Thursday, April 30, 2009

Post-Game 23 Thread: Perfect Snark


The Dodgers had a perfect April at home (starting 7-0 there for the first time since 1947, says Vin) and we had perfect snark in today's Game Thread. Just a sampling:

On James McDonald's tough outing...

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...
McDonald falls apart faster than Shea Stadium when a screw is loosened.

After a Padres fan made a nice catch of a foul ball...

Erin said...
Man, I don't know if a bigger tool could have caught that foul behind the plate.

On Andre Ethier's Photo Day fears...

Nic j said...
thats what they said
[on the radio], even if they crop you out and manipulate your photo, you're still in a uniform.

who wears a dodgers uniform while assaulting an underaged girl

On the pretty blonde singing "God Bless America"...

Fred's Brim said...
i bet Brian Giles asks her out

During a crucial Ethier at-bat...

Booger said...
come on Dre, just because you are scared of cameras doesnt mean you cant come through in a flash!!

After Ethier hit into an inning-ending double play...

Nic j said...
not only is andre taking carne asada sundays from nomar, he is taking nomars GIDP's

On the pest...

Booger said...
Wasnt Eckstein on the mini-sirloin burger commercial?

See what you've been missing? There's a Game Thread for every game, so join us and get your snark on!

The Sun Sets In Baltimore

It's not enough that the city of Baltimore, with its gleamingly beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards stadium, has been saddled with a horrible team for the last decade. The Orioles, playing in a competitive division, haven't had a winning record since 1997.

But now it seems owner Peter Angelos (who has presided over the O's decay) is teaching the heads of the local paper, The Baltimore Sun, lessons in etiquette. From the blog "The Loss Column":

Over the past two days, management has laid off roughly 60 staffers including several senior-level editors.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with sports, Rick Maese and David Steele are among the cuts. What’s more, a source tells me that both Maese and Steele were informed of the layoffs while working in the press box at Camden Yards.

Let’s put a big red circle around that: two of the Sun’s most respected and visible sportswriters were informed by phone that they no longer had jobs — while they were working in the field.

It’s unconscionable and inexcusable. No explanation could make that OK. Period.

I’m as sensitive as anyone to the changing nature of the media landscape. I’ve invested countless hours in wrapping my head around it, and I’ve been paid once or twice to help other people figure it out. I consider myself well-versed on the issue, and I don’t make these critiques lightly.

The problem isn’t that the Sun felt the need to make cuts. The problem is the way they made them and who and what they cut.

The Sun is so integrated with the Orioles' ballpark, that its six letters "THE SUN" stand tall over the field's jumbotron and scoreboard. And one of the super-cool features of Camden Yards is that, after questionable plays that are left to the official scorer's decision about whether to rule a hit or error--either the "H" or "E" will start blinking after the ruling has been made. I know, almost any team's newspaper sponsor could do this since almost every city's main paper begins with "The"; however, it's still a really subtle feature of the park that reflected to me the importance and stature of the local newspaper.

It's too bad the Sun management--if this story is true--doesn't have the same sort of stature. Alas, newspaper industry, when will the bleeding stop?

Head nod right back at ya', BLS.

B---h T--s' Greatest Sin

It's Thursday, which means a new wave of Alex Rodriguez scandal. brings us an allegation that A-Rod took steroids while with the Yankees (despite his claims otherwise), leading to a fascinating nickname for him:

["A-Rod" author Selena] Roberts broke the story that A-Rod failed a steroid test in 2003. Yankees teammates, Roberts writes in the book, nicknamed Rodriguez "B---h T--s" in 2005 because he put on 15 pounds in the offseason that resulted in round pectorals, a condition called gynecomastia that can be caused by anabolic steroids.

Roberts also writes that Rodriguez took steroids in high school, when his bench-press max increased from 100 to 310 pounds over a period of six months (hey Alex—I can totally relate).

However, these latest steroid stories shouldn't really damage A-Rod's reputation further. The public tends to have a pretty short memory about stuff like this, partially because of media saturation, but also because most people can relate to the desire to be the best at all costs.

But...there's another allegation about Rodriguez that would truly earn him the name of B---h T--s. From

The book, as first reported by the New York Daily News, claims Rodriguez, while playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers, tipped opposing batters about what pitches were coming in lopsided games. Rodriguez, according to the book, tipped those players so they could reciprocate and provide him with what pitches were coming in one-sided games so that he could pad his batting statistics.

Stealing signs? Sure, part of the game. But tipping pitches to THE OTHER TEAM?

From Roberts herself:

When games were already decided, they noticed this behavior with Alex where he would do very obvious signs, presumably to an opposing hitter who would be a middle infielder on an opposing team, where they believed that he would tip the signs. [...]

What this was all part of was a quid pro quo, according to the people I spoke with. Alex would tip his middle infielder buddy on the other team and the player on the other team would in turn tip Alex. What it was was slump insurance. You could count on your buddy to help you break out of your slump, if you're 0 for 3 or you've had a bad week. There was no intent to throw a game or change the outcome.

Hmmm, no throwing games, and only during blowouts. Forgivable? Nope! Although this activity technically falls under the rubric of "being the best at all costs," a line has (allegedly) been crossed: betraying your team. People hate a rat. And if these allegations are true, then B---h T--s is a rat.

Bud Selig, your comments?

"I'm not going to respond until I see the book," Selig told "I just heard about it."

Oh. Okay.

Not a Belly Itcher

Want to see some of the WORST OPENING DAY PITCHES EVER?

My faves:

And this isn't an opening day pitch, but it's quite lovely.

Game 23 Thread: April 30 vs. Padres, 7p

Elvis at Dodger Stadium. Read all about it at Walter O'Malley's official website.

James McDonald (1-1, 7.11) vs. Josh Geer (0-0, 4.91).


  • Welcome home, Dodgers, says Eric Stephen of True Blue LA. Just check your speaker volume before exploring Eric's post.
  • A win tonight would "almost certainly" give the Dodgers their first perfect April at home, writes Jon "I know Alyssa" Weisman at Dodger Thoughts.
  • Who is Josh Geer? Just another rookie pitcher...the Dodgers haven't seen before. Uh-oh. (I know it's not Geer's first major league start, but still.)
  • Scott Elbert has been optioned to Double-A Chattanooga, presumably to make room for Cory Wade, writes Tony Jackson.
  • Going to tomorrow's game? Ready your Elvis costume: The theme of the post-game fireworks show is "Vegas Night" (this guy can wear the same outfit!).


More roster moves, via Dodger Thoughts:

The Dodgers purchased the contract of Jeff Weaver and activated Cory Wade, while optioning Blake DeWitt to the minors. Doug Mientkiewicz was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Five Things I Hope Are Improved For This Homestand

The Dodgers are the only team in the majors to be undefeated at home, a perfect 6-0. And many of you would think, "Wow, what else can be improved upon at Dodger Stadium? So far, it's been perfect!" However, this is Sons of Steve Garvey, where we are always suggesting ways we can improve the experience for Dodger fans. This 2009 team may be pretty darn impressive on the Chavez Ravine field through April, but here are a quick five things that we hope can be changed before tonight's game, the first of a 11-game homestand:

1. Get rid of the Kaiser Permanente Jr. Dodgers Exercise Minute video. For those of you who may have missed this train wreck, this is a new interstitial feature which has two small kids and an uninspiring exercise instructor pointing out some bodily functions, hoping that the crowd will join in and replicate their movements. However, it is so lame, with the production value so poor, that in the two times I have been there, the video has cut away to crowd shots of the fans looking confused, or vamping for the camera as normal. Look, I'm all for the Jr. Dodgers club (though I miss the "Dodgers Blue Crew" moniker), and for kids, and for exercise. But this video is just embarrassing. And no one is inspired to move. Kill it.

2. Add a dash of ethnic diversity to the all-white cartoon Dodger characters that are used after player introductions. I know, this may cause a bit more production work for the project that you purchased from the University of Laverne computer animation class. But to have a group of ethnically homogeneous cartoony Dodgers fail to reflect the rich history of racial diversity in our team, as well as our city--it's really insulting. "All Are Welcome" in Dodgertown, right (as the saying goes)?

3. Keep Juan Pierre out of the starting rotation. Pierre's fielding performance in last night's game wasn't the reason we lost (that Lincecum guy is at least a decent #3 starter), but there were enough groan-inducing misadventures in the outfield for one to hope that Matt Kemp got a lot of rest yesterday, and is ready to play again tonight.

4. Stop playing "Don't Stop Believing" going into the ninth inning if the Dodgers have the lead. Sure, it's a popular song, but if we're WINNING, shouldn't we be doing something to make the opposition give up hope, rather than inspire them to a comeback feat?

5. Please let Nancy Bea Hefley out of her cell after the game. Whenever they show her on Diamond Vision during her stretch, she looks like she hasn't eaten for days (perhaps it's because she becomes malnourished after waiting for "God Bless America" to finish its new spot leading off the seventh-inning stretch). She's the best organist in the majors and a Dodger tradition. Let's treat her right and give her a full steak dinner with all the trimmings!

Or maybe she just keeps fit and trim by participating in so many of those Kaiser Permanente Jr. Dodgers Exercise Minute videos.

Not a Photoshop

Vader vs Grouch: This Time It's Personal (CHUD)

I Am So Totally Going to Get Rich

Earlier: Andre Ethier's Reluctance to Stand Next to You, Explained (SoSG)
Sotheby's Announces Special Auction of Picture with Andre Ethier and Random Customer at Nino's Mexican Food (SoSG)

Verducci Dissects D'backs Woes, Concludes They Have Woes

The Diamondbacks are 9-12 and it's time for the "What's wrong with Arizona?" articles. From "Has the Diamondbacks' dynasty been derailed or just delayed?" by Tom Verducci at

Sixteen months ago the Diamondbacks were NL West division champions, sitting on one of the greatest stockpiles of young players in baseball. [...]

"The best team in baseball," one GM called them at the time, "and the only one with an easy path to the postseason."

And then something very odd happened to baseball's next growth franchise: It ground to a halt. Since that 19-7 start, Arizona is 71-84 while hitting .245 and scoring 4.1 runs per game. Nearly across the board, the development of its young stars has stalled -- except for that of [Carlos] Quentin, who has become a slugging sensation for the White Sox, not the Diamondbacks.

This season, despite a ridiculously favorable schedule in which it hasn't left Arizona since spring training began except for three games in San Francisco, Arizona has started 8-11 and lost Webb for at least six weeks with a shoulder injury and Drew for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain.

"I look at them now," the same GM said, "and I see a franchise in some crisis."

Verducci goes on to detail how the team's young stars are either injured and/or underperforming. But as last year's April taught us, it's pointless to make predictions based on small sample sizes, tempting as it may be (a 108-54 record for the Dodgers, anyone?). The Padres seemed like surefire cellar dwellers during spring training, yet they're only 2.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers. The Giants may have the best pitching staff in baseball, but they just reached .500. And the last-place Rockies—okay, well, some forecasts are safe to make.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Post-Game 22 Thread: Hats Off


It wasn't as close as the score looks...and the score wasn't close! And nothing but respect for Tim Lincecum. Dude's nasty.

UPDATE: Here's another thing that wasn't as close as the score looks: Juan Pierre, trying to catch up with a Bengie Molina hit that ended up becoming a triple--his fifth such hit in 12 seasons--for the rotund Giant. Don't even get me started on the noodle arm's "throws" back to the infield, which have the strange power to miss cut-off men despite the fact they bounce twenty times toward the plate.

Lincecum: AP photo; Pierre: Jeff Chiu/AP

Sotheby's Announces Special Auction of Picture with Andre Ethier and Random Customer at Nino's Mexican Food

Following the recently explained news about Dodger Andre Ethier and his decision not to take pictures with any Dodger fans, a recent customer at Nino's Mexican Restaurant is looking to take his moment in the sun with Andre and make a fortune.

Johnny, who is the only person pictured with Andre Ethier in any of the photographs on Ethier's "Dining with 'Dre" restaurant blog, was delighted to hear about Ethier's decision refraining from documentation of fan contact, knowing that this made his chance encounter with Ethier back in November 2008 a collector's item.

"As soon as I heard about Ethier's paranoia over fan photos, which Andre exhibited at the Dodgers' Fan Photo Day [earlier this month, at Dodger Stadium]," said Johnny, "I knew I had a shot at making some serious coin. Why Andre would show up at Dodger Fan Photo Day and not want to take any Fan Photos is beyond me. But now, I stand to profit--and what started out as a simple evening with my combination dinner #4, has turned into a rare photo opportunity on par with Bigfoot."

"Andre was a really nice guy and is very photogenic, well-spoken, and like me appreciates good food," continued Johnny. "It's too bad that a couple of bad apples like Matt Leinart and his debaucheries have caused Andre to become a relative recluse." Johnny took his picture immediately to Sotheby's for an appraisal.

Ethier was not only unavailable for comment, but also unavailable for photography as well.

Sotheby's plans to auction 25 individually numbered, limited edition giclee print editions of the photo in a special session later this month. Said Michael Sovern, Chairman of the Board at Sotheby's, "I don't know much about baseball or baseball players. But I do know that these prints are VHTF and MOMC. So bid away, people!"

Earlier: Andre Ethier's Reluctance to Stand Next to You, Explained (SoSG)

Game 22 Thread: April 29 @ Giants, 7p

Eric Stults (2-0, 3.52) vs. Tim Lincecum (1-1, 2.96).

COMMENTS: If the first two games of this series are any indication, then expect an asteroid or a jetliner to crash into AT&T Park tonight. After all, if the Dodgers and Giants haven't exactly been playing disastrous baseball, they've certainly been playing games filled misadventure and mayhem.

Such is life in the NL West, where expectations are low and no one seems to mind. (The Red Sox's win streak just ended! OMG!) Giants fans will treat tonight's rubber match like Game 7 of the World Series, to which we say: Bring it on.

Which they will happily do, since the Dodgers have never beaten Lincecum—who has recovered from a rough start to strike out 25 over his last two games. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have been so cocky in the previous paragraph.

Stults is in the unenviable position of facing the reigning Cy Young winner while following the act of his own team's ace. But the under-appreciated Stults knows unenviable; workmanlike performances are becoming his specialty. If he can once again keep the Dodgers in the game, he'll be under-appreciated just a little less.

Andre Ethier's Reluctance to Stand Next to You, Explained

Pictured: Andre Ethier. Not pictured: You.

SoSG Alex Cora first noticed it on Photo Day:

My "Dodger Blues" award goes to Andre Ethier who would only stand so you took a picture of him and he wouldn't take a picture with any of the fans in our section. A little disappointing as I know there are a lot of people that like him.

Ethier's reclusive behavior continued that night at the Bluetopia premiere, and Vin Scully Is My Homeboy corroborated the anecdotal evidence.

Now Diamond Leung has put on his investigator's hat and asked the hard questions. From "No, Andre Ethier will not take a photo with you" at Diamond Notes:

Diamond Notes spoke with Ethier before tonight's game at AT&T Park, and the right fielder said he decided during the middle of last season that he would no longer take photos with fans. He confirmed his behavior at photo day and made no apologies.

"How awkward is that?" Ethier said of the event.

Ethier will make an exception for next week's Carne Asada Sunday event, but has otherwise informed the team's public relations department that he will not be photogenic with fans.

The reason? Ethier fears such photos could be used against him, especially on the Internet. He also read about a basketball player last year being extorted (he forgot who it was, but he probably meant Terrell Brandon). It sounds unlikely, but Ethier noted that in tough economic times, people can get desperate.

Ethier said he didn't think he was being paranoid. He wants to be cautious in the new information age.

"It's all the blog things," he said. "The Dirty (of Matt Leinart fame). The sports ones. You could be at dinner having a beer, and it could be, 'He was drinking at 2 in the morning.'

"In the profession you’re in, it's more likely to happen to us than regular people." [...]

"I don't think it's necessary," Ethier said of photos with fans. "Donald Trump doesn't like the handshake. I'd rather give autographs.

"We're not in the business like actors that our face sells. It's our performance. It's your hot bat and your hot arm that keeps you on a team. I don't want my face out there. If it's the right time and place, I'll do it."

Although this anonymous blogger respects Ethier's desire for privacy, I wonder if his hard-line stance is more paranoid than practical in these online times. New Yorker pop-music critic Sasha Frere-Jones (stay with me here) put it best:

One way to understand social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is to consider that younger digital natives are not necessarily being exhibitionists when they post photographs of themselves and share personal details there. Instead, these users are living a life in which consciousness is spread out evenly over two platforms: real life and the Web. Rather than feeling schizophrenic or somehow pathological, digital natives understand that these two realms divide the self much as speech and the written word divide language, a division that humans have lived with for a long time without going bonkers.

Ethier, 27, fits into the "digital native" demographic described by Jones, yet his desire for control over his image falls squarely into old-school insecurity. Yet, even those "regular people" without a $3.1 million contract (lamentably, most of us) would find it difficult to fault Ethier for trying to protect his young family.

The debatable issue here is what's realistic. Manny Ramirez, whose career earnings dwarf Ethier's, appeared to have no problem posing with fans. Is he fighting extortion or blackmail attempts? We may never know. Can a professional athlete never be too careful? Same answer.

Ethier clearly cares about his fans, as his blog and Carne Asada Sunday duties demonstrate. His efforts to control his image may be as effective as trying to drink soup with a fork, but he's right about one thing: As long as he continues to take advantage of opportunities on the field, the photo opportunities can wait.

photo by Alex Cora/SoSG

Jon SooHoo, Sharp as a Splinter

Andre Ethier breaks his bat during Monday's game against the Giants.

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Chin-Hui Tsao, Mustard Elephant

Via Diamond Notes comes the whereabouts of former Dodger Chin-Hui Tsao: He's playing for Taiwan's Brother Elephants, a team apparently inspired by/in competition with the 1972 Padres:

Nate Colbert, Padres, circa 1972.

Again, Elephant:

Sheng-Wei Wang, Elephants, 2007.


Dave Winfield, Padres, 1970's.



And a bonus:


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Dentist's Office

By far, the most enjoyable place I've ever got a retainer fitted! (If you need a good dentist, drop me a line and I can tell you where this Dodgers-laden room can be found.)

BTW, I tried to find some kind of pun using Orel's name, but it just sounded dirty.

Post-Game 21 Thread: Never a Dull Moment


Another nine innings of chaos at AT&T Park. It's still only April, but things are getting tight!

If Chad Billingsley gets a no-decision, can we still call him a stopper? Because he did everything except get the W: 7.1 IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, 8 K's. Billingsley was in line for the win until Joe Torre tried to wring another five-out save from Jonathan Broxton, who strangely seemed more comfortable against lefties than righties. Broxton walked in the tying run but recovered to strike out Eugenio Velez on three pitches.

In what will hopefully become a super-fantastic trend, the Dodgers offense responded immediately. Manny Ramirez, a.k.a. Mr. Consistency, led off the ninth with one of his three doubles (he also drew two walks). Andre "The Beard" Ethier weathered a heroic 10-pitch at-bat to double in Manny for the go-ahead run, and Matt Kemp (2-for-4 with a walk) tripled Ethier in for some Geico (insurance).

Will Ohman worked a 1-2-3 ninth, which makes us wonder if Torre might consider using him and/or Ramon Troncoso in future high-leverage situations. Maybe relief pitching has become overly specialized, but players do seem to respond well when their roles are clearly defined.

Russell Martin (0-for-4 with a walk) still has concerns at the plate, but compensated with stellar defense, blocking the plate to nail Randy Winn in the first inning and making a full-extension catch to force Pablo Sandoval in the eighth (see below).


First inning: Kemp keeps it interesting.

First inning: The relay from Kemp at the wall to Rafael Furcal in shallow left to Martin at the plate.

Third inning: Casey Blake saves a run by snaring Bengie Molina's hard-hit grounder.

Sixth inning: James Loney gets fives after starting a 3-5 double play.

Eighth inning: Martin forces Sandoval at home.

all game photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers except last photo by Jeff Chiu/AP

Andre the Beard

Mrs. Orel says, "It's good, the boy-to-man look. Thumbs up!" What do you think?

Game 21 Thread: April 28 @ Giants, 7p

Chad Billingsley (4-0, 2.05) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 3.65).

COMMENTS: The Dodgers haven't had a three-game losing streak all year, and we look to Billingsley to make sure that we come out with a win, as well as a shot at a winning record over this nine-game road trip. Coming after last night's disappointing loss and resultant second-guessing, a win up at the Big Phone would be a nice boost. Sanchez, who skipped his last start and hasn't pitched in 12 days, battles control issues and gives up a lot of walks (nine walks in 11.1 IP), but we'll need to make sure we can plate our baserunners (the Dodgers have the second-most runs scored in the NL, but also lead the league in GIDP with 21).

Today's WSJ lists the Dodgers as a 61% probability of winning, but I see from here that the probability has already shrunk a tad to 59.6%. Which means we'll likely lose. Remember, we're a .500 team on the road that's had the benefit of being undefeated at home (which extrapolates to a 121-41 record, which I suppose should win the NL West).

The Dodgers Want Your Business

They're offering a Facebook discount (via 6-4-2):

The Dodgers have also made Mannywood official (via Blue Heaven). That registered trademark must have come through!

Mannywood to debut at Dodger Stadium (

Dan Neil, on Wine for Douchebags

I never thought we would be revisiting the head-scratching phenomenon of Ed Hardy and his T-shirts, but LA Times automotive-critic-slash-business-columnist Dan Neil has resurrected the specter of the Ed Hardy brandemic. From "Ed Hardy wines? Christian Audigier's branding machine grinds on":

...perhaps no brand hookup makes less sense to me than Ed Hardy -- a tattoo-themed street wear imprint of fashion megalomaniac Christian Audigier -- and wine. Yet there it was at my local Whole Foods, stacked in orderly end-cap pyramids. [...]

In 2004, [fashion designer Christian] Audigier scored a licensing agreement with tattoo and graphics artist Don Ed Hardy, a Bay Area legend in ink, and soon Ed Hardy graphic designs began appearing on, well, everything: T-shirts, hoodies, purses and perfume, socks and sunglasses, barware and bedding, swimwear and underwear. The brand has pretty much exploded. [...]

To be honest, I wouldn't be caught dead in Ed Hardy. For one thing, there is a huge metaphorical hole in this brand, which trades on the committed authenticity and street-level edginess of Don Ed Hardy's skin art to sell overpriced T-shirts to kids at the mall. Hermes it's not.

Audigier has saturated the market to the extent that now Ed Hardy stands for trend slavery at its most vacant-eyed and autonomic.

Great! Pretty much lines up with what I wrote in January:

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.

But Neil acknowledges the genius of transience behind the Ed Hardy moneymaking machine:

Audigier is building, slowly and frighteningly, a 360-degree brand bubble for his clientele, an immersive ecology of labeled merchandise, an off-the-rack psyche. And in an age where a cool, ephemeral brand means everything and nothing, that's brilliant.

What's distressing is that such a vacuous trend is proliferating in dire economic times. Aren't we supposed to be cutting back on crap like this? Hasn't the subprime mortgage crisis taught us to value what's below the surface?

Guess not. Cheers!


Thanks to SoSG reader Nims for the following link:

#124 Hating People Who Wear Ed Hardy (Stuff White People Like)

It's funny because it's true! You know what's even funnier? Finding this link:

Audigier sued over trademarked clothing line (AP/San Jose Mercury News):

LOS ANGELES—Clothing designer Christian Audigier is being sued by tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy for allegedly distributing Hardy's trademarked clothing line without permission.

Hardy filed a lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking $100 million in damages from Audigier's company Nervous Tattoo and several other defendants.

Hardy claims he and Audigier signed a contract in September 2005 that allowed Audigier to promote and distribute Hardy's work as part of a clothing line.

The lawsuit claims Hardy terminated the contract in August after discovering Audigier did not fully pay royalties to Hardy and underreported the sales and income from the clothing line. Hardy also claims Audigier launched a competing product—the Christian Audigier clothing line—using Hardy's trademarks without permission.

The lawsuit said Audigier has not stopped distributing Hardy's work and claims the contract is still in effect. Hardy wants the court to order Audigier to stop distributing his trademarked work and award damages.

Uh-oh, trouble in douchebag paradise!

ESPN's Kurkjian Uses "Billingsley," "Cy Young" in Same Sentence

From Tim Kurkjian at

The Dodgers are clearly the best team in the National League West right now. We'll see whether they are going to end up being the best in the National League overall. [...]

They didn't have a real ace on the staff, but so far Chad Billingsley, who is 4-0 and starts Tuesday against the Giants, has been an ace in every sense and perhaps, outside of Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the National League this year. [...]

[Billingsley] didn't pitch well in the postseason, obviously, but in speaking to some guys with the team, it sounded as though that experience has pushed him forward rather than set him back. Billingsley wasn't very happy with the way the playoffs went and doesn't want to let that happen again.

A friend of mine, before the year even started, picked Billingsley to win the Cy Young this year. I wish I had been that insightful because he has been a Cy Young-caliber pitcher so far.

A qualified endorsement, to be sure, and maybe a by-product from the afterglow of the Dodgers' great start. Still, it's nice to see Billingsley get some national attention, especially since the first time many folks had heard of him was during last year's playoffs.

But more important than any awards talk is Billingsley's developing role as a team leader, intentional or otherwise. His teammates sense his drive, and his gaudy win record reflects it. Dodger fans have always known Billingsley as a steady personality, and should the team make the playoffs again, look for the team ace to emerge as one of its leaders as well.

The April Bloom Is Ending

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier get mixed up in the first inning of last night's game against the Giants.

The Dodgers weren't charged with any errors in last night's game, but that doesn't mean they didn't make mistakes. It's a good reminder that their near-flawless first 13 games won't be a microcosm for the entire season.

For all our hand-wringing about Ronald Belisario's role in last night's heartbreaking loss to the Giants (redundant, I know), Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts provides us with a canny analysis of whether Belisario should have been pitching the eighth inning at all.

It's also time to acknowledge that Matt Kemp is coming back down to earth. While Kemp is still in the black with a 2.8 UZR, he's starting to pay the price for his max-effort style of defense. On this road trip, we've seen Kemp almost plow into Manny Ramirez; we've seen a ball bounce off the tip of Kemp's outstretched glove, allowing three runs to score; and we saw Kemp have a rotten first inning last night.

Kemp's troubles have also extended to the plate. Last night many of us got our wish when Joe Torre batted Kemp in the cleanup spot. Naturally, Kemp went 0-for-3 while hitting into a rally-ending double play in the seventh inning. After a torrid start, Kemp has hit .182/.308/.273 on this road trip.

Elsewhere in the dugout, Hiroki Kuroda is still weeks away. Oh, and has anyone noticed that Rafael Furcal's 75 OPS+ is second lowest among starters, only behind Russell Martin's 69 OPS+? And don't look now, but the entire division is within five games of the first-place Dodgers.

13-7 is still great, but no one said it would be a cakewalk. Enjoy the ride, everybody!


Tony Jackson has quotes from Kemp and Torre's reasoning for not bringing in Kuo for the eighth.

photo by Jeff Chiu/AP

Monday, April 27, 2009

Post-Game 20 Thread: We Want a Pitcher...


I Knew It Was Too Good to Last

The line between MLB's Gameday and the 25¢ Peep Show just got thinner. Now if you want to see the in-game video highlights, you've got to pay $19.95 for the season.

I understand MLB's got to make their bones somehow, but teasing us with a few seconds of greatness only to take it away... did I mention the peep show analogy?

UPDATED UPDATE: Contra BACK from the Grave!

(DELINO'S NOTE: ESPN had a little joke played on it earlier today. Apparently one that has since been corrected. Sorry my post is so thirteen minutes ago)

Been a while since you got your "Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Enter" on?

Go to this cached page of ESPN, and learn how... PLUS EQUALS

In layman's terms, visit this cached page from ESPN and simply punch in everyone's favorite cheat code, and marvel at the beauty. Keep hitting enter for more pretty unicorns.

Game 20 Thread: April 27 @ Giants, 7p

Randy Wolf (1-1, 4.26) vs. Barry Zito (0-2, 5.63).

COMMENTS: As the Dodgers bravely zero in on their Bay Area battle zone and a resurgent Barry Zito, Big League Stew brainy lead scribe 'Duk ponders a barely likely situation:

If someone walked up to you today with a suitcase containing a million dollars and said you could have it in October so long as you correctly predicted just one of baseball's division winners, you'd have to pick the Dodgers right now ... right?

Settle down there, you with your big lofty scenarios, before you lose your senses! Of course, 'Duk acknowledges the usual caveats, including the Diamondbacks' 18-7 record of one year ago, but also cites the Dodgers topping yet another (useless) Power Rankings poll.

Please recall, however, that Power Rankings are paltry reminders that even the best sportswriters occasionally write puff reads. In fact, sometimes Power Rankings seem little more than public relations press releases that play right into popular requests for a palatable recital of factoids.

Meanwhile, the pressure is on Randy Wolf to deliver a quality start (as opposed to a Quality Start) tonight. With Dodger starters feeling really worked over, a righteous win by Wolf would boost the staff, even if the ready and willing relievers were to help out.

Two Articles That I Thought Were About Juan Pierre, But Aren't

1) Rob Neyer on "Don't Worry About That Noodle Arm" (actually, it's about catchers and how the ability to throw out baserunners is overrated)

2) (requires subscription): "Real Pirates Have Taken the 'Ho Ho' Out of 'Yo Ho Ho' for Cap'n Slappy" (subhead reads "It's No Fun Playing Dress Up, When Thugs Are at Large on High Seas"; whoops, this is about Somali pirates vs dress-up pirate enthusiasts)

Bullpen Glue Speaks

I'm a fan of Dodgers bullpen catcher Rob Flippo. Why? A small act of kindness. And now, thanks to SoSG reader Monty, we can learn a little more about Flippo:

Seven Questions with Rob Flippo, Dodgers' Bullpen Catcher (LAist)

Here's an excerpt:

Do you have any "Manny being Manny" stories to share with us?
I'll just tell you this, he makes everyone feel like they're the important one. I don't know if I am explaining this properly, but this is Manny Ramirez - one of the premiere players in all of baseball, and he's talking to you as if you're the special one in the conversation. I don't know anything about what happened in Boston, all I know is what I've seen from him here with the Dodgers. You'll see him walk in and sit next to someone whose got a half-a-season in the big leagues, and just talk to him, give him a hug and hang out with him for 15-20 minutes. He doesn't care who you are, he'll give you this time because you're a teammate. I don't know about "Manny being Manny" to me he's just a guy whose carefree, laid back and absolutely loves to play the game of baseball.

photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Post-Game 19 Thread: Rocked & Dinged

"Thank you for sparing my tears! I dance now!"


Clayton Kershaw: 4.2 IP, 8H, 9ER, 4BB, 4K, 2HR, 7.29 ERA. More question marks for the starting rotation! Dodgers are outscored in Denver 20-16 but take the series anyway.

photo: Getty Images

That's Where I Know Dinger(Berry) From !

The next dinosaur-killing meteor can't arrive fast enough.

Game 19 Thread: April 26 @ Rockies, 12n

"Getting swept makes me cry."

Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 4.41) vs. Jason Marquis (2-1, 4.26).

COMMENTS: Division sweet division. The Dodgers are now 13-2 against NL West opponents and go for another sweep of the Rockies today. The offense has made like a needle and found its groove, as the Dodgers are averaging six runs a game and have scored in the first inning ten of their 18 games (according to Steve Lyons on last night's post-game show). And there's still room for improvement, if Russell Martin can build on yesterday's four-RBI performance.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers' pitching situation is evolving faster than you can say (Danny) Darwin. ("We're not whole yet in the pitching staff," allows Joe Torre.) Presumptive anchor Hiroki Kuroda will be returning to Los Angeles today to have the dreamy Dr. Neal ElAttrache ElExamine his strained left oblique, but rookie James McDonald—baby steps!—got his first official win yesterday. In the bullpen, last night's hero Ramon Troncoso and Ronald Belisario continue to make their cases to fill in the gaps behind Jonathan Broxton. Even Hong-Chih Kuo might be regaining his mojo.

Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake AND Manny Ramirez (0-for-5 with 3 K's yesterday) are due for the day (or at least the start) off, so expect Juan Castro at short, Blake DeWitt at third and Juan Pierre in left. The Dodgers travel to the warm and caring embrace of San Francisco after today's game for more intra-divisional love. Let's hope they fly into the Bay Area on the wings of a broom.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Post-Game 18 Thread: Tron!


Ramon Troncoso (4.0 IP, 1H, 0R) gets the save. Russell Martin goes 2-for-5 with four RBIs. And congrats to James McDonald on his first major league win. Dodgers go to 13-5 and take another series!

And by request:

top photo by Roy Dabner/European Pressphoto Agency