. It's edgy! Except not!

    This is just the latest step in the co-opting of what once was outlaw culture. Permanence has been bastardized into transience, corrupting the original spirit of the art form. (The same phenomenon in reverse? See: graffiti art.)

  • WEAR. Also known as "clothes." But call it "Wear" and you can charge a 500% markup! Would you pay $62 to $187 for a T-shirt? If you said yes, then your BMW is double-parked outside. No I do not know who you are. You dropped your Bluetooth headset.

So there we have it: incontrovertible proof that wearing a Ed Hardy T-shirt makes one a douchebag. Wait—what's this?


Et tu, Andre? What can I say? Kids will be kids!

If only I could reinforce my original thesis....


Earlier at SoSG: Things I Don't Understand: The Highlighter Person at Costco, Things I Don't Understand: Tahiti Village

Thanks to Vin Scully Is My Homeboy for finding the Ethier picture.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Namaste, Russell

From The Canadian Press:

Russell Martin, the hard-nosed catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has taken up yoga.

That's right, the native of Chelsea, Que., best known for his dogged blue-collar work ethic and play-through-all-pain intensity, has made yoga an integral part of his off-season workout regimen for the first time this winter.

"I've never felt better," he said.

This may be a cute piece of non-news right now, but if Martin can avoid a late-season fade—something he hasn't been able to do yet—then we may be revisiting the topic this fall.

And should Martin absolutely bust out in the second half? Then we might start seeing a lot more downward dogs around the Dodger clubhouse.

(Thanks to Dodger Thoughts poster underdog for the link!)

Earlier at SoSG: Post-Game 39 Thread: Namaste

original photo by Christian Hansen/New York Times

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bills and Who and Pray for What?

Should James McDonald start?

With the departures of Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, the retirement of Greg Maddux, and the uselessness of Jason Schmidt, the Dodgers' starting rotation has more holes in it than the plot of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie about a golf course made of Swiss cheese.

Among the returning starters, staff ace Chad Billingsley is recovering from a broken leg, sophomore Clayton Kershaw is facing sky-high expectations, and enigma Hiroki Kuroda is presumably searching for a middle ground between triumph and disaster.

Beyond that, nothing is set. Ned Colletti is reportedly in contact with Kris Benson, Jon Garland, Braden Looper and Randy Wolf. None of these pitchers is, say, CC Sabathia, yet it's a seller's market—meaning these middle-of-the-order starters will be commanding what previously were ace-level salaries.

Which brings us to James McDonald. McDonald, 24, joined the Dodgers last September and pitched 6.0 scoreless regular-season innings and 5.1 scoreless post-season innings. Speculation immediately started about his role on the 2009 club. Relieving was an obvious possibility, but McDonald was a starter in the minors.

After the Dodgers failed to sign a top-flight starter this off-season, McDonald's move into the starting rotation seemed like a lock. Yet Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is now saying McDonald will start the season in the bullpen, à la Billingsley in 2007.

Which makes sense. There's little to be gained by rushing the kid, and easing him in via the bullpen will be gentler on him both physically and mentally. Why start piling on the high-stress innings at the beginning of the season?

Except...there's still that small detail about the starting rotation. With or without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers can afford to sign at least one free-agent starter. The question is: Can they afford to sign a second? And if so—given the multi-year deals required to lock up these pitchers—would they even want to?

(1) Billingsley, (2) Overpaid Free-Agent Pitcher, (3) Kuroda, (4) Kershaw, (5) then what? Ramon Troncoso? Scott Elbert? A four-man rotation? There are no obvious answers for that fifth starter spot, and that's before accounting for the inevitable injuries that test the depth of a team's starting pitching.

Long-term patience has paid off for the Dodgers' current crop of youngsters, and the team's decision to conserve McDonald's arm is difficult to argue against even in the winnable NL West. But patience has a price, and this year the price is pitching depth.

In a division that still features Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy and Tim Lincecum, Dodger pitchers won't be setting any records in 2009. And when McDonald finally does crack the rotation, let's hope the team doesn't overwork him. If McDonald stays healthy and effective, the triumvirate of Billingsley, Kershaw and McDonald could indeed be formidable. And that's worth waiting for.

photo: Getty Images

Scratch Garland From the List

From MLB Trade Rumors:

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks agreed to terms with starter Jon Garland on a one-year deal with an option (likely mutual) for 2010. Garland's guaranteed money is believed to be in the $6-8MM range. The Diamondbacks probably could've re-signed Randy Johnson for a similar amount; did they make the right decision?

Johnson notwithstanding, a rotation headed by Brandon Webb, Dan Haren and Garland isn't too shabby and should compete with the Giants rotation (with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Johnson) as the best in the NL West. Meanwhile, the Dodgers' options just got shorter by one....

Superbowl QB Comparison

The Superbowl is only 4 days away. Let's break down the quarterbacks:

"Big Ben" Roethlisberger

Kurtis E Warner
241 lbs
220 lbs
Superbowl Rings
QB Rating in Previous Superbowl
Age Entering This Superbowl
Favorite Target

Hines Ward
The one in South Des Moines where he used to stock shelves
Anagramical Message To Opponent?
"Bring three bibles, ogre!"
"Run, water skier!"
Has Little Bitch Named ____
The Baltimore Ravens
Matt Leinart

Marlins Mermaids: Episode 4 (A New Hoki)

It looks like Sons of Steve Garvey isn't the first place that considered voting for one's favorite Marlins Mermaid. In fact, here in Episode IV--A New Hoki, we reveal recently found information that this has all been done before, by Marlins fans.

And the winner of the Marlins' Mermaid Bracket Challenge, serendipitously enough, was: SoSG's very own winner, Glenda!

Wow, a SoSG victory trophy to go with her Mermaids Bracket Challenge victory. Glenda is unstoppable!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jon Weisman's Mutant Power: Freezing Time

He's got a day job, a family, and a renowned blog he updates with frequent and attentive care. He's also a published author, and his latest book comes out April 24. He's Jon Weisman, and he must also have the ability to freeze time—because who can take care of so many things at once?

Weisman's book, 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, is being published by Triumph Books and carries the imprimatur of a foreword by Peter O'Malley. Be prepared to learn a Dodger fact or ten you didn't know.

Congratulations, Jon. We often refer to you as "The Godfather of Dodger Bloggers." Can we make it official now?

It's Coming! 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (Dodger Thoughts) (contains order link!)

Earlier at SoSG: Congratulations, Jon Weisman!

Marlins Mermaids: Episode 3 (Revenge of the Glenda)

I'm posting this email early on as to not spoil your lunchtime appetite. But if you can suffer through the other 1:50 focusing on the Marlins Manatees tryouts, you can catch perhaps our favorite Marlin Mermaid, Glenda, at 0:14 and 1:24! At least, I think that's Glenda; frankly I get a little flushed when I see her.

Special thanks to SoSG friend erin of Robots Took My Medicine for pointing us toward the video. Great to see you again, erin!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pettite Re-Signs With Yankees; Dodger Starting Rotation Gap Gets Larger

No Sabathia, no Burnett, no Lowe, no Penny. And now, no Andy Pettitte, who opts for another season in New York (one year, $5.5M), leaving the Dodgers with the same three options (and two holes) that we had in our starting rotation back in October:

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte's only thought was to stay with the New York Yankees. He had no interest in returning to his hometown Houston Astros.

Still, the 36-year-old left-hander was bothered when the Yankees wanted to cut his salary from $16 million to $10 million.

"Heck, the bottom line is I'm a man, and I guess it does take a shot at your pride a little bit," he said. "But when you put all that aside, I wanted to play for the New York Yankees and, you know, that was the bottom line. I wanted to be there. I wanted to play in that new stadium."

I have yet to hear a player say, "I wanted to be there. I wanted to play in front of the All You Can Eat Pavilion fans." But who knows, maybe it will happen (though I have to think that if anyone was going to say it, it would have been CC Sabathia).

Downward, towards the bottom of the starting pitching barrel, plunges Ned "Captain Nemo" Coletti...

Marlins Mermaids: Episode 2 (Attack of the Mermaids)

I'm been involved in a lot of M&A activity in my career, so it pained me to realize that I had violated one of the fundamental principles before jumping into the highly charged SoSG debate about the Florida Marlins Mermaids. Don't place your bet until you've done your full due diligence. Whoops.

What began as simple admiration for the 2009 Mermaids advertising campaign quickly morphed into an all-out knock-down drag-out comment-fest, culminating in head-to-head showdown post just to stop everyone's yipping. And I, probably like many of the SoSG readers,..."judged a book by its cover."

So let me repent. The fine Mermaids of the Florida Marlins, who were kind enough to respond to our email inquiries, actually helped direct me toward some links that can help educate all of us on the fine women of the original poster:

Chelsea hails from Portland, Oregon. She likes fettuccine alfredo and describes herself as humorous, intuitive, and loyal. In other words, if you betray her, she'll know about it before you tell her, and will be laughing all the way to the bank (after sending you to the hospital).

Alessandra is a hometown Miami girl and likes the fast cars (citing a Lamborghini Diablo; how lucky am I that she loves my wheels?). She describes herself as lovable, ambitious, and cute, which I suppose is like a type-A Beanie Baby.

Glenda is not only the good witch, she is another local Miami resident who fondly recalls childhood memories of going to baseball games with her grandfather (funny how 1993, the Marlins' first year, suddenly seems so long ago). She has "classy trendy" style and describes herself as unique, adventurous, and ambitious.

Ariel was 16 years old back in 1989, which makes her 35 now, though she doesn't look like she's aged that much. She is the youngest of seven sisters and has a pretty close relationship with her sometimes demanding father, and has had problems in the past hanging out with the wrong crowds. Her fashion style is pretty understated, making use of common items as clothing. She describes herself as musical, adventuresome, headstrong, and, most recently, biped.

The links also lead to some galleries meriting further scrutiny. Enjoy.

I have to confess that a week ago, I had cast my vote one way, but now that I have done more due diligence, my priorities have shifted. If asked to re-vote today, I would choose differently...

Let the debate continue!

UPDATED 12n to include the obvious joke. My bad, I don't know how I could have missed this.

Ned Colletti Is Not Above a Little Help

From Diamond:

The Dodgers have hired longtime major league coach Lee Elia as a special assistant to General Manager Ned Colletti, and the two go all the way back to the 1980s with the Cubs.

Elia, 71, is best known for being the Cubs manager who in 1983 unleashed a profanity-laced tirade aimed at fans at Wrigley Field after a loss to the Dodgers. Unfortunately, I will have to refrain from linking it here because I can't quite find a version with enough bleeps. Colletti, who began his major league career in 1982, happened to work in the Cubs media relations department at the time.

For those keeping count, that makes ten assistants for Colletti. Here are the other nine:

  • Kim Ng, Vice President, Asst. General Manager
  • Logan White, Assistant GM, Scouting
  • De Jon Watson, Assistant GM, Player Development
  • Mark Weidemaier, Special Assistant to the GM
  • Toney Howell, Special Assistant to the GM
  • Vance Lovelace, Special Assistant to the GM
  • Bill Mueller, Special Assistant to the GM
  • Rick Ragazzo, Special Assistant to the GM
  • Jose Vizcaino, Special Assistant, Baseball Operations

I don't know where they find the money for all these assistants, but as long as their salaries don't count toward team payroll—knock yourself out, Ned. Or, have someone do it for you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Torre Tale

DeBaby Delino just awoke. BRB

Okay, I'm back. Hope all you SoSG-maniacs are enjoying your post football / pre baseball lives. In my semi-weekly trudge through the mud of the NY Post, I came across this dandy little story. Apparently, the Mt. Rushmore expression on Torre's face hides two season worth of Gossip Girl-level scuttlebutt. In his new book THE YANKEE YEARS: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love LA Torre reveals:

Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer - even before informing the manager himself.

Outside of having Osama Bin Laden throw the opening day first pitch, I'm not sure how the Yankees could become more hate-able. But I still look forward to this book getting a permanent place in my bathroom for months to come. And as Unbreakable taught us, the world always needs a super-villain.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Caption Contest

Caption what former Dodger pitcher Darren Dreifort is saying to young players participating in the Dodgers' Winter Development Program. Here's one to get you started:

"Anyone wanna play Ms. Pac-Man? I can lend you a quarter."

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mascot Madness

Mermaids and bobcats—oh my! Tuesday's police blotter item involving the Diamondbacks' mascot made us wonder: Who else in the NL West has a mascot? Answer: Everybody except the Dodgers. Hallelujah!

mascot (team)
unfortunate reality

D. Baxter the Bobcat
Lynx rufus endemic to Arizona

(click to enlarge)

first Triceratops fossils, found in Colorado

The Swinging Friar*
padre --> father --> friar (although "friar" is actually derived from the French frère, or "brother") Nothing fires up a crowd like a hulking mendicant devoted to poverty, chastity and obedience! Add to his name a contradictory modifier suggesting sexual experimentation, and everybody's happy! Or confused! Whatever!

Lou Seal
harbor seals in the San Francisco Bay Name sounds female, yet character is purportedly male ("Full Name: Luigi Francisco Seal"). Its oversized noggin is an unfortunate reminder of someone...we can't quite remember who....

*unofficial mascot of the Padres: The San Diego Chicken

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jeff Kent: An Appreciation (Take 2)



Earlier: Jeff Kent: An Appreciation (SoSG)

original Kent photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Well, I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle

We Dodger bloggers talk amongst ourselves, you know. And just yesterday, MSTI over at the great Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness and I were emailing back and forth, and I snarkily said something about Jeff Kent and how he's bound to burst into tears during his retirement press conference today.

Well, check these out.

He's even described as being "tearful" in the accompanying story. Apparently, I don't know all there is to know about the crying game. "Waterworks" Kent, it is.

In other news, eagle-eyed readers might notice that AIG is one of the Dodgers' sponsors (their logo is on the backdrop behind Kent). Get ready for $15 beers next year, sports fans!

Camelback Ranch Pines for Hitters' Approval?

Ha, you thought I was using the word "pine" as a verb, right? PWNED! That's right, I pulled out one huge can of grammatical whupass and pulled off "pine" as a NOUN, dog! W00t!

Ahem. Context.

That's because the Dodgers' new spring training facility has opted not to use a "batter's eye" in center field--instead relying upon a "densely planted grove of mature Arizona pines." Guess McCourt couldn't afford a black tarp, like every other major league stadium:

Although the Dodgers have gone to great lengths to make their new spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz., the finest in all of baseball, it already has generated one mini-controversy. Rather than the traditional green screen or wall behind center field, the "batter's eye" at the main stadium will consist of a densely planted grove of mature Arizona pines.

Officials of the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox are crossing their fingers in hopes that the trees will provide enough of a background and block out enough of the desert sunlight.

"That's a no comment right there," said Los Angeles catcher Russell Martin, who joined a tour of the facility on Jan. 15 with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. [How funny is this, that Martin just dodges the question rather than lambast his owner's obvious foolhardiness!]

There is, however, a contingency plan in place in the event the trees aren't sufficient. In fact, there is said to be screen already constructed that could be erected on short notice if players complain that it is too difficult to pick up the ball out of the pitcher's hand.

"The hope is that the trees will serve as the batter's eye," McCourt said. "We'll see if they are opaque enough. It's a fast-growing tree and a dense-growing tree. They're going in as big trees, and they grow fast."

Check Frankie out! Miserly MLB owner by day, blabbering botanist (or is that "histrionic horticulturalist"?) by night!

Remember, this isn't the first time that McCourt has forgotten the batter's eye. In April 2008, his renderings of renovations he wanted to pursue for Dodger Stadium made a similar notable omission in center field (see bottom left, plus galleries).

Ausmus-mania Hits Full Stride at Dodger Stadium

Less than 24 hours after the much-ballyhooed signing of Brad Ausmus, Dodger Stadium began to see the full effects of Ausmus-mania take hold. Legions--nay, hordes--of ravenous Dodger fans, hungry to secure any sort of free-agent signing whatsoever, descended upon Dodger Stadium to celebrate what is arguably the biggest backup veteran catcher signing in General Manager Ned Colletti's career.

"Ausmus comes to us in the fine tradition of Danny Ardoin, Gary Bennett, Mike Lieberthal, and Toby Hall," said Colletti. "I remember when I looked back at 2008's statistics and saw Bennett's .190 batting average staring at me, I said to myself, 'how can I find someone better than that?' And sure enough, here's Brad, a solid .218 hitter, even at 39 years old (Ausmus will be 40 next season)."

(Ardoin, six years junior, hit .235 last year for the Dodgers, playing in 33 games. Ausmus had three times as many home runs (three, versus Ardoin's one) and admittedly a better OBP over 81 games for the 'Stros. But who's counting?)

"The offseason free agent market is like a big game of 'hangman,'" further explained Colletti, "and I've now successfully eliminated the Z, J, X, Q, V, and G. Sure, I only have half of the right letters in the target word. But I'm sleeping easy knowing those six letters aren't in it, either."

Dodger owner Frank McCourt, on hand for any press conference signing (despite disappearing from the public eye for unsavory events like Andruw Jones' recent dismissal), also cited that he saw "at least one, maybe two people" in line at the ticket box office windows this morning. "One can directly attribute those sales to the Ausmus signing," said McCourt. "At least, that's what Brad tells me. Since he's a Dartmouth grad, I take his word for it."

McCourt also suggested that Ausmus, who has announced that he will wear number 12 next year in honor of retiring Dodger Jeff Kent, must have seen brisk jersey sales at the Top of the Park Store, as his uniform was not in stock. "We have plenty of Jeff Kent jerseys on sale, though--cheap!", added McCourt.

No word to whether Ausmus wigs will be sold at concession stands during the 2009 season.

"I'm delighted that the Dodgers finally signed a big name, even if his big-name years are almost a decade removed," said one anonymous Dodger fan. "This, from the same team that's bringing me Mark Loretta next year? Shit, I'm renewing my season tickets right now."

Oscar Nominations Announced

Since the Oscars and the Dodgers are so closely identified with Hollywood, we found a Dodger analog, however tenuous, for each of this year's Best Picture nominees. Plus, it gives us a chance to run a picture of Brad Pitt for the ladies.

Best Picture nominee
Dodger analog
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Steve Lyons Unbuttoned




"It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk."

—Brad Penny

The Reader

Greg "The Professor" Maddux

Slumdog Millionaire

Frank "Parking Lot Attendant" McCourt

the rest of the nominations (

(Thanks to Rob McMillin for identifying the McCourt link!)

Pop Culture Grid: SoSG Baseball Champions Edition

As promised, here's GSoSG's very own Pop Culture Grid, earned via their courageous triumph in SoSG Baseball:

(click image to enlarge)

Congrats again, gentlemen! And good luck with that rash, Fanerman.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback...

I've been here for years.

Sorry for the radio silence during these post baseball times. The NY Giants made me unwilling to even consider anything sports related. Too soon. Too soon.

But just to show SoSG nation that I'm still out there in the shadows, I offer up the following image of pure unadulterated evil.


Merry Ausmus, Everyone!

From Ken Rosenthal at

Source: Ausmus picks Dodgers, gets 1-year deal

Free-agent catcher Brad Ausmus has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Dodgers, according to a major-league source.

Ausmus, seeking to play for a team near his home in Del Mar, Ca., chose the Dodgers over the Padres, who are also in the market for a backup catcher. [...]

Ausmus, 39, will be a backup to Russell Martin. He would have filled a similar role with the Padres, serving as a veteran mentor to Nick Hundley.

A three-time Gold Glove winner, Ausmus began his career with the Padres in 1993. He has spent 10 of his last 12 seasons with the Astros.

In 81 games last season, Ausmus batted .218 with a .303 on-base percentage, three homers and 24 RBIs. He ranks ninth all-time with 1,857 games caught.

This figures to be the easiest $1 million Ausmus will ever make. Martin's primary backup last year, Danny Ardoin, started 17 games. His 2007 backup, Mike Lieberthal, also started 17 games. Let's see...$1 million divided by 17 works out to $58,823.53 per start. Welcome to Los Angeles, Brad!

Kent to Announce Retirement

The all-time home run leader for second basemen, Dodger infielder Jeff Kent is announcing his retirement tomorrow at Dodger Stadium, ending what is likely a Hall of Fame career.

The 40-year-old Kent will retire with a resume worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. The all-time leading home-run hitter at his position, he played the last four seasons of a 17-year MLB career with the Dodgers, hitting a combined .291 with 75 home runs.

He will retire with a .290 career batting average, 377 home runs, 1,518 RBIs and a .500 slugging percentage. His 351 home runs hit as a second baseman are 74 more than the next closest second baseman, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.

The 2000 National League MVP, Kent was a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger. He drove in more than 100 runs eight times (a record at the position), scored at least 100 runs three times and had at least 20 home runs 12 times. In 2008, he passed Ralph Kiner, Gil Hodges and Carlton Fisk on the all-time home-run list and passed Billy Williams, Dave Parker and Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBIs list. He's tied with Eddie Murray for 20th on the all-time doubles list with 560.

Look, I know that some of my fellow Sons don't agree with me, but I for one am happy that Kent spent some of his career with the Dodgers. Sure, he's a crusty old curmudgeon whose divisiveness and lack of clubhouse leadership helped catalyze the Dodgers' disastrous freefall out of the playoffs in 2007.

But his bat was oftentimes the only one with pop in a lineup that had no other pop to show. Sure, one could hear his knees creaking from the upper deck, when Kent would topple over to one side trying in vain to stop a ground ball. But he leaves with a Dodgers tenure that was largely professional--nothing more, nothing less--and his porn-stache and statistical record intact.

And, he never broke a bone "washing his truck" while he was a Dodger. Fare thee well, Mr. Kent.

Somewhere, Bass Pro Shops salivates. And deer of the world worry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Future Dodger Stars Meet Current Laker Stars

Kobe Bryant and James McDonald.

Dodgers enjoy visit to Lakers practice (

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Diamondbacks Mascot Wreaking Havoc in Traffic, Children's Dreams

"The 'D' is for 'DUI'."

Although costumed characters in baseball parks aren't a popular tradition, some teams are taking the non-traditional route with fine results. Other teams, not so much. From The Arizona Republic:

D-Backs fire D. Baxter after DUI arrest

The Diamondbacks have cut ties with the man who played their team mascot, D. Baxter the Bobcat, after he was arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI.

David Hamilton, 35, was fired by the Diamondbacks three weeks ago. The club said it only recently learned of Hamilton's arrest, which took place in September. [...]

Hamilton was pulled over off the Loop 101at 95th Avenue and Peoria on Sept. 10, according to an Arizona Department of Public Safety report.

According to the report, an officer spotted Hamilton traveling approximately 95 mph on the 101.

Hamilton, who was driving a Toyota Scion bearing the Diamondbacks' logo, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.155, according to the result of a toxicology report. That's close to twice the legal limit of .08. He also admitted to officers that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day.

The mascot costume was in the back of the vehicle, the report said.

Who knew the Diamondbacks even had a mascot? From the team's official website:

In June of 2000, D. Baxter the Bobcat was introduced as a member of the Diamondbacks. Baxter immediately won over the crowd with his stunning athleticism, crazy antics and good looks.

"Good looks"? The creature is TERRIFYING. The vaguely Kenny Rogers-like face. The lack of pants. And those dead, dead eyes so familiar to horror fans:

The children of Arizona see D. Baxter the Bobcat in their nightmares.

Also, what's the most fascinating part of this story? Drunk and stoned? Extreme DUI (brought to you by Mountain Dew)? A Diamondback-logoed Scion doing 95? The costume in the trunk? Thank the baseball gods for giving us this story during such fallow times.

(Thanks to Dodger Thoughts poster "fiddlestick" for the heads-up!)

top photo by Jon Willey/Diamondbacks

Five Reasons Dodger Fans Make Good Blood Donors

Mrs. Orel and I try to give blood on a regular basis. Little did I know that bleeding blue for the Dodgers is good preparation for bleeding O-positive for the Red Cross. Here's why:

1. Three painless innings is all it takes. How long does it take to go to a Dodger game? At least three hours for the game itself, not to mention driving and parking—plus a few minutes to shoot a Giants fan in the parking lot*.

Compared to that, giving blood goes by faster than a Jonathan Broxton at-bat. One hour and you're in and out**.

How much does a Dodger loss hurt? For the true Dodger fan, it hurts deep into the recesses of the soul. (For meaningless games, the hurt merely stops in the foyer of the soul, sometimes pausing to use the guest bathroom***.)

Compared to the deep-soul hurt, a fingertip pinprick (to determine your blood's iron level) and two seconds of a pinching sensation (as the needle goes into your arm) is nothing.

Personally, I find it helps not to look at the needle. While it's unwrapped I let my eyes and mind drift—the Dodgers are paying Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones more than $83 million!—and before I know it I'm draining more blood than Dracula at a retirement home.

*Coming soon: Five Reasons Giants Fans Make Good Organ Donors.

**"That's what giving blood is all about."

***It is polite enough to leave the seat down.

2. We're not afraid to answer probing questions. Blood donors undergo a brief screening process every time before giving, and the questions* can get quite personal. It's all in the name of healthy blood, of course, but you have to be ready to answer questions regarding your medical, travel and sexual history, and even about tattoos and piercings**.

But Dodger fans have been asking themselves hard questions for years. "How can I root for a team that traded Pedro Martinez?" "Kevin Brown? $105 million? Really?" "Why do I blame the Dodgers when Piazza turned down record money?"

*One of the more entertaining questions: "Do you or have you ever had babesiosis?" I don't know what babesiosis is, but that question sounds like a great pickup line, especially when followed by "...because you must have a terminal case, baby."

**They also ask some pretty obvious questions. Once the worker told me, "I'm going to put you down as a male." I'm no Grizzly Adams, but come on. That was just a formality...I hope.

Or perhaps she meant to denigrate my masculinity. "You're a poor provider and your genetic material is not worthy of being passed down to future generations."

3. We're used to obnoxious people. Just like there's at least one drunk fan per section at Dodger Stadium, there always seems to be "that dude" giving blood while you're there. The kind of guy who won't shut up. The kind of guy who fills the entire room with his inappropriate energy.

Last time it was the mid-forties fellow wearing the T-shirt with beer bottles printed all over it. "No alcohol for the next eight hours," the worker told him as he finished.

"No alcohol? What if I, you know, mix alcohol in with juice or water?"


"You mean no margaritas?"

"No margaritas."

"No mojitos?"

"No mojitos."

I don't think he lasted the eight hours.

The time before it was the chatty gray-haired man wearing the Laker-purple spandex bike shorts. He told every female present how often he had been going to the gym*.

*But at least he wasn't going drinking afterward!

4. Free food! Many Dodger fans have availed themselves of the All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion. While the Red Cross "canteen," i.e., snack table, doesn't offer nachos or Dodger Dogs, one of the perks of giving blood is the free juice and cookies afterward. Hey, free food is free food.

For those watching their weight, losing a pint of blood provides the perfect excuse to chow down a Nutter Butter or two. Plus, all donors get a coupon from some local eatery*.

*Once we got coupons good for a free scoop at Cold Stone Creamery, which is a deal. Place should be called Cold Stone Robbery.

5. Moral superiority. Not only is the bandage around your arm good for a few hours' worth of smugness, but giving blood is among the most cost-effective charitable donations you can make. That feeling of rightness? Not unlike rooting for your favorite team.

And if your team happens to be on a losing streak, at least you can renew your mojo. Eligible donors can give blood every 56 days, or about as often as they refill the nacho sauce at Dodger Stadium.

(Have questions about giving blood? Visit the Red Cross Blood Donation Process page or FAQs About Donating Blood.)

Apologies to Joe Posnanski for shamelessly aping his style.

Dodgers, Martin Agree

From Ken Rosenthal at

The Dodgers have avoided salary arbitration with catcher Russell Martin, signing him to a one-year, $3.9 million contract, according to a major-league source.

The deal is the largest ever awarded to a catcher in his first year of arbitration.

Congrats, Russell! Good job, Ned.


Broxton too. From Diamond:

The Dodgers also signed reliever Jonathan Broxton to a one-year, $1.825 million contract plus incentives.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How To Win Friends and Influence People, By Frank McCourt

If you've ever wondered why Frank McCourt's management of the Dodgers leads solid contributors like Derek Lowe to skip town at the first possible opportunity, or players like Manny Ramirez to think twice before signing on the dotted line, consider the incredibly delicate and inspiring management style of Frank McCourt. McCourt, at a dinner in Beveryly Hills for the sixth annual Professional Baseball Scout Foundation, had this to say (as was published in today's USA Today):

Dodgers owner Frank McCourrt said at the dinner he was frustrated by the lack of communication with free agent Manny Ramirez. McCourt said Los Angeles still wanted Ramirez back but wasn't willing to provide a long-term contract to the veteran slugger.

Yep, nothing engenders employee loyalty like using a negotiation period to denigrate said employee in the national media. Way to go, Frank! Publicly griping about Ramirez to USA Today is sure to land a long-term deal!

The Dodgers have a gifted and adept VP in Public Relations in Josh Rawitch. It's too bad McCourt doesn't have one for himself.

Or at least, a muzzle.

Dodgers Boast Payroll Flexibility

Ken Rosenthal at has some good news:

With or without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers are in an unusually flexible position. Their payroll is in the low $70 million range, according to internal projections, even when including the yet-to-be-determined salaries of the team's four arbitration-eligible players — pitcher Jonathon Broxton, catcher Russell Martin and outfielders Andre Ethier and Jason Repko. [...]

If the Dodgers fail to sign Ramirez, they could turn to a more inexpensive free agent such as Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu. Or, they could simply start the season with an outfield of Ethier, Matt Kemp and Juan Pierre.

Like many teams, the Dodgers believe that trade bargains will emerge if the economic crisis leads to declining attendance and financially strapped teams need to dump payroll.

First, Repko just agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract, so make that "the low $70.5 million range."

Second, you might want to tack on an additional $10 million to that figure. Take a look at some other estimates of the Dodgers' 2009 payroll:

Dodger Thoughts $81,770,000
True Blue LA $79,900,000

Be it $70 million or $80 million, this new-found flexibility means one thing: Manny will be the last piece of exciting roster news until the trade deadline of July 31. Enjoy the suspense while you can!

Caption Contest

Caption what Frank McCourt is saying to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf at Camelback Ranch. Here's one to get you started:

"I've seen the future, Jerry. And the future is All-You-Can Eat."

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why the Long Face?: A Summary of Recent Forlorn Expressions on SoSG

He Who Is Forlorn
Why the Long Face?
Manny the Hippo
Remains unsigned because nobody seems to realize how much he's worth.
Josh Bard
Made the game-ending out for the Padres in the 14th inning of a game against the Giants.
SSP's Dr. Geek
Surrendered Championship-clinching hit in SoSG Baseball.
Andruw the Armadillo
Remains unsigned because everybody seems to realize how much he's worth.