Thursday, September 30, 2010

Without The Dodgers, This Year's Pennant Race Draws Minimal Crowds

Sure, that may be a slightly spurious correlation, and likely not a causal relationship. But David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn't kidding when he noted that the fan turnout down the stretch has been less than overwhelming this year:

With first place on the line, the Tampa Bay Rays averaged 28,400 fans, or 79 percent of capacity, for their three home games against the Yankees two weeks ago, and filled just a third of their seats on Monday night, prompting several of the team’s star players to lash out at the lack of fan support.

Nearing their first division title in 15 years, the Reds drew 12,000 fans to a recent night game, their smallest crowd of the year. The Braves have had trouble filling even half their seats this month despite battling for a playoff spot.

The sight of so many empty seats at stadiums where teams are vying for a chance to play in the postseason is a glaring reminder that baseball is still not back to its prerecession heights and that professional sports leagues more broadly continue to suffer from the aftereffects of the economic downturn after years of record growth.

Attendance across Major League Baseball is down about a third of 1 percent this year after falling in 2008 and 2009. Declines have been most noticeable in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where the Mets, the Cubs and the Dodgers have had disappointing seasons, but also in Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto, where attendance has slipped for several years.

With the exception of the Rays, every team in the hunt for a playoff spot this year has had its attendance rise this season. The Reds set a club record for tickets sold in August, and ticket sales for the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers jumped more than 10 percent this year.

But attendance has fallen conspicuously this month in cities that have not seen a pennant in years. Part of the problem is that children are back in school and less likely to attend weeknight games. The quality of the opponent and the chillier weather can dampen enthusiasm as well.

But baseball officials and analysts say that many fans are still pinching pennies, even if economists have declared the recession officially over. With more games broadcast in high definition and the price of flat-panel televisions declining, more fans are content to watch their teams at home and perhaps save money for playoff tickets.

Remember, like unemployment formulas, attendance statistics have also been manipulated--MLB now reflects tickets sold, not asses-in-seats or turnstile counts. And even with that benefit, attendance has fallen. Any Dodger fan going to games this year when they announced attendance and you looked around at the sparse amount of fans and estimated a true attendance number half or one-third the size.

Bud Selig's legacy as MLB Commissioner has three large assets on his balance sheet: adding the wild card team to the postseason race; increasing revenues and franchise value; and restoring attendance figures to healthy historical levels. And now that last point is in jeopardy--and don't even get me started on the lengthy liability side.

Tainted Meat

"Josh S., I'm doing this face for you! @__@"

Wow, I'd heard a lot of creative excuses before, but cyclist Alberto Contador takes the cake when suggesting how he could have tested positive for doping in his sport where drugs are omnipresent and ubiquitous. "Tainted meat." Nice.

Sometimes I feel I've got to
Bike away I've got to
Get away
From the pain of climbing on two wheels
The Tour's a bear
Unless your muscles repair
And I stand more tall
When I get a dose of clenbuterol

Once I tried the meat
Now, I can't be beat
This tainted meat you've given
I go and win the Tour and then you
Take my prize and that's not nearly all
Oh...tainted meat
Tainted meat

Everybody now!

It's too bad Contador's meat was tainted. If only someone had slipped him the salami.

photo: Denis Doyle / Getty Images

Scoreboard Watching: NL West Race Games (Sept 30, Part 2)

Game 2 for your afternoon viewing pleasure is Cubs @ Padres, with San Diego throwing Jon Garland (14-12, 3.58) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (7-9, 4.28). The Padres' 5-5 record in their last 10 (relative to the Giants' 7-3 record, excluding today's game) gives them a 17.3% chance of making the postseason. On the flipside, the Giants and Padres swapped first and second place seven times between Sept 15 and 26--the most since 1901 in that span (according to WSJ/Stats Inc.). Can the Padres stop their freefall now that they've hit terminal velocity on their fall from grace?

First pitch, 3.30p PT.

Heretical Blasphemers May Know More Than They Seem

Cracked up when reading this article from the NY Times this week, in which athiests and agnostics performed better on a basic-knowledge religion test than most religious believers:

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences. [...]

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”

So you're curious? You can take some of the test's questions here.

Scoreboard Watching: NL West Race Games (Sept 30, Part 1)

While the Dodgers are idle like Billy, NL West games of interest continue! San Francisco hosts the Diamondbacks this afternoon, with Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.06) dueling against Barry Enright (6-6, 3.73). I'd like to pick which one of these pitchers I'd prefer to prevail and improve his record, but it's six of one and a half-dozen of the other. Literally.

But I do hate the Giants. So there's that.

First pitch, 12:45p PT.

Congratulations Don, Now Let Us Kick You In The Nuts

I know I'm late on posting about this, but it is truly hilarious that the same month that they announce Don Mattingly will be the 2011 Dodgers manager, the organization flips his son to Ohio:

A little more than a week after promoting Don Mattingly to be their next manager, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded his son.

Los Angeles sent Preston Mattingly to the Cleveland Indians Sunday for Roman Pena in a swap of minor league outfielders.

Don Mattingly, the Dodgers' current hitting coach, will replace Joe Torre as manager next year in a move announced Sept. 17.

Preston Mattingly, the Dodgers' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, batted .218 with two homers and 17 RBIs at the Class A level this season. He struck out 51 times in 165 at-bats. Mattingly, 23, bats and throws right-handed. His best season as a pro came in 2006, when he hit .290 with a home run and 29 RBIs for the Dodgers' rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League.

(I also love quoting the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Even if they are just picking up the AP feed.)

Preston, we hardly knew ye!

The Brother P-Touch: Organized Lying To Dodger Fans

This isn't quite a "Things I Don't Understand," as I now understand how the Brother P-Touch (a line of handheld label-printing machines) can make such an outlandish claim on its radio commercial (which has played through the Dodgers' radio broadcasts this second half of the season).

In the advert, the person being "interviewed" (as if it were a radio interview show) notes that office disorganization causes a horrific amount of lost productivity, citing some study that says vanilla points like "people don't like a disorganized workplace" and "people believe a disorganized workplace is unprofessional." But the clinching point mentioned in the ad—the point that elicits gasps of shock and awe from the "studio audience," is this one:

So let me get this straight. According to this "white paper", each worker is losing an entire work week looking for misplaced items. This is absurd. I mean, my desk is a frickin' disaster zone, with stacks of papers and half-empty coffee cups everywhere, and I sure as hell can find anything I need in two to three minutes' time--and I don't need a label machine to help me find it. I don't even know if it would take longer than a couple of hours to go through my entire office, desk drawers and file cabinets and credenzas and bookshelves included. How could one lose an entire WEEK?

What items could these workers possibly be losing such that they're spending time looking for this lost item? Their special pencil with the troll doll on the end? Their red stapler? The percentage key on their keyboard? Their religion? There simply aren't enough proprietary objects that could cause the loss of a week's worth of productivity.

But read the fine print on their website, one can quickly glean how they get to this preposterous claim (bold emphasis mine):

Formula: Census: # of people who identified themselves as a full-time management, professional sales or office professional. […]

Average minutes per day spend looking for misplaced items in the office and on the computer: 19

Aha. The "time spent looking for misplaced items" includes people looking for things on the computer. Sort of like…googling for a website. Or locating a soft copy document. In other words, things that can't be better located with a stupid laminated label-making machine.

The "cost of disorganization" is miniscule relative to the cost of shoddy "research" and advertising ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims. Go stick a label on that, Brother.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TJ Simers Calls The McCourt Trial for Jamie

In tomorrow's LA Times, Simers says Jamie wins the bout on his card:

Final arguments heard in the Dodgers trial, and here in sports it is all about wins and losses.

Both sides are so bad, though, it's a shame somebody has to win.

But I declare Jamie victorious, so long as Judge Scott Gordon doesn't blow it on some mumbo-jumbo legal technicality.

That puts Dodgers fans a day closer to Frank posting a "For Sale" sign in front of the stadium.

Sure, it could be another 90 days before the judge officially invalidates the marital agreement between Frank & Jamie. It could also be months before the Raiders are officially eliminated from Super Bowl contention.

But we know right now, don't we?

Frank's lawyers successfully drove home the point that Jamie is just not credible. Jamie's lawyers successfully drove home the point that Frank is just not credible. They've got that right.

So the judge probably plays Solomon and splits the nest egg in half. Unless he blows it.

Meanwhile, Carla Hall and Bill Shaikin of the LA Times have a more objective recapping of Wednesday's closing arguments. Good reading, if you can stomach paragraph format rather than strings of clauses.

photo collage: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times; Nick Ut / Associated Press

Scoreboard Watching: NL West Games of Note (Sept 29)

The Padres are two back of the Giants in the NL West, with five games left to play, and they send recently-returned-from-the-DL Chris Young (1-0, 1.20) vs. Randy Wells (8-13, 4.28). Good luck with that.

The Giants on the other hand send Timmah Lincecum (15-10, 3.51) against Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.76). San Francisco plays all of the rest of its games at home, including the season-ending series against the Padres.


UPDATE 7:24p: Mr F graded me poorly on this Scoreboard Watching post because I didn't mention the Padres play the Cubs and the Giants play the Snakes. I suppose he has a point.


Post-Game 159 Thread: This Sweeping Thing Would Have Been Nicer About Three Months Ago


In another game that wasn't very pretty but ended up okay for the good guys, the Dodgers clung to today's victory, cleanly sweeping the Rockies in our last road series of the year. But a closer look shows all the flaws we had to overcome: Matt Kemp misplayed a Troy Tulowitzki fly ball into a leadoff triple (Kemp atoned for this gaffe the following inning by "slipping Jhoulys Chacin the salami"*, hitting a GS to right for his 25th HR of the season); Carlos Monasterios couldn't make it through the fifth inning; Ramon Troncoso entered and promptly allowed inhereited runners to score (but "earned" the victory); George Sherrill sucked; Ronald Belisario made the ninth-inning nervous time but held the Rockies to one run, and not a tying two-run frame.

All of you mid-day drinkers: keep the irons hot, as we've got dueling games this evening with the Padres (vs. Cubs) and Giants (vs. Snakes). Get your snark on. I'll be back.

Note: (*) Not my words, but rather Mr. Customer's, from the GT. Yikes.

Game 159 Thread: Sept 29 @ Rockies, 12n

Clayton Kershaw (13-10, 2.91) Carlos Monasterios (3-5, 4.09) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (9-10, 3.28)

i can
tell it's
from the
size of
the lump in
my throat
got a lump in my throat

rusted wheel, planted still
rusted wheel, can't move on

It's winter, all right. And we are indeed planted still, finishing out our last four games with meaningless impact on the postseason races. Although I might be interested in Colorado for some skiing in a couple of months, the only thing I want to see today, before we get the hell out of Denver, is the Dodgers making their way toward a .500 record. Aim for excellence, Boys in Blue!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Post-Game 158 Thread: Now Let's Watch The Other Guys


The Dodgers made sure Colorado skipper Jim Tracy got a full and complete winter vacation, eliminating the Rockies this evening with a late-game surge of four runs in the final three frames. This doesn't help Hiroki Kuroda's win-loss record; Kuroda goes 6.1 IP with 5 ER 1 BB and 6 Ks; but the late innings allowed James Loney to get his 10th HR of the season (a solo shot in the seventh), and then an opportunistic eighth inning plus Casey Blake's second HR of the evening sealed the victory for the good guys.

With the Rockies out, we can now focus on the NL West-leading Giants, who are beating up on a hapless Diamondbacks squad, 3-2 in the seventh; and the Padres, who are trying to rally from a 4-2 deficit against the pathetic Cubs at Petco Park.

Game 158 Thread: Sept 28 @ Rox, 5:30p

Hiroki Kuroda (11-13, 3.27) vs. Jeff Francis (4-6, 4.71).


COMMENTS: One day, perhaps a few months from now, I'll realize that even a meaningless regular-season game can be something to look forward to. However, I do not feel that way today. Is it bad that I'm looking forward to this weekend's Padres-Giants matchup more than anything the Dodgers are doing? Ugh.

SoSG Fantasy Football Week 3 Update

Here's the latest from SoSG Fantasy Football, from the Commissioner Mr. LA Sports Fan himself:

Baseball's winding down now, and with the Dodgers' recent play, nothing says escapism like Fantasy Football! The envelope, please:

MLASF 99 (1-2) - Mr. Customer 87 (1-2) : Woohoo, a win! Mr. Customer got big games from Rashard Mendenhall (20 points), Antonio Gates (16) and the Bengals' defense (13). But that was not enough, as I snagged 23 points from Peyton Hillis, 21 points from DeSean Jackson, and 15 points from Thomas Jones.

Prof. Dittmore 76 (2-1) - NicJ 68 (2-1): The Professor* gets his second win in a row, while Nic's persnickety lineup continues to give him grief. Aaron Rodgers, Jeremy Maclin, and Jermichael Finley combine for 55 of P. Ditty's 76 points, while Nic received only two double-figure players (Tom Brady's 22 and Louis Murphy's 11)

Dusty Baker 95 (3-0) - Jason 88 (0-3): Dusty remains undefeated while Jason continues to see the goose egg in the win column. Peyton Manning's 25 points and Darren McFadden's 17 gave DB the leg up, while Team Deltalina received 24 points from Chris Johnson and 20 points from Cedric Benson.

Paul 92 (2-1) - Spanky 79 (1-2): Paul triumphs in the battle of the Rams' fans, delivering Spanky his second straight loss. Philip Rivers gave the victor 24 points, while Randy Moss added 16 and Malcolm Floyd threw in 15. Spanky had 29 points from Austin Collie and 22 points from Drew Brees, but none of his other players reached double-digits.

Karina (2-1) - Meaniebreanie 79 (1-2): Adrian Peterson is a Venezuelan's best friend this week; the Vikings' RB hauled 31 points for Karina, who also got 22 points from Brandon Marshall and 14 points from Jamaal Charles.

Next week, we get Karina v. Jason, Dusty v. MLASF, Mr C v. Nic, P Ditty v. Paul, and Spanky v. MB. Will Dusty lose his first game? Will Jason win his first? Will Nic figure out which running back can remain healthy? Will Spanky get his smack on? Find out only on "The Bold and the SoSGful!"

[Sax's note (*): Whenever I hear "the Professor", I either think about Gilligan's Island (of course) or the old Apple 2 game, Aztec. Not that I want anything bad to happen to Mr. Dittmore; I just remember mocking the hell out of this while playing the game as a kid. So, just for throwback's sake, enjoy.]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Post-Game 157 Thread: Ubal-D'oh!: Dodgers Deny Jimenez 20th Win


Thank Josh S for the headline...but thank Ted Lilly for eight innings of one-run ball, earning the Dodgers the win and punching the Rockies' slim playoff hopes in the gut. Why we couldn't have done this to the Giants, i don't know, but I'll take it. Ubaldo Jimenez remains stuck on 19 wins thanks to two RBI from Casey Blake (a bases-loaded single off of Jimenez' body) and another RBI from A.J. Ellis (now batting .278).

The Padres just lost to the Cubs 1-0 with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth. San Diego falls a full game back of the Giants in the NL West (and a half-game behind the Braves for the NL Wild Card), with six to play. Crunch time in the NL West! Just not for the Dodgers.

Game 157 Thread: Sept 27 @ Rox, 5:30p

Ted Lilly (5-4, 4.09) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (19-7, 3.00).


COMMENTS: Congratulations, Ubaldo, on winning your 20th game tonight!*

This Game Thread prepared in advance of Josh S' comment from this morning. Really!

Into The Last Week Of The Season, With White Knuckles

Faithful SoSG readers know we're a fan of the OK Gos. So here's their latest choreographic video masterpiece, "White Knuckles":

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game 156 Thread: Sept 26 @ D'backs, 1p

Chad Billingsley (11-11, 3.70) vs. Joe Saunders (3-6, 4.46).


COMMENTS: Former Angel Saunders, acquired by the D'backs in the Dan Haren trade, faces the current Dodgers in today's blubber match. Er, rubber match. Ha ha, I explained the joke! Here's another joke: The Dodgers are going to finish under .500 for the first time since 2005, Jim Tracy's last year in Los Angeles. The less you know!

There Is No Justice In This World

As if this year wasn't miserable enough, John Lindsey's seventh-inning HBP broke his hand, knocking him out for the rest of the season:

PHOENIX -- John Lindsey, the 16-year veteran minor leaguer who finally got his first big league callup when the Los Angeles Dodgers purchased his contract on Sept. 6, will miss what is left of the season after suffering a broken bone on his left hand in Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Lindsey was hit by a pitch from Diamondbacks rookie Daniel Hudson with two outs in the seventh inning. Lindsey winced in obvious pain, but managed to jog to first base, where manager Joe Torre and a trainer immediately met him. Although Lindsey remained in the game initially, by the time he got back to the dugout after Russell Mitchell subsequently grounded out to end the inning, his hand had swelled to the point that it was clear Lindsey needed further medical attention, and he was removed.

Lindsey immediately underwent an X-ray at the ballpark that showed a clean break of the fourth metacarpal. He is expected to see a hand specialist in either Phoenix or Los Angeles on Sunday, at which point it will be determined whether the fracture needs to be treated surgically. Even in a worst-case scenario, though, Lindsey is expected to be fully recovered well in advance of spring training.

"This will heal nicely," said Stan Conte, the Dodgers' director of medical services. "It will take some time to heal, but he will have plenty of time to be ready for spring training, no question about it."

Conte can talk about the broken hand. But how fast will the broken hearts of Dodger fans, let alone Lindsey's himself, take to heal too?

Post-Game 155 Thread: Giants Obsessed With Colorado's Balls


Yeah sure, we lost 5-2 to the Snakes. But more importantly, the Giants' extra-inning loss to the Rockies gave the Padres the NL West lead again--and left San Francisco fixated on balls:

Before the game, umpires were instructed to keep a close eye on game balls at Coors Field after the Giants expressed concern to the commissioner's office that the Rockies might be using "juiced" balls when batting.

Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed that umps were told to monitor Saturday night's game balls. Courtney said the Giants had spoken to MLB about the Rockies possibly using balls that weren't properly stored in the humidor at Coors Field.

"We got the bag and brought it over here about a half an hour before the game," crew chief John Hirschbeck said. "Our clubhouse person brought them out."

Well, if we are stuck playing meaningless games down the stretch, at least we can derive meaning from other games' hijinks.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Game 155 Thread: Sept 25 @ D'backs, 5p

John Ely (4-8, 5.00) vs. Daniel Hudson (6-1, 1.65).


COMMENTS: In the past two days, the Dodgers have posted dominating wins over fifty percent of their division rivals. In the past two days, Kuroda & Kuo & Kershaw & Kenley have been at the top of their game. In the past two days, we got a taste of the 2008 & 2009 Dodgers.

In the past two days, Frank & Jamie McCourt continued to beat each other senseless in court. In the past two days, the first-place Giants outscored their opponents 15-1. In the past two days, not much has changed. Including my inability to think of new Game Thread topics.

Are we dead yet? Time for a drink!

Scoreboard Watching (Sept 25): Reds @ Padres, 1p

The Dodgers are out of it and the Giants have a half-game lead on the Padres in the NL West race, so it would be great to see Jon Garland (14-12, 3.55) defeat the Reds' Travis Wood (5-4, 3.43) and move into a tie pending the Giants @ Rockies game later today. Stay thirsty, my friends!

Haters Gonna Hate (McCourt Divorce Sept 24 Recap)

The feuding McCourts met in settlement talks Friday, but nothing came of it and they're not meeting Saturday, which means they probably still aren't close:

After about 10 hours of mediation, Frank and Jamie McCourt and their lawyers left Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday without reaching a settlement, according to the court's public information director, Allan Parachini.

Nor will they meet Saturday, as some sources expected. Parachini said that they will probably set a date for a future mediation session.

I'm sure Frank and Jamie both wanted to keep their schedules open to watch the Dodgers-Diamondbacks games. Oh, wait, which one was the brand again and which one was the business?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Post-Game 154 Thread: The Future Is Now


With apologies to Chad Billingsley and Hong-Chih Kuo, Clayton Kershaw was the only Dodger worth watching in 2010. With nine K's over eight IP tonight, Kershaw has a career-high 212 strikeouts. His ERA+ is actually down to 129 from 142 in 2009, but that won't stop me from predicting he'll be the best thing about the 2011 Dodgers as well.

photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Game 154 Thread: Sept 24 @ D'backs, 6:30p

Clayton Kershaw (12-10, 2.98) vs. Barry Enright (6-5, 3.87).


COMMENTS: blah blah blah terrible season something something something divorce yak yak yak greed filler filler filler stuck with McCourt etc etc etc future bleak blah blah blah need a drink something something something

Lunchtime Reading Notes: To Trap Or Not To Trap

  • It's not a trap: Jamey Carroll wins the Dodgers' Roy Campanella Award (

    "My dad grew up a Gil Hodges fan," Carroll said. "I have an understanding of what this organization is all about."

    In his first year with the Dodgers, Carroll showed that understanding on the field every day. More than anyone on the team this season, Carroll stood out for his hustle, leadership and willingness to do whatever was asked.

    At home plate at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Carroll was honored with perhaps the highest award the team can bestow, the Roy Campanella Award. The fifth annual recipient, Carroll was chosen near unanimously by Dodgers uniform personnel as the player who best exemplified the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.

    "Especially being a utility player, nobody ever knows what you're doing or where you're going," Carroll said. "I'm honored."

  • On second thought, wait a second, maybe it is a trap after all: At the same time, the Dodgers are also utilizing Campanella's name to try and improve the sullied reputation of the Dodgers Dream Foundation (Steve Dilbeck's Dodgers blog):

    Why would anyone donate money to the Dodgers Dream Foundation? Why would they even want to be affiliated with it?

    The foundation is under investigation by the California attorney general’s office for paying club executive Howard Sunkin a salary of $400,000 in 2007 -- which was over a quarter of the charity’s entire budget. […]

    I mean, who would write these people a check? Why would they?

    The easy answer is, the charity still does good work. That despite the Sunkin fiasco, it can otherwise point to nine baseball or softball fields it has built or renovated in the community. To the camps and clinics it hosts.

    But there are plenty of charities that do good work. The Dodgers even have another one -- which is actually their official charity -- ThinkCure!

    Yet the Dodgers Dream Foundation not only forges ahead, Thursday it will announce a new venture, partnering with Cal State Northridge to carry on the legacy of Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella.

    The funds reportedly still come in because the Dream Foundation doesn’t rely on Joe Blow to write a check. Its funding comes from businesses affiliated with the Dodgers which were finagled into a donation, from golf tournaments, fundraisers and, of course, the players.

    The Dodgers already got into trouble once with the Dream Foundation. After signing Manny Ramirez to his last contract, they had him make out a donation and then said that would be their model for future contracts. At least it was until it was thrown back at them by the Players Union.

  • According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Tim Wallach is the missing piece that the Blue Jays might need next year:

    If the Toronto Blue Jays wish to pursue Tim Wallach as their next manager, one of his players could provide a unique reference.

    “He’s just a different kind of manager than anybody I’ve ever had,” said outfielder Jay Gibbons, a veteran of seven major-league seasons who played for Wallach on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top farm club, the Albuquerque Isotopes.

    “I never saw anybody have any animosity [toward him] or have anybody not like him – and that’s rare in a manager,” Gibbons said. “He knows the daily grind that a player goes through. I feel like he just gets it as a former player.”

    Wallach, a five-time all-star as a third baseman for the Montreal Expos, could be guiding a major-league club next year. With Cito Gaston’s second stint as Jays manager expiring at season’s end, the club is looking for a replacement. As many as 200 candidates are reportedly under consideration by general manager Alex Anthopolous, including Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield and New York Yankees first base coach Rob Thomson, an Ontario native.

    The Globe and Mail has learned that Wallach is also on the radar, too, because of his style, experience, growing reputation and previous connection to Canada. He played for the Expos between 1980 and 1992.

photo of Joni Campanella Roan and Admiral Ackbar by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers (who else?)

How Does Marvel Not Use This Opening for 'Iron Man 2'?

Everything we loved about Tony Stark from the first "Iron Man" movie, and a perfect introduction for those who didn't happen to see it. Naturally, it didn't make the theatrical cut. Worried about "The Avengers" yet?

PCS Season III Prizes

So Season III comes down to #1 UBragg and #2 Mr C once again. As in previous seasons, there are two prizes:

OPTION 1: A Dodgers Rubik's Cube!

While solving it, you can pretend there's a little Cub running around inside lighting tiny fires.

OPTION 2: Create-a-Puzzle

As with previous seasons, this prize is the opportunity to author one of the puzzles to be used in PCS Season IV. Previous reader-created puzzles include offerings from original champ Jose (where've you been, Jose?), Mr Customer, UBragg, Josh S, and Mr C again. Who will it be this time?

UBragg as champ can choose to either make a puzzle, or receive the Rubik's Cube, and Mr C gets that which remains. So let us know UBragg via email or in the comments!

Clint Bowyer Penalized 50 More Points In Skeeball

Now comes word from ESPN that Clint Bowyer has been penalized 50 points by NASCAR for a skeeball scoring error at the New Hampshire State Fair:

The New Hampshire State Fair Skeeball booth passed inspection upon opening of the State Fair, but upon further reivew at the NASCAR Research and Development Center, issues were discovered with the center cylinder tolerance.

"The cylinder looked stable [before the skeeball booth opened to the public], but getting close to some of the tolerances, and we asked them to come in to see if they weren't in line with regulations," said one official.

Apparently, weakness in the center cylinder walls of the top 50-point area created a tendency to issue an extra 10% worth of scrip tickets. NASCAR discovered this error and realized Bowyer should not have been awarded the 6" plush toy, but rather should receive the set of plastic gummi-snakes.

Earlier: Clint Bowyer Penalized 150 Points; Dodger Fans Don't Give Two Shits

Post-Game 153 Thread: My Head Hurts A Bit


We beat the Padres 3-1.

We help the hated Giants take first place. With their half-game lead, the Giants are 70% likely to make the playoffs (according to's standings); the Padres are roughly 50% likely. And here we go...


Bartender! More beer, please!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Game 153 Thread: Sept 23 vs. Padres, 7p

Hiroki Kuroda (10-13, 3.36) vs. Mat Latos (14-7, 2.84).


COMMENTS: Surprise, Padres! You're exceeding expectations this season, thereby causing you to extend the 22-year-old Latos beyond initial projections. Latos threw 123 innings in 2009 (72.1 in the minors + 50.2 in the majors) and has already thrown 168 innings in 2010. The Verducci Effect posits that "pitchers under the age of 25 who have 30-inning increases year over year tend to underperform." So, as with Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres might be exchanging future worth in their chase for the 2010 playoffs. Make Latos throw a lot of pitches tonight, Dodgers!

Countering Helene Elliott, Steve Dilbeck Profiles The Dodgers' MSB

When talking about baseball players 5' 8" and under, it inevitably becomes about hustle, right? About spunk and grit and intangibles?

Enter Steve Dilbeck's profile on our own MSB, Jamey Carroll, whom Dilbeck wishes was like a disease:

If only Jamey Carroll were an infectious disease. If he carried the hustle virus.

If only his unmitigated effort and energy would translate to the rest of the Dodgers.

Then they would have something going. Then they would never, as James Loney suggested, claim that at times other teams played harder.

Carroll plays with the pedal to the floor. Hustles like it’s all he knows. Ran all out to first in April when the season was full of promise and in September after it had slipped away.

Granted, Carroll does lead the Dodgers with a .383 OBP (which isn't saying much, given our offensive woes). But before we get carried away and revive the Admiral Ackbar campaign, let's remind ourselves that Carroll--whom I like on the team and have appreciated as a pleasant surprise this year as a Dodger--still has an OPS+ of 103 this year (against a career average of 85). So don't let the small stature fool you into thinking they're disproportionately big achievements. Please, let's keep our eyes wide, open.

FYI, Carroll went 0-for-4 last night in the two-hole. I know, it's a small sample size; but isn't any sample size of Carroll's bound to be small?

Caption Contest

Have at it.

Clint Bowyer Penalized 150 Points; Dodger Fans Don't Give Two Shits

ESPN reported late Wednesday that Clint Bowyer has been penalized 150 points by NASCAR for a failed inspection:

The New Hampshire car passed postrace inspection at the track, but upon further review at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, issues were discovered with the back end tolerances.

"They were in the box [after the Richmond race] but getting close to some of the tolerances, and we asked them to come in to see if they aren't getting off on one of their build sheets," Pemberton said.

Leave it to NASCAR to discover issues with back end tolerances. Maybe we should get get Mike Leake on the case.

But 150 points! That sounds so serious. I mean, it's gotta be equivalent to moving back two spaces on the gameboard, or at least losing a turn. But at least Bowyer deftly avoided having to sit in the mushpot or do "butts up" against the wall.

McCourt Mediation Preview (Sept 22 McCourt Divorce Recap)

McCourt family lawyer Larry Silverstein, whom David Boies, Jamie McCourt's attorney, completely eviscerated on Tuesday, seemed to get a little more of a backbone on Wednesday (Silverstein was excused early the day before for health reasons; perhaps he got a vertebrae transplant).

According to Molly Knight and, Silverstein contended that he had explained the post-nuptial agreement in a phone call to the McCourts, although he also said that he "garbled the language" when making editorial changes to only a subset of the six signed agreement copies--but also said that he did not think he violated ethical boundaries by failing to mention this to Jamie McCourt.

But what really got me in the article was the ending paragraphs:

Late Tuesday, a person familiar with the case who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about settlement discussions told the Associated Press that the two sides would meet in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday.

Last month, Frank McCourt's attorney Steve Susman said his client had offered Jamie McCourt an extremely generous amount of money but refused to disclose the figure.

I can hear Frank's Friday mediation offer now: "Hey honey, what if I throw in four cokes, four hot dogs, AND four excess inventory Matt Kemp action figures? You can't beat this deal!"

Monocle Smile!

Isaiah Mustafa and Jamey Carroll before Tuesday's game (via @DodgertownUSA).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There's Only 10 More Games To Tip Dylan Hernandez Over The Edge

From Dylan Hernandez' tweets tonight:

Post-game meetings with Torre are becoming painful. #Dodgers

Today, a TV reporter began his question by saying, "You guys struggled offensively the last two nights..." THE LAST TWO NIGHTS??? 39 minutes ago via web

A local newspaper reporter later asked, "Is there any sense of what will wake up the offense?" THEY'RE OUT OF THE RACE. WHO GIVES A ...??? 38 minutes ago via web

To Torre's credit, he continues to answer every question seriously. 38 minutes ago via web

I have not yet gone to a post-game meeting, but seeing Hernandez precariously perched on the edge of sanity may be the thing to get me there just for kicks. I can ask questions like "If you end up managing the Mets next year after all, would you make a move to try and get Garret Anderson again?" and "How's the team morale in the clubhouse these days, Joe?", just to watch Hernandez's head explode. Poor guy.

Post-Game 152 Thread: Dodgers Play Dead, Padres Re-Take First


Literally minutes after finding out the Giants had been shutout by the Cubs in Chicago, the Dodgers decided to stick it to their NoCal rivals by having Rafael Furcal and James Loney commit consecutive errors on the same play (turning a 1-0 lead over the Padres into a 1-1 tie with the Padres). Without missing a beat, Ted Lilly then got into the act, allowing Miguel Tejada to hit his 300th career home run to score MSB Eckstein and give the Padres a 3-1 lead. Lilly had a decent night--7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks--but that third-inning lapse was all it took to tip the scales the Padres' way.

Not that others on the team didn't try to contribute, that is. Besides 0-fers from Loney and Furcal, we also had fruitless nights from Jamey Carroll, Jay Gibbons, and Casey Blake. So it was a team effort of sorts to lose tonight, and let San Diego sneak back into first place in the NL West by a half game. Way to go, Dodgers!

Game 152 Thread: Sept 22 vs. Padres, 7p

Ted Lilly (5-3, 4.12) vs. Tim Stoover Stauffer (4-4, 1.99).

COMMENTS: While my colleague Sax is rooting against the Giants (reluctantly) at the expense of the Dodgers, I say let the cards (not the Cards) fall where they may. I mean, if you're up 6.5 games in late August and fritter it away, maybe you don't deserve to make the post-season.

That doesn't mean we have to watch the Giants make it, though. Remember that the Jim Tracy-led Rockies are in prime position to get hot and blow past the Pads and Gints. It might happen! Just trust me. My name is Stoover.

P.S.: Sphincter*.

(Sphincter trifecta complete!)

SoSG Letters, Reflecting on Happier Times

Given the way this 2010 season has cratered, it was refreshing to get this email in our mailbox the other day, from a reader named Wendy in Australia:

I can’t resist writing to tell you that you have a photo of my (now) 85-year-old mother on your blog ("Post-Game 124 Thread: The Dodgers Win a Series! The Dodgers Win a Series!", from August 19 2007).

She is in a very famous picture taken in Sydney, Australia, when the end of World War II was announced. Young women came out of the city buildings to dance in the streets on VP (victory in the Pacific) Day on 15 August 1945. Her name is Elaine and she is the one in the white overcoat.

Wait ‘til I tell her that she is on a Dodgers site in the US; she’ll be quite amazed as she has never been out of Australia.

Must have been a good game that day in 2007 if the celebrations equalled those at the end of the war!

(I was actually searching for the photo when I found it on your blog, because my mum's house was destroyed by fire last year, and she lost all her old keepsakes and I wanted to replace the picture for her. It appeared in the Sydney papers on the day after the end of the war was announced. She was 20 years old.)

Sorry to hear about your mom’s fire, but glad that you’re pleased she’s found a home on our Dodgers blog. Thanks, Wendy!

NBC, Please Cancel Parks & Rec... we can have more FJM!

I cannot stop laughing after reading this column.

Yankees Leave Field Victoriously After BP; Umps Award Them Win

What is it about Yankees vs. Rays that brings out the drama queens? The bad acting has happened again:

But Jorge Posada was just following Derek Jeter's lead:

Credit to Rays manager Joe Maddon for this quote:

"But we're in New York, we're also close to the theater district and more power to them."

SoSG Fantasy Football: Week 2 Update

Here's another fantasy football recap, from Mr. LA Sports Fan:

Another week is in the record books for the NFL, and another slate of matchups has come to a fold. The results, if you will:

Nic 52 (2-0) - MLASF 50 (0-2): Nic used 9 late points from Pierre Thomas to pull off a late victory, despite having Jahvid Best's 40 points on the pine; both Tom Brady and Ray Rice brought in 11 points while Donald Driver took 9. I had 19 points from DeSean Jackson, 13 from Roddy White and 8 from Visanthe Shiancoe, but the rest of my team combined for 10 points, six less than my bench combination of backs Rashad Jennings and Thomas Jones. I hate Brett Favre.

Dusty Baker 82 (2-0) - Meaniebreanie 75 (1-1): Dusty didn't replicate his Week 1 performance, but he didn't need to. 22 points from Peyton Manning, 14 from Darren McFadden, and 12 from Arian Foster propelled him to a second straight victory. MB's Cowboy-heavy lineup fell just as Dallas did, getting 17 points out of Tim Hightower and 14 apiece from Tony Romo and Miles Austin.

Prof. Dittmore 115 (1-1) - Spanky 66 (1-1): After being upset by Karina, P-Ditty came back with a vengeance. The Professor squeezed 30 points out of LeSean McCoy, with 26 points from Aaron Rodgers and 21 from Andre Johnson as support. Spanky did little in return; Dallas Clark was his only man in double-figures with 14 points.

Mr. Customer 101 (1-1) - Jason 89 (0-2): Mister Customer pulled off a late winner, using a garbage-time TD connection between Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks to defeat Jason. 17 points from Antonio Gates and 15 points from Reggie Wayne provided the frame work for the victory. Jason falls to 0-2, despite a 29 point showing from Matt Schaub and 15 points from Clinton Portis.

Paul (1-1) 99 - Karina 52 (1-1): Paul defeated everyone's favorite Venezuelan thanks to 21 points from Philip Rivers and 13 points from Calvin Johnson. Karina had 24 points from Adrian Peterson, but nobody else could pull in double-digits for her.

Two weeks have passed, and 15 still remain. But one thing is clear: Jason and I stink. Also, I hate Brett Favre. I hate this whole damn thing. Who was the genius behind this stupid fantasy league business?



Next week I face Mr. C, while the Professor takes on Nic, Jason meets Dusty, Karina duels female counterpart Meanie, and Paul goes head to head with Spanky.

Dusty Baker also chimes in with this: "Me arse is still puckered after that MNF game that almost put MB over the top." Well, Dusty, you're 2-0, so you've earned the right to enjoy a laxative, or at least a high-fiber meal. Until Sunday, that is.

Good luck in Week 3, ladies and gents!

PCS Season III Final Puzzle Rankings

As promised, here's a look into a few of our puzzlers' minds from the Puzzle Finale. First up Quad, employing a sensible excel method in trying to represent 3 dimension and the associated data on a flat surface:

Here's Jason's direct, bricks-and-mortar approach:

And here's Mr C, who apparently hired the folks at Pixar:

And finally, going old-school with an actual pencil and paper is UBragg:

What I find most interesting about UBragg's photo is his stationary. Is that a Braille legend at the top and Morse code to the left? The man was born to puzzle.

As such, he finishes on top in both the puzzle itself and the overall rankings. Mr C and Jason remained entrenched in the 2nd and 3rd spots, and Quad leapt six spots to #4 with his impressive showing. Here's how the full rankings landed:

(770 possible points)

PCS Tour
Mr Customer
Josh S
J Steve
Dusty Baker

Others receiving votes: mr f 107, mlasf 77, matt 75, danielle 75, curious gene 69, keven c 62, dunkhawk 56, llcooll 50, greg finley 50, mishap 50, spanky 25, dusto magnifico 22, fred's brim 22, steve dittmore 20, loney fan 12, erin 10, karina 10, matthew johnson 10.

And here's your graph:

(click image to enlarge)

Thanks again for a great puzzle season, it has been an honor to help entertain on the off-days. Time to recharge for next year (both puzzlers and puzzle-makers). Prizes to be announced shortly!

A Recap Of The McCourt Divorce, In Paragraph Format

Many SoSG regulars have criticized me for being one of the few stalwart subscribers to print media (both newspapers and magazines). It stems from my early “career” in journalism—-I can (sort of) call it that as I was at one time paid for my article- and column-writing, as a sports writer, entertainment editor, and news editor at my college paper; and even had some of my pieces picked up and nationally published—-as well as the fact that I find myself on planes a lot and having the print document in front of me saves me when I’m out of internet range.

(The iPad and iPhone changes all this, I know (thank you, Instapaper!), and I realize at some point soon I’ll probably have to figure out the tradeoff between the degradation of my shoulder and back lugging around all these print pages, versus the convenience of a kindle or iPad. But for now, I’m sticking with print subscriptions.)

But when you come across columns like Lee Jenkins’ piece in the September 13 2010 issue* of Sports Illustrated, it validates one’s luddite ways. I can’t find a link to it in Jenkins’ online archive at, so let me re-type an excerpt of his great writing in his piece, “The Embarrassment of Riches,” which provided the best summary I’ve read of the McCourt divorce case (as of a couple of weeks ago):

[subhead] When they bought the Dodgers, Jamie and Frank McCourt were the perfect dysfunctional couple. But a toxic divorce has brought their nauseating excesses ($150,000 for haircuts?) to light and crippled one of baseball’s proudest franchises

Peter O’Malley rides the elevator every morning to 1988, and when he gets there, Orel Hershiser greets him at the door. O’Malley, whose family owned all or part of the Dogers for more than five decades, sold the team 12 years ago, but up here in 1988 it feels like he never parted with it. He takes care of his business interests out of an office in downtown Los Angeles—suite 1988—decorated with a drawing of Dodger Stadium, a model of Dodger Stadium, photographs of Dodger Stadium during the day and at night and even under construction. O’Malley’s assistant, Dianne Mesa, is also his curator, guiding guests from the picture of Hershiser celebrating the ’88 World Series championship (the Dodgers’ last) to the one of Sandy Koufax boarding the team plane and the one of Hideo Nomo high in his windup. “You can’t trust Dianne,” O’Malley cautions. “She just started with us.” She has been with him for 49 years.

These are the Dodgers—stable, sentimental, old-fashioned an old Hollywood, with an image as pristine as their home whites. But 19 stories down and one mile up the road, a pair of impersonators are dragging the franchise through an ugly divorce case, dumping it into a toxic fishbowl usually reserved for the town’s pop stars and B-list actors. [Sax’s note: all of which are now prominently featured on “This Is My Town” billboards, btw.] The diva litigants are Frank and Jamie McCourt, who left Boston six years ago to buy the Dodgers, assuming fame would come with the purchase. On the day in 2004 that they took over the team from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Frank invoked the O’Malley tradition, gushing at a press conference that “family ownership has returned to the Dodgers,” as if one family was the same as the other. Shortly afterward, in a more honest moment, the McCourts told their staff, “The Dodgers are the business. We are the brand.”

Last week the McCourts took to the second floor of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. and demonstrated their newfangled definition of family ownership. […]

”You can’t hearken back to the family-owned Dodgers when there is no greater metaphor for family dysfunction than this,” says Mark Vincent Kaplan, a prominent family lawyer in Los Angeles. Kaplan represented Kevin Federline in his divorce from Britney spears three years ago, a case that ran up approximately $1M in legal fees. The McCourt case will generate about $20M in legal fees, making it one of the most expensive divorce trials in the history of California. McCourt v. McCourt is a custody dispute, like so many cases on the courthouse’s second floor, only the Dodgers are the child in the middle, and no one with the child’s best interests in mind wants either side to prevail. “I’m a Dodgers fan,” says a lawyer on the case, “and it’s terrible.” […]

”Twenty-nine other teams will have an advantage over [the Dodgers] this winter,” says [superagent Scott] Boras, which implies that L.A> might even be interested in chasing top free agents after running away from them in recent years. The Dodgers led the major leagues in attendance last season and rank third right now, but they are conducting business like a minimarket. […]

If owners are judged solely on wins and losses, the McCourts have been a success. The Dodgers reached the NLCS in each of the past two seasons, despite spending the least of any major league team on the draft and international signings. The McCourts could get away with it because they inherited so many promising young players-—outfielders Andre Ethier and matt Kemp, first baseman James Loney, starter Chad Billingsley and closer Jonathan Broxton—-who were making near the major league minimum. General manager Ned Colletti cleverly traded for [Manny] Ramirez and Casey Blake in 2008, but only after persuading their former teams to pay most of their salaries.

This year, however, karma caught up to the McCourts. Young players stalled, in particular Kemp (whose sinking production and shoddy defense led Colletti to question his effort earlier this season) and Broxton (who was stripped of the closer’s job last month). Ramirez was injured and indifferent before the Dodgers waived him last month, and adequate replacements were never in place. [Joe] Torre has worked under caricature owners before—-George Steinbrenner, most notably—-but he is 70 now and talks longingly of attending his daughter’s high school softball games.

Jenkins’ piece may already be outdated (Torre has since announced his retirement...from the Dodgers, that is; the McCourt trial resumed this week and trudges onward), but it’s still a wonderful article and a welcome alternative to the one-sentence-paragraph style of the LA Times’ columnist crew. For those of you who don’t get SI in the mail, this type of fine journalism is unfortunately what you’re missing. (Until of course one of you more resourceful readers finds Jenkins’ article on the net somewhere.)

* Note: one of the negative by-products of dependency on print media is that I’m inevitably behind a couple of issues. In this case, however, I’m up to speed on SI--I’m actually at the Tom Brady-covered issue--but was late in sitting down and typing this post up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Post-Game 151 Thread: Let's Raise A Toast


Let's raise a toast to the 2010 Dodgers. Felled by off-the-field courtroom distractions and a purse as tight as constipated sphincter, the 2010 Dodgers were laid to rest tonight following their 17th shutout of the year (according to the LAT's Steve Dilbeck, MLB's most shutouts). The Dodgers are now 14th of 16 teams in the National League in RBI, attributable at least in part to our hitting coach, who is taking over as manager next year. Good times! Here's to memories of a promising May followed by months of blown opportunities, rampant injuries, and unfulfilled promise of youth.

Drink up!

Game 151 Thread: Sept 21 vs. Padres, 7p

Chad Billingsley (11-10, 3.55) vs. Clayton Richard (12-8. 3.70).

COMMENTS: With our 151st game, it's definitely time to break out the 151-proof liquor and consider getting absolutely sloshed--to hold a wake for what could be our mathematical elimination this evening (should San Francisco beat the hapless Cubs, and we lose tonight). Given the two distasteful options of having the Padres, our opponent tonight, advance to the postseason, versus the Giants, I'd definitely be rooting for our southern divisional rivals. So with all due respect to Chadley, let's not give him any run support and hopefully stick him with a quality start no decision (pinning the loss on a Dodger reliever), shall we? I'll drink to that.

Boies Shells Silverstein (Sept 21 McCourt Divorce Recap)

Jamie’s attorney, David Boies
Cross examined Tuesday with a lot of noise
Thundering loudly at a guy named Larry
Whose memory of events was a little hairy.

The post-nup that Larry had crafted
Was subsequently then re-drafted.
And Larry admitted ‘twas his boner
To not tell Jamie, Frank was sole owner.

Instead he told Jamie all copies (six)
Were duplicates, without any tricks.
When pressed Tuesday, with shrunken balls,
Larry admitted “That was false.”

But now that he’s been dubbed a phony,
What about Jamie’s testimony?
What law school grad would just concede
Her post-nup doc, she didn’t read?

(And Jamie should have more frustration
About her long-faced illustration.)
But back tomorrow, we’ll reconvene
With avarice and greed obscene.

Sources for today’s recap: and

Dodgers to Honor Veteran Employees

From a Dodgers press release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers will honor all employees with 25 or more years of service to the organization on the field prior to [tonight's] game against the San Diego Padres at 7:10 p.m. Usher Howie Levine, who has worked at Dodger Stadium for 38 years will sing the National Anthem and God Bless America.

At the top of the list of more than 60 individuals that have been with the Dodgers for decades are Hall of Famers Vin Scully (61 seasons), Tommy Lasorda (61 seasons) and Jaime Jarrín (52 seasons). Dodger Coach Manny Mota (41 seasons) and former Dodgers Rick Monday (25 seasons), Steve Garvey (26 years) and Ron Cey (25 years) are also long-timers with the organization.

Dodger front office staffers on the list are former travel secretary Billy DeLury (Monterrey Park, 61 seasons), Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe (Sherman Oaks, 48 seasons), Vice President of Ticket Operations Billy Hunter (Sherman Oaks, 39 years), “Sweet” Lou Johnson (Los Angeles, 29 years), Manager of Transportation Arnold Douglass (Los Angeles, 31 years), Manager Community Relations and Fan Services April Thompson (Culver City, 35 years), Receptionist Dolores Buonauro (Hacienda Heights, 27 years) and Vice President and General Counsel Sam Fernandez (Manhattan Beach, 26 years).

The Dodgers’ Baseball Operations department has had the following individuals on staff for decades: Batting Practice Pitcher Pete Bonfils (Arcadia, 40 years), Scout Henry Jones (Vancouver, WA, 35 years), Scout Mike Brito (Los Angeles, 32 years), Visiting Clubhouse Manager Jerry Turner (Diamond Bar, 31 years), Special Advisor to Amateur Scouting Director Gib Bodet (San Clemente, 31 years), Scout Carl Loewenstine (Hamilton, OH, 30 years), Camelback Ranch Coordinator John Shoemaker (Vero Beach, FL, 28 years), Scout Bobby Darwin (Corona, 28 years) and Dodger Clubhouse Manager Mitch Poole (West Covina, 25 years).

The following Dodger employees will also be honored on the field prior to Tuesday’s game:

  • Usher Ira Hawkins, 52 years (Lake Arrowhead)
  • Ticket Seller Jerry Mickelsen, 48 years (Los Angeles)
  • Assistant Manager of Security and Guest Services Edward Gonzales, 47 years (El Monte)
  • Ticket Taker Miguel Yanez, 41 years (Los Angeles)
  • Assistant Manager of Security and Guest Services Mas Miyatake, 41 years (Monterey Park)
  • Ticket Taker Eduardo Becerril, 40 years (Lynwood)
  • Usher James Harvey, 40 years (Canyon Country)
  • Usher Howard Levine, 38 years (Sherman Oaks)
  • Usher Rick Angona, 35 years (North Hollywood)
  • Ticket Taker Errol Coffey, 33 years (Los Angeles)
  • Usher Andrea Garcia, 33 years (Monterrey Park)
  • Usher Mario Villegas Jr., 33 years (Los Angeles)
  • Usher Anthony Lopez, 32 years (Whittier)
  • Security Guard Gil Garciacano, 32 years (South El Monte)
  • Ticket Seller Bob Kanner, 31 years (Santa Monica)
  • Press Box Attendant James Mims, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Press Box Attendant Robert Allen, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Ticket Taker Juan Franco, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Stadium Attendant Adeline Tamez, 30 years (Santa Fe Springs)
  • Stadium Attendant Carlos Deleon, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Stadium Attendant Maria Miranda, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Security Guard Fernando Sierra, 30 years (Palmdale)
  • Stadium Attendant Rafael Castellanos, 30 years (Los Angeles)
  • Security Guard Louie Ocampo, 29 years (South El Monte)
  • Usher M.J. Babyak, 29 years (Van Nuys)
  • Security Guard Richard Montano, 29 years (Pico Rivera)
  • Security Guard Eddie Alcala, 28 years (Montebello)
  • Security Guard Juan Prada, 28 years (Palmdale)
  • Gardener Petronilo Serna, 28 years (Los Angeles)
  • Stadium Attendant Rosa Sandoval, 28 years (Los Angeles)
  • Utility Groundscrewman Kevin Waters, 28 years (Northridge)
  • Ticket Seller Roy Tyler, 27 years (Pasadena)
  • Ticket Taker Valerie Jones, 26 years (Los Angeles)
  • Ticket Seller Paula Shorter, 26 years (Thousand Oaks)
  • Security Guard Pete Reynoso, 26 years (Whittier)
  • Usher Vickie Gutierrez, 26 years (Temple City)
  • Gardener Jose Toscano, 25 years (Huntington Park)
  • Stadium Attendant Efren Gonzalez, 25 years (Los Angeles)
  • Stadium Attendant Roberto Cervantes, 25 years (Rancho Cucamonga)
  • Security Guard Gary Hedman, 25 years (Moreno Valley)

Congratulations to all!

Yippee-Ki-Yay! Mini Sirloin Burgers!

It's gotten so bad, the LA Times' Helene Elliott has to write puff piece valentines on players from division rivals to the Dodgers. Sigh.

If David Eckstein is right, if players like him are an endangered species because computer-generated calculations can't quantify the value of hustling and the little things he does so well, baseball will be the poorer for it.

If there's no room for someone like the San Diego Padres' second baseman, the ultimate little guy with a big heart and a winning influence on every team whose dirt-stained uniform he has worn, the sport will lose a piece of its soul.

"The style of game I play is definitely well against all the new-age baseball guys. A place in this game is not going to be very long for me, the way I play, because it's not what everyone that's getting power would want to see," he said.

"They want to see the numbers. They want to see stuff that translates on paper. I don't translate to paper."

Go ahead, SoSG fans. Tell us other things that don't translate to paper, please.

original Eckstein photo from Scott Rovak / EPA

Off-Day Grand Slam Finale Puzzle #13: Solution

Of the last 13 puzzles, ubragg has taken 8 and Mr C the other 5.

The solution to yesterday's puzzle reads "MEET ME OCTOBER 27 AT 10PM AT THE BAR IN THE SCANDIC SOLSIDEN HOTEL".

"Hey, you in the back! Listen, you don't wanna go in that bathroom quite yet. Just trust me. My name is Stoover."

The maze is a huge Rubik's Cube. Each room is one of the 27 cells of the cube, and each has at least one and up to three of its walls colored (except the "Dark Room") representing the colored sides on the exterior of the cube. Note that a Rubik's Cube has 6 sides, 27 smaller cubes (rooms), 54 smaller square-shaped exterior surfaces, and 162 total cell surfaces (interior and exterior). Each of these different types of entities will come into play. Also note this puzzle was a major pain in the butt to make.

The first step is to wander through the rooms and record your observations. Namely, the locations of the colored walls, any letters etched in the walls, the words that burn in the fires, and any doors.

If done correctly one can determine the initial state of the cube:

Here's another representation of the cube's initial state, unfolded into 2-D form to show all 6 sides/54 exterior cell surfaces:

And here's a mapping of each room's doors and locator ID's (which are the post titles, which though irrelevant to the puzzle solution can help track the rooms):

The center cell is the "Dark Room," which is dark because there is no exterior surface. It's also the only one of the 27 cells that does not move when the cube is twisted. The poem in the Dark Room tells you you must solve the Cube in 3 twists. Using the I,II,III; 1,2,3; and a,b,c conventions above, those 3 moves are:

  1. Twist top layer I to the right
  2. Twist East layer c downward
  3. Twist bottom layer III to the left

The Dark Room poem further hints that you must read three exterior surfaces before each of your three moves:

  1. Before the 1st twist, read the floor
  2. Before the 2nd twist, read the South wall
  3. Before the 3rd and final twist, read the East wall
  4. And after the 3rd twist, when the cube is solved, read the words in the fire.

Focusing first on the 1st three twists, the relevant surfaces read as follows:

(click image to enlarge)

A clear message is emerging: "MEET ME OCTOBER 27 AT 10PM AT THE B..."

Finally, to complete the message as per step 4, you must take the final state of the puzzle and read first letter of each of the words in the firewood and read them as indicated in the poem:

Put it all together to get the full message:


The Scandic Solsiden Hotel! - 30 minutes from Trondheim airport, and a short walk from Pirbadet, Nidaros Cathedral, and Stiftsgaarden wooden palace. Make your reservation here!

And finally, on the off-chance anyone is interested, here's the overall key I used to track each rooms' fire-words, doors, and surfaces:

Congratulations to UBragg, QuadSevens, Mr C, and Jason. Well done to all!

Coming tomorrow: Look inside the mind of Quad, Mr C, and Jason (they have one each), as they have each submitted their puzzle-mapping worksheets. Anyone else who has one, successful or not, please submit and I'll publish (Mr F - I know you have one, let's see it! UBragg - I'm not sure if you have one, as you may have done it in your head, but if you do, please submit as well)

Thanks everyone for another fun puzzle season, hope you enjoyed. Final Rankings to post soon!