Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from Sons of Steve Garvey

Last year: Happy Halloween from Sons of Steve Garvey

We've replaced our readers' Game Thread with a poem. Let's see if they notice

    The daisy follows soft the sun,
    And when his golden walk is done,
      Sits shyly at his feet.
    He, waking, finds the flower near.
    “Wherefore, marauder, art thou here?”
      “Because, sir, love is sweet!”

    We are the flower, Thou the sun!
    Forgive us, if as days decline,
      We nearer steal to Thee,—
    Enamoured of the parting west,
    The peace, the flight, the amethyst,
      Night’s possibility!

At Least One Dodger Is at the World Series

Jeter: David J. Phillip/AP; Victorino: Elise Amendola/AP

The McCourt Divorce Saga: A Musical Interlude Recap

Why read the myriad articles on TMZ when you can get your updates in another medium?

This week, Jamie McCourt responded to Frank McCourt's opening salvos with a voluminous legal document to respond to her initial firing as Dodgers CEO outlining a chronology of how she was apparently bamboozled by Frankie, as well as a list of outrageously expensive demands to make her whole. In summary:

Frank then responded in kind with a 664-page legal filing of his own, contending that Jamie McCourt was in fact fired for having an affair with her driver, former Dodgers Director of Protocol Jeff Fuller, a direct subordinate of Jamie McCourt's. Jamie's lawyer Bert Fields acknowledged the romantic involvement, saying that it happened after the McCourts had separated (which doesn't explain away the fact that it was with a subordinate). As for the two-and-a-half-week trip that Jamie and Jeff took to France over this summer, which Frank claimed was billed to the Dodgers--Fields only said that the Dodgers were not billed (again, not explaining away the romantic liaison itself).

As such, Frank has positioned himself as the victim here. And if you switch the genders, it's almost as if he's singing this tune:

So where does this leave us, besides under the weight of massive legal documents? With the ball in Jamie's court, and details of extensive security detail used by both sides, let's just hope this sordid tale doesn't take this twist (yes, I know it isn't exactly the same name, but it's close enough to get the idea):

Friday, October 30, 2009

While Dodgers Owners Bicker, Giants Sign Players

Sure, oft-injured Freddy Sanchez, who played only 25 games with San Francisco after coming over from Pittsburgh midseason. Sanchez, who had shoulder and knee problems this year, batted only .284/.295/.324, the last of which (slugging average) is almost 100 points lower than his career average:

The Giants, who were in contention for the NL wild-card spot until the last week of the regular season, are convinced Sanchez’s health issues are over.

“One of our goals and priorities this season is to get a more consistent lineup out there on a daily basis, and Freddy does that,” manager Bruce Bochy said during a conference call. “His history is that he plays every day. To have him at the top of your order pretty much every day is going to do a lot for this lineup.”

Sanchez is expected to bat second for the Giants, though Bochy said he will occasionally use Sanchez in the third slot.

So it's only Sanchez, true. But it does address that hole that the Giants had at second base, a hole the Dodgers also have if we don't sign Orlando Hudson or Ronnie Belliard nor figure out if Blake DeWitt or Chin-Lung Hu are worthy of a full-time slot. It does, however, serve as a nice reminder how other teams in the NL West are looking to get stronger, while we are looking to trade press salvos and incur legal fees.

The Ethier Difference Is Clutchability

Congratulations to Andre Ethier, who won the Pepsi 2009 Major League Baseball's Clutch Performer of the Year presented by Pepsi, which SoSG reader Josh S pointed out happens to be sponsored by Pepsi. The award, won by fan vote, reflects Ethier's six walk-off hits this year, four of them dramatic home runs.

Ethier led the Major Leagues with six walk-off hits, including a big league-best four walk-off home runs. That tied the MLB record for walk-off homers in one year previously set by Jimmy Foxx of the Red Sox in 1940 and Roy Sievers of the Washington Senators in 1957.

The other finalists for Clutch Performer of the Year were Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum, Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Ethier's six walk-off hits were the most in one season for a Major Leaguer since at least 1974, one more than David Ortiz's five for Boston in 2006, Ken Hrbek's five for Minnesota in 1987 and Cory Snyder's five for Cleveland in 1987. The four walk-off homers were the most for any player in a season since at least 1974.

Ethier had three walk-off hits in June alone: June 5, a two-run double that beat Philadelphia, 4-3; June 6, his second home run of the game coming in the 12th inning of a 3-2 win over Philadelphia; and June 29, a two-run homer in the 13th inning to beat Colorado, 4-2.

But he also hit two homers against San Diego in a 6-4 win June 9; he had a two-run triple in a 6-4 win over Anaheim June 20; and his first three-homer game with six RBIs in an 8-2 win over Seattle June 26. On the month, he slugged nine of his team-high 31 homers.

"It's just about having fun and enjoying the moment," Ethier said after the June 29 walk-off. "In a situation like that, it's just about emotion and excitement. You can see the energy going into the situation and one swing can end the game. I've just been trying to learn to balance that energy." [...]

"I still think he's got some more [untapped ability] once he gets the hitting zone figured out," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre.

Since the start of 2008, Ethier's nine walk-off hits lead the Majors. His 21 homers at Dodger Stadium this year were the most for a left-handed hitter in stadium history.

It's also noted that Ethier was one of the few Dodger players to attend the Dodgers' last press conference of the season, along with Ned Colletti and Joe Torre (and Jon Garland). Thanks for being a classy and clutch Dodger this season, Andre, and congratulations on your award!

Can I get a picture with you, to celebrate?

PCS Off-Season Training: P&A Issue #22

Okay, enough of you are interested, so let's try this. And though ubragg has graciously offered to bring this blog into the late 2000s by setting up a googledocs site on which we could collaborate, I want to use this issue as a test run to see if there are enough of us who are interested (as well as judge how potent or impotent we might be as a collective group).

I will put up a thread tomorrow morning when the issue releases, and keep updating the key breakthroughs in the main post as they come. My morning on Saturday is a little frantic until 11:30a or so, but I will try and update frequently throughout the rest of the day.

Look for more instructions posting tomorrow morning at 7a PT! Let's go, SoSG readers!

Those Philly Fans Are Such Nice People, Part 2

From "Phillies Fan Finkelstein Gets Tickets To Game" at

Susan Finkelstein gets free World Series tickets from a radio station, just days after the Philadelphia woman is charged with offering sex for tickets.

Radio DJ Chio from Wired 96.5 confirmed to MyFoxPhilly that his station gave two tickets to Finkelstein and her husband for Game 3 in Philadelphia.

Chio also said that Finkelstein’s lawyer asserted that she is not guilty of prostitution and her arrest is the result of a misunderstanding with Bensalem, Pa., police.

Awww. I guess this passes as heartwarming in Philadelphia.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Serious Game 2 Thread: Utleys @ Jeters, 5p

A.J. Burnett (0-0, -.--) vs. Pedro Martinez (0-0, -.--).

Watching the World Series without the Dodgers is like watching your ex-girlfriend marrying George Clooney: You should feel joy, but you really feel mostly impotent bilious rage. So we'll understand if you want to pop in a copy of Bluetopia instead of watching tonight.

For the rest of you masochists, this Game Thread's for you. Have at it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Those Philly Fans Are Such Nice People

And so discreet, too! Especially the ones who use Craigslist ads to offer sex for World Series tickets:

PHILADELPHIA -- A lawyer for a Philadelphia woman charged with offering sex for World Series tickets says she is "a nice lady overcome with Phillies fever."

Lawyer William J. Brennan says Susan Finkelstein might have dropped double entendres in her Craigslist ad but never explicitly offered sex.

Brennan says the 43-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate student wanted to take her husband to a game between her beloved Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees.

Wow, and she goes to UPenn? That gives a whole new meaning to the word "Quaker."

World Serious Game 1 Thread: Phils @ Yanks, 5p

CC Sabathia (0-0, 0.00) vs. Cliff Lee (0-0, 0.00).

Well, here we are: another World Series featuring neither the Dodgers nor the Angels. Still, we're baseball fans, and this is the last call for baseball before we descend into an off-season filled with accusations, allegations and arbitration. Enjoy!

Who do you want to win the World Series?
Phillies. Go NL!
Yankees. Avenge the Dodgers!
I don't care! free polls

Manny's Back

(Get it? "Manny's back"?)

Manny Ramirez will be back with the Dodgers in 2009, having exercised his option to return in 2010 for the fee of $20M, according to True Blue LA / Jon Heyman's twitter feed.  Man, I feel uncomfortable citing twitter feeds; however TBLA is pretty sound and I trust Eric Stephen.  Let's hope it's the late-2008 era Manny, and not the late-2009 era Manny; however, given it's a contract year, he's a proud guy and he's coming off an interrupted season, I think he'll be hungry to contribute.

So long as there aren't any major distractions around for the team, that is.  Nah, we don't have any of those.

photo: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images North America, March 5 2009

Caption Contest

"You can photoshop a skirt on my body, just don't photoshop it on my head."
(repeated 20 times)

photo in case you can't read the bottom right corner: Big League Stew

Remember All Those Kids Dodger Fans Ruined By Signing Manny Ramirez?

Jamie McCourt, quoted in the LA Times on November 26, 2008:

Would Dodgers fans react negatively if the team were to pay big money to free agents when the nation's economy is in sharp decline and many Americans are losing their jobs?

That was the question posed by Dodgers President Jamie McCourt as she made an appearance with her husband, team owner Frank McCourt, Tuesday at an event where it was announced the club's charitable foundation would help build 42 youth fields around Southern California.

"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?"

As you might recall, these words tried to put the responsibility solely upon the shoulders of Dodger fans, who would have to stomach the consequences of signing Ramirez; in Jamie McCourt's mind, it meant that we would be jeopardizing the lives of young underprivileged children. It was positioned as a tradeoff of the Dodgers' limited resources: either we can spend the money to get a big-time slugger, or we could help the needy.

We ended up signing Manny. And who knows what happened to the fields, or the kids that hoped to play baseball after school. The blood of poor children everywhere was on our dreadlock-wig-wearing hands (not that the hands were wearing the wigs, but you get the idea).

Except, maybe those resources aren't exactly as limited as they were made out to be. After all, the McCourts aren't exactly suffering.

Jamie McCourt, in the court documents filed yesterday (from TMZ):

Respondent is employed and actively working, with what is estimated as a multi-million dollar cash flow. He will continue to enjoy the marital life of luxury, reside in the fabulous homes, enjoy the lush gardens, the pools, the spas, and all the other amenities of the family properties. He will continue to travel in luxury on private jets and stay in the grandest hotels. His life will be virtually unaffected by this divorce action.

Petitioner, on the other hand, is unemployed, after being discharged without notice from her position as C.E.O. of the Dodgers. She will require both very substantial pendente lite support and fee awards to maintain her former lifestyle.

Remember, that lifestyle includes a $2M salary as Dodger CEO, which Jamie has requested as a spousal support payment of $487K/month (only $321K if she is reinstated with her CEO salary). This spousal payment amount is net of taxes, mind you. And of course, she needs access to all the lifestyle benefits that she listed in great detail in the filings, apparently to match the "life of luxury" that Frankie will enjoy.

I guess my question is, if Frank McCourt has to make these monthly spousal support payments, and continues to use his private jets and first-class travel to enjoy the lush gardens and high-powered security detail in any one of his eight multi-million dollar properties; and Jamie McCourt continues to fly all around the world to visit her children and stay in Ritz-Carlton suites and entertain at five business dinners per week and have monthly hair coloring treatments and wear designer clothing picked out by her stylist and relax at all seven of their exclusive country clubs; then HOW MANY KIDS WILL STARVE?

How many inner-city baseball fields will have potholes due to Jamie McCourt's purchases of Prada shoes? How many cleft palates will not be surgically corrected because the McCourts maintain two boats (you can't sail just one!)? How many homeless children will have to suffer in the cold because the McCourts still fund rents, housekeepers, and living expenses for each of their four children, all of whom are in adulthood, with one of them employed at Goldman Sachs in New York (which is basically the same thing as Teach for America)?

My god, I'm going to throw up.

Look, I don't hate the rich. With all the SoSG income we've made, that would be wholly hypocritical of me. But the McCourts were hard to stomach when they tried to play the guilt card, and now that the sordid details of their lifestyle have been made public, it's absolutely nauseating.

And I'm not alone here. Jon Weisman takes note of the McCourts' rampant greed. MSTI has moved on from marveling at the avarice to harboring unbridled hatred. Rob McMillin predicts catastrophe.

I'm somewhere between depressed and angry. There has been so much for Dodger fans to love and appreciate in the past couple of years, and now we're just pissing away stability and financial solvency and likely fielding a competitive team. It's only late October--not even a week since the team's season ended--and we're already in a kamikaze-like nosedive.

The McCourts and their silver-spoon behavior will be absolutely vilified by the press, who hate the vanity and luxury of the wealthy, who will go to great lenghts to draw weak analogies between the McCourt's lifestyle and the glamour and glitz of Los Angeles. The press will conveniently forget that we Angelenos never liked the McCourts, that we never entirely trusted them, that we had smelled a rat even before the light illuminated all the chinks in the armor. I mean, I had liked the fact that the national press started covering the Dodgers again when we signed Manny late in 2008. But this press coverage is going to suck.

And let the wild rumpus start!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jamie Fires Back: Perusing Today's Court Filings

A cavalcade of McCourtian posts hit TMZ in the last couple of hours.

First, Jamie wants her job back, or at least all the perks that come with it:

Here are the benefits Jamie is requesting: - travel by private jet - 5 star hotel accommodations - travel expenses - Unlimited - business dinners 5 nights per week - business lunches 5 days per week - parking spots at Dodger Stadium - flowers in the office - making Dodger Legends available for events without charge - provision of Dodger autographed items as requested for use in business and charitable activities - hair and makeup for Dodger events - access to team doctors for McCourt family members - access to the owner's suite for Dodger home games and non-baseball events at the stadium - Tickets to All-Star games and playoff games -- even if the Dodgers aren't playing - a pass to all National League games

Total living expenses for Jamie come out to about $6M / year, of which roughly $4M goes to the homes. And, elsewhere in the court filings, she wants access to the Charing Cross Road indoor pool (who doesn't?). And, she cites the sudden termination of her position as Dodgers CEO, and current unemployed state, as part of the rationale why she merits pendente lite (which I thought meant "pasta cooked firm but not hard," but apparently means "pending the litigation") support (an interesting twist on Frank's firing).

Reading through the rest of the court filings yields a number of juicy tidbits. In the document, the sections on Jamie's "integral role with the Dodgers" seems pretty compelling; it's clear that she wasn't just the owners wife, if she did all the things that she cites. I don't know how the Dodger Stadium 90090 zipcode hoo-hah made the list of "accomplishments," but even that notwithstanding, there are a lot of other tangible items on there besides a irrelevant marketing deal with the USPS.

On the scary side, the section "Frank Begins to Rewrite History..." has some scary allegations that admits the McCourts are "highly leveraged", and the move to transfer ownership to Frank reflected a move to California ("a community property state") and an attempt to shield assets from the McCourts' many creditors. Or, as Jamie contends, was this an attempt to transfer property ownership solely to Frank?

Jamie claims that she had been trying to keep plans to file for divorce secret until after the 2009 postseason, despite the fact that the last four months of her tenure as CEO "were very difficult." Looking back on how Frank asked Jamie to move her business office out of Dodger Stadium, that she had to get his approval for expense reimbursements of any sort, that she had to review all appointments including social engagements to Frank--it is hard to see how Jamie could have performed her job as CEO with all of this oversight.

In fact, one wonders how the team could have even kept focused with this circus going on behind the scenes (and in fact, the Dodgers did end up the season limping to the finish line; Peter Gammons in fact tipped this off in mid-October when he said Joe Torre's life was "a living hell").

How much did Jamie McCourt get paid to be the Dodgers CEO? The court filings indicate it was around $2M/year, though Frank would get $5-6M a year in salary or distributions. When you think about all the living expenses that both McCourts pushed through the business (potentially including all first-class airtravel, eight people to work on and in the McCourts' myriad homes, $5000/night hotel rooms around the world, a skin doctor and monthly hair colorer for Jamie, membership in no fewer than seven country clubs, and three 24-hour security officers (down from eight)), that's a pretty lavish lifestyle indeed.

Finally, Jamie McCourt claims "she's not giving up the Dodgers," and "the real Frank will be exposed" (sort of sounds like O.J. Simpson's chase for "the real killers").

Please, Jamie, don't expose the real Frank. I don't even know if I like the unexposed one we've got now.

How Do You Say "Black Sox" in Taiwanese?

Hey look, it's a former Los Angeles Dodger in the news, allegedly involved in a game-fixing scandal in Taiwan:

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Authorities are investigating whether Taiwanese baseball players accepted bribes to fix games, a prosecutor said Tuesday, the latest blow to the integrity of the sport on the baseball-loving island.

Prosecutor Cheng Hsin-hung refused to identify the players involved in the probe, but former Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tsao Chin-hui has acknowledged that investigators searched his Taipei home on Monday.

"I regret [the investigators] failed to understand what happened with me and others who have played in good faith," said Tsao, who this year joined the Brother Elephants of the four-member Chinese Professional Baseball League -- Taiwan's top league.

The 28-year-old Tsao was the first Taiwanese pitcher to take the mound in the major leagues but struggled through a series of injuries which limited his appearances for both the Rockies and Dodgers. [...]

"We have ruled out the possibility that the players were intimidated and forced into throwing games, and are investigating whether they accepted improper benefits," he said.

Taiwanese media, citing unnamed investigators, said that starting pitchers could earn up to $90,000 per outing from high stakes gamblers for agreeing to throw games.

Well this leaves a tsao-ur taste in my mouth. I suppose any Taiwan Championship Series that involves the Uni-President Lions and Brother Elephants, and goes to seven games, is immediately suspect.

Why I Miss the East Coast

Read all about the NY Post's unbiased take here.

Off-Season PCS Training

Those of you who are jonesing for some PCS action this winter may have an outlet, so long as we get enough people to join the crusade.

There is an online puzzle magazine called P&A Magazine. In each issue, in addition to a smattering of regular warmup puzzles, there is a special "puzzle extravaganza" (a series of interconnected puzzles leading to a single solution). Puzzles usually require word, logic, or number play. Like the PCS puzzles, solving these individual puzzles usually results in a codeword or words; connecting all of the codewords in a "meta" puzzle gets you the extravaganza's final solution.

Looking at the list of top 10 solvers for prior issues, it doesn't appear that there are any rules against competing as a team. And I think this would actually be quite helpful; usually the 12 to 20 puzzles in the extravaganza all have "aha" moments, such that one can usually solve a subset of puzzles, but still end up staring blankly at the remainder needing a breakthrough. Working collaboratively, we might be able to crank through it and potentially even place.

My question is, are there enough of you SoSG readers who might want to collaboratively work toward the next issue, which releases Saturday October 31 at 10am ET (the clock would start then)?

Each issue costs $4.95 and requires registration on the website (payment can be remitted via paypal). I've already emailed PCS Season II champion ubragg, who is up for it; any of you guys want to join? If you're interested, "sign up" for the SoSG team in the comment thread.

(If you want to see what you're in for, I highly recommend traipsing through The Puzzle Boat, a go-at-your-own-pace puzzle hunt which is conducted online. "The Hustle", one of the puzzles on here, even has a baseball-related theme and is really well-designed.)

The Only Winner in Los Angeles...

... aside from the Kings.

THE DELINO. One inning of Wii Baseball. Five Walks. One Single. Two Doubles. Three Home Runs. One Mercy Rule Victory. Not unlike Game Five.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Phillies Phan Phail

Hat tip to failblog for showing us Phillies fans at their best.

You can be an athlete, or you can be an athletic supporter.

So This Is What It's Become This Off-Season

In lieu of real sports coverage, the kind that you'd find covered on sites like, Dodger off-season news has sunk to lows like McCourt divorce coverage on sites like

We got these pictures of Jamie yesterday, lunching in Malibu with Jeff Fuller -- the new guy in her life. Now, in the awkward department, until recently Jeff was the Director of Protocol for the Dodgers.

We're told Jamie and Fuller began seeing each other after she split with Frank. Fuller was fired from the Dodgers in mid-October.

BTW, Fuller's late mom was an heir to the Pillsbury fortune ... translation, he's loaded.

Look, divorce is an ugly business. And it's uglier when it involves public figures and nosy paparazzi and rampant speculation. And that's where we are right now: speculation. I mean, we know Frank McCourt has fired Jamie McCourt from her position as CEO of the Dodgers; all traces of Jamie have been erased from the Dodgers' front office page.

And we know--and when I say "know", I mean read on,--that Frank mailed his termination notice to his wife, citing inappropriate behavior with a direct report as one of the reasons for the sudden dismissal:

"Because your employment is held at-will, the Organization is not required to have cause to terminate your employment and may do so for any reason or no reason at all.

However, your actions, including, but not limited to, your insubordination, non-responsiveness, failure to follow procedures, and inappropriate behavior with regard to a direct subordinate, have made this decision necessary."

But really, what do we know? What's written in this note and leaked to the press is clearly Frank McCourt's attempt to manage the spin cycle and get out ahead of Jamie. Is it interesting that she appears to be lunching with Fuller, a former Dodger employee? Perhaps. Or, it could be just coincidental; after all, rumors are swirling that Jamie is lining up investors to buy out Frank's share of the Dodgers, which Jamie claims she co-owns. Commenters have already insinuated infidelities on Jamie's behalf, connecting the dots and drawing conclusions where facts are not clear. But to rush to judgment on Jamie based on one side's trumpeted press releases seems really premature.

Meanwhile, is there reciprocal impropriety on Frank's behalf? Who the heck knows? Firing your wife of thirty years and the mother of your four children, while the team you (either the singular "you" or collective "you") own doesn't seem to be the most sound and thoughtful business decision, to be sure. But it still remains to be seen whether Frank's problems are just poorly-timed, potentially rash operational decisions. There aren't any TMZ documents leaning in the direction of infidelity, to date. But still, all we know is that Frank seems to be ahead of the press so far, but if annual Smashbox Lipstick stadium giveaways are any indication, Jamie McCourt will drive and advance the things she wants to get done. We know that have retained expensive and prominent legal counsel for representation. So this will continue to get ugly, and it will continue to get confusing, and it will continue to be more and more difficult to separate truth from fiction.

And as an indication, witness Ned Colletti's comments Friday about how team operations will not suffer. Yeah, right. How do we know what monies will be available to spend on the glut of contracts on which we need resolution this off-season, when we can't tell who owns the pursestrings? Does Colletti have to drive back and forth to Frank and Jamie's estates to get financial approval? (And does that scenario sound almost as ridiculous as when you were six years old and tried to play your parents off of each other when trying to get approval to go over to your friend's house after school?)

I feel bad for the McCourts, ending thirty years of marriage by spending time fueling their individual campaigns for public approval and courtroom victory. But I feel orders of magnitude worse for the Dodger team, though, and Dodger fans in extension, both of whom are going to have to watch this slow-motion train wreck unfold all summer long as other teams spend their time and resources on more pressing business and operational matters, such as signing another starting pitcher or second baseman (Dodger fans of Chin-Lung Hu, on the other hand, are probably rejoicing).

We're going to be a mess this off-season.


Late in the 2009 season, I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine in the backyard, mentioning how I hadn't quite warmed to McCourt ownership despite the fact that the Dodgers were having a banner season and looked like they were playoff-bound for the third time in the last four years.

"Why wouldn't you like McCourt," my friend replied. "He's done everything you've asked: you've signed Manny Ramirez, you've got Joe Torre, you're headed back to the playoffs, and you've got cushy new concessions down on the field level. What else do you want?"

Au contraire, I replied, since I (along with other ticket purchasers) had personally paid dearly for all of those achievements, suffering ransom-like season ticket price increases from $35/seat to $85/seat in two years, as well as parking fee increases from $8 to $15 over the same period. I funded all of those improvements; Frank McCourt, after all, was highly leveraged in acquiring the Dodgers, paying nothing to take the team off of Fox's hands (a point which aligned most fans against him back in 2004).

In my mind, if Frank McCourt was going to be the non-invested figurehead of this organization, the least he could do would be to quit hogging the spotlight whenever he could, figuratively and literally, particularly when he disappeared like Keyzer Soze when negative news arose. Stay in the background, invest in the team, and opinions would come around, I thought. But from my perspective, it appeared that Frank McCourt always thought he was the story, rather than the Dodgers.

Well, now Frank McCourt is out there again, hogging the spotlight once again, and once again at cost to the franchise, which is thrown back into financial purgatory akin to the time when we passed on Vladimir Guerrero. And it sucks.

Just like any divorce, it's the children who are going to suffer. And we Dodger fans are the children, make no mistake.


The Dodgers got further than 26 other MLB teams this 2009 season, and by almost all accounts it would be hard to think of this season as unsuccessful. Sure, the loss to the Phillies in the NLCS was difficult to stomach; and, it would have been nice to have won at least one more post-season game than the prior year. But that's baseball, and sometimes one Jimmy Rollins swing is the difference between success and failure. And I for one am not going to let that one swing dampen my appreciation for a pretty awesome season where the team continued to overcome adversity after adversity, often in the most dramatic of fashions, all the way until the final stretch.

2009 should be another block upon which to build a foundation of success for the future: a stabilized core of youth showing huge leaps in realized potential; a resilient and cohesive team which has had its mettle tested and emerged with a stronger backbone; and a more exciting, safe, and anjoyable home game experience for all who can stomach the otherworldly prices, sometimes insipid and unworthy first-pitch throwers, and (thankfully) relatively infrequent aural bombardments.

This should be a time when we look at the rest of the NL West and leave their fluky second-half surges and imbalanced rosters in the dust. It should be a time when the Rockies and Giants are receding in our rearview mirrors and are actually farther behind than they really appear (like the Diamondbacks and Padres). It should be an offseason where the Dodgers continue to chart our trajectory toward the ultimate success.

Except it won't be, not with the front office in shambles and the McCourt divorce circus sure to dominate the press and distract the team and shackle the finances and test even the most avid Dodger fans. No, this doesn't promise to resolve any time quickly, not with either party having the finances to buy the other out, and both parties hoarding up acorns for a long winter of discontent. Frankie's stuck with Jamie, Jamie's stuck with Frankie, and we're stuck with both of them. On the sidelines.

I know there's some funny takes on this story. After all, we know funny, and we know biting sarcasm, and we can be just as jester-like mocking others at a funeral as we can at a wedding. And as the press tornado picks up momentum, and we all become anesthetized to the reindeer games that will inevitably transpire, I know I'll be sniping sarcastic comments with the rest of the Sons.

But for now, I'm just sad for the Dodgers, and really sad for Dodger fans. The distaste in my mouth is like the hangover after a long night of scotch drinking and cigar smoking, when everything you eat or drink tastes like an ashtray at a bowling alley. And whatever momentum we had in getting back to the head of the class of the NL West, if not the NL in total, will likely be gone by Opening Day 2010. And this offseason, I'm not looking forward to reading more about us on TMZ than I should be on ESPN.

Poll: Divorce (Mc)Court

Something to remind Frank & Jamie of happier times.

Frank vs. Jamie. Who ya got?
Jamie free polls

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scoreboard Watching: ALCS Game 6, Angels @ Yankees, 5p

Your Sunday Pie Chart

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dodgers Retain Ng

Padres hire Hoyer as general manager (AP/Yahoo! Sports)

Scoreboard Watching: ALCS Game 6, Angels @ Yankees, 5p

UPDATE: Postponed!

Alex "Palpatine" Rodriguez.

Is it still scoreboard watching if the result doesn't affect your team?

When you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn?

What happens if you yell "Movie!" in a crowded firehouse?

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

photo by Julie Jacobson/AP

Caption Contest: The Firing Squad?

And now we're selling caps with no backs? What the hell kind of cost-cutting move is this, Frank?

If this photo was taken as originally credited ("following Game 2 of Major League Baseball's NLCS playoff series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Los Angeles, October 16, 2009."), one can only guess what the conversation was. But rather than speculate, I'll leave the humor up to the SoSG readers.

Fire away (get it?)....

photo: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Day That Should Have Been NLCS Game 6

I swung by the Top of the Park Store at Dodger Stadium yesterday, just to take a look at the playoff gear for sale (unfortunately there wasn't much) and consider the game that could have been that day, but wasn't. And in its relatively empty state, it was very sad, almost somber.

Aside from minimal press coverage traffic from a Joe Torre / Ned Colletti end-of-season conference, the Stadium was empty. Desolate. Yet it was a beautiful sunny day that would have been perfect for California baseball, especially with the intensity of the playoffs. One could only imagine how rockin' the crowd might have been had we been able to extend the series to a sixth game; the Stadium certainly would have looked a lot different than it did Friday.

Driving up, I noticed that they were already taking down some of the temporary tents (note: this is not one of the Team Store tents, but a different tent that would be outside the right field foul line):

And then of course, I couldn't help but take a look at the field from high atop the Top Deck. Workers were spraying off the seats in the Top Deck as if to give them one last cleaning before they would sit idle for five months. Note that on the field, the NLCS logos near each dugout had already started to be erased.

The press conference had just broken up from the dugout, and reporters and bloggers were perusing the goods left in the store, almost as if to say "goodbye" and "thank you" to the 2009 season. I had the great fortune to bump into Roberto of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy; I rather embarrassingly called "Ronaldo" at first. Roberto had his notebook in hand and was clearly eager to get somewhere (I assumed to get to a computer to post his findings, and only found out later he was gunning to feed the beast).

Roberto is a real credit to the Dodger fan bloggers; he's young and clearly passionate about the Dodgers, and anyone who reads VSIMH knows he doesn't pass up many opportunities to meet the players or participate in a fan experience. This kid is indefatigable! He's done a great job this summer in his rookie year of blogging, and though his recap of our chance encounter focused more on the secrecy of our conversation, what he was too humble to mention was that I definitely told him (and believe) that he does a great job with his Dodger fan blog. It was nice meeting you, Roberto; hopefully when we meet again I'll get your name right--and thanks for keeping my identity secret!

I also bumped into Chris of, whom I'd met before, and who was also there for the press conference. In his recaps of the press conference, Chris poses the question "Do the Sons EVER leave the Stadium?" And I do hope that information also stays secret, as I don't want to have to start paying rent (plus, the Stadium's wifi network is pretty good, and definitely helpful when AT&T service is crapping out).

Anyway, I don't have notes from the press conference--after all, I was just there to get a t-shirt--but I highly suggest going to either site to pick up the highlights of conversations with Joe Torre, Ned Colletti, Andre Ethier, and Jon Garland. As for the Top of the Park Store, I'll be back in a week or so; maybe I'll see another blogger (or player) there again.

That's a Wrap

Joe Torre, Ned Colletti and a few Dodger players were at Dodger Stadium were Chris from, Roberto from Vin Scully Is My Homeboy and one of the Sons....

photo by Reed Saxon/AP

A Special Message from the Dodgers

Got this in my email box last night at 8:30pm.

Hello, this is Ticketmaster Customer Service with an important alert for your upcoming event. Dodgers League Championship Series Home Game 3, scheduled at Dodger Stadium on Friday, October 23, 2009, at 5:07 pm, has been cancelled.

Your credit card will automatically be credited the ticket price and convenience charges, and should post to your account within 7 to 10 business days. Please note, the $4.35 per order processing fee, any ticketFast, or UPS delivery charges and in-store pick up charges are non-refundable.

Thanks for the last-second news. I waited at Dodger Stadium for three hours, just assuming everyone was late.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Recommended Reading

The "I still can't believe it's over" edition:

painting: "Shit Ball" by Luke Chueh

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Behind The Scenes: Conversations from the SoSG Staff Room (The Day After, 10/22/09)

SoSG Sax: Orel, did you see last night's Post-Game Thread? Wasn't it hilarious, how it amassed 300+ comments (a new record) and how it lasted into the wee hours of the morning and then picked up again at 6am without a hitch? And it involved the wit of all of our awesome commenters and "regulars at the SoSG bar"?

You see, THAT'S what we have to do next, to take SoSG to the next level!

SoSG Orel: And what's that, Sax?

SoSG Sax: OPEN UP A SoSG BAR NEXT YEAR! Just think about it--this will be legen...wait for it...dary!

SoSG Orel: Uh, yeah, Sax. I'll get right on that.

Scoreboard Watching: ALCS Game 5, Yankees @ Angels, 5p

Damn, have you ever seen anybody stretch like that before? Why haven't we heard anything about this Jee-ter fella?

There's more baseball, folks! Pull up a chair if you want to see who's going to beat the Phillies in the World Series. Smart money says the Yankees, but the Angels remain the sole remaining hope for West Coast Baseball (not to be confused with East Coast Baseball™). (No, I'm not letting that go.)

photo by Jae C. Hong/AP

What's the Opposite of Nepotism?

The McCourts in less litigious times.

That didn't take long. From "Dodgers' Frank McCourt considering firing wife as CEO" by Jon Heyman at

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is seriously considering firing his wife Jamie as CEO, has learned. [...]

There is expected to be a battle over control of the team. Both McCourts have expressed an interest in owning the Dodgers separately.

Let the finger-pointing begin!

(Thanks to SoSG reader JuanLove for the tip.)

UPDATE 3.30p PT from Sax: It's done. Jamie McCourt was fired in the last two days, ..."But this is not likely to be the last she's heard from," according to Who needs Hot Stove when you've got new episodes of Wife Swap?

UPDATE, 7:16 p.m.: A tidbit from Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Frank and Jamie (and their lawyers) shared the owner’s box at Dodger Stadium during NLCS games late last week, Frank in the third row and Jamie in the first. At one point engaging before a near-full ballpark, Frank playfully grabbed Jamie’s head, causing her to recoil in apparent anger.

Frank, you smoothie!

photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

They Feel Bad Too

It's going to take all offseason to get over this. It hurts the most when you turn on the TV and see the World Series and the team you thought you could beat is playing there.

photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Daddy, When Will the Dodgers Come Back?

Not sure how to tell them what happened. A conversation for tomorrow, I suppose. Luckily one has a vocab of four words, and the other is a baby.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Phillies Fans, Congratulations. Now Go Climb A Lightpole.

Thanks to SoSG reader Keven C for pointing out this article from this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer, indicating that Phildelphia has another creative use for all that petroleum jelly the city stockpiles:

City workers have greased poles along South Broad Street in an effort to deter revellers from climbing them during any wild celebrations that might follow a possible Phillies victory tonight.

Street lights, signs, bus shelters and even trees have been coated by a yellowish goo that bears a resemblance to petroleum jelly. [...]

Hoping to prevent the damage and looting that followed last year's World Series victory, police are expected to be out in force tonight if the Phillies clinch the National League title.

Philadelphia Lt. Frank Vanore said the police department will take a number of precautions to guard against overzealous fans.

"We're trying to prevent people from getting too crazy and climbing up there," said Vanore. "We're trying our best to prevent some of what happened during the celebrations last year [link my edit]."

Let's just hope the Philadelphia Fire Department doesn't get involved, too. Have a great time out there tonight!

photo: April Saul, Philadelphia Inquirer

Post-NLCS Game 5 Thread: Okay, You Can Stop Believin' Now


So it turns out good pitching and hitting beats bad pitching and hitting. Who knew? Congratulations to the Phillies. I'd say good luck in the World Series but, you know, go screw yourselves.

In the end, it wasn't about the crappy umpiring, or the weather, or the seemingly endless parade of former Dodgers spitting on our grave, or the East Coast fans — who are, it must be noted even in our grief, the Derek Jeter of fanbases. Or even Jonathan Broxton (mostly). The Dodgers had the better regular-season record, but the Phillies were better in this series. Much better.

It was a great season for the Dodgers: the record-setting start at home, Orlando Hudson's cycle, the amazing first-half record, Manny's BobbleSlam, Andre "Mr. Miracle" Ethier, Matt Kemp's development, the amazing NLDS.

But there'll be plenty of time to reminisce — we're baseball fans, after all, and there's still the ALCS and World Series to follow before we get to the McCourt divorce proceedings, which will make the Manny negotiations look like a lovefest.

Right now, though, it's time to get pissed, stew in your juices, kick the furniture. Because it feels like 2009 = 2008. But eventually we'll see 2009 for what it really was: a fun, wild ride — and we're glad you took it with us. Stick around!

Exclusive Interview: The Don't Stop Believin' Guy

(Bumped and stickied until game time. Enjoy this SoSG exclusive!)

As we sift through the wreckage of Monday night's travesty, allow the D-Line to remind you all of Andy Dufresne's wise words from The Shawshank Redemption:

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

And to quote another wizened soul - "Don't Stop Believin'." Over the past month, one man has stepped up time and again to rally the troops, when all hope seemed to be gone. That man is Jameson Moss, aka The Don't Stop Believin' Guy aka DSBG (not to confused with NKOTB).

I tracked the man, the myth, and the legend, all three of whom were gracious enough to answer some burning questions. Enjoy.

Delino: For the sake of our hordes of SoSG-maniacs, mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Jameson: I am Jameson Moss, 18 years old, live in Santa Monica, and have been a Dodger fan for three years (after moving from Atlanta for acting and music).

Delino: How did this all begin?

Jameson: I did the DSB interpretive dance for an audition in Atlanta with Disney. It was a major casting call, and the dance actually got me a callback [and a signing]. [The Dodgers version] started during the Cubs series. I did the DSB Dance on the Thursday night, and the next night the camera crew asked if they could shoot me again. And the rest is history. I've been on just about the whole month of September through the final series with Colorado. Plus postseason. And I wanna say something to the haters out there - we have only lost three times when I do the dance. I'm not very superstitious, but that's a pretty good stat if you ask me.

Delino: Is Frank hooking you up with tickets yet?

Jameson: I am a season ticket holder... But the Dodgers have been kind enough to offer postseason tickets.

Delino: Jon or Kate?

Jameson: The kids. I'm more worried about them.

Delino: What's your favorite Journey song (besides DSB)?

Jameson: "Faithfully"...I'm kinda a sucker for rock ballads.

Delino: Are you cool with comparisons to the Angels' Rally Monkey (though for the record, I also compared you to Kate Smith, the very soul of the 1976 Philly Flyers) ?

Jameson: Being compared to the Angels' Rally Monkey and Kate Smith is an honor...more on Kate Smith and a lot less on the Rally Monkey...though people say I do a good monkey impersonation.

Delino: During Game Two, they held off on cutting to your performance until late in the song... and the crowd literally erupted. That must have been pretty killer.

Jameson: Yeah it was. And to be able to say I was on Diamond Vision with Kobe, that's just awesome.

Delino: What will next season hold for the DSBG?

Jameson: Only God knows what holds for me next season. I'm in a movie coming out next year around the start of the season called Easy A, I just released my first album called "City of Broken Lights." The sky's the limit, and I'll be a season ticket holder again 'cause I sure as hell won't stop believin' in our Boys in Blue.


D-Line here, just hoping we get to see DSBG rock out on Friday night... and beyond (though for the record, I'm more partial to "Lights" and "Open Arms").

And check out Jameson Moss' band right here. Thanks, DSBG!

NLCS Game 5 Thread @ Quakers, 5p

A big tip o' the fitted cap to Erin at Robots Took My Medicine for those kickass buttons pictured above, as well as her piece, "A Home Away from Home", which could also be called "Your Guide to SoSG Game Threads."

Vicente Padilla (0-0, 1.23) vs. Cole Hamels (1-0, 6.75).

What? Another Game Thread? That's right, the season didn't end Monday night — it just felt like it. There's at least nine more innings of baseball left in the Dodgers' season, and so SoSG presents:

1. The "Don't Stop Believin' " Guy hasn't stopped believing. Hence his name.

2. This could be the last time. It's Splitsville for Mom & Dad. Kim Ng could be hitting the 5 South. Donnie Baseball could be headed to Cleveland or D.C. O-Dog and the Wolfman will probably be signing long-term deals elsewhere. If you like this year's edition of the Dodgers, you'll want to watch every moment they have left together.

3. If you don't watch, then the Phillie Phanatic will have won. And then Tommy would be sad.

4. We still have to hold up our end of the Freeway Series. Screw the TV ratings. Another East Coast World Series? Yawn.

5. Who has Game 6 tickets? 'Nuff said.

6. It's another chance to listen to Vin. Keep delaying that radio feed, KABC!

7. Everybody hurts. Especially Jonathan Broxton. Whatever you feel about him — and there's a lot of feelings about him out there — he needs the support of Dodger fans as long as there's still baseball to play (see Holliday, Matt).

8. What else are you going to do? Work? Spend time with the family? You're not going to check TBS just once? You're going to stay away from Gameday altogether? Yeah right.

9. Sí, se puede! Remember 1988? Get in on the ground floor. Remember the 4+1 game? Don't be the guy in his car way in the background whose taillights light up after the rally starts. Don't be that guy.


DSBG: Orel/SoSG; Broxton: David J. Phillip/AP

It's Official: We're All a Bunch of Pansies

From Tom Verducci at

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino has a term for playing in the intense conditions of the Northeast: East Coast Baseball. He is on to something. In Philadelphia, Boston and New York, almost every home game carries an intensity (from fans and media) that is a close facsimile to playoff baseball. And when you do get to October, the frequently cold, wet, blustery weather provides something else to battle, too.

I started thinking about East Coast Baseball as I watched the Dodgers and Angels go 0-4 in Philadelphia and New York in the LCS, all the while looking like they were not up to the challenges of the crowd and the weather. And then I thought, is there something to West Coast teams not measuring up to East Coast Baseball in October? [...]

It turns out there have been 22 playoff matchups when a West Coast team ventured into East Coast Baseball. The result: the West Coast teams are 10-36 in East Coast Baseball venues, a .217 winning percentage. In other words, get them out of their laid-back, warm environment and into the nasty conditions in the East, and they're not even the 1962 Mets.

And it is not getting any easier. Since 2003 the West Coast teams are 3-17 in East Coast Baseball playoff environments. That's the kind of history the Dodgers are up against tonight when they play NLCS Game 5 in Philadelphia. Bundle up, Dodgers.

Interesting how cold weather = intense fans. You mean it has nothing to do with the combined $320 million the Yankees and Phillies are spending (versus $227 million for the Dodgers and Angels)? Or the propensity of East Coast-based writers to perpetuate the mythos of the East Coast Sports Fan? Oh, and where do the Red Sox — swept out of the ALDS by those softy-soft Angels — fit in?

What's your take, SoSG readers? (As if you needed something else to get you fired up for tonight's game!)

Open Up The Manny Ramirez Criticism Floodgates and Shower Curtains

The Dodgers' losing Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS finally gave sportswriters across the country the opportunity to write that article they've had written for months, if not years: The Dodgers' downfall is due to Manny Ramirez. Bring out the lynch mobs, and let press room typewriters lead the way!

At least Gene Wojciechowski positioned his column as one of encouragement, even praising Manny for his defensive play in the seventh inning that kept us in Game 4 in the first place by silencing a Phillie threat:

OK, give Ramirez credit -- his grass-blade-high catch of Raul Ibanez's sinking line drive later in that sixth inning ended a Phillies rally, prevented the tying run to score and caused NLCS viewers everywhere to say, "Did Manny do that?"

Yes, he did. How, I don't know.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, watching from the dugout steps, was so sure that Ramirez couldn't possibly make the catch that he raised his arms in celebration as Ibanez's liner curled toward the ground and supposed safety. But then Ramirez's glove appeared and the ball disappeared. L.A. still had its one-run lead. [...]

Ramirez isn't the only reason why the Dodgers are in this NLCS sinkhole. But he's one of them. Now, more than ever, it's time for him to do what he's done in playoffs past.

Be Manny.

But it only goes downhill from there. The LATimes' Bill Plaschke is obsessed with images of Ramirez in the shower, which is frankly a little creepy:

Manny Ramirez?

He was bathing.

While the Dodgers were taking on the brunt of postseason pressure in the ninth inning here Monday night, their star was taking a shower.

While his teammates were wilting under the spotlight, their leader was relaxing under the spray.

By the time the Dodgers had finished staining themselves with a ninth-inning collapse in a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, Ramirez was just scrubbing clean.

I know that repeating oneself three different times using similar sentence structure and a plethora of synonyms is fundamental to Plaschke's column-inch wasting formulaic drivel. But really, enough with the visual images, Bill.

Plaschke goes on to indicate how Ramirez' four RBI and .276 batting average this batting average is pathetic. But really, how bad is this? No other Dodger has more than two RBI in the NLCS, for a grand total of 11 (yes, the same amount of runs scored by the Phillies in one game).

Ramirez is batting .250 with an OPS of .688. But even if we can get over the small-sample-size leap in logic, there are plenty of other Dodgers at which we can point the finger. Casey Blake is batting .133 with two hits in the NLCS. Andre Ethier has three hits and is batting a whopping .200. Rafael Furcal is .125 with two hits. Matt Kemp is tied with Ramirez with four hits and a .250 average, but only Russell Martin (.333), Ronnie Belliard (.333), and James Loney (.357) are showing any sort of consistent offensive punch.

Yes, Ramirez is the Dodgers' cleanup hitter, he is paid the big money to hit like a beast, and it looks even worse when Ramirez is juxtaposed against Ryan Howard, who is off to another crazy series (batting .385 with 8 RBI). Again, the small sample size is not worthy of quantitative analysis. Let the man shower in peace, will you? If his manager isn't rankled by Ramirez' behavior (Ramirez allegedly hit the showers in the bottom of the ninth inning, replaced by Juan Pierre in the field, while Jonathan Broxton worked the one-run lead to disastrous results), as Joe Torre said in the piece, then why are you making such a big deal of it?

Perhaps he assumed Broxton's ninth would be automatic. Maybe Ramirez is demure. Maybe he had a party to attend after the game. Whatever the reason, it's (soap and) water under the bridge for the players and managers and most of us Dodger fans, save a handful of journalists (that means you too, Jeff Passan), who are watching every last move of Ramirez in the locker room, waiting to pounce on Manny at any point they deem he is vulnerable.

Matter of fact, it's no wonder why Manny showers early and alone.