Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giants' Win Worth A Lot Less Since No One Cares

From the notes section of USA Today this morning (no link):

A full postseason share for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants was worth $317,631, down from a record $350,030 for the New York Yankees in 2009.

A 9% haircut to Oyster Pubes and crew? Ha, ha!

Jeter Poll

Sorry about the Yankee-centric poll...but I'm curious what people think. Please try to answer from a team-neutral standpoint.

What do you think of the Yankees' 3-yr/$45m offer to Derek Jeter?
He deserves more
He deserves less
It's about right
Free polls from Pollhost.com

We've Got Uribe; What The Hell, Why Not Jeter At Shortstop?

At least, that's what ESPN columnist / comedian Wallace Matthews irrationally speculates:

NEW YORK -- Negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter are at a standstill until Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, "drink the reality potion," according to a source close to the negotiations.

According to the source, a baseball industry executive who has knowledge of both sides' position, the Yankees are not budging from the three-year, $45 million offer they made to Jeter earlier this month, nor has Jeter moved off his demand for a longer contract believed to be in the area of $23-$25 million per season. [...]

Other industry sources have mentioned the Los Angeles Dodgers as a possible Plan B for Jeter and Close, considering Jeter's warm relationship with Don Mattingly, who will succeed Joe Torre as manager for 2011, and his increasingly chilly relationship with the Yankees front office.

However, the Dodgers financial situation has changed due to the ongoing divorce battle between owner Frank McCourt and his estranged wife Jamie. In March 2009, the Dodgers gave Manny Ramirez a two-year, $45 million contract, but placed him on waivers last August, where he was claimed by the Chicago White Sox.

The uncertain financial future of the Dodgers pending the divorce settlement makes a possible Jeter-to-L.A. scenario a long shot at best.

Said the source: "There just doesn't seem to be much out there for him besides the Yankees."

Don't fret, Derek! Juan Uribe didn't think he had a lot of options either, and look at that fat guy now!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dodgers Targeting 'Obi' Juan Uribe

It's not much, but it's all the Dodgers news we have to talk about this morning. At least the starting rotation is set. When was the last time we could say that?

UPDATE: What is it about overpaying guys named Juan? Deal is for 3 years/$21 million.

Dodgers Reach Agreement With Juan Uribe (MLBTR)

Before They Were Stars

I had no idea he had a non-speaking bit part in 2002's 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Can you spot him*?

*hint: see 3:55

RIP Irvin Kershner

Irvin Kershner, ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Director, Dies at 87:

Irvin Kershner, the veteran filmmaker who directed the pivotal 1980 “Star Wars” sequel “The Empire Strikes Back,” as well as big-budget features like “Never Say Never Again” and “Robocop II,” has died, Agence France-Presse reported. His goddaughter Adriana Santini told Agence France-Presse that he died in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 87 years old.

We'll Miss You, Enrico Pallazzo

Actor Leslie Nielsen, known for comedies 'Naked Gun' and 'Airplane!', dies in Fla. at age 84 (LA Times)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SoSG Fantasy Football Week 11 Update (And Week 12 SmackThread)

Yikes, the Thanksgiving holiday is at its end and I've been so amped up on college football that I've forgotten to solicit the Week 11 wrapup! Here's the base statistics:

Week 11 Update:
Dusty Baker 118, Professor Dittmore 111 (what a game!)
Mr. LA Sports Fan 133, Nic J 77
Meanie Breanie 121, karina 78
Mr. Customer 95, Jason 83
Spanky 92, Paul 64

East: Dusty Baker 9-2, Mr. Customer 6-5, Mr. LA Sports Fan 5-6, Jason and Nic J tied at 3-8
West: Prof. Dittmore 8-3, Paul 6-5, Meanie Breanie and karina and Spanky all tied at 5-6

Work off that Thanksgiving stuffing and smacktalk away!

Update 7:45a from Mr LA SF (thank you!):

Two weeks are left in the Sons of Steve Garvey Fantasy Football League, and ESPN has released an early bracket for the playoffs if they took place now. #1 seed Dusty would play #4 seed Paul, and #2 seed Prof. Dittmore would play Mr. Customer. The rest would play in the "consolation ladder." More on the state of the playoffs will be announced at the end of the FF season. Now, Week 11's action:  

MLASF 133 (5-6) - NicJ 77(3-8): I get my third straight blowout victory, and fourth in five days, while Nic gets his eighth loss in nine games. Fred Jackson led the way with 24 points, while Maurice Jones-Drew and the Baltimore defense each took 23 points. Peyton Hillis followed with 19. The 18 points from Ray Rice were Nic's best from a player, while Tom Brady placed second with 15.  

Dusty Baker 118 (9-2) - Prof. Dittmore 111 (8-3): The battle of the juggernauts ended on a fantasy nail biter as Dusty entered MNF down by 14. However, Mike Tolbert more than made up for the deficit thanks to 21 points, and DB prevailed. Aaron Rodgers' 30 points went for naught for the Professor, as did 19 points from LeSean McCoy.  Dusty's victory was paved by 23 point outbursts from Marques Colston and Arian Foster.  

121 (5-6) - Karina 78 (5-6): In a rematch of the Battle of the Female SoSG Contingency, Meanie exacted her revenge for her early season loss to Karina. Ben Roethlisberger hauled in 34 points for MB, and the Steeler defense added 19. Karina lost despite 24 points from Mark Sanchez and 14 from Braylon Edwards  

Mr. Customer 95 (6-5) - Jason 83 (3-8): Mr. C moves above .500 with his win, while Jason suffers a tough loss, keeping him tied with Nic for the cellar. 16 points courtesy of Reggie Wayne took the tops for Customer, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis added 15. Dwayne Bowe had 22 points for Jason, and Cedric Benson added 18 in a losing effort.  

Spanky 92 (5-6) - Paul 64 (6-5): Spanky pulls the upset and stays in the race for a playoff birth after his victory, while Paul falls into a tie with Mr. C and on the brink of losing his playoff birth. Drew Brees helped the Spankster with a 27 point outing; Mike Goodson added 15. Michael Vick pulled 19 points for Paul, but Calvin Johnson was his only other man in double-digits with 10.  

Week 12 pits MLASF against Mr. C, Nic against Karina, Dusty against Jason, Paul against P. Ditty, and Spanky against MB. With two weeks left, the two wild card spots are up for grabs. Can I beat Mr. C and force a tie with just a week left? Will Paul fall to five-hundred? Will Meanie leave Spanky in the dust, or vice versa? Does Jason pull off the stunning upset?  

Well? I'm still waiting for your answers. Ah nuts to you, I'm gonna go teepee Ronald Johnson's dorm.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

P&A #29 Solving Thread

P&A #29 is out!

And I don't know what hurts more: the fact that we couldn't get a team together for last issue, or the fact that SoSG regular ubragg has found another team (which placed first, no less, for the last issue!). I feel like Tony Romo now that Jessica Simpson is engaged (except for the fact that I am employed, unlike her current beau).

I'm getting a late start but I'll be solving in the next hour. Fire away, guys!

Master Post and/or Post Master Thread

"Does Donahoe realize what he's in for? Fare thee well, my friend"

This may be SoSG's most flexible post to date. As you will soon see, not only are there multiple uses for it, but there are two categories of uses:

Use Category 1: Master Post for College FB Games. There are a number of big games featuring top-10 opponents:

  • #3 TCU vs New Mexico - I guess I'll root for TCU just to create more controversy over the BCS system.
  • #5 LSU vs Arkansas - Go Razorbacks! I'm actually indifferent towards both teams, but for DB's and P Ditty's sake, I'll root for Arkansas (plus, see next bullet)
  • Oregon State vs #6 Stanford - Go Stanford! It would be sweet to have two Pac-10 teams end up in the top 5, especially after last year's conference meltdown (and this year's predicted sad showing in hoops).
  • Northwestern vs #7 Wisconsin - Go Northwestern! I like purple and am trying to avoid cheese.
  • Michigan vs #8 Ohio St - I guess I'll root for Michigan. It wouldn't mind seeing an upset featuring the Yankees of college football as victim.
  • #13 Oklahoma vs #9 Oklahoma St - If every there were two top-15 teams heading into an arch-rivalry game that I truly didn't care about, this is it.
  • #10 Michigan St vs Penn St - Go Spartans! Why? Because 10 years ago I won an NCAA hoops pool thanks to Michigan State's victory. Or was it Orel that won? I can't remember. But I hate Penn St. Ok, that's the real reason.

Use Category 2: Postmaster General Discussion. As we all know, on December 3, Patrick R Donahoe will be taking over as Postmaster General after 9 years of John E Potter. No doubt the postal service is facing major challenges - it recently reported losses of $8.5 billion over the last fiscal year, despite cost reductions of $9 billion over the past 2 years. And volume of mail delivered dropped to 170.6 billion from 176.7 billion the previous year (no word on how volume of mail sent matched up with these numbers). But Donahoe, educated at Pittsburgh and MIT, and COO of the Postal Service the past 5 years, is ready for the challenges. "The Postal Service is my bitch," I imagine him saying in lieu of any actual quotes I could find. "I hope she's ready, cuz I'm headin' in!"

Good luck Patrick. And C'mon everyone else...do your part and mail stuff!!*

So there are your two use categories. Enjoy the freedom and enjoy the rest of the long weekend.

*"C'mon everyone - mail stuff!!" - that's my proposal for the Postal Service's new slogan. Please support me in this cause. Donahoe, are you listening??

Photo of Kellen Moore from AP/Cathleen Allison

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dodgers Pick Up Garland On Black Friday

While I was out shopping for doorbusters, it appears the Dodgers got one of their own, returning Jon Garland to the Dodgers for a bargain price of $5M:

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers further boosted an already formidable starting rotation on Friday by signing free-agent right-hander Jon Garland to a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2012.

Garland will be guaranteed $5 million for 2011 with an $8 million option in 2012 that becomes guaranteed if he reaches 190 innings in 2011. He has reached that number in all nine seasons since he became a full-time starter.

Garland rejoins the Dodgers after a year in San Diego and essentially becomes the fifth starter after youngsters Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and the more-seasoned Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda, each of whom re-signed earlier this offseason. [...]

Colletti has rebuilt the rotation before the tumult of the Winter Meetings starts in 10 days and can focus on acquiring a hitter and resolving the uncertainty at catcher. Monasterios can be shifted to the bullpen full-time, while Ely can compete for Jeff Weaver's swingman role.

"We're very pleased to have Jon join this group and give us five very strong starters going into Spring Training," Colletti said in a statement announcing the signing. "We saw what Jon was capable of down the stretch in 2009 and again last year within our division. Year after year, he takes the ball 30-plus times and gives his team a chance to win every time out."

The 31-year-old Garland has gone 131-114 with a 4.32 ERA during his 11-year career. He has averaged more than 32 starts and 200 innings per season in each of his nine full big league campaigns and has been on the disabled list just once in his career.

Not sure if the tryptophan is talking here or not, but even at this cut-rate price, I'm not sure why we haven't addressed the team's gaping holes on offense. In any event, welcome back, Jon.

Hat tip to Josh S. for the comment in the last thread. Now, I'm going back to watching the Alabama game and hoping it provides Stanford a path to the Rose Bowl (which is looking worse and worse each minute).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving / Master Game Thread

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Feel free to use this game thread for any of the following matchups:

  1. Patriots vs Lions
  2. Saints vs Cowboys
  3. Bengals vs Jets
  4. Kings vs Clippers
  5. Texas A&M vs Texas
  6. Temple vs Cal
  7. Murray State vs Stanford
  8. Thanksgiving Dinner vs Pepto Bismol

And in honor of today's feast, can anyone figure out the following cartoon (it's from Turkey*)?:

*see what I did there?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Psychological Evaluation Poll

Please select "A", not "B":
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Flying, Everybody!

From the Associated Press: TSA pat-down leaves Michigan man covered in urine. I can't think of any better way of heralding in this year's Thanksgiving Day travel disaster season than this story.

ROMULUS, Mich. – A bladder cancer survivor from Michigan who wears a bag that collects his urine said the head of the Transportation Security Administration called to apologize for an airport pat-down that caused the bag to spill its contents on his clothing.

Tom Sawyer, a 61-year-old retired special education teacher, said the experience left him in tears before he caught a flight to Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 7.

"I was absolutely humiliated. I couldn't even speak," the Houghton Lake man told MSNBC.com.

Sawyer said TSA chief John Pistole called him Monday and apologized on behalf of the TSA. Sawyer told The Detroit News that he "very graciously" accepted Pistole's apology.

"Here I am, just an average citizen from a small town," Sawyer told the Detroit Free Press. "I told him, `I only want training for the agents on medical conditions.'"

Sawyer said that once he got through security, he changed his bag, but didn't have time to change his clothing and had to board the plane soaked in urine.

And if this is what those TSA guys can do to Tom Sawyer, just think about what they would do to Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher. Yeesh.

In all seriousness, having already witnessed the beginnings to the holiday chaos in airports across the country this week--good luck out there and have a safe Thanksgiving holiday! Just remember: it's crazy out there--make the most out of even the most uncomfortable travel situations.

Happy Thanksgiving: Puzzling?

P&A Magazine #29 launches this Thanksgiving weekend, on Saturday at 7am PT.

The question is: given the holiday break, are we man enough to go after this?

Just to remind you of the stakes: we haven't placed in the top 10 since issue 23 (though admittedly we did not participate in many issues since then). A top-ten finish is entirely achievable--we've done this before. So, can we field a team for this upcoming round?

Post a comment if you're in. Gather your friends. Let's sharpen our pencils and see if we can stuff this turkey.

(P&A Magazine costs $4.95 per issue, payable over paypal, paid individually. Details here if you're interested and haven't yet established an account.)

Google Ads Part II

So here's the ad when I bring up SoSG. I'm not sure exactly how Google Ads works, but it seems to make sense, because earlier today I was doing some web-research on Central America. It leads me to believe that the ads are based on both the individual readers' surfing habits as well as perhaps the content of the blog itself.

So, um, Sax...about those surfing habits of yours...I'll assume you like Sprite...yeah how 'bout we just say that...

Google Ads Is The Bomb

Yep, they think this is a Drake fan site, rather than a Dodgers blog. But Matt Kemp still isn't worried.

Lopes Becomes Our New CrazySexyCool 1B Coach; Dodgers Also Add Hitting Instructor With MmmBop And Pack Mighty Wallach

Don Mattingly solidified his coaching staff Monday, allowing Davey Lopes to fill the role of Mariano Duncan, Tim Wallach to fill the role of Larry Bowa, and Dave Hansen to bring his creative juices as well to the Dodgers in 2011:

More than seven weeks after the end of their season, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally announced new manager Don Mattingly's coaching staff on Monday. The group, which includes six major league coaches, two additional hitting instructors and two bullpen catchers, also features four newcomers, the most notable of which is first-base coach Davey Lopes.

Lopes, who with first baseman Steve Garvey, third baseman Ron Cey and shortstop Bill Russell formed an infield that stayed together for a major league-record eight consecutive seasons with the Dodgers from 1974-81, became available last month after a contract impasse ended his four-year stint as the Philadelphia Phillies first-base coach. He will be donning a Dodgers uniform for the first time since he was traded to the Oakland A's on Feb. 8, 1982.

Lopes will be joined on the primary staff by bench coach Trey Hillman, hitting coach Jeff Pentland, third-base coach Tim Wallach, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Ken Howell. Pentland, Honeycutt and Howell are the only holdovers from former manager Joe Torre's staff, and Wallach was the Dodgers' Triple-A manager for the past two seasons.

Additionally, former Dodgers infielder and pinch-hitting specialist Dave Hansen joins the club as a secondary hitting instructor, along with longtime Dodgers fixture Manny Mota. Bullpen catchers Rob Flippo and Mike Borzello also will be returning.

Yes, I know we've used the "packs a wallach" line before. But at least we gave you doses of Hanson and TLC! (Now good luck getting Mmmbop out of your mind this morning.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The McRib Ain't Got Nothin' On Me

Were you faked out by the opening scene in this commercial?:

Not me! I sensed there was gonna be a twist1. I didn't know it was gonna be a McRib, but I knew there was something up.

So maybe I didn't see the ending of The Sixth Sense coming. Or The Crying Game. Or The Usual Suspects. Or Scream. Or Meatballs. But this one...I did (*pats self on back*).

Just wanted to let that be known.

1Psst...gather round closer (*looks around to make sure nobody else is in earshot*). Here's what clued me in: the guy and girl both lean in the same direction when going in for the 'kiss.' C'mon McDonalds, you can do better than that! In fact I almost looked away lest I see a poor guy blow his chance at kissing a hot girl by tilting his head the wrong way.

Yep...still the offseason...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SoSG Fantasy Football Week 10 Update (and Week 11 SmackThread)

I am on the lam this weekend so just in case I haven't received the final Mr. LA Sports Czar update, here's the quickie report from week 10:

Scores from last week (Week 10):
Mr LA Sports Fan 109, Meanie Breanie 58
Dusty Baker 92, Mr. Customer 70
Steve Dittmore 113, Spanky 92
Jason M 109, Nic J 72
Paul 114, karina 97

Standings to date:
East: Dusty Baker (8-2), Mr. Customer (5-5), Mr. LA Sports Fan (4-6), Jason (3-7), Nic J (3-7)
West: Steve Dittmore (8-2), Paul (6-4), karina (5-5), MeanieBreanie (4-6), Spanky (4-6)

Smack away in Week 11!

UPDATE: But wait, here's the detail:

It's hard to believe there's only three weeks left of the regular season. It seems like it was just yesterday we held the draft. Anywho, here's last week's action to get you caught up:

MLASF 109 (4-6) - Meaniebreanie 56 (4-6): I get my third resounding victory in four weeks, this time pulling even with MB and just a game out of a playoff berth. 25 points from Roddy White and 24 from Maurice Jones-Drew helped give me a strong advantage. MB received 26 points from Ben Roethlisberger while Brandon Lloyd added 21, but the rest of her team combined for just 11 points.

Dusty Baker 92 (8-2) - Mr. Customer 70 (5-5): The battle of two highly potent offenses never materialized, but that was enough for Dusty, who clinches a share of the Eastern Division crown with his eighth win. Knowshon Moreno hauled 21 points for DB, and Mario Manningham added 15. Mr. C saw 20 points from Steven Jackson and 19 from Eli Manning go in vain.

Prof. Dittmore 113 (8-2) - Spanky 92 (4-6): The Professor gets his eighth win of the season while Spanky suffers his second straight loss. Mike Wallace, formerly owned by Spanky, brought 25 points in for P. Ditty; Andre Johnson added 20 and LeSean McCoy threw in 15. Chatsworth High product Matt Cassel dropped 32 for the Spankster, who lost despite attaining his second largest score so far.

Jason (3-7) 109 - NicJ 72 (3-7): The luck stops for Nic after his upset over Dusty as he suffers his seventh loss in eight games; meanwhile, Jason pulls out of the doldrums and stays in the race for the last playoff berth. 30 points for Dwayne Bowe led the way for Team Deltalina, while Joe Flacco snagged 19 points. Nic's top scorer was Detroit QB Shaun Hill with 14 points, followed by Percy Harvin and David Akers with 12 apiece.

Paul 113 (6-4) - Karina 97 (5-5): Paul laps Karina for second place in the Western Division thanks to his last second win. Michael Vick's 49 points MNF outburst saved the proud pappa from what looked like certain defeat. Frank Gore added 20 points for Paul. Karina received 24 points from David Garrard and 18 from Jamaal Charles, but it went for naught.

Week 11 features Nic and MLASF, Dusty and Prof. Dittmore, MB and Karina, Mr. C and Jason, and Paul and Spanky. Will it be DB to suffer his third loss, or will he hand the Professor defeat? Who will win the battle of the SoSG female contingency? Will Mr. C tie Paul for the first wild card berth? Find out only at SoSG Fantasy Football! Or, if you prefer, the pirated Chinese version, Football Dreams Between Steve Garvey's Offspring.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dodger Pictures

Hey all. I was going through my computer and found some more pictures from a one of the last Dodger games against the San Diego Padres. This was using my new compact camera with a 14x zoom from field level seats, third base side. Not bad for a pocket camera. Enjoy!

Honoring Roy Campanella with his wife in attendance.

Newly signed Kuroda delivers.

Andre ready to jack one out.

The Power Swing.

Kemp's backside.

Happy Belated Birthday, Matt!

I never get tired of this picture.

If you close your eyes, you can almost hear Vin saying "Here's Kuroda with the pitch."

Loney standing tall.

The sweet left handed swing. Is that Glenn Hoffman in the background?

The moon over our town.

Raffy ready to pounce.

Raffy gets on base.

Tried a difference setting - better or worse?

Hey, you guys going to the playoffs? Naw, you guys?

Our new Manny replacement.

I must admit, this guy has a pretty sweet swing too.

Ladies, you're welcome.

Thanks Dodger Blue! See you next year!

MLB Adapts To Trophy Generation Needs

If eight playoff teams is good, thinks Bud Selig, then ten playoff teams has to be 25% gooder:

Commissioner Bud Selig's plan to expand baseball's playoffs to 10 teams gained a sense of inevitability after little to no opposition emerged during meetings this week with owners and general managers.

Selig said his special 14-man committee will discuss adding two wild-card teams when it meets Dec. 7 during the winter meetings in nearby Lake Buena Vista.

"We will move ahead, and move ahead pretty quickly," Selig said Thursday after three days of meetings concluded.

A change would have to be approved by owners, who next meet Jan. 12-13 in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and by the players' association, which has said it is open to the extra round. The additional games would also have to be sold to baseball's national television partners and slotted into a crowded schedule that has already pushed the World Series into November in the past two years.

Because baseball's labor contract runs to December 2011, the extra round of playoffs is not likely to start until 2012.

"I'm not going to rule out anything," Selig said. "We'll just proceed and whatever we decide, then we'll just see how fast we can get it done. Once we pass something, I'm always anxious to get it done." [...]

There would be two wild-card teams in each league, and the wild-card teams would meet to determine which advances to division series with the three first-place teams in each league. [...]

Some would have the new round be best-of-three, and others would have it as a one-game winner-take-all game. The mechanics appear to be at issue more than the concept.

"I pretty much know where all the constituencies are now," Selig said. "Eight is very fair number but so is 10."

No comment as to whether Selig thinks nine, eleven, twelve, and thirteen are fair numbers or not (frankly, I've found that eleven number to be kinda surly, in a I-don't-want-to-meet-this-number-in-a-dark-alley kind of way; but maybe Bud has had different experiences). But it is nice to see that Selig is making sure even more teams feel like their 162-game slog was worthwhile. We can all be winners, right?

Where Does SoSG Dominate the Internet?

How many one-word search terms can you find that, when googled, return SoSG as the top result? Here are a few to get you started:

  • intergectic (thanks Mr F)
  • smonkstakes
  • smonkdate
  • faberuben

Remember, one-word only. Yeah, there's not a whole lot to do today...

Lambo: Quickly Becoming Expendable?

Cleaning out the email box...thanks to Bryan M. for this Keith Law tidbit (insider only) (from late October!) on Andrew Lambo, one of the two Dodgers we pitched to Pittsburgh to rent "Doctor" Octavio Dotel for a month and a half:

Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew Lambo's shown good and bad sides so far in Arizona. The good has been the raw power -- it's a simple, direct swing with good leverage, and he can murder a fastball or poorly placed offspeed pitch, mostly pull the ball. He's fringy defensively but has a plus arm and probably won't cost his team too many runs in right field. The bad has been the on-field behavior -- arguing loudly with an umpire (attendance is sparse here, so we could hear every word in the seats) and, after flinging his bat into the seats on a swing and miss, holding up the game until the young fan gave him back his bat, only to fling it right back into the stands again and raise the same stink.

Lambo has already been suspended once for marijuana usage, but from where I sit that's only relevant if it impacts his work ethic or ability to play the game. I'm much more concerned about the immaturity he's shown, because that's a potential sign that he's not going to fare well with coaches trying to help him improve or teammates who will have little patience for his antics between the lines.

Okay, so perhaps Lambo wasn't that much of a loss for the Dodgers. That still doesn't explain why we included J-Mac in the trade for a 45-day rental, however.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kemp Stays Cool Amidst Rihanna Flames

"I am not a threat to Matt Kemp."

From the World News Network (and Hot 97!) (no link):

RIHANNA has explained why her blossoming romance with DRAKE fizzled out, insisting she was too "fragile" to commit to another relationship following her split from CHRIS BROWN.

[Rihanna] has now spoken out about her involvement with Drake, insisting she was "attracted" to him, but just wasn't ready for another boyfriend.

She tells American radio station Hot 97, "We weren't really sure what it was. We just went out - my friends, his friends. I definitely was attracted to Drake, but I think it is what it is, like it was what it was. We didn't want to take it any further. It was at a really fragile time in my life, so I just didn't want to get too serious with anything or anyone at that time."

And Rihanna hopes her current partner, Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp, doesn't feel uncomfortable watching her onscreen with Drake in their steamy video for her track What's My Name?

She adds, "(Kemp) never said it out loud, but I don't know what he's thinking. He watched it the other day and he was like, 'I love that video. It's a great video, babe.' I don't know how true that really was, but he seemed to like it."

I sense a budding media mogul developing in center field.

Smonkstakes Just Got Harder

It's time we made you work for it.

Get ready to use some new wrist muscles, cuz starting sometime today we're moving the smonkstakes link down. Meaning you'll no longer be able to click on it from the opening pageload.

Now we'll see who really wants it.

Scroll, bitch.

Campanis Fleeced While At Charity Event

The other night, I was at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, and on the counter by the checkout stations they had these plastic watercooler bottle jugs in which people could leave change to benefit relief efforts in Louisiana. And I noticed these jugs were chained to the counter.

I talked to the Amoeba employee about it, and he told me not only were people running out the door stealing the money, but the store was also robbed at night and the robbers had cut the chains to take the bottles. So now, the employees have to take the donation bottles and move them to the safe at nights.

And I thought to myself, how low can we go as a society, when we are stealing donations of loose change meant to benefit relief efforts?

Well, here it is. From the AP Newswires (no link), the son of former Dodgers GM Al Campanis had his father's World Series ring taken while he was participating in a charity event:

CHINO HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Jimmy Campanis says a 1988 World Series ring was stolen from his golf bag at a charity tournament.

Campanis tells the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that the ring and a Rolex watch were stolen Monday at Western Hills Golf Course in Chino Hills.

He says the watch had sentimental value because it belonged to his father -- former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis.

Campanis says the ring and watch were in his golf bag as he warmed up, but gone when he returned.

Detective Ray Hilfer says police are interviewing tournament participants and checking pawn shops and EBay.

Campanis has three rings, one he earned as a player in 1965 and two he earned as a member of the organization in 1981 and 1988.

Way to go, society!

Anyone Have Any Intergectic Friends?

Apparently, The Number 1 College Party...needs college students to attend. Especially the intergectic collegiate types.

picked up at Amoeba Music Hollywood this week

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing The Next Chapter of Martin's L.A. Story

Kevin Baxter had a nice piece in today's LAT detailing both sides of the difficult Russell Martin debate. This one, like all of them, comes down to money; however with as much of a clubhouse presence as Martin has been the last three years, it also comes down to heart vs. mind.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has a lot of decisions to make over the next couple of weeks, but few figure to be as difficult or time consuming as the one regarding catcher Russell Martin.

The team has until Dec. 2 to offer Martin a contract or allow him to become a free agent. Martin made $5 million last year when a hip injury limited him to a career-low 97 games, and he could make more next season in salary arbitration if the Dodgers keep him.

"Russell's the one that we're going to spend the most time debating," Colletti said Tuesday during a break at Major League Baseball's annual general managers' meetings. "He's coming off a different kind of injury — and a serious injury. So he's somebody we've spent a lot of different conversations [on] trying to figure out what would be best."

Beyond the injury, what concerns the Dodgers is that Martin's production has dropped dramatically since he made All-Star appearances in 2007 and 2008. He has hit only .249 since then — 23 points below his career average — and with fewer home runs than he hit in 2008 alone.

Still, the Dodgers haven't given up on the 27-year-old, and they may try to bring him back for less. It's an option that may appeal to Martin since it would allow him to avoid a free-agent market already crowded with catchers.

The other nuggets buried deep in this article indicate that James Loney may be staying after all, despite his continued lack of power numbers, at a traditional power position, made worse by being on an offensively challenged team. And, Baxter says we won't enter the fray for Adam Dunn or Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Colletti also said he is "not done shopping for arms," perhaps learning from the Giants' fluky run this postseason, and/or considering that pitching might be a better thing to stockpile while free agent bats are in limited supply (driving overmarket values).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Welcome, A-Jacks

Remember Octavio Dotel last year? Yeah, me neither. After picking him up mid-season from Pittsburgh, in exchange for Andrew Lambo and James McDonald (the latter of which still disappoints me), Dotel was with us for like a split second, with 18.2 IP over 19 G with a 3.38 ERA and a 1-1 record. And then we flipped him to the Rockies a month-and-a-half later. Not much of a rental at that, that Dotel, but at least we were supposed to get a player to be named later.

Well, MLB Trade Rumors reports that Anthony Jackson is indeed that player to be named later. Which is a real bummer for this poor kid, since he is 26 years old and has played five years of minor league ball (including 2010 in AA)--and by now he's probably gotten pretty used to his name being "Anthony Jackson". As per the terms of the deal, though, later is now. So what should we name him?

Might we suggest, "A-Jacks"? Jump on in, A-Jacks!

(Not to be confused with Ajax, that is.)

Oh yeah, the story:

The Dodgers have selected outfielder Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in September's Octavio Dotel trade according to the Rockies' official Twitter feed. Dotel allowed four runs in just 5 1/3 innings with the Rockies.

Jackson, 26, is a career .252/.331/.340 hitter in 2,290 minor league plate appearances. He's spent the last two seasons with Colorado's Double-A affiliate and was not listed as one of the team's top 30 prospects in the 2010 edition of Baseball America's Prospect Handbook.

Random Sax sidebar: This is neither here nor there, but I have this bizarre childhood memory of a summer at tennis camp in which another kid had this strange penchant of running around wearing nothing but tighty-whitey underpants and socks, then clasping his two hands together between his legs, and then hoisting himself up in the air repeatedly while yelling "Apple Jacks! Apple Jacks!". I haven't really thought much about that guy until I started writing this post, but I don't believe he went on to a promising tennis career. However, he may have joined the soprano section of the choir.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2011 Dodgers Manager (Having Just Rolled Out Of Bed)

From the Dodgers' own website:

Look, I'm approaching Donnie Baseball with an open mind here. But can we please get him a hairstylist, stat? Surely we can channel a small fraction of Jamie McCourt's hair stylist fees over toward Mattingly's way, right?

Everybody Loves Carl

Can't get enough Buster? Well, Buster Olney (over at ESPN.com) mentioned the Dodgers as one team that could really use the services of Carl Crawford in outfield. Get in line, however; there are many suitors (insider only):

Carl Crawford would help any team, because of his defense, speed and power, because of the way he goes about his work daily. But not all needs are equal; some teams need Crawford more than others.

The Yankees' priority is to sign Cliff Lee, and if they're successful in that pursuit, they probably would feel comfortable going into next year with an outfield of Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. If they don't get Lee, the focus of their pursuit might change to Crawford or some other player. But for other teams, Crawford is a primary target, someone who could fill many needs. Ranking the Crawford pursuers, in order of need:

1. The Angels: The Rangers played in the World Series and there's every reason to think they will continue to get better, as Derek Holland evolves and as the other pitchers in the organization develop. Meanwhile, the Angels have regressed, as once-touted prospects like Brandon Wood have floundered. The Angels finished 19th in runs scored -- partly because of the season-ending injury to Kendry Morales, but also because Mike Scioscia's lineup simply lacks depth. Crawford would be a perfect fit as a No. 3 hitter, because his speed and baseline aggressiveness would match the way Scioscia manages. He could hit third in the Angels' lineup, right in front of Morales and Torii Hunter, and create situations in which those two would see more fastballs.

2. The Red Sox: Boston GM Theo Epstein may lose Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre through free agency, and no matter what choices he makes, he will be looking to make the team younger and better defensively, and the addition of Crawford would do that. And if the Red Sox win the bidding for Crawford, the top five hitters in their lineup would look something like this (and it would be daunting for any pitcher):

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
LF Carl Crawford
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz

3. The Tigers: Once the injuries hit Detroit in the middle of the 2010 season, the lineup around Miguel Cabrera was weakened, and there was no reason for opposing teams to pitch to the slugger and every reason to pitch around him. In August, Cabrera was issued 28 walks. The Tigers appear to have the makings of an excellent rotation for 2011, but they have to bolster the front part of their lineup to give Cabrera more opportunities to swing the bat in meaningful situations, and adding Crawford -- whether he would hit second or third -- would be a big step in that direction.

4. The Dodgers: Of course he'd be great for them, batting in front of Andre Ethier, but it would seem unlikely they would be in position to pursue the high-priced Crawford given that the McCourts' divorce has not been settled.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Yet A Kuroda-d House

"Welcome back, Kuroda" has already been used; heck, we ran this pun back in July 2008. So here we are now, evoking new pun-stimulated groans, hoping that the one-year, $12M offer by the Dodgers is accepted by Hiroki Kuroda, a Dodger whose grittiness over a three-year tenure has been appreciated. Couple that with Kuroda's durability in the 2010 season (his prior two seasons had injury stints, but in 2010 he was solid), and we're hoping to see him back in Dodger Blue next year.

As of 6:55p on 11/15, the Dodgers website says the deal is still close but not inked. Let's hope Hiroki had better be home (in Chavez Ravine, that is), soon.

Note: Make sure to check out the angry birds moment at 2:10. Ahead of their time, those Finns were.

UPDATE 7:05p: Whoops, Dylan Hernandez tweeted in the last hour that the deal is signed. That's something so strong, indeed.

Beltre Or Bust

I'm still fixated on Adrian Beltre, in the longshot hopes that he will end up back with the Dodgers for 2011. It won't happen, I know. But might I point you toward Keith Law of ESPN.com, who says "it's Beltre or bust" in the 3B market this offseason (insider only):

1. Adrian Beltre: Beltre got out of Safeco and was fully healthy in 2010, leading to the walk year he probably should have had in 2009. His two-strike approach improved, and he hit every kind of pitching to all fields. He's a pull-oriented hitter whose approach won't work everywhere, but even if his bat does regress -- as it likely will -- he provides a ton of value as one of the game's best defensive third basemen.

2. Juan Uribe: Plays a good third base defensively, but doesn't project to hit enough to play it every day. Still, he is the only other option for whom I could hear an argument.

3. I don't know: If you want a free agent to play third base for you every day, it's Beltre or bust. There isn't even another viable conversion candidate among the middle infielders beyond Uribe.

Yikes, I Don't Know on third? That sounds positively comical.

Oyster Pubes Wins ROTY


UPDATE 2:04p: Instead, let's look at highlights of a Buster we actually like, shall we?

Monday Notesy Monday

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SoSG Fantasy Football Week 9 Update (Week 10 Smack Thread)

The Thursday Ravens-Falcons game notwithstanding, I'm here to discuss results from Week 9 of the SoSG Fantasy Football League. That's right, Mr. LA Sports Czar Fan Guru Jedi Master is letting me take the reins here--which is dangerous, since I know about as much about football as Vma knows about baseball, or movies, or anything else for that matter.

But in all seriousness, I'm honored that Mr LA Sports Fan opted to play Commissioner and nine other SoSG readers are taking part. So hopefully, I don't do you all a disservice and overcome my football (especially fantasy football) naivete to recap a big Week 9.

Dusty Baker 93 (7-2) upset by Nic J 98 (3-6): In just his second loss of the season, Dusty Baker (7-2) looked to Wes Welker in his starting lineup, and Welker delivered a pathetic four points. Not that Dusty had a lot of other options; his benched player only contributed five points at the WR slot. And, so, Nic J took control of the head-to-head matchup, thanks in part to his kicker Akers who had four FG and two extra points to amass 15 points for the week. Fear the foot.

Jason 49 (2-7) slaughtered by Mr. LA Sports Fan 119 (3-6): The battle of 2-6 teams did not go well for Jason, who depended on Seattle RB Lynch to back up his first-stringer from Cincinnati; Marshawn only delivered four points (which I suppose is over 8% of the total week's points, so that isn't all that bad). Meanwhile, Mr. LA Sports Fan had the week's top score, overcoming Thomas Jones' putrid three-point performance through 31-point and 18-point contributions from others.

Professor Dittmore 98 (7-2) beats Karina 92 (5-4): The Professor sat Buffalo WR Evans, which worked out well (he would have contributed only 3 points)--but rode the shoulders of Rodgers, the Cal alum and under-rated Green Bay QB, to victory. Karina was close behind thanks to a great 26-point contribution from Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, but benching Larry Fitzgerald at the WR slot (he had 10 points) was a mistake that would have made the difference in the matchup. Sigh.

Paul 81 (5-4) loses to Meaniebreanie 95 (4-5): Paul can't blame Charger WR Sevi Ajirotutu (whose name rocks the house btw), given his 23-point performance that was the team's second-best contribution this week. But the most points across both teams in the matchup went to Meaniebreanie's Terrell Owens, the volatile Bengals WR, who picked up 26 fantasy points despite his team losing on Monday night.

Spanky 65 (4-5) crushed by Mr. Customer 109 (5-4): Two 4-4 teams met, but Spanky did not come out on top this week; luckily, the benching of Ochocinco (who had only one point) wasn't the deciding factor in Spanky's demise. No, Mr. Customer got an unlikely 18-point contributions from Giants WR Nicks, whose 18 points helped propel Mr. C to victory.

So there you have it, fantasy football recapped for the masses. Week 10's big matchup is Mr. Customer vs. Dusty Baker, with the other four head-to-head plays being Meaniebreanie vs. Mr. LA SportsFan, Spanky vs. the Professor, Jason vs. Nic J, and karina vs. Paul. Go to it, sports fans!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Commercial of the Year

The short version is even better, but I can't find it online. Maybe I'm late to this, but I saw it for the first time at the gym, with the sound off, and got chills anyway — it was better than many movies I've seen. Kudos to Nissan and TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Friday, November 12, 2010


From "Dodgers host soldiers with BP on Veterans Day" by Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com:

For the 2011 season, the club will make tickets discounted up to 75 percent available to active duty and retired armed forces personnel, including reserve and National Guard components, for all home games. Spouses and dependents will be eligible and up to eight tickets per game will be available per purchase.

The club also will honor a veteran at every home game with tickets, a batting practice experience and pregame recognition on the field.

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Dodgers Mulling Over Martin

ESPN, in its position-by-position review of players like to be involved in the hot stove market this season, did a pretty good job summarizing the Dodgers' quandary at catcher (insider only):

With Russell Martin getting expensive via arbitration -- he could make more than $8 million in 2011 after earning just over $5 million this past season -- the Dodgers could look to move the 27-year-old after watching his production decline for the third consecutive campaign. The problem is, the Dodgers lack in-house options for the lead gig at catcher and aren't expected to significantly increase their payroll to the point where jumping into the market for Victor Martinez would be plausible.

Martin could interest several clubs, including the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, and the Dodgers might then be found turning to A.J. Pierzynski, Ramon Hernandez or John Buck. A.J. Ellis and Rod Barajas shared the job in L.A. when Martin went down with a season-ending hip injury in August, but Barajas is a free agent and Ellis managed just five extra-base hits in 44 games.

Lucas May, 26, is the club's best bet in the minors, but his defensive development appears to have stagnated which leaves Dodgers GM Ned Colletti with a decision to make on Martin.

Martin isn't listed as one of the three catchers to avoid, but he is listed as one of the catchers to discuss:

3. Russell Martin: A likely non-tender, Martin's body has gone south on him in the last two years, and he's lost bat speed and strength. Some players peak early, and while Martin's probably worth a minor league contract and spring training invite, there's too much reason to think he's done to guarantee him seven figures or two years.

I still can't believe it's come to this, after Martin's meteoric rise--but it's true that he has been a liability both defensively and offensively the last couple of years. Martin has tried a number of different off-season workout regimens but none have paid off. I hate to admit it because Martin is the kind of player I would like to like--but I believe it's time to move on at the catcher's spot.

Finally Got Three Stars on Angry Birds 5-3

My 1,000th try got me 83,510. Wow, that level was a pain.

The Greinke Longshot

From deep down in Jayson Stark's column (don't bother looking to see if the Dodgers are noted as one of the five teams that could have a pitching-paved path to 2011 success, because we ain't there), some thoughts about Zack Greinke coming from Kansas City to the Dodgers:

Zack exchange: Are the Royals serious about trading Zack Greinke? Well, they're serious about listening. But according to clubs that have spoken with them, they're telling bidders up front that (A) they would need to "win" the deal, (B) they would have to get the kind of four-for-one haul the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira to pull the trigger, (C) they need a bunch of "front-line, winning, quality players" in return, and (D) at least one of those players has to be a pitcher capable of turning into the next Zack Greinke in a couple of years. So unless a team like Texas were to lose Cliff Lee and decide it needs to trade for Greinke at all costs, we're betting this doesn't happen -- not this winter, anyway.

More Greinke: Clubs that checked in on Greinke have also come away with the impression he wouldn't approve a deal to ANY major-market East Coast team (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets). But an official of one team says Greinke "would at least think about the L.A. clubs" if the Dodgers or Angels were to wade into this mix.

Yeah, considering we probably wouldn't do (B), (C), or (D), we're probably not in the running for Zackster. Which means we'll go after Cliff Lee, right?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday NFL Game Thread: Ravens @ Falcons (5.20p)

I honestly don't know what to think when Thursday night NFL games start rolling around late in the season. But if any of you care about two 6-2 teams facing off this evening, this GT is for you.

(It's probably not for me, though.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Notes, Veterany Goodness Edition

Red Sox Would Be Foolish To Let Beltre Go

Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi thinks the Red Sox would be foolish not to chase third baseman (and former Dodger) Adrian Beltre:

But the top priority should be keeping one of their own: Adrian Beltre.

Beltre is a free agent again, after making good on one of the wisest one-year deals (for both player and team) in recent memory. He didn’t join the Red Sox until January but was absolutely their best all-around player in 2010.

On the team with an All-Star disabled list, Beltre was the leader in games played. He batted a team-high .321. He finished with more home runs (28) and RBIs (102) than he had in any season since 2004. He played magnificent defense.

His agent, Scott Boras, has built an empire on contract years like this.

And that is sort of the point: The Red Sox are going to spend big on someone, because, much like the Yankees after 2008, ego will compel them to ensure that they do not miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons. So why not give those millions to a player who (a) can handle playing in Boston and (b) wears out The Wall? [...]

Of course, there are whispers that Beltre is headed to a team on the West Coast, because (a) his wife is from there and (b) he owns a home there. I haven’t heard this much talk about baseball geography since Jason Bay, the Seattle-area resident who was destined to sign with the Mariners, Angels or Giants for precisely the same reasons. Lest we forget, he’s a Met.

When it comes to Adrian Beltre, the Red Sox have the money and the need. Their first move of the offseason should be the obvious one.

Well, the Dodgers have the need, though likely not the money. Even still, I can keep dreaming for Beltre as the answer to our big question mark at third base for 2011. Come on, Dodgers: BRING BACK BELTRE!

photo swiped from a boston.com article earlier this year

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dodgers Announce Interest In Cliff Lee; SoSG Sax Announces Interest In Jessica Alba

From MLB Trade Rumors this morning:

Seven to eight teams have already shown interest in free agent lefty Cliff Lee, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He says the Yankees and Rangers are still the favorites, but the Phillies, Dodgers, and others have checked in.

As Rosenthal notes, it's questionable as to whether the Phillies or Dodgers could come up with the money for Lee. He's expected to sign for significantly more than $100MM. I imagine the Nationals checked in as well; they do have the money and are known to be interested. While the Red Sox and Angels appear poised to spend their money on position players, we won't count them out until they say so.

About that other point in the headline; we can use this thread to debate that as well. I mean, raising one's hand up here doesn't seem very close to the reality, in either case.

Unsigned Theriot Laments Gulf

Not a gulf in his contract negotations; rather, Dodgers second baseman and free agent Ryan Theriot is trying to raise funds for a charity golf event benefitting the Louisiana oil spill recovery, as well as the fight against autism:

Next month, the Dodgers must decide whether to tender a contract to Ryan Theriot and he knows it's no slam dunk. But this week, Theriot's focus is not on baseball.

Instead, the Dodgers second baseman is holding a celebrity golf tournament Friday in his native Louisiana to raise funds and awareness for the recovery from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as well as for the fight against autism.

Theriot, an LSU alum, will donate money to the National Wildlife Federation: Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund, the Autism Society of America Baton Rouge and the Fore! Kids Foundation, which exposes children to the game of golf. The tournament will be held at the Carter Plantation in Springfield, La.

But good deeds aside, let's pivot (as second basemen are prone to do) and talk about whether Theriot, who joined the Dodgers on August 31 last season, is worth picking up next year:

Theriot committed only one fielding error while with the Dodgers and hit .309 in August, but tailed off offensively in September, when he hit .141. He didn't have an extra-base hit after Aug. 26, but he led the club in runs scored from the time he arrived.

"Numbers-wise I didn't feel I was where I want to be," said Theriot, who will be 31 next month. "I can get better, and from a team standpoint, it was disappointing watching other teams in October because we were capable of doing just that."

Theriot lost an arbitration hearing last year with the Cubs, receiving the team offer of $2.6 million and not the $3.4 million he was seeking. Arbitration-eligible again this year, Theriot figures to be looking for something close to $4 million, which makes him a threatened non-tender candidate. The top Minor League candidate at the position is Ivan DeJesus Jr., but there is no obvious in-house choice to step in if Theriot is cut loose.

Yikes. Yet another position where we are pretty thin with alternatives.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mose Gets His Wish

Holy Toledo, this year might not be a total disaster after all. Jon Miller AND Joe Morgan have been fired from ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball:

Jon Miller and Joe Morgan's 21-year run on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" is over.

Morgan's contract is expiring and he will not be renewed. Miller's contract is also expiring though he may remain at ESPN working the "Sunday Night Baseball" series and postseason baseball for ESPN Radio.

"Jon and Joe have contributed greatly to the success of 'Sunday Night Baseball' for the past 21 seasons," ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said in a statement Monday. "Over the last two decades, Joe went from Hall of Fame player to one of his sport's top analysts and Jon's Hall of Fame voice and tremendous knowledge of the game have connected with baseball fans everywhere. We owe them our deepest thanks for an outstanding body of work."

Wait, I don't have to be told what EVERY SINGLE PITCH type is? Nor do I have to hear unique pronunciations of Latin American surnames? Nor do I have to listen to factually inaccurate anecdotal wives tales being purported as facts? And all it took was to have the Giants win a World Series that no one watched? Shit, that's all you had to say!

(Hat tip to Mr. LA Sports Czar at 4:16p for the headsup!)

Also: google "Michael Schur" and this is one of the things you get. Cool.