Sunday, July 31, 2011

Post-Game 107 Thread: Bad News, Good News


The bad news: Arizona takes two of three from the Dodgers, beating Rubby De La Rosa (4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HR) on a day where the Dodgers finally gave up and traded six-year Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals, conceding the season. In fact, coach Don Mattingly was so disappointed with the Dodgers' lackluster performance today (not sure where Mattingly has been the last 106 games, but okay, it's a start), he pledged to have individual, "personal conversations" with his players. I hope he has cleared off room on his therapist's-office couch.

The good news, however, is that the Snakes' two weekend wins, coupled with the weekend sweep of San Francisco by the Reds, puts Arizona only two back of the Giants with two months to play. Including today's 9-0 whupping by Cincy, SF's new acquisition Carlos Beltran is batting 2-for-17 (.118) with 6 Ks. That is good news, indeed.

LATE ADD: Good news: Andre Ethier went 4-for-5 with a run scored. Bad news: the four hits were all singles; and, with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Ethier flies out to end the game.

SoSG Streaking Proposition Post: Finals

This is it, the final proposition bet!

Number of vowels in the last names of the Dodgers' batters in the sixth inning (sum, as recorded by the box score): 9.5

Cast your vote here, you two. As usual, any votes made after 1:00 PM PT are invalid. Good luck!

Game 107 Thread: July 31 vs. D'backs, 1p

Not pictured: giant can of peanut brittle.

Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.49) vs. Joe Saunders (7-8, 3.63).

The Dodgers are 12-12 in July, so today is their big chance to secure their first winning month of the season. Will they meet this meaningless milestone, or will they fritter away a chance at a modicum of respectability? Last time the Dodgers faced Saunders (all of two weeks ago), they came away with a rare win. But Clayton Kershaw started that game. Today De La Rosa is charged with the responsibility of holding the Snakes under however many RBIs Matt Kemp decides to drive in.

AP photo

SoSG Streaking: Semi-Finals Recap

You know what the toughest part of this SoSG Streaking game is to administer? Creating the grid each round. Not only have I made tons of errors trying to recap who won, but on a day like today I'm having to get up, turn on an episode of "Little Einsteins" on the DVR to occupy the kids, and then hustle over to powerpoint to make the new grid and then upload it.

Not that this is all about me, though. Congratulations on Spank and Mr. Customer for advancing:

One more matchup this afternoon. Proposition post (again game-related) will go up some time after 11am, and all bets are closed at 1p sharp.

Lots Being Written About Unwritten Rules

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Post-Game 106 Thread: 'Zona Takes One


In a game that meant a lot more to the Diamondbacks (who knew the Giants had lost, putting them only 3.5 GB), the Snakes erupted for five runs off of Chad Billingsley (who left with the bases loaded) an Matt Guerrier (who gave up the double that put AZ ahead 6-4). Dodgers look listless and sad, especially when Casey Blake flies out to end the game 0-for-4 with a .236 batting average. This year has been a long scream of a nightmare that seems to go on timelessly. Like this Universal Studios commercial.

SoSG Streaking Proposition Post: Semi-Finals

Really tight window here for the final four in the semi-final round. Here's the proposition for tonight's game (Saturday, July 30); slight change in that you have to answer TRUE or FALSE:

At least one of two possible outcomes will happen: Chad Billingsley will record a win tonight OR Billingsley will walk four or more batters.

Cast your votes here. As usual, any votes made after 7:00 PM PT are invalid. Good luck!

Kuroda: I'm With the Dodgers, Win or Lose. Probably Lose

Hiroki Kuroda values stability more than chasing championships. I understand and respect his decision, but it also feels like another failure of the Dodger organization to move past the McCourt morass and build for the future. Dammit.

Game 106 Thread: July 30 vs. Diamondbacks, 7p

Chad Billingsley (9-8, 3.92) vs. Micah Owings (4-0, 2.36).

Billingsley has not pushed his win-loss record over a net positive two-game difference all season long. But don't call Bills indecisive; in fact, he's reached a decision in each of his last 14 games. And this is the first game he's ever pitched as a 27-year-old (his birthday was yesterday). So I'm betting the new-found sage perspectives of older age will help Chad get over this mindblock and rise above win-loss mediocrity. The thighs have it.

Rafael Furcal Deal To Cardinals Almost Done

Alas, poor Raffy. I know I will miss him...but for now let me just report the news...

Rafael Furcal, a solid albeit oft-injured Dodger shortstop for the last six years, is about to land with the St. Louis Cardinals, according to ESPN sources. MLB Trade has also been following this story all morning:

The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were in serious negotiations Saturday on a trade that would send shortstop Rafael Furcal and cash to St. Louis, according to a source close to the situation.

The Cardinals have been looking to upgrade at shortstop for some time, and the Dodgers have been listening to offers to move either Furcal or Jamey Carroll to give shortstop prospect Dee Gordon an opportunity to play in the final two months of the season.

Because Furcal is a 10-year veteran who has spent more than five years with the Dodgers, he has to approve the trade before the deal becomes final. The Dodgers are expected to eat a significant portion of money still owed to Furcal, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Furcal told's Enrique Rojas by phone that he is inclined to approve any trade to a contender.

"As of right now, on the way to the stadium, nothing has happened yet," Furcal said. "Neither the Dodgers nor my agent have told me anything about a trade.

"The only thing I know is that several teams are interested and that I must approve any trade. I'm waiting to see if something happens, but if nothing happens, I'll be happy just as well to complete my contract with the Dodgers."

I suppose that leaves us with Ackbar and the imminent re-promotion of Dee Gordon at shortstop. Here's hoping we get a good package in Albert Pujols, for example.

SoSG Streaking: Quarter-Finals Recap

After a thoroughly unsatisfying quarter-finals round (sorry, guys; I thought that would be more fun than it turned out to be), we move on anyway to the semi-finals. Neeebs, Mr. Customer, Spank, and Josh S. are still alive, both by registering "false" as well as having Josh S. slip in with "grunt" right before the final bell tolled.

Good luck in tonight's matchup: proposition post (which I promise is game-related) will go up some time after 5pm, and all bets are closed at 7p sharp.

The Irreplacable Matt Kemp

There is a certain zen of calm, being over 12 games out in the standings, here at the precipice of the July 31 trading deadline. The Dodger fan does not get alarmed to see that the high-octane Phillies have picked up another weapon in Hunter Pence (in fact, counting this as a move against the Giants, I'm in favor), nor does the Dodger fan worry to see Colby Rasmus, one of the few players out there actually mentioned among the early Hiroki Kuroda trade talk, go to the Blue Jays. And Carlos Beltran to the Giants? A guy famous for leaving the bat on his shoulder in a key post-season situation joins the second-worst offensive team in the NL. Fine.

We know Hiroki Kuroda should probably be gone, though we'd love to see him stay and know he's gotten a raw deal this year in the run support category, diluting his win-loss record beyond recognition like a five-gallon jug to a can of orange juice frozen concentrate. We think Jamey Caroll and Rafael Furcal could probably be gone, too, if anyone were interested (apparently, according to MLB Trade Rumors, the Diamondbacks are interested in Furcal. There's a slew of other players that could be dangled (in some cases, we'd have to check if the rope were strong enough to support 300+ lbs), but we know only the very desperate would fish in those waters.

There's a healthy debate about Andre Ethier, he of the awesome first halfs for the last two years, but acting like a slumpasaurus after the All-Star break both times. I like Ethier, I'd love to see him stay and think he could put together a full season of solid play for the Dodgers; but even I admit that there are two other huge, huge players on the Dodgers who can't be touched, who need to be addressed soon if we want to keep them on the squad, and Ethier might be the odd man out (especially given the organization's lack of liquidity).

But Ramona Shelburne of ESPN had to open up the can of whup-ass early on one of those two pillars of the Dodgers' lineup, Matt Kemp, in an ominous article Friday. It doesn't say that Kemp is anywhere near the zip code of trading deadline conversations, which is a relief. But it does indicate that the time is fast approaching to figure out how the Dodgers are going to retain the best offensive power on the squad:

LOS ANGELES -- Five months ago, Ned Colletti wasn't sure. No one was.

Matt Kemp was coming off a tangled, tortuous season that raised concerns for everyone in baseball about his long-term future.

Had Kemp peaked in his breakthrough 2009 season? Were his failings in 2010 one-year anomalies, or the seeds of much larger issues? Could Davey Lopes and Don Mattingly be enough to turn him around? And if they didn't, were the Dodgers better off trading him?

When Kemp showed up in spring training lighter and leaner, losing both the excess weight and the surly attitude that slowed him down in 2010, Colletti pronounced himself cautiously optimistic his young star could turn his career around.

All Kemp has done since then is play the best baseball of his career.

He has been great, both on the field and in the clubhouse. A leader, even.

For a franchise and fan base that's been pelted as hard as the Dodgers have this season, Kemp and budding star Clayton Kershaw have become the reasons to get up in the morning or buy season tickets for next year.

"Matt is becoming one of the better players in the game," Colletti said during a recent interview in his Dodger Stadium offices. "He's always been a five-tool player, he was just short on experience.

"Now, with that experience, he's become an excellent player who can help you in the field, on the bases, at the plate. He can probably even help you in the clubhouse."

Losing Kemp would be catastrophic; it might even send a couple, if not all, of us Sons over the edge. I'm sure most other Dodger fans feel the same.

Hopefully, we can get over this ownership debacle some time in the offseason. And Mark Cuban's first step is to secure Matt Kemp as a Dodger for a long, long time.

photo: Kyle Terada / US Presswire

Friday, July 29, 2011

Post-Game 105 Thread: Upton, Grilled


The Diamondbacks had been hanging tight with the Dodgers for most of this game, even after Matt Kemp hit his third-inning, three-run HR to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. The Snakes scored one in the top of the fourth, so we scored two in the bottom to make it 5-2. They worked it back to 5-4 by the top of the sixth off of a shaky Blake Hawksworth (Lilly lasted only five innings but got the win), and the Dodgers brought it back to 6-4 by the end of the sixth. (Kemp had the Dodgers' first five RBI. His HR tonight gives him 25 HR and 27 SB on the year, making him the fifth fastest in the National League ever to go 25-25.)

And then Arizona RF Justin Upton came to the plate in the seventh, with Vin Scully remarking at how much difficulty he has had at Dodger Stadium. BOOM! Upton hits a solo HR, narrowing the lead to 6-5, and Scully has to eat some crow, right?

Except Upton couldn't escape the end of the seventh inning without two huge defensive gaffes: an error off a totally catchable Tony Gwynn fly ball that became a ground-rule double when Upton approached the catch cavalierly, with only one hand up; and then a Jamey Carroll fly ball to mid-right-field with the not-so-fleet-of-foot Dioner Navarro on third. Upton caught the Carroll sac fly flat-footed, then sailed a throw halfway between third and home (Navarro scored easily). One more run from a Rafael Furcal RBI double, and it was 9-5 and this game was over.

Scully took note to politely criticize Upton on both defensive plays, at one point qualifying one criticism with "You know, I've never played baseball, BUT...". And Vin was (of course), right; Upton deserved the heat. (Upton popped out to James Loney to end the game, as well.) Upton, grilled. You know, I'm in love with an Upton, grilled.

Alas, the days where Christie Brinkley was hot and Billy Joel was married to her.

SoSG Streaking Proposition Post: Quarter-Finals

Okay, the final eight players have had a day off to nurse their injuries and rest up, so here's the proposition for tonight's game. Tonight's proposition bet comes from the brilliantly twisted and devious mind of SoSG Eric Karros:

The last comment in this Proposition Post thread on or before 7:00 PM will be by someone who took (or was given) the "True" side of this True/False proposition.

Just to be clear, since this one is a bit trickier:

  • The first person to comment in each head-to-head competition must establish a side, either by voting "True" or "False". That first comment in each bracket establishes the proposition sides for both players in that bracket.
  • The person who makes the *last* comment on or before 7:00 PM will establish which side "wins" (for all four brackets).

Cast your votes here. As usual, any votes made after 7:00 PM PT are invalid. Good luck!

Game 105 Thread: July 29 vs. D'backs, 7p

Ted Lilly (6-10, 5.08) vs. Josh Collmenter (6-5, 2.74).

You know what you're going to get with Ted Lilly: five or six innings and an insurmountable deficit of runs. You know what you're going to get with Josh Collmenter: that funky-chicken delivery. You know what you're going to get at Dodger Stadium on a Friday night: fireworks. And you know what you're going to get when you use the restroom at a bus station: herpes. So slap on the baseball equivalent of an ass-gasket — low expectations! — and enjoy tonight's game.

200,000th Comment Contest: We Have A Winner

Back on June 10, 2011, we published a post called the 200,000th Comment Contest, in which we mentioned that the reader who makes the 200,000th comment on SoSG will win a prize.

At the time, we were at 193,880 comments. And longtime reader Josh S. was the first person to comment in that aforementioned thread, asking if he had won (obviously, we were still 6,000 comments away, so he wasn't close).

Oddly enough, over a month later, we just passed 200,000 comments during last night's Game Thread. And with this comment here, Josh S. claims the 200,000th comment, with:

Josh S. said...

Come on, let's knock Kim Kardashian around!

7/27/2011 9:49 PM

Congratulations, Josh S.! Send us an email with your snail mail address so we can send you your prize (still to be determined).

Thank you to everyone, to all of our readers, who helped us get all the way to 200,000 comments. Thank you for reading and contributing to our little site!

Truth be told, the 200,000th comment was by me three comments earlier (Fred's Brim, you just missed it). However the rules stated that we wouldn't award the prize to any Son, and the next non-Son comment was made by Josh S. Just in case we get audited on this shit years from now.

Jamie's Investor Circle Might Include Burkle?

"Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them. Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive."

Frank McCourt is digging around to find out who ex-wife Jamie McCourt is wooing to back a bid to buy the Dodgers. But according to Bill Shaikin in today's LAT, Jamie says it isn't Ron Burkle:

Did Jamie McCourt enlist billionaire Ron Burkle in her efforts to buy out her ex-husband Frank McCourt as owner of the Dodgers?

As Frank McCourt launched an unusually personal attack on Commissioner Bud Selig, and as Jamie McCourt charged her ex-husband with waging "jihad" against Major League Baseball at her expense, the newest development in the Dodgers' long-running ownership saga revolved around the potential involvement of Burkle.

Jamie McCourt has said for more than a year that she would line up investors in a bid for the Dodgers, but she never identified any potential partners. In an email dated May 31 and included in a Los Angeles Superior Court filing, an attorney for Frank McCourt asked for documents related to "the proposed deal with Mr. Burkle."

Dennis Wasser, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, would not say whether his client had spoken with Burkle but said she had not reached a pact with him or anyone else.

"There is no deal," Wasser said. "There is no draft of a deal. There are several qualified prospective buyers with a very keen interest who have called and inquired about the availability of the team."

Burkle, who owns a home in Beverly Hills and whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion by Forbes, is believed to be interested in buying the Dodgers. Steve Garvey said in April that he had partnered with Burkle, then conceded last month that the two men had no formal agreement. Burkle's spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

Jamie and Steve Garvey, both bringing up Burkle? Where there's smoke, is there fire?

photo: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times (June 17, 2011). By the way, I couldn't think of any other words that rhyme with "Burkle", so I'll take suggestions.

SoSG Streaking: First Round Recap UPDATED

A tough first round gave way to eight victors, either those that guessed that the Dodger pitchers would face more than 36.5 batters (they faced 40 Rockies), or those whose opponents didn't show up for the fight. Here's the grid going into the quarter-finals (updated):

Congratulations to you eight, and get ready to square off in head-to-head proposition bet combat tonight!

Off-Day Puzzle #7: Solution

Stat. The answer to PCS Season IV Puzzle #7 is WALTER ALSTON.

First step, obviously, is to complete the drop quote (or "letter drop") puzzle, by figuring out through trial and error how the letters in each column populate the squares above. If you get it right, your completed grid should look like this:

Hidden in the grid are all ten Dodgers with retired numbers, each of whom has an additional word in between his first and last name. Arranged in order by retired number, they read as follows:

  • Pee Wee CONSIDER Reese
  • Tommy PLAYERS Lasorda
  • Duke FIRST Snider
  • Jim INITIALS Gilliam
  • Don SOSG Sutton
  • Walter FANTASY Alston
  • Sandy FOOTBALL Koufax
  • Roy WEEK Campanella
  • Jackie NINE Robinson
  • Don UPDATE Drysdale


Going back to last season's SoSG Fantasy Football (which is why, earlier in the week, I left the tag here so one could access all the updates from last season), the SoSG Fantasy Football Week 9 Update was actually written by yours truly, marking the only week of the season where Mr. LA Sports Czar had allowed me to do the update. And eight months ago, I am proud to say, I had embedded in my update post a secret message right out in the open. Planting the seeds, if you will, for the ripe fruit to be harvested at a later date...

Taking the first initials of the players mentioned reads:

  • Wes Welker
  • Akers
  • Lynch
  • Thomas Jones
  • Evans
  • Rodgers
  • Adrian Peterson
  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Sevi Ajirotutu
  • Terrell Owens
  • Ochocinco
  • Nicks

Those players' first-referenced initials, in order, read out "WALTER ALSTON", the answer to the puzzle.

Congratulations to BCCSweet, QuadSevens, Jason, ubragg, and Mr. Customer for correct answers. Next puzzle, Thursday August 11 at 7a!

Hiroki Kuroda Eviction Watch

  • Jon Heyman,
    The strong belief among some contenders is that the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda will not waive his no-trade clause for a deal. At least five American League clubs have checked in on him -- the Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees. While Kuroda has been noncommittal on his no-trade powers, it seems to some like a long shot that he'd accept.
  • Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports:
    Kuroda, 36, may not be an easy sell. He has great affinity for Los Angeles and the Dodgers, and could choose to stay.
    "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform than the Dodgers uniform right now," Kuroda said through a translator.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brewers Looking At Dodgers' Middle Infield

Tweeted Ken Rosenthal this afternoon:

#Brewers doing background work on Furcal. Also interested in Carroll. #Dodgers will trade one. Not both. #tradedeadline #MLB

Admiral Ackbar, or a .195 hitter who still has $4.8M owed to him? Hmm.

Giants Hear Dodgers' Footsteps, Trade Future For Beltran

Worried about the Dodgers' climb up the divisional charts, Carlos Beltran is moving from the Mets to the Giants for the stretch run.

The San Francisco Giants reached agreement on a deal to send top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler to the New York Mets for Beltran and financial considerations, and by Wednesday evening, Beltran reportedly was winging his way from Cincinnati to Philadelphia to join manager Bruce Bochy’s club and take his free-agent showcase to the next level.

When the deal is official, Beltran is expected to play right field and bat third for the Giants, who improved their record to 60-44 with a 2-1 win over the Phillies on Wednesday. [...]

Beltran will fill a mega-void in the middle of the order for the Giants, who rank 15th in the National League with 373 runs scored, and are among the bottom five in the league in hits, home runs and total bases. If he doesn’t embody what they need, he certainly comes close. [...]

It’s no secret in baseball circles that Giants general manager Brian Sabean has been focusing on upgrades at shortstop and catcher for a while. Miguel Tejada, on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain, can still hit well enough to get by, but his lack of range was readily apparent in spring training. Mike Fontenot is a handy utility player, and rookie Brandon Crawford has promise, but they’re not going to make anyone forget Rich Aurilia.

The Giants also need help at catcher, where Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart are hitting a combined .220 with three home runs in 225 at-bats in place of the injured Buster Posey. Maybe catching is an item Sabean can address next month. After all, the Giants picked up [Cody] Ross off waivers from Florida last August, and all he did was slug .686 in the postseason and win the NLCS Most Valuable Player award to become a magnet for boos in Philly.

Okay, 15th out of 16th offense. Let's see if this move stops you from watching the Dodgers' ascent up the standings.

Off-Day Puzzle #7: Dropping Into Place

You know what to do.

Puzzle Rules: The solution to the puzzle is a Dodger.

Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give it away to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

  • Email us the solution (first and last name), along with your reasoning. Submitted answers without the reasoning, or those submitted with the incorrect reasoning, will count for participation only, even if the answer itself is correct;
  • Please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and,
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. We may not be able to reply to your original email promptly, so please be patient and check back on the comment thread for the latest news; we may confirm correct answers there.

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Answer will be posted a 7a on Friday July 29. Depending on how generous I feel (and how busy today gets at work), we may post hints during the day. Good luck!

Not familiar with SoSG's off-day puzzle competition? Read up here. And join the mayhem!

HINT #1 (10:08a): Okay, obviously you've got to start by solving the drop quote. From there, step two is to order what you've got. (Not sure how many more hints I can give after this!)

HINT #2 (2:40p): Step three is to figure out where to go next to find the treasure. And there, you'll find the answer. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Post-Game 104 Thread: Kuroda Gets Typical Lack Of Support In His Possible Last Dodger Start


It's fitting, right? That Hiroki Kuroda, a steady Dodgers starter for four seasons, who has played in 104 games since joining in 2008, should get no support in the run column from his Dodgers teammates, in a year where run support was hard to come by, but definitely on the nights when Kuroda started. (Shoot, I'm already talking about Kuroda as if he has been traded, when in fact he's still in play. Imagine that.)

So despite a 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB and 6 K performance, Kuroda took the loss, as the Dodgers waited until a ninth-inning solo home run by Rod Barajas in order to notch a run. Kuroda leaves the Dodgers tallying a 6-13 record despite a 3.11 ERA. Shit, wouldn't you run for the hills as well, with this sort of "help" behind you? Dodgers slipt back to 13 GB and fail to take third place in the NL West.

SoSG Streaking Proposition Post: First Round

Here we go, guys. As I write this, I have no idea if Hiroki Kuroda will be starting (as announced) or off to another let me go with this one for today's proposition:

Number of Rockies batters the Dodgers will face tonight (sum, across all Dodger pitchers): 36.5 (as recorded by the box score, "batters faced")

Cast your votes here. I won't be able to monitor it real-time, but any votes made after 7:00 PM PT are invalid. Good luck!

Game 104 Thread: July 27 vs. Rockies, 7p

Hiroki Kuroda (6-12, 3.19) vs. Aaron Cook (1-5, 5.84).

It has been an arduous path the Dodgers and their players have traveled these past four months. It has been at times ugly, unnerving, nasty, not nice, ugly, and unsettling. Losing seasons always are, and this season, which is a losing one as well, has been no exception.

That the Dodgers are considering trading Hiroki Kuroda, that the Dodgers and their players are traveling an arduous path, that the Dodgers are having a losing season, is just plain silly. Sorry to use such harsh language, hand over fist.

This season is about losing, plain and simple. It is not about playing for the love of the game. It is about losing, and how much the Dodgers are losing hand over fist.

Of course, the answer to the question I never asked is the Dodgers could benefit from trading Kuroda. The Kuroda will continue to pitch well, no matter which team he plays for. The players will only continue. The definite article will continue to be overused.

The Dodgers have lost 56 games today. Who knows how many they will lose tomorrow, but it will not be less. That would be impossible, as it is impossible to unlose a game. And ultimately, now, you see, the Dodgers could sweep, now, ultimately, the Rockies.

From Dodger Stadium, this is Ashley Fox reporting.

Uribe Channels Dodger Fan Sentiment: "I Don't Like The Way I'm Playing"

Debatably the worst off-season deal that Ned Colletti made this year was signing Juan Uribe to a three-year contract (the debate unfortunately is whether the Uribe three-year deal is worse than the three-year deal fo Ted Lilly, but that's another topic).

One could argue that the warning signs were already evident this off-season, that Uribe was always a rotund free-swinger that happened to catch some fame in the 2010 NLCS and parlayed a deal with an unsuspecting GM from there. But even still, Uribe's .204 batting average this year has the 31-year old batting almost 50 points below his career average, and Uribe's OPS+ of 59 is even worse than Marcus Thames' 2011 Dodger career--and we let Thames go weeks ago. Sadly, Uribe is still here, or at least as much here as a disabled list stint can be.

And Uribe, when reflecting on his performance, is at least realistic if not fully resigned:

Juan Uribe might be smiling in the clubhouse every day, but the $21-million infielder said he's hurting inside.

"I'm not happy with how I've played," Uribe said. "I haven't played the way I wanted to play. I haven't helped the team the way I would have liked. When you come to a new team, this isn't what you want to happen."

In the first season of his three-year deal with the Dodgers, Uribe is batting .204 with four home runs and 28 runs batted in in 77 games.

"It's been a tough year," he said. "I've never had to endure something like this. Whenever I start getting into a rhythm, I get hurt or something happens."

The latest something is a tight left groin that required him to undergo an MRI exam Tuesday. The exam revealed inflammation.

Uribe missed three games in late April with tightness in the same area. He landed on the disabled list the next month with a strained left hip flexor.

"In life, things like this happen," he said. "But I can't put my head down. I have to keep going forward. I have to continue to work hard. That's the only thing I can control." [Sax's note: not true, you could also control your calorie intake.] Uribe said he continues to try to make adjustments at the plate and that he hasn't given up on salvaging his season. "We still have two months," he said. "There's still a lot of baseball to be played. In baseball, anything can happen. I still have confidence in myself. That's important. When you think you can't do any better, that's when you're in trouble."

Hey, kudos to Uribe for the stiff upper lip and all, as well as for his honesty. But in this selling season, we should be looking to jettison Uribe, even if the offer is for a bucket of sunflower seeds. Yeah, his defense has been pretty good at third. But I can't take two more years of this guy flailing around at the plate, further exposing the Dodgers' lack of power that is also a burdened shared by James Loney, to be fair, but is exacerbated by weakness in left field and catcher as well.

Uribe's batting average hasn't been at .250 since April 29, for pete's sake. Cut bait.


Last night's 19 inning marathon between America's Team (The Pirates!) and America's Taint (The Braves) ended in spectacular fashion, with a tag out at the plate deemed unworthy. I think we all know who was officiating.

And in his defense, he was trying to save the queen.

SoSG Streaking: First Round Bracket

All right, day 1 was a difficult one for this SoSG Streaking game, as Clayton Kershaw only managed six strikeouts (under his threshold of 9.5), not an outcome any Dodger fan would want to see. However, the Dodgers managed to win anyway, so maybe Central Valley Fan and Keven C can assuage their guilt with that outcome...

Here's the new bracket:

It's a busy day of play, so make sure you watch for the Proposition Post, going up some time after 5pm today--and get your vote in before the 7p cut off!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post-Game 103 Thread: Kershaw Keeps The Dodgers Streaking To Four In A Row

It wasn't a pretty night for Clayton Kershaw (6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks), but he soldiered on long enough to get the Dodgers in position to win their fourth in a row; Matt Guerrier came on to finish the seventh and Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to close it and get the save.

The Dodgers only managed four hits, half as many as the Rockies, but scored three runs in the fourth inning, thanks in large part to Ty Wigginton's error on a routine Rafael Furcal fly ball to left (go ahead and speculate which words "routine" is modifying there). Furcal ended up on second base to lead off the inning, and a Matt Kemp 2-RBI double scored Furcal and Andre Ethier (who walked), while Juan Rivera added another run off a weird fly ball to the second baseman, who then tripped and was taken out by Ryan Spilborghs, allowing Kemp to score (you should watch this highlight).

Those three runs was all the Dodgers needed to notch the win and inch to 12 GB of the division lead.

SoSG Streaking Proposition Post: Play-In Round

Suddenly, the seats in the pavilions seem more desirable.

All right, it's the play-in round! And the proposition bet for today's game (Tuesday, July 26 vs. the Rockies) is:

Number of strikeouts for Clayton Kershaw this evening: over/under 9.5 strikeouts. (Go ahead, check Kershaw's stats.)

Go to it, play-in round party people--choose your side!

Game 103 Thread: July 26 vs Rockies, 7p

Clayton Kershaw (11-4, 2.72) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (8-7, 3.60).

Chacin has not won since June 15, losing his fourth straight decision Thursday over 4.2 IP against the Braves. Kershaw has not allowed an earned run in 23 innings spanning his last three starts, including his last start in which he outpitched Tim Lincecum for the second time this year, and frankly every Kershaw start is must-watch TV, or viewing in person if you can swing it.

But that's not why you're going to tonight's game, right? You just want to get your grubby little hands on the Fernandomania bobblehead (for the first 50,000 fans in attendance; I don't think you'll have a problem even if you get there late). Who can blame you; it looks pretty sweet, and much better than the other 2001 Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead SGA ($70, are you kidding me?). I have a feeling that you'll hear the song below once or twice tonight. I also have a feeling that the guy with the long hair will be sitting right in front of you, the locks of his golden mane flowing over his seatback and into your lap. Bring some s'mores for that there campfire.

Dodgers Still Pissing Off Vero Beach, Three Years Later

From the LA Daily News:

A code enforcement officer has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers for violating property maintenance and trash violations on property where the team used to train on Florida's Atlantic coast.

During a code enforcement hearing Monday, officer Vanessa Carter Solomon outlined the violations she found during a June 29 inspection at the 3.4-acre lot in Vero Beach. The Dodgers held spring training in Vero Beach until 2008, when they moved to a new spring home in Glendale, Ariz.

Solomon was asked to alert Dodgers officials that the issue will be included on the board's Aug. 19 agenda.

You hear that, Frank? You're on the August 19 agenda! (chills run through spine)

The Most Poorly Written Front-Page Article About the NFL Lockout You'll Read Today

From "A win for owners, players -- and lawyers" by Ashley Fox at

It has been an arduous path the NFL and its players have traveled these past four months. It has been at times ugly, unnerving, nasty and unsettling. Labor disputes always are, and this one has been no exception.

Both sides took hits and neither will walk away unscathed now that they have finally agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

That the NFL Players Association had to decertify, that the owners had to lock out the players, that there had to be a halt to league business was just silly when everyone was making money hand over fist.

The league was healthy, not broken. This dispute was about greed, plain and simple. It was not about putting the best product on the field or playing for the love of the game. It was about money, and how much everyone got.

Of course, the answer is that the players and the owners will continue to print money. The television contracts will only get larger. The fan interest will only grow. The stadiums will continue to be packed (most of them), and the merchandise will continue to fly off the shelves.

The NFL is a $9.3 billion business today. Who knows what it will be in 2020, but it will not be less. It will be more, potentially much more. So there had to be a way the two sides could come to an agreement. There had to be football in 2011. And ultimately, now, there will be.

As we prepare to finally discuss football, free agency, trades and training camps, it is worth a look at the winners and losers of the past four months.

That article made the front page of Here's a quick re-edit:

It has been an arduous path the NFL and its players have traveled these past four months. It has been at times ugly, unnerving, nasty and unsettling. Labor disputes always are., and this one has been no exception.

Both sides took hits and nNeither side will walk away unscathed now that they have finally agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

That the NFL Players Association had to decertify, that the owners had to lock out the players, that there had to be a halt to league business was just silly needless when everyone was making money hand over fist.

The league was healthy, not broken. This dispute was about greed, plain and simple. It was not about putting the best product on the field or playing for the love of the game. It was about money, and how much everyone got.

Of course, the answer is that the players and the owners will continue to print money. The Television contracts will only get larger. The Fan interest will only grow. The Stadiums will continue to be packed (most of them), and the merchandise will continue to fly off the shelves.

The NFL is a $9.3 billion business today. Who knows what it will be in 2020, but it will not be less. It will be even more profitable in 2020, potentially much more. So there had to be a way the two sides could come to an agreement. There had to be football in 2011. And ultimately, now, there will be.

As we prepare to finally discuss football, free agency, trades and training camps, it is worth a Here's a look at the winners and losers of the past four months.:

Newest Stow Suspects (Allegedly) Split Skull, Split Parking Lot, and Now Split Hairs

Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood have been charged with three felonies in connection with the attack on Giants fan Bryan Stow, following their alleged assault on Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day. But wait, says their attorney, it's not all that bad (emphasis mine):

Police captain Andrew Smith said Monday that the department is still investigating because others possibly were victimized. The official said police believe there were three victims besides Stow.

"We're trying to find out if there are any other victims, anyone in the parking lot, anyone along the third-base line," Smith said following a scheduled press conference with LAPD chief Charlie Beck was canceled.

Smith added that police believe Sanchez and Norwood watched the game from seats along the third-base line. Stow, who remains hospitalized with a brain injury, watched the game from the outfield bleachers. The attack of the 42-year-old paramedic from Santa Cruz occurred near a taxi stand in a dimly lit lot after the game. [...]

Outside the courthouse, [District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi] Gibbons clarified the mayhem charge against both men, which reads that the defendants "unlawfully and maliciously deprive Bryan Stow of a member of the body and did disable, disfigure and render it useless and did cut and disable the tongue, and put out an eye and slit the nose, ear and lip of said person."

Gibbons said that "doesn't mean anyone lost an eye or had their tongue cut off. ... It means that the victim sufferend very serious injuries, injuries that would disfigure or impair."

Oh, it's just disfigurement and impairment! Never mind the brain damage and coma. Well, that clears up everything. I feel much better now.


Instead of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for the fifth time, the DelinO opted to attend the biggest gathering of uber-nerds this side of a Fry's sale. Comic-Con!!! (For the fifth time)

Alas, I did not make it into the famed Hall H (since the D&D crowd tend to get there at 6am). But I did get to the Community panel, featuring a never loopier Chevy Chase.

And I sort of fell head over heels for all the Being Human cast.

I was able to continue my series of StormTroopers pix (soon to be a coffee table book).

And then there was the zombie walk, which is everything that's right and wrong about Comic-Con. Hundreds of undead revelers staggering down the Gaslight streets, looking for brains and acting lessons.

By day's end, I felt a few points hipper... until I realized I spent $200 on Star Wars and Avengers chachkees. I could claim they're all for my sons, but I don't want to make Baby Jesus cry.

Oslo Bombing Interrupted This Poor Chap's Workout

This is OT but you have to see this interview video posted on Gawker, from a man on the street describing the chaos of the recent bombing in Norway--in the context of how it interrupted his workout! As Gawker's Seth Abramovitch opines:

It's impossible to wrap one's head around the awfulness to befall Norway this week, so one New Zealand newscast turned to a Kiwi expat who was near the site of the Oslo bombing for an eyewitness account. Unfortunately, however, that's all just a pretense for Cameron Leslie to share what's really been on his mind over the past few days: his totally killer workout!

You'll hear all about how he cycled beneath the targeted government building on his way to the gymnasium, then was in the middle of his "eighth repetition of a 165 kg bench press" when the car bomb detonated. (Despite all the chaos, naturally, he finished his set.) Why do you need to know that? I'm not sure! But 165 kgs sure is a lot of kgs! Way to go, Cameron! May I ask about your diet? I hear low-fat proteins like chicken and tuna are best for adding lean muscle mass.

Way to put horrific national tragedy into self-absorbed vain context, dude.

Who Says ESPN's Demographic Is Aging?

Screenshot from, Monday July 25 2011, 10p PT, at the bottom of this article on an MOU for a downtown football stadium in LA.

Arash Markazi just had the shit hit, I guess everything's all wrapped up okay.

SoSG Streaking: Game Starts Tonight!

Thanks to SoSG reader Dusto Magnifico for the logo!

Get your velcro tearoff warmup pants ready, because tonight we are going streaking!

Thanks to all of you who signed up for this game. Here's how the game works:

  • The object of the game is to survive the longest by making the correct selection in a series of propositions, with each proposition dependent upon an outcome in that day's game. Each proposition will be binary, so one side will "win" and the other side will "lose." (For example, a proposition might be "the Dodgers will hit four or more home runs in tonight's game" (and we all know what side to take on that example).)
  • Sometime in the two hours leading up to the first pitch in that day's game, a new "SoSG Streaking" Proposition Post will go up, with a proposition bet described. But here is the catch: only the first player in each head-to-head bracket to post a comment with his or her desired side will be allowed to select the side of the proposition. In other words, if you're in a head-to-head bracket and your opponent chooses his or her side first, you by default get put on the other side of the proposition.

  • Even though one person has already picked a side of the proposition, the opponent also needs to comment within the Proposition Post thread, in order to stay alive--or, the first player gets both sides of the proposition (and is guaranteed a win).

  • Propositions will be closed at first pitch. If neither opponent in the head-to-head battle takes a stance before the first pitch, both contestants are eliminated (or I'll think up some other outcome, maybe a coin flip; the point is, put in a vote).

  • I'm guessing that these propositions will be a first-mover advantage, so you may want to check if the Proposition Post has gone up yet.

  • The tournament bracket is single-elimination and was largely determined in the order people registered, with the exception of Dusto Magnifico for whom we have to thank for the awesome game logo (above), so I advanced him to the first round (sorry, Loney Fan!). The rounds will play as follows (click to enlarge):

So, to Loney Fan, hawkhandler, In Vin Veritas, Fernie V, Steve K, Central Valley Fan, Neeebs, and Keven C: be ready sometime after 5p today! Good luck!

Kuroda Still Up For One More Dodger Start?

The Wednesday series finale with the Colorado Rockies could still be Hiroki Kuroday's to start, if he hasn't been traded away yet. And as of late Monday, no deal for Kuroda was on the table:

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, the subject of increasing trade speculation, had not been asked to waive his no-trade clause for any specific club as of Monday.

"I haven't talked to Ned [Colletti, general manager] or my agent or had any meeting in recent days," said Kuroda, who would need to approve any assignment. "I haven't heard anything from anybody."

Colletti, who met with Kuroda last week and told him he would keep the pitcher informed, said Monday that no deal is imminent.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is Sunday. Kuroda's next start -- and possibly last for the Dodgers this year -- is Wednesday night.

He said he's aware of the rumored destinations (the clubs most frequently mentioned are Detroit, Cleveland, Texas and the Yankees), but again wouldn't speculate on whether he would approve a deal.

"I haven't put a lot of thought into it," he said.

It must be weird, knowing that you could be shipped off at a moment's noticed to another squad all the way across the country. I guess it also must be weird owning a 3.19 ERA and being 6-12, however. If we do have to give Kuroda up, here's hoping we get some great players in return.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post-Game 102 Thread: The "Route" Is On (And Then Almost Off Again)

8-5, get it?


Like in yesterday's game, the opponent scored first, with one run in the top of an early inning (three consecutive two-out singles in the second inning). And like in yesterday's game, the Dodgers' pitching staff (Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Guerrier, and Kenley Jansen) proceeded to shut them down after that, allowing no hits from the third inning until the ninth inning.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the plate, our 1-2-3 batters (Rafael Furcal, Aaron Miles, and Andre Ethier) went a combined 6-for-13 with 6 RBI and 2 BB, and Juan Rivera (in the five-hole) added a RBI double of his own. The Dodgers scored three in the third (two off a Ethier HR), two in the sixth, and three in the eighth (batting around), which brought the immortal words of impeccable speller SoSG Dusty Baker, "the route is on!"

But unlike yesterday's game, things didn't end so smoothly. In the top of the ninth, Hong-Chih Kuo entered with a seven-run lead in his favor, but decided to bring along his backup band, the Yippers. Kuo couldn't find the plate (17 pitches, only five for strikes), allowing a single and two walks while recording one out. Kuo had to be rescued by Mike MacDougal, who promptly walked Ryan Spilborghs and allowed Dexter Fowler a RBI single. And then Jamey Carroll added a fielding error to allow a fourth run to score. MacDougal then walked in the fifth run of the night, and we had to call Javy Guerra into service with the bases loaded, in order to get the last two outs of the game on the ninth and tenth batters of the inning.

What was almost an epic implosion was narrowly, narrowly averted, but you know what they say: no lead is safe at Dodger Stadium. Not with this bullpen, at least. Dodgers win their third in a row and climb to 13 GB. We're making our move!

Game 102 Thread: July 25 vs. Rox, 7p

Rubby De La Rosa (3-4, 3.73) vs. Juan Nicasio (4-2, 3.88).

Last time the Dodgers faced Juan Nicasio, at Coors Field, they touched him for four runs over five innings. Matt Kemp did most of the damage with a solo homer and a two-RBI triple. But it gets better — Nicasio underperforms on the road, sporting a 9.00 ERA away from Coors. Kemp, who went 2 for 4 yesterday, could break out his supposed mini-slump (he's "only" slugging .486 since the All-Star break) and rock the Rox sox off tonight.

Kuroda: Open To Heading (Far) East

Try to hold the vomit back down your esophagus, as you consider that Dodger Hiroki Kuroda might be making his next start for one of those rarely-mentioned-by-the-press teams in the AL East:

NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda will consider waiving his no-trade clause if he were traded to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the situation.

There is a common perception that Kuroda only wants to remain in Los Angeles, but the official said that is a "myth" and Kuroda will consider his options, if dealt.

The Yankees showed interest in Kuroda this offseason. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman never could offer Kuroda a contract because he was waiting on Cliff Lee to make his decision. By the time Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, Kuroda was off the market. Kuroda, 36, leads the National League in losses, but his record is deceptive. He is 6-12. His ERA is 3.19.

I know, this story was inevitable; why wouldn't either of those two teams want Kuroda (and everyone else for that matter)? Sigh.

UPDATE 4:05p: MLB Trade Rumors says that the Tigers, Indians, Brewers, Rangers, and Cardinals are also in the mix for Kuroda. Man, this is really weird, seeing the Dodgers as trade deadline sellers rather than buyers. But I guess it's better than seeing us pick up five more Juan Riveras this week.

Alyssa Milano Borrows Juan Uribe's Shirt

Hat tip to Josh S. for the awesome line, and Dusty for the link (which is here by the way).

At-Game Recap: Melting In The Sun (July 24 vs. Nationals)

Took some family members to the game on Sunday, watching the Dodgers pick up a victory against the Washington Nationals, 3-1. I had forgotten how incredibly hot that Stadium can get for day games, and though my seats for this game would have been glorious any other evening, for a day game it was pretty unbearable. Beer, along with multiple cups of ice procured from the concession stands, was not enough to keep me from melting in those unshaded seats.

What the heck happens to Michael Hutchence at the beginning of the video, anyway?

The good news about this season, however, is that even with a Dodger cap giveaway at the gates, there's no one at the Stadium! With announced attendance of just over 36,000 (I would guess it was more like 25K), there were plenty of shady seats on the field level to which my family and I could relocate, and enjoy a couple of rows with legs outstretched and bags on empty seats beside us. I'm not kidding; it was so empty (how empty was it?), I even got a AT&T cell phone signal from the stands. Consistently. So we hung out, sitting between third base and home underneath the ribbon scoreboard, enjoying the rest of the game (from the second inning onward) from the shade.

I had my son with me at this game, and he was a total trouper, asking lots of questions throughout the first four innings and admirably trying to make a dent in his four-foot tall carton of popcorn, before petering out for an inning (he hadn't napped) and then occupying himself quietly by watching Madagascar on the iPhone (which is why my from-game comments on the GT abruptly stopped in the later innings, btw). There was no squirming, no running up and down the aisles (he was a bit more antsy last year, at another non-Dodgers MLB park which will go nameless for now). He was great.

Admittedly, there have been times this season where I've felt the same way while watching a Dodger game.

I was even more excited to have my son ask me even more questions later on that evening (after dinner at a friend's house). He recalled the score of the game, the color of the Nationals' uniforms, and other small details that I thought he had missed. We didn't stick around after Sunday's game to run the bases, due to other social engagements that evening; but I think next time he has definitely earned that privilege.

Sunday was a fun game to watch (from the shade especially), since the Dodgers' pitching staff was mechanically efficient past the first inning (13 Ks, no-hitting the Nationals after the first inning), including two big strikeouts and an 0-for-3 day from hirsute former Dodger Jayson Werth.

Matt Kemp's belly flop at home in the bottom of the first inning, scoring from first on a single, was awesome; the Bison seemed to pick up speed rounding third (coaxed on by third base coach Tim Wallach, smartly sending Kemp home), catching the Nationals by surprise (the throw beat Kemp but Jesus Flores dropped the ball, and Kemp avoided a tag anyway by sliding around Flores). And James Loney's almost-GIDP-turned-RBI seemed to satisfy both camps who either expected failure or wanted to see him succeed. The game was quick (2:46), the crowd was into Chad Billingsley's strong performance, and all in all, it was a pleasant day in the park. Just ask this guy, who caught up on some good reading:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I also had the opportunity to spend an inning with SoSG Dusty Baker and the Baker clan, up in the Loge level ($17 a seat was a steal for those seats!). We commiserated together over the lost 2011 season, drowning our sorrows in full-priced beer. Misery loves company, right?

Sunday's Win Enough To Drive T-Jax To Hallucinations

In all seriousness, this was a pretty good piece by's Tony Jackson, on how one uncommon series victory can spurn irrational hope even in the most depressing of seasons:

LOS ANGELES -- The psychology of sport has always fascinated me, at least since youth baseball when every time I would strike out I would wonder if it meant I couldn't play this game.

It actually did mean that, but for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, everything felt a little different. In an odd way, after a 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals before 36,458 at Dodger Stadium, everything suddenly felt OK. The Dodgers took two of three to win a series for the first time in the second half of this season and are now face with a chance to move into third place in the National League West with the slumping Colorado Rockies coming to town.

Suddenly, it didn't seem to matter that the Dodgers are still heading into the tank, remain 11 games below .500, have lost five of nine since the All-Star break, and they have scored more than three runs in a game just five times this month. After all that, they actually have to sweep that three-game series with the Rockies in order to overtake them in the standings.

All of those things did still matter, of course. They mattered more, in fact, than any of the happy things that had just happened. But in a game in which they say momentum will carry you only as far as tomorrow's starting pitcher will, Chad Billingsley carried the Dodgers to this momentary euphoric state with one of his strongest performances of the season, overcoming first-inning trouble to retire 21 of 22 batters and no-hit the Nationals from the second through the seventh innings.

This is an example of how the psychology of sport can be a godsend when your season is going nowhere and you still are 61 games from the end. If the Dodgers lose to the Rockies on Monday night, they will revert just as quickly to the gloom and despair that has followed them all season. But for the moment, all they can do is try to win each game, and so for the past two days, they did everything they could against the Nationals.

I may have been affected as well; I was at the game and perhaps the heatstroke got to me. But the Dodgers actually looked like a pretty decent team there against the Nationals Sunday. Wait a second, it was the Nationals. Okay, I'm snapping back to reality.

Damn reality.

SoSG Streaking: New Inane Game To Keep 2011 Interesting, Dullen Pain

I haven't completely thought through all of the ground rules yet, but sign up here if you want to participate. All I can tell you is, this SoSG game will involve outcomes in upcoming Dodger games, the game will be single-elimination in format, and a prize will be awarded to the winner.

Honey, you think KFC's still open?

Post your name in this thread before 7 pm today if you're interested in competing. (And we could probably use a logo for this game, if anyone is interested and graphically inclined.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Post-Game 101 Thread: Natsies Make Patsies, Dodgers Take Series


The Nationals opened the game against Chad Billingsley with a walk, a HBP, and a single, causing Bills to get a visit from the dugout. Then the next batter singled in a run with the Nationals' second hit of the game. and things weren't looking too good, two hits and none out in the first.

But that was the last hit the Nationals got for the rest of the game. Bills struck out the side in the first and then went seven strong innings with 10 Ks to thoroughly befuddle the Nationals. And when PH Alex Cora came in to face Kenley Jansen in the eighth, it was more of the same; no hits for Jansen (1 K) and none for Javy Guerra into the ninth (2 Ks).

The Dodgers win thanks to some smart base running from Matt Kemp to score from first on an Aaron Miles 2-RBI single (making it 2-1 Dodgers). The Dodgers added a third run on a cheapie when James Loney, with the bases juiced and one out, should have GIDPed but reached first on a bad throw from Nats SS Ian Desmond, allowing Rafael Furcal (who had walked) to score from third and Loney to reach first safely.

Dodgers win the rubber match which may have had something to do with the fact Juan Uribe did not play today. No time to breathe however as the Rockies roll into town starting tomorrow.

Game 101 Thread: July 24 vs Nationals, 1p

Chad Billingsley (8-8, 4.07) vs. Jason Marquis (8-4, 3.92).

Last night, the Dodgers depended on a .169 hitter to win the game. Today in the rubber match, can we expect heroics from another unlikely source? And given how that characterization would capture basically everyone in the lineup (including both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, both of whom are struggling), who if anyone will heed the call and step up?

Oh yeah, I will be at the game today, baking on the field level like a potato. Holler if you want to say hi.

graphic via shutterstock

A Eulogy For Borders: Thanks For The Memories, Sorry For Not Contributing More

Yesterday I spent an hour poking through the carrion like a hungry vulture at a Borders store liquidating its inventory. What was once a nice, calming place to read the latest magazines, fire up one's laptop in the cafe using the free wifi, and even occasionally buy a book, was now a mass of moderately organized, half-emptied bookshelves, encircled by a snaking line of people waiting to purchase their discounted loot.

The liquidation discount, at this early stage, wasn't even that great, either--currently only 10% off on most items, with 20% off graphic novels (I picked up Kirkman's Ultimate Invincible Collection book 1)--but that didn't stop hordes of other vultures just like me from picking at the wreckage. I am quite sure the few staff members, re-assigned to the cash registers rather than staffing the floor, were thinking to themselves, "if y'all had come last week, we wouldn't be in liquidation." But register queues not seen since the kindle was introduced were a strange sight for a Borders, as were even other people occupying the same aisle at the same time (I mean, that doesn't even happen all that often at my local Ralph's grocery store). So it was weird.

I like to read, but honestly trips to Borders became more and more infrequent and rarely if ever for a purchase. The kids section would have been one of the places that might have made sense for me--kids' birthday parties are unrelenting and I'd always rather give a book than a toy they might not like or clothes I know they would hate)--but every childrens book was always so obviously read by others, it was like buying a used book.

And the cafe was closed, the tables missing. Sme people were sitting in the corner on the floor with their laptops, still using the free wifi services. But it was a sorry sight to see the former eating area as barren as an empty dance floor.

All the activity at the store was from the scavengers. And it made me think, who ever used Borders the way their revenue model hoped it would be used?

In fact, I can think of only five distinct times I really "used" Borders, and they all reflect lack of contribution to their revenue model:

  • 1. I love perusing magazines, I'm a total magazine junkie. I remember spending rainy Sunday mornings with my then-girlfriend-now-wife at the Borders on the corner of Union Square in San Francisco, drinking coffees as we sifted through stacks of periodicals that we ultimately didn't purchase, come to think of it. The coffee was usually pretty good, but I don't think we ever left having purchased more than the coffees, and an occasional scone.
  • 2. There was this evening when my wife-once-girlfriend and I randomly stumbled into the Borders on La Cienega (south of 3rd Street), and sat down in the cafe to listen to the featured singer, John Hoskinson. He sounded a lot like Crowded House and had this great track called "I Hope I Die Before You Do" that was cute. We ended up buying his CD Miscellaneous Heathen, which was great and all, though in retrospect I suppose none of that money went to Borders, either.
  • 3. I sometimes would sneak away from work at lunch and sort of lose myself in the aisles of a nearby Borders. Sometimes I would just read graphic novels and lose track of time. Often, I'd even forget about eating lunch.
  • 4. Once a good friend of mine was verbally slighted by this woman we both knew at a party we had attended. It wasn't a big deal; everyone was inebriated, we were all young, and she basically said something that one could interpret as an insult to his hometown (he grew up in Kansas and had moved out to California). I think the offending comment in particular went something like, "Well, no wonder why you like San Francisco so much, since you grew up in Kansas.". Whatever. But my friend was pretty pissed, and his revenge was to go with me to the Borders the next day and take out reader service and subscription blow-in cards from almost every magazine on the shelves. This girl then ended up "subscribing" to everything from Modern Bride to Body Art to Road and Track to Out to Foreign Affairs--you get the picture. We never saw that girl again so I never found out if his vengeful scheme worked. It was juvenile, I know (we were young), but at the time it was pretty funny.
  • 5. Then there was that time when my brother and I were driving and his intestinal tract was aboiut to explode. So we stopped at the nearby Borders and he ran into destroy their loo, while I flipped through the puzzle books. I think he felt bad at the wreckage he left behind, so he might have bought a coffee on the way out.

I guess you could say that while I remembered Borders being there and being part of my universe, it wasn't there as a destination, let alone as a bookstore. It was more like a truck stop on a hiway, a temporary diversion and place to stretch out for a bit rather than a merchant of goods. I still bought books, but I confess that I like the idea of books more than books themselves sometimes. There just isn't enough time to read them or room to store them, not at the rate I can consume content..

I thought about all of this as I waited in the queue yesterday (about half of my total time in the store was spent in the checkout queue). But I didn't feel all that guilty; rather, I just felt resigned to the practical realities of the situation. It's true that I might find myself missing Borders (there's still Barnes and Noble, even if their beautiful store that I frequented at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, sadly, doesn't exist anymore). But I don't think I will give up utilizing my Amazon Prime account for books and some music, since it's a superior interface, more convenient, better economical medium. I suppose that even though I went to mass at Borders sometimes, when the offering plate came down the aisle, I didn't give much if at all. Maybe I should be feeling more guilty, I thought to myself, having contributed to the demise of this bookstore chain.

And then I bought $200 worth of discounted books and walked out, not looking back.