Friday, April 30, 2010

Post-Game 23 Thread: Everybody Wins

Dodgers win!

Lakers win!

Bret Michaels wins!

Lady Gaga wins!

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

Soon, clicking on the above graphic will take you to our new Accuscore Game Forecast page. And that's about the happiest thing in this Game Thread.

Chad Billingsley (1-1, 5.40) vs. Charlie Morton (0-4, 16.20).


COMMENTS: Charlie Morton? Who is Charlie Morton? "He has not pitched a full four innings in three of his four outings and has allowed at least five runs per start," tells us...which means he'll likely throw a complete-game shutout against the Dodgers tonight. I mean, the Dodgers have lost five straight and are tied for the worst record in the NL. The Pirates should have been an antidote. Instead, they're poison.

On a less vituperative note, tonight is Dodgertown's UCLA night. The first 20,000 fans get a Bruin-blue UCLA hat; those spending $45 to sit out in the right field lower reserve boondocks also get a Dodgertown/UCLA T-shirt and an all-inclusive themed menu (centered around pastrami sandwiches), in addition to Dodger Dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks.

SoSG Glossary: The MSB

Since we've been around here for a number of years now, we've developed a series of terminology germane to our site--our own "language", if you will. And for those of you who are newer to SoSG, we want to make sure you don't feel out of the loop.

One term that has required explanation a couple of times in the last two weeks is "MSB". MSB refers to "Mini Sirloin Burger", a new product that was heavily promoted during the 2009 season by Jack in the Box. Let's roll the tape, so those of you who are out of market can hear the catchy tune (and those of you who are in-market can thank us for getting said tune stuck echoing in your skull for the rest of the weekend).

On SoSG, we use the term to describe a specific type of player. And I had forgotten that Orel was kind enough to add this term (and defintion) to Pitchers and Poets' "Rogue's Baseball Index" glossary a while back:


The MSB is a pejorative term for a tiny, annoying player, often a middle infielder. The Mini Sirloin Burger at Jack in the Box? Tasty. Getting beat by a player who looks small enough to fit in Ryan Howard’s back pocket? Like a mouthful of ashes. Such annoying players can be identified by these media-friendly descriptors: Pesky. Grit. Hustle. (The non-media-friendly version? Pain in the ass.) The MSB rarely puts up impressive numbers, but always seems to be knocking in the game-winning run against your team — on a bloop single, naturally.

Current MSBs include:

  • * David Eckstein (listed at 5′7″)
  • * Craig Counsell (amazingly, listed at 6′0″)
  • * Maicer Izturis (listed at 5′8″)

We can do more of these glossary entries if you all think this is helpful. Just post a comment on a term on which you'd like more context. Thanks!

(You think that song is catchy? Just remember, they followed up with this one.)

Friday Notes

AP photo

Matt Kemp Is a Big Boy

Much has been made of the hoo-hah between Ned Colletti and Matt Kemp (VSIMH has all the gory details, while MoKM and MSTI done tore Ned a new one, yessirree). And last night's first-inning misplay by Kemp, which allowed the Pirates' only two runs to score, won't help settle things — Kemp even heard some boos at Dodger Stadium, maybe for the first time in his career.

But the most troublesome issue fans are worrying about is whether Colletti's comments will be the beginning of the end of Kemp's tenure with the Dodgers. A quote from Dave Stewart, Kemp's agent, is causing the stir:

"When it comes time for Matt to arbitrate two years from now, we're going to look at that situation and do what's best for Matt," he said on The Mason and Ireland Show on 710 ESPN Los Angeles. "When it comes time for Matt to be a free agent three years from now, we're going to look at that situation in the same way as I would with Chad Billingsley, my other client on that ballclub.

Look carefully at that quote. It's something Stewart would still say if the Dodgers were 22-0 instead of 8-14 right now. An agent is always going to "do what's best" for his clients. If Kemp ends up leaving the Dodgers, it won't be because of sore feelings. It'll be because another team will have offered him more money.

Kemp is just about my favorite Dodger right now, and hopefully he'll transcend this nonsense. But if he bails on us, blame Frank McCourt for not having enough money to keep him. Matt Kemp is a big boy — Ned Colletti's words will never hurt him.

photo by Allen J. Schaben/LA Times

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post-Game 22 Thread: 'There Is A Loft Upstairs. You Can Use That Firepole'


Hmm. Last year, we started the season 14-8, but this year, we've started the season 8-14. It just seems like everything's a little backwards...

Earlier: 'I Know A Little German', 'He's Just A Little Horse'

Game 22 Thread: April 29 vs. Pirates, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 3.13) vs. Brian Burres (0-1, 9.31).


COMMENTS: SportsFanLive is giving us the opportunity to partner with Accuscore, the company responsible for those cool forecasts you see at and elsewhere. Take a look and tell us what you think:

Other notes on tonight's game (from Sax):

  • The Dodgers have given up 122 runs this year, 15th in the NL--with the worst team being tonight's opponent, Pittsburgh. Bring your fleece blanket, as you may be there for a while.
  • Tonight is Dodgertown, USC night. First 20K fans get a Trojan-red USC hat (this looks so wrong); those spending $45 to sit out in the right field lower reserve boondocks also get a free Dodgertown/USC t-shirt and an all-inclusive themed menu (centered around pastrami sandwiches), in addition to Dodger Dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks.

'I Know A Little German'

Faced with a league-worst 8-13 record before even finishing the first month of play, the Dodgers' marketing staff has rolled out a host of additional "My Town" promotional events this season. Perhaps someone is starting to worry about potential attendance shortfalls?

Futbol fans, LA marathon runners, Brooklyn nostalgists, and facebook neophytes will all get My Town treatment (i.e., $45 gets you a ticket to some right-field lower reserve seats, an all-inclusive menu including special themed items on top of basic Dodger (non-alcoholic fare), and a commemorative t-shirt.

Adding to the original roster of countries (Taiwan, Venezuela, Cuba, Japan, Mexico, Korea), the Dodgers have added My Town nights for Ireland, Italy, Japan, and (to celebrate Oktoberfest) Germany. Hey, I know a little German!

Earlier: 'He's Just A Little Horse'

Blue Plate Special: Philippe the Original

Welcome to the first edition of Blue Plate Special. I thought of combining my two favorite pastimes - baseball and food. I wanted to try to find some places around town that feature great food and Dodger pride. And the first place that came to mind was Philippe.

I know that Steve Sax already featured the Los Angeles staple in 2008, but I thought I would recap a little. Philippe The Original was established in 1908 and lays claim to creating the French Dipped Sandwich by mistakingly dropping the french roll into a roasting pan filled with hot beef juice. He offered it up to a customer and history was made. They moved to their current location in 1958.

The atmosphere is great and it is usually crowded with the lines from the counter reaching the back wall. You get up to the counter and you are greeted by a "Carver" who kindly takes your order and prepares your meal. It is CASH ONLY so be prepared (although there is an ATM in the back). They have a variety of french dipped sandwiches, including beef, pork, ham, lamb, and turkey. They dip the bread themselves and stack the sandwich with the meat of your choosing. The roll itself is crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside thanks to the juice. The side salads are great as well. We selected the potato and the cole slaw. The slaw had just enough vinegar to give it a nice kick. Finally, the drink selection is nice, with prices that herald back to yesteryear. Iced tea and lemonade are 65 and 75 cents respectively! Take that $5.00 Dodger stadium water! We topped our meal off with a freshly baked donut for dessert.

The atmosphere creates a sense of cohesiveness with family style long tables and sawdust on the floor. Inevitably there is a child on his or her hands and knees making a sawdust mountain. There is a nice flatscreen television above the Philippe store which, when we went, was showing the Dodger game. There is an upstairs as well, which is a little quieter, with brick walls etched with names of patrons.

Dodger pride is displayed as well. They have a nice framed display of Roger Owens, the Dodger stadium peanut bag throwing vendor. There are also a lot of autographed baseballs on display - Pete Rose, Connie Mack, Tommy Lasorda, Steve Yeager just to name a few. Some of the more curious items were the 1962 Dodger Stadium admission coins and a Joe Biemel bobblehead that seemed out of place next to all of the classic memorabilia.

Philippe is located at 1001 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, open 6am to 10 pm everyday except Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is free parking behind the restaurant and across the street. Enjoy!

The view from the crowded parking lot.

The main event - French dipped roast beef, cole slaw, potato salad, donut and iced tea.

Ode to Roger - A LAT article about Owens was adjacent.

1962 Dodger admission coins - can you only imagine how this would work today?

Willie Stargell, Manny Mota, Connie Mack signed baseballs.

All I can make out was Dusty Baker's autograph on the front baseball.

Tommy Lasorda and Pete Rose autographed baseballs.

Steve Yeager autograph next to a Joe Beimel bobblehead (huh?)

Major League WAS A LIE!!!

I'm used to movies not being forthright. Virgins don't always survive attacks by machete-wielding madmen. Hookers sometimes have hearts of coal. And that might not even be Nic Cage's real hair. But I always believed in Major League.

Not anymore.

From ESPN: Report says Indians most-hated team

With 27 World Series championships, baseball's highest payroll and some of the most boastful fans in sports, the New York Yankees have to be the team other baseball fans love to hate, right? Wrong. According to a formula created by The Neilsen Company, there are four teams more detested than the Bronx Bombers.

The No. 1 most-disliked team in baseball, according to the formula, is the Cleveland Indians.

The Boston Red Sox, the Yankees' archrival, rank No. 2 on the list. Some of the others making the not-so top 10: Chicago White Sox (No. 7), Baltimore Orioles (No. 8), New York Mets (No. 9) and [YOUR] Los Angeles Dodgers (No. 10).

At least one Indians blogger wasn't surprised by the findings. "I can believe that though," Deep Left Field Indians blogger Ed Carroll told the newspaper. "The team does a lot to alienate its fans."

Maybe I'm over-reacting. At least the portrayal of the management... and Charlie Sheen... was dead-on.

And Cerrano's ascension to the Presidency paved the way for Jesse the Body Ventura and the Governator.

Pirates Poll

When the Dodgers and Pirates get together, we hear the phrase "worst team in the NL" a lot. And it's usually pretty clear which team that's referring to.

But not this year. The Pirates are still bad (9-12, including a 20-0 loss to Milwaukee), but the Dodgers are even more woeful: 8-13, worst in the NL.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, how do you think the Dodgers will fare against the Pirates in this weekend's four-game matchup?

How will the Dodgers do against the Pirates this weekend?
4-0. Sweep!
3-1. Convincing series win!
2-2. Series split!
1-3. Lucky to get a win!
0-4. More misery! free polls

The Curse of Eric Collins, Part 2

Earlier this year, the Left Field Pavilion introduced this slogan:

So based on the Dodgers' 0-for-5 record when Eric Collins announces the television broadcast, might I offer this new slogan:

Well, at least we don't have to think about this again for about a month. And, for the record, I don't have anything against Collins per se, even with his easily-excitable playcalling. But four wins in 15 games is a pretty crappy road record.

Google Thinks Campy Played for the Reds?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Matt Kemp Shows Poise While Ned Colletti Sweats

This Matt Kemp / Ned Colletti brouhaha has been driven into the ground already, so I'm not going to waste a full post rehashing what has been universally picked up as a very poor series of missteps by GM Colletti, who ridiculously singled out the person who Rob Neyer reminded us "leads the National League in runs scored, RBI and home runs."

But let me add this one point: Kemp, whom just two seasons ago was starting to come under fire for being (unfairly) categorized as a combustible malcontent akin to Milton Bradley, has shown more poise and class in his media quotes than should have been expected from a 25-year old dating a pop star, mashing the ball, and living large off a new (and deserved) contract. Wrote Yahoo Sports' BLS:

Kemp didn't want to comment at first, but later said: "It doesn't matter to me. It's all good. People can say what they want to say. I just work hard and try to help this team win."

Kemp's never going to forget being called out like this, of course, and there might be consequences down the road for him staying in L.A. Further, Colletti is putting his own reputation in jeopardy by his two-faced approach to discipline. It's not going to be effective.

For a guy who got his start in public relations, Colletti is creating quite a nightmare through his comments in the media.

Well put, David Brown. Kemp has shown maturity and poise here despite criticism that might be warranted (about his spotty baserunning and fielding), but shouldn't have been public in the first place. And this all just makes Colletti--over twice Kemp's age--look even more petulant than the guy he's claiming he's trying to "motivate".

Go drink some Bigelow Green Tea and calm down, Ned. Then go find us some pitchers.

The Curse of Eric Collins (2010)

Rookie Dodger broadcaster Eric "Gus Johnson" Collins started out his Dodger career last year 0-2 in his first two games. However, to his credit, he was able to turn it around and end the season 21-20 (the Dodgers 2009 press release says Collins would cover 38 games, but I can't figure out which east-of-Colorado road series he didn't call). The Dodgers ended up losing only four of the 13 series that Collins called in 2009.

This year, Collins has already surpassed that total, as the Dodgers have lost all five road series in which they've played. And Collins was behind the microphone for all of them. In fact, the only series that they've won all year have been called by Vin Scully on television.


(Somewhere, Rick Monday and Charley Steiner are making themselves giggle.)

photo: Life

'He's Just a Little Horse'

Newborn stallion weighs in at just six pounds (Yahoo! News)

AP photo

Post-Game 21 Thread: The Losers


With the Dodgers dropping three games to the Mets in just under 24 hours, wrapping up a scintillating 2-7 roadtrip, we can now take a deep breath and reflect upon other great moments in 2010 Dodgers baseball that we face at the end of April. Like Vicente Padilla, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Weaver, Rafael Furcal, and possibly Andre Ethier all getting injured. Or the fact we've lost all five of five road series. Or the fact that we have to leave critical at bats to a .135 pinch-hitter in Garret Anderson. Or the fact that we have the 12th best ERA in the NL, but we've dropped series to two of the four teams beneath us...and we're about to face four at home with one of those who has bested us already, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

There are no NL teams with fewer wins than the Dodgers, and only one team in all MLB with fewer wins than the Dodgers (and it's the woeful Orioles). Clearly, we are playing the part of The Losers right now. And we're not even playing that part well.

At-Game Recap: Opening Day 2010 (April 13), Part 2

Continuing my very-delinquent At-Game Recap from Opening Day from Part 1...

Whoops, in my Part 1 recap, I forgot to mention one celebrity sighting, which occurred as I made my way down from the loge to the field level. Near the Dodgers' silent auction tables (on the suite level, near the escalators) was none other than the Penguin, Ron Cey:

This marked the second time I had met Cey in person, and during both times I noticed how Cey was incredibly polite and receptive to fans. Last time, we met under much more sedate circumstances, and he ended up taking time to have a fairly personal and revealing conversation with myself and my father. This time, it had to have been a little more challenging for Cey to remain composed, as he was literally accosted by fan after fan who were trying to get autographs and pictures with the 1970s Dodger legend, shoving paper in front of his face and muscling in to take shots before he even obliged sometimes. Cey, to his credit, maintained his calm and cool despite the encroachments on his time and personal space, and I have to hand it to him for not losing his temper at some of the fans, who were a little aggressive. (I took my picture early on, before he was surrounded--asked permission first--and Cey respectfully complied.)

In fact, aggressiveness ended up being one of the themes of Opening Day, as it seemed like the crowd was a bit more charged and less civil than years prior. A couple of seats in front of us was a very happy gentleman who kept standing up and yelling "Agua!" at the top of his lungs, looking at the rows behind him for validation. It was annoying, and a little ridiculous, but the fan didn't do it during key at-bats, and he wasn't cursing or threatening anyone, so it was weird but cool.

Or maybe not so cool, to someone else. About three innings into the game, security came down the aisle and asked the guy to mellow out; I believe they told him that they had heard he was cursing. This intervention, unsurprisingly, proceeded to piss the guy off; after all, he was indeed being mildly annoying, but he wasn't cursing or making anyone feel uncomfortable (as far as I could tell), so he took umbrage at the cops' allegations. And then he got more vocal, and a little more histrionic. And an inning later, the cops came down, and took him away.

Normally, I'd applaud this sort of amplified security presence; after all, it's Opening Day and a packed crowd, there are plenty of kids around, and if someone who is clearly going out of his way to be seen and heard is bothering other fans and impeding their ability to enjoy the game, then a verbal warning and subsequent consequences seems a reasonable course of action.

But on the flipside, said security was nowhere to be found when a fight broke out a couple of rows behind us. And when a friend of mine went up the aisle to get some more beer, and found cops wiping up red liquid from the ground at the top of the aisle, he realized (and the cop confirmed) that it wasn't a ketchup spill. This violent environment isn't the kind of Opening Day at which I want to spend. I don't want Dodger Stadium to turn into a police state for home games, but maybe there's a better balance to be struck between guys screaming for water and guys throwing punches. At the very least, we can get ushers who are more dilgent and visible in walking up and down the aisles and making sure everyone is keeping civil; it appeared from a cursory glance that ushers had been cut back this season as well (or perhaps they weren't as visible).

But back to the game.

The crowd was still rolling in as the flag was rolling out in the pre-game ceremonies (I took a lot of these pictures, partially as I was trying to capture the fireworks that were launched from the field following each of our nine starters' introductions):

And it's pretty funny that I took the same shot as SoSG regular Josh S., calling attention to the Dodgers' woeful lack of proofreaders (must have been another one of those McCourt divorce-related cutbacks). I mean, seriously. "Lightening"? And "Farenheit"? In the same sentence? As the Dodgers try and educate us on science facts? What a disaster:

Note the lack of a CPK-sponsored strikeout meter, below the right-field scoreboard:

And here's one more shot at the game, as afternoon shadows started to cross the field:

Despite the Dodgers' Opening Day triumph, the highlight of the day for me was the opportunity to meet SoSG regulars Josh S. (and his lovely wife) and Dusty Baker. Josh S. and I said hello before the game began, as the crowds were just starting to file in, so we had a chance to talk a little bit and shoot the bull about our respective experiences playing mid-week hooky. Dusty and I met at the end of the game, which yielded a much shorter conversation. By this time of the game I was pretty buzzed, but I do recall thanking Dusty for his regularity in helping us post the Dodgers' starting lineups in GameThreads.

I recall when Dusty started doing this on SoSG GTs, around a year or two ago (rather than Orel or I fumbling around trying to add this to each game), I had to pause to realize how incredible it was that the blog had evolved (matured?) to receive input and contributions from the whole SoSG family, not just those of us "on staff."

That experience, along with the contributions and feedback from a number of you, has made my involvement with SoSG so much more rewarding as this blog has evolved. And this is why it was a real thrill to meet both of them at the game, as (like many of you SoSG regulars) the SoSG readers have become so much of the reason why we have kept this blog going, and why we invest time in it in the first place. I'm continually impressed with the SoSG readers' wit, sarcasm, baseball understanding, humor, pop-culture and trivia knowledge, and delicate balance between optimism and pessimism. So thank you for all your readership and comments and emails and puzzle answers and feedback--and get ready for more surprises in store this year.

No matter how badly this Dodgers season ends up.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I'd comment on how awful the traffic was on the way out, but I fell asleep in the backseat of a car my aunt was driving. (Thanks, Auntie!)

Game 21 Thread: April 28 @ Mets, 10a

On this we can agree.

John Ely (-, -.--) vs. John Maine (0-1, 8.64).


COMMENTS: At this point, why the hell not? I mean, after dropping an entire series in one day yesterday, losing their fifth of five road series this year, why wouldn't we send a 23-year-old with only three triple-A starts under his belt, to start in Citi Field in what some might call the Maine event?

Through Eric Stephen of TBLA, we've learned that Ely is admirably nonplussed by the spotlight opportunity, so why should we be worried? Just because Rafael Furcal won't be in the lineup doesn't indicate that this Ely will end up like some other eely characters. Ely may not even know he'll be starting for the worst team in the NL and the second-worst team in all MLB (after yesterday's twin drubbings). But isn't it quite refreshing to hear a Dodger--any Dodger--sporting some rare (albeit flexible) backbone?

GT idea, links, and skeleton: Orel; words: Sax; complete lack of participation: Lasorda

Who Is the Numberless Universal CityWalk Dodger?

After an early dinner at Pizzeria Mozza on Saturday (capsule review: we agree with Andre), Mrs. Orel and I headed up to Universal City to catch Conan O'Brien's live show (capsule review: more fun than funny). We hadn't been to CityWalk in something like ten years, and were reminded why: It's a touristy nightmare.

But even touristy nightmares can have an oasis, and in this case it's the Dodgers Clubhouse (which is really just a pretty ordinary merchandise store — but it beats a joint selling nothing but socks. Or sandals).

As I approached the store, of course I tried to identify the 15-foot player adorning its facade. Where's his number? Why does he look so generic? Would they really put a no-name player up there? Or is the sign so expensive that they can't take a chance using a player who might eventually embarrass the team, or worse, fade into irrelevance? Is that really a model portraying a Dodger? Or a Photoshop job?

So tell us, SoSG readers: Who is the numberless Universal CityWalk Dodger? I'm all ears.

Other anonymous Dodger content at SoSG: Now You Can Be a Genderless, Ethnically Neutral, Four-Batting-Glove-Wearing Homunculus in a Poorly Photoshopped Dodger Victory Mélange

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post-Game 19 Thread / Game Thread 20: April 27 @ Mets, 4p-ish

Hey look, another zero!

Game 19 result: METS 4, DODGERS 0

Game 20 matchup: Charlie Haeger (0-2, 6.46) vs. Oliver Perez (0-2, 3.71) (Gameday).

There was a time when the Dodgers' offense was ridiculously potent. But the Dodgers got sleepy in Washington, being shutout Sunday 1-0 and then following up with an inspiring 4-0 loss in New York. This, after the team got an extra day off yesterday due to rain; one would think that they had plenty of time to rest up while visiting New York City, right? Or maybe the young Dodgers did all their scoring elsewhere last night?

Let's hope the shower and the long half-hour rest between games pays off. Wait, that second game is already on!

first photo swiped from a blog called The Flying Kiwi, recapping the 2005 Riverside Airshow; second photo from...a friend

Dylan, a Green Chair, and You

All he's missing is a smoking jacket, pipe and glass of Scotch:

What a Bargain!

Looking for discounted Dodger tickets? You're just a click away at Goldstar.

Doubleheader Games 19/20 Thread: April 27 @ Mets, 1p

"What insurance is that, Yogi?"

ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra visits the Dodgers locker room.

GAME 1: Hiroki Kuroda (2-0, 2.18) vs. Johan Santana (2-1, 2.59).
GAME 2: Charlie Haeger (0-2, 6.46) vs. Oliver Perez (0-2, 3.71).


COMMENTS: Doubleheader! Yesterday's rainout afforded the Dodger bullpen some valuable downtime. And Kuroda and Haeger are the two starters most capable of going deep into games. So far, so good. The bad news? The splendid Santana, off to a strong start this season, and Haeger pitching on three days' rest.

Offensively, the Mets are getting it done despite the absence of Carlos Beltran and slow starts by David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Dodger bats are looking to rebound from a rough weekend in D.C., but with humidity in the air and Citi Field's low park factor, home runs may not be on the menu.

UPDATE 3:46p: I can't let this (what appears to be tracking toward a) losing GT stand. I'm making a new one for Game 2. --SoSG Sax

photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Tuesday Notes, Hospitality Edition

Monday, April 26, 2010

Game Thread: Jays vs Sox (In Progress)

Best game of the year. My guarantee!

UPDATE - Score is now Boston 13, Toronto 12.