Friday, September 30, 2011

ALDS Game 1 Thread: Tigers @ Yankees, 5:30p

Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40) vs. CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00).

ALDS Game 1 Thread: Rays @ Rangers, 2p

"How do I feel about looking like George Washington with hipster glasses?"

Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89) vs. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94).

AP photo

Who Wants to Represent SoSG on the Diamond?

The softball diamond, that is. made this graphic JUST FOR US!

M. Brown at is organizing a 2012 Blogger Softball Tournament:

All of the bloggers that are pictured have been contacted and have expressed an interest in playing. [...]

Teams need a min of twelve players and must have a min. of two female players per team. The tournament date is still being worked on to satisfy all the teams and players. The location will be at the Big League Dreams park in West Covina. All teams will play a minimum of three games in the tournament. It will also include food and beverages during the day.

The charity I’m working with will hopefully be announced shortly. It's one that all Dodger fans can get behind and support. If you have a business or company and would like to sponsor a team. Feel free to contact me also. This tournament is open to anyone who wants to participate male or female over the age of 18.

There was some chatter in another thread about throwing together a team of SoSG readers, so how about it? Do we have enough interest to field a roster of at least twelve people who are of legal voting age? Including two females? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Game 162 Thread: Oh Wait, There Isn't a Game 162 Because They Didn't Reschedule That Nats Game. Sorry, Matt Kemp

Matt Holliday, Your Nickname Is Still Safe

Congratulations on making the postseason, Matt--AND, for making sure that your nickname, earned in the 2009 playoffs against us, is all yours. Via Deadspin:

This was Dan Johnson's game-tying shot in the ninth against the Yankees, which was briefly the night's most "holy shit" moment and which seemed all the more legendary for having caromed off some guy's balls. Verdict: no nut shot.

The associated animated gif proves it. Holliday's legacy is safe! Drink!

One for the Logo Geeks

Dodgers change logo, nobody notices (

Can you spot the changes? They're all for the better, unless you're a super-hardcore diehard traditionalist. In which case, feel free to bitch away.

Rockies' Force-Fueled Rookie Hazing

From Larry Brown Sports via (Big League Stew):

Rockies rookies as Yoda, Chewie, an X-Wing pilot and various Leiaii are joined by Jason Giambi as an Imperial Sportsjacket.

Lest We Forget

It wasn't as splashy as the Red Sox collapse, but equally as pathetic. And couldn't have happened to a better team.

Another Brave that bombed to empty seats.

The good news for Atlanta is that they now don't have to worry about their "fans'" playoff fatigue.

2011 Was So Much Fun, Let's Shoot For .500 In 2012, Again!

The Dodgers announced Wednesday that they will be bringing back the entire coaching staff, according to GM Ned Colletti:

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' entire coaching staff is expected to return next season, general manager Ned Colletti said before Tuesday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

The Dodgers' current staff under first-year manager Don Mattingly includes bench coach Trey Hillman, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, first-base coach Davey Lopes, third-base coach Tim Wallach, hitting coach Dave Hansen, bullpen coach Ken Howell and instructor Manny Mota. All but Hansen and Howell are under contract for next season, and Colletti said he was optimistic that agreements with both of them are imminent.

"We're working through that," Colletti said. "Ask me in 24 hours."

Look, I commend Mattingly for turning around the kamikaze dive to at least level out at the end, and I certainly credit Davey Lopes for his mentorship of breakout star Matt Kemp. Should I assume Hansen only started talking to James Loney in August and never talked with EugeniO-for-37 Velez, or that Honeycutt is a great mentor to Clayton Kershaw (which I do in fact believe) but not to Ted Lilly (who of course, after I wrote this Wednesday afternoon, pitched a great game Wednesday night)?

I just hope we can build on the last month and a half, and carry that in to next year. If this is the staff to do it, so be it. Let's get to work!

Everything New is Old Again

Another Vote For Matt Kemp As NL MVP

Here's a column from supporting Matt Kemp as NL MVP, irrespective of the Dodgers' third-place finish:

Attendance plummeted at Dodger Stadium this year, amid ownership issues that have required league intervention and performance issues that have ensured another unsatisfying finish.

This is the atmosphere of anguish and ambivalence that Matt Kemp has called home in 2011. But rather than succumb to the sickly surroundings, Kemp has been a true bright spot in Dodger blue.

And if you ask me, he's also been the Most Valuable Player of the National League. [...]

That Kemp won't become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 or the first NL winner since Joe Medwick in 1937 ought not cost him the honor. The mere fact that he was in contention for that rare feat is worthy of some sort of celebration. After all, in the 44 years since Yaz did it, not one player, according to Elias Sports Bureau, had been within five points of the batting title, within one home run of the home run title or within one RBI of the RBIs title in the final week -- or, for that matter, the final 15 days -- of a season before Kemp found himself in that very position.

Kemp will have to settle for going into the season's final day ranking third in batting average (.324), tied for first in home runs (38), first in RBIs (124), tied for second in stolen bases (40), first in runs scored (114), fifth in on-base percentage (.399), second in slugging percentage (.584), second in OPS (.983) and first in runs created (134.4). [...]

Kemp and Braun both bat in prominent spots, and that's about where the similarities in situation come to a close. Because while Braun has a beast beside him in Fielder, Kemp has been followed in Don Mattingly's lineup by a steady diet of James Loney with sides of Juan Uribe, Jerry Sands, Rod Barajas, Casey Blake, Jay Gibbons, Aaron Miles and Juan Rivera.

That has to be some sort of separator in the statistical evaluation, doesn't it?

For Kemp to notch the NL's first 30-30 season in three years and threaten for 40-40 under those circumstances is incredible. With little in the way of a supporting cast and with opposing pitchers having little reason to serve him anything resembling a strike, Kemp's numbers have kept coming.

"You talk about a guy who is the total package," Mattingly recently told reporters, "and he has been doing that all year long."

That includes Kemp's defense, which has been superb. And it includes his clubhouse influence, which has been profound.

A year ago, Kemp's priorities were questioned as he clashed with coaches and became frequent tabloid fodder. This year, his teammates named him the Roy Campanella Award winner as the club's most inspirational player. He's played every game on the docket this season and clearly made the most of them. In fact, his 363 consecutive games played is the longest active streak in the Majors.

This is a phenomenal player having an inspired season under phenomenally uninspiring circumstances. Matt Kemp has simply been the best player in the NL this year.

Forget the standings. He ought to be the MVP.

We'll keep on tallying the votes!

Introducing The Artie Lange Curse

As part of the new ESPN Magazine Curse comes the prophetic words of a Nostradamusian Artie Lange. When a man who stabbed himself a half dozen times and lived to tell the tale talks, ya' listen.

From 1918 to 2004, the Red Sox didn’t win a World Series. That’s a long time. As a lifelong Yankees fan, a fun little exercise I like to do is to list some of the things that did happen in those 86 years. For instance: World War I ended, women got the vote, the Great Depression began and ended, Kirstie Alley started to look like Captain Lou Albano, TV was invented, the Hindenburg crashed, World War II started and ended, Steven Seagal’s brilliant film career started and ended, rock ’n roll began, we put a man on the moon, Wilt Chamberlain ”met” 20,000 women, Abbott met Costello, Bill Buckner was born, O.J. did not kill his ex-wife (although someone clearly did), macaroni became pasta, communism fell, Willie Nelson rolled 38,000 joints and some creep invented Rollerblading. And what else happened? Let me think ... oh yeah! The New York Yankees won the World Series 26 times.
Mr. Lange during a broadcast of Howard Stern. Best. Sidekick. Ever

I often think of building a time machine and going back to the late 1980s. I’d walk into Boston bars on the day each year when the Red Sox were eliminated from the playoffs and say, “Cheer up, guys. I come from the future, and I want to assure you that someday, both Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens will have World Series rings.” Then I’d leave. Boy, what a cute little surprise they’d be in for years later.

I hate the freaking Red Sox. It may be childish, but I love busting their chops. However, let me make one thing ABUNDANTLY clear: I do not hate the city of Boston. As a matter of fact, I love Boston. I love the layout of the city and the small streets that create their own world. I love the food, especially late-night sausage sandwiches in Faneuil Hall or the Gino Cappelletti linguine at Tecce’s. I also love the people, how loyal and local they are—I mean that as a big compliment. The attitude is almost like we’re not from Earth, we’re from Boston. I also love how even the hot chicks speak in thick Boston accents. There’s nothing like making out near Fenway with a chick who sounds like Ted Kennedy. I’m used to making out with chicks who just look like Ted Kennedy.

That being said, I have no choice but to hate the Red Sox. I don’t particularly like the Celtics or Bruins. And I’ve never been crazy about the Patriots either, mostly because of that annoying pretty boy, Tom Brady. Over the years, I’ve had some fabulous conversations with Gisele Bündchen—I really thought we had a special connection. Of course, I was drunk and it was actually just a poster of her. But it still pisses me off.


Those teams don’t bother me like the Red Sox, though. You see, I grew up in North Jersey in the ’70s. When the Yanks played the Sox on Oct. 2, 1978, in a one-game playoff to decide the AL East champ, I was 10. Beating Boston in that game meant everything, and I’ll never forget that day. My father, in yet another example of stellar parenting, let me stay home from school to watch the game. By the time Bucky Dent came to the plate in the seventh inning with the Yanks down 2-0, most of the neighborhood was at my house watching it with us. Hatred for the Red Sox filled the room. When Dent hit that three-run homer, pandemonium ensued. I actually dropped my Devil Dog.

Later, Carl Yastrzemski popped out to end it, and the “Boston sucks” chants rolled off our tongues. That’s the day when the Red Sox became what they will always be: the annoying dork in class that everybody laughs at while he’s being wedgied in the corner. There was no way not to despise the Red Sox. For life. As I grew up, my father always figured I’d be guilty of two things: a lifelong hatred of the Red Sox and a felony. In his honor, I achieved both. When the Red Sox did finally win, I’ll admit, it stung. It felt like going back to the high school reunion and that annoying dork had become a wildly successful millionaire.

I do take solace in the history of the Red Sox franchise, though. It’s clear now that they do well in the first 18 years of every century. So every Red Sox fan who is being born right now will endure the same hell their grandparents and great-grandparents did. The best part for me? In 2104, when the Red Sox finally win again, my liver will have failed decades before.

Nice to see Artie back at what he does best: spewing hatred for hilarious effect. I miss him on the Stern show. And I'm sure Joe Buck does too.WARNING: ALL SORTS OF NOT SAFE FOR WORK LANGUAGE

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Introducing the Boston Herald Cover Curse

Introducing The ESPN The Magazine Cover Curse headline: "Collapse Is Complete"

Pull up a chair, Boston (and Atlanta), and come watch the playoffs with us Dodgers fans. We've been sitting here on the couch since about May.

The Most Dramatic Three Minutes in Baseball History?

RAYS 8, YANKEES 7 (12)

Rays. Nine games back in September. Down to their last strike of the game. Then — Dan Johnson homers!


Red Sox. Needing one more strike to win it. Then — Nolan Reimold RBI double off Jonathan Papelbon! Then — Robert Andino walkoff RBI single! Orioles win!

(three minutes later...)

Rays. 12th inning. 7-7 tie. And — Evan Longoria walkoff homer! Rays win! 2011 AL Wild Card winners! Congrats to Tampa Bay!

1: AP; 2: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Post-Game 161 Thread: Kemp Finishes at 39/40

"I know, I'm awesome!"


And the Dodgers finish at 82-79. Ted Lilly pitches seven scoreless, apparently employing a grip adjustment to improve his command. Way to finish a meaningless year strong, Ted — hope it translates to next year. Oh, and Eugenio Velez? 0 for 37. Congrats, Eugenio!

UPDATE: From @Dodgers:

@TheRealMattKemp becomes the 1st Dodger in franchise history to lead the league in homers, RBI & runs scored #KEMvP

UPDATE: Eugenio Velez sets dubious mark (AP/

photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Gotta Love a Good Wild Card Race


Game 161 Thread: Sept. 28 @ D'backs, 6:30p

Ted Lilly (11-14, 4.12) vs. Joe Saunders (12-12, 3.58).

Dear Dodgers Fan,

The best part of every road trip is the moment I sink into my seat on the team plane and say to myself, "I need a drink." I know what's waiting for us at AT&T Park: a bunch of angry fans who saw the defending World Series champs fail even to make the playoffs.

I look up at that sea of orange-and-black — at the Chardonnay-swilling dot-com babies, the smelly hippies, the people who aren't embarrassed to wear a panda hat in public. And I think, it could be worse. We could be the Dodgers.

Then I remember we increased our payroll by $22 million this year — on the likes of Miguel Tejada, Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Mark DeRosa and Jeff Keppinger. And what did it buy us? Five or six more wins than the Dodgers, and a ticket to watch the playoffs from our living rooms. Just like the Dodgers.

On behalf of everyone at the Giants, I'm sorry.

Beat L.A., or Be L.A.?


Bruce Bochy
San Francisco Giants Manager

Scoreboard Watching: Wild Card Wednesday (Sept 28, 2011)

This graphic seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Back on September 8, I wrote that the MLB playoff races were boring and all but decided. Boy, was I wrong.

With both the NL and AL Wild Card races tied on the final day of play, each of the four teams playing are potentially playing for their lives. Here's the games of note:

AL Wild Card Race

  • BOS Jon Lester (15-9, 3.49) @ BAL Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.85); first pitch 4p
  • NYY TBD @ TB David Price (12-13, 3.35); first pitch 4p

This matchup is especially intriguing given the Yankees, already in the playoffs, can stick it to their rival by fielding a team of total scrubs and losing the game. As of 10a, the Yankees' starter hadn't even been named. Given the Red Sox was leading the entire AL on September 1 (with a nine-game lead on the Rays), but proceeded to go 7-19 down the stretch, this would be pretty devastating. I expect the Red Sox to pull it out, and Boston fans to lord this over everyone not from their "Nation."

NL Wild Card Race

  • PHI Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.03) @ ATL Tim Hudson (16-10, 3.23), first pitch 4p
  • STL Chris Carpenter (10-9, 3.59) @ HOU Brett Myers (7-13, 4.31); first pitch 5p (and's free game of the day!)

The Cardinals rallied yesterday for a comeback victory over the Astros, the worst team in the major leagues. St. Louis, who was 8.5 games out of the Wild Card on September 1, has the added benefit of starting an hour later than the Braves' game. And the Phillies and Braves are divisional rivals (even though Philly is throwing more of a joker than one of its lauded four aces). I'm expecting the Cardinals to make the playoffs--or spend all winter lamenting that Dodgers ninth-inning victory at Busch that got away (you know, the one that SoSG Alex Cora and I attended!).

graphic from

Giants Didn't Make Playoffs, But At Least Can Revel In This Meaningless Streak

Do you want this fuzzball touching your kids? I think not.

Do you know why class teams like the Dodgers (along with three other MLB teams) don't bother with having a stupid mascot running around the stadium, trying in vain to fire up the crowd? Because MLB mascots like the Giants' Lou Seal are unnecessary roles befitting hallucinating, overworked, family-bond-rebuffing, paranoid people who like being the targets of abuse:

SAN FRANCISCO—The World Champion San Francisco Giants won't be returning to the playoffs this year, but the team is on top in at least one category: Its "Lou Seal" is the reigning champ in consecutive home games attended by a mascot.

Joel Zimei has attended 1,051 straight home games as Lou Seal, a beloved figure at AT&T Park who rides around the field on a little scooter, performs atop the dugout and pops up everywhere from the outfield bleachers to corporate suites to trade high fives with Giants fans.

The streak hasn't been easy to keep. Once he had to drive half the night from Reno after his flight from Denver to San Francisco was canceled and the closest he could get was Nevada. He made it to the game. "I was totally delirious," says the 38-year-old Mr. Zimei. Another time, his uncle's funeral was scheduled during a home game. Mr. Zimei planned to go back east for the services but stayed here after an understudy told him: "I don't want to be you."

Hallucinating, overworked, and family-bond-rebuffing. Oh, and the understudy doesn't even covet the job. What the hell does that say about the role?

Major League Baseball doesn't keep stats on mascot attendance. But Mr. Zimei's fellow mascots—26 of the 30 teams have one—compared notes at their annual get-together at the All Star game in 2010 and determined Lou Seal had attended more home games in a row than any of the others. "One is one season behind me, so he's breathing down my neck," says Mr. Zimei, who wouldn't identify his rival.

Paranoid. Zimei is literally scared of another mascot. Wow.

There are also the inevitable obnoxious fans. "I actually once got punched by an off-duty New York police officer," Bromley Lowe says of when he played the "Oriole Bird" for the Baltimore Orioles. Mr. Lowe says he quit the gig in 2004 after a decade to run his own children's show. "There was a burnout factor involved," says Mr. Lowe, 40.

Mascots can give as good as they get. At a 2007 game against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, Lou Seal attacked a Dodgers fan with Silly String after the fan waved a Lou Seal doll she had dressed in Dodgers blue. "She was taunting me," Mr. Zimei says. A fellow Dodgers fan shoved the orange-suited mascot across two rows of seats, drawing boos from the Giants fans, who cheered after security booted the man as Lou Seal waved goodbye.

Tickets to a Giants game: as low as $1, using dynamic pricing. Shoving Lou Seal across two rows: priceless.

Not that I'm advocating violence or anything. It just seems like an MLB mascot just isn't what a quality MLB team would need to have to employ.

photo: Tom Harvey / WSJ

It Gets Better

From a Dodgers press release:

"The Dodgers have been outspoken advocates for equality and against all societal prejudices dating back to the days of Jackie Robinson," said Dodgers Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Howard Sunkin. "Our club wholeheartedly supports an end to bullying and violence against LGBT youth. There is zero tolerance for violence of any kind for any reason in our community."

Way Too Many SoSG Readers on Giants' Mailing List

Okay, you guys can stop sending us this:

September 26, 2011

Dear Giants Fan,

The best part of every road trip is the moment I sink into my seat on the team plane and say to myself, "We're going home." I know what's waiting for us at AT&T Park: Our reinforcements. Our fans.

I look up at that sea of orange-and-black -- at the Panda and Baby Giraffe hats, the beards, the Timmy wigs, the scarves and towels, the poster board signs that say "Believe!" - and feel as if no one can beat us. The incredible energy generated from 41,000 stomping, cheering, passionate Giants fans is like having a tenth man on the field.

Tonight, the Giants will set a record for the highest single-season attendance in the franchise's 128-year history -- 3,303,000 surpassing the 3,277,244 set in 2001. Tonight also marks the 79th consecutive sell-out of the 2011 season. These attendance milestones simply demonstrate what our players, coaches and front office already know: We have the best and most devoted fans in baseball.

On behalf of everyone at the Giants, thank you.

I am writing not only to thank you, but also to make sure you know that your support makes a difference. Your thunderous cheers for Romo or Wilson or Casilla to get the third out late in a game - they matter. Your rally caps, your "Beat LA" chants, your "Get Well" signs for Buster, your willingness to weather cold nights on Orange Fridays - they all matter. You could have given up on us this season. Wracked by injuries, we've struggled to score runs. But just as you were there during last year's magical World Series season, you're with us still - a show of loyalty that continues to inspire us as coaches and players.

In baseball, the difference between winning and losing can be as slight as a bunt that stays fair instead of rolling foul. A team is always looking for an edge. Opposing players and coaches tell us all the time that AT&T Park gives us an edge. They're right but not completely. It's the not park. It's the people in it.

I look forward to seeing you over these last few days of 2011 and for seasons to come. Thank you for helping us draw out the best in ourselves.


Bruce Bochy
San Francisco Giants Manager

The Dodgers' Own TV Station Is Suing Them

From "Fox Sports sues Dodgers in effort to stop television rights sale" by Bill Shaikin at the LA Times:

Fox Sports sued the Dodgers on Tuesday, trying to halt the proposed television rights sale that Frank McCourt says is his key to emerging from bankruptcy as the team owner.

McCourt's strategy now faces at least two significant obstacles — from Fox, which claims the Dodgers have breached their current cable contract, and from Major League Baseball, which has vowed not to approve any television deal that would leave McCourt in control of the Dodgers. [...]

The Fox suit, filed in Bankruptcy Court, asks that the judge reject any proposed sale of the Dodgers' television rights that does not abide by the terms of the current contract.

Under that deal, Fox retains exclusive negotiating rights through November 2012, as well as the right to match any other offer. The auction process proposed by McCourt and his advisers would not preserve those rights.

The suit also seeks unspecified damages, claiming that the Dodgers already have violated the current Fox contract in part by sharing confidential broadcast rights information — "even after direct and explicit warnings," the suit alleges.

How does Frank McCourt sleep at night? The whole goddamn west coast wants to ship his sorry ass back to Boston. Even if he manages to hold on to the team, how can he possibly repair all the relationships he's screwed up?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post-Game 160 Thread: Dodgers Want to Remind You They Still Suck


It was tied 1-1 going into extra innings when the Dodgers blew it wide open: an A.J. Ellis triple capped a five-run inning and the Dodgers were cruising 6-1 heading into the bottom of the tenth. Then something terrible — dare I say Broxtonesque? — happened:

(click to enlarge)

It wouldn't be a Dodger season without a meltdown, no?

Game 160 Thread: Sept 27 @ D'backs, 6:30p

Hiroki Kuroda (13-16, 3.17) vs. Jarrod Parker, (0-0, -.--)

In this, the Dodgers' penultimate game, they have an outside chance at ending the season five games over .500 AND screwing the Diamondbacks out of a second seed in the playoffs (which would matter for home-field advantage in the NLDS, and potentially for opponent if Atlanta hangs on to the Wild Card).

For most Dodger fans, however, tonight's game is all about watching Matt Kemp chase the magic 40/40 threshold (possible, with Kemp at 38/40 today) and potentially the triple crown (unlikely, despite leading HR by 1 and RBI by 8, Kemp trails both Ryan Braun and Jose Reyes by ten thousandths in batting average). I agree with's Jon Weisman; Kemp is probably chasing the "double crown". But only two more blasts would keep Kemp from being a 40-HR virgin. Go Bison!

New York Times' Kepner Gives NL MVP to Matt Kemp

I'm going to excerpt Tyler Kepner's Sunday NYT piece, which gave out the hardware for to both Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw:

The voting for the Most Valuable Player awards will be fascinating this year. Strong contenders come from also-ran teams. Playoff-bound contenders have teammates who could spoil their chances. A pitcher is a strong contender for the first time in 20 years. The tricky part for voters is defining the word value.

“I just think they should get rid of the name,” said Davey Lopes, the first-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. “As players — and I know how it was — when we talk about most valuable player, we all didn’t say, ‘Who’s the most valuable player to the team?’ It was, ‘Who’s the best player in the National League?’ That’s the most valuable player. That’s how I see it. Writers, for the most part, don’t see it that way.”

The New York Times does not allow its writers to vote. But Lopes, who naturally supports Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, makes a good point. The best player in the league tends to have the most value, no matter the team. Players do not choose their teammates, and the M.V.P. is an individual honor.

Besides, although the Dodgers did not contend, Kemp helped them win many more games than they would have won without him. Just because the Dodgers’ win total will be well below 90 is hardly reason to penalize him. Kemp was clearly the best all-around player in the N.L., considering his performance at the plate — he was in reach of the first triple crown since 1967 — in the field and on the bases.

HONORABLE MENTION Lance Berkman, St. Louis; Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Milwaukee; Justin Upton, Arizona; Joey Votto, Cincinnati [...]

N.L. Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Several pitchers could have won the N.L. award in a different season. But if someone wins the so-called triple crown of pitching, as Kershaw could do this season, the Cy Young belongs to him. Kershaw holds or shares the N.L. lead in wins (20), earned run average (2.27) and strikeouts (242). Eleven others have led in all three categories, and all have won the award. The last to do it was Jake Peavy of San Diego in 2007, and he won unanimously. Kershaw — and Verlander, the runaway A.L. winner and the leader in all three categories — may do it, too.

N.L. HONORABLE MENTION Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Philadelphia; Ian Kennedy, Arizona; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

Let's hope MLB voters are as clear-headed as Kepner.

Russell Martin Making Friends Wherever He Goes

From "Martin's joke not taken lightly by Schrieber" at

Russell Martin got ejected from a ballgame Monday night either for being too funny, or not funny enough.

Either way, it appears that home plate umpire Paul Schrieber did not appreciate the Yankee catcher's sense of humor when Martin said he asked him. "Did you stretch before the game tonight?"

That seemingly innocent question got Martin tossed with two out in the fifth inning of the Yankees' 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

"What, we can’t talk anymore?," a bemused Martin asked in the Yankees clubhouse afterward. "It's a game, man, we're supposed to be having fun. I was just trying to get him to laugh."

Martin's remark to Schreiber followed back-to-back walks by Phil Hughes and was apparently interpreted by the umpire as a criticism of his strike zone. As is their habit, the umpires did not speak with the media after the game, and Joe Girardi refused to recount the conversation, so Martin's account of what went down in front of home plate is all we have to go on.

According to Martin, who had not been ejected this year, his question was an attempt at humor that apparently escaped Schreiber, who removed his mask, walked in front of Martin and asked him to repeat himself.

"I said it again," Martin said. "And I said, 'I feel like you're kind of tight tonight.' "

Asked by reporters if he meant tight in his attitude or his strike zone, Martin replied, "Both."

But according to Martin, Schreiber didn't ask for an explanation or a clarification. He just tossed him from the game.

"I didn't say he sucked. I didn't say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t cuss at him. I didn't say any of that stuff," Martin said. "And I got thrown out. That’s tough to do." [...]

Hughes wasn’t aware of what Martin had said, and Martin, who acknowledged he was unhappy with Schreiber's strike zone, was at a loss to explain why a comment meant in jest landed him in the showers four innings early.

"The other times I've gotten thrown out, I've probably deserved it, but not this time," he said. "If he would have thought about it a couple of seconds more he probably wouldn't have thrown me out because when they do that, they’re just bringing attention onto themselves. Now he's the one who's going to have to write the report. I can't wait to see what he's going to write."

What he's going to write? How about "Russell Martin is a passive-aggressive punk who'll be with his third team in 2012"?

photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Another Dream Team in Florida?

From "Guillen departure ends South Side madness, brings South Beach jolt" by Jon Heyman at

The Marlins are about to have the big-name marketable manager they have craved as they head into their new stadium. The White Sox are rid of their headache.

Ozzie Guillen will become the face (not to mention the mouth) of the Marlins as soon as their deal to hire him is completed. The White Sox, surely growing weary of Guillen's continuing public protestations about his contract situation and inability to get along with White Sox GM Ken Williams, announced it had allowed Guillen out of his contract Monday, and are expected to receive minor players in compensation from the Marlins once they sign him.

The Marlins desperately wanted a marquee man to manage their team, one that can help market their revenue-challenged team. And Ozzie should be perfect for that. He's funny in two languages. And now, he is about to become the star of the South Florida show, which is what the Golden Beach, Fla., resident wanted all along.

So the NL East just got a little more obnoxious. What if the Marlins make a run at Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, as has been speculated? And if Bryce Harper joins Stephen Strasburg on the Nationals, that division could really grab a lot of headlines in 2012. And that's before the Mets' ownership situation gets resolved.

Busy Red Sox Still Find Time for Rookie Hazing

Sunday night:

Red Sox rookie Jose Iglesias leaving Yankee Stadium after a doubleheader.

Monday night:

"D'oh." "D'oh." "D'oh."

1: AP; 2: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Welcome to the Wild Card, Rays!


Sure, it's a tie for the wild card, but Tampa Bay, nine games behind Boston at the beginning of the month, out-gritted the Red Sox yesterday and have the momentum going into the last two games of the regular season. Gotta love finishes that come down to the wire!

AP photo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Post-Game 159 Thread: 38/40

Matt Kemp hit a three-run home run in the first inning tonight.


Dana Eveland got his third win tonight, and Jerry Sands extended his hitting streak to 14 games. And you know what? The Dodgers, at 81-78, are guaranteed to finish above .500 this season. That in itself is a (tiny) victory.

And thanks to Josh S. for this nugget:

Nutty stat of the day: Javy is one save away from Broxton's 2010 total.

photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Game 159 Thread, Sept. 26 @ D'backs, 6:30p

"What do you mean, I'd make a good Gumby?"

Dana Eveland (2-2, 3.75) vs. Daniel Hudson (16-11, 3.43).

Now that Clayton Kershaw has concluded one of the best pitching seasons in Dodger history, our eyes turn to Matt Kemp's quest to carve out his niche in baseball history. (Wow, did I just sound like Bob Costas there?) The 2011 NL West champion Diamondbacks have won four straight, including a three-game sweep/shellacking of the Giants. (Tim Lincecum's final record? 13-14.) Kemp needs a 3-for-4 or 4-for-4 day to make ground in the batting average race. And we need to send someone to the Brewers' clubhouse to slip some Ex-Lax in Ryan Braun's Gatorade.

photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images

Reflections on Kemp, Kershaw

My favorite part from "Composed Kemp getting help from unlikely mentor" by Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Newk took two more shuffling steps and wrapped Kemp in a hug. With his left hand, Newk stealthily reached down and reinserted Kemp’s inside out and flapping back pocket.

There's a way to wear the uniform, the gesture said, a way to present yourself, a way to be a pro's pro.

And my favorite part from "Clayton Kershaw can enjoy moments" by Tony Jackson at

Most of the pitchers already were there that day, when Mattingly revealed to us he already had settled on Kershaw as his opening-day starter. Never known for my patience or for playing it cool, I immediately broke away from that informal gathering and headed for the clubhouse, where I found Kershaw crouching low in front of his locker with a catcher's mitt on, peering out across the carpeted expanse toward an imaginary pitcher on an imaginary mound.

"I got a new position this year," he said as I approached.

Ignoring his comment, I came right out with what I was there to talk about.

"Donnie just told us you're the opening day starter."

Nice to see sportswriters, both local and national, turn their spotlights on the future of the Dodger franchise. Not since the Mike Piazza days have we been blessed with such well-rounded stars.

Angels 3,006,670, Dodgers 2,935,139

Arte Moreno 1, Frank McCourt 0. For the first time ever, the Angels have outdrawn the Dodgers. And the Angels still have four home games to go. Congrats, McCourt!

Steve Dilbeck Relates an Awesome Vin Story

From "Magic of Vin Scully never takes a night off, on the air or not" by Steve Dilbeck at Dodgers Blog:

"One year we’re in Chicago to play the Cubs, and for some reason, we’re not broadcasting the game. And Tommy asks me if I’ve ever sat in the dugout for a game. I tell him 'no' and he says, 'You have to try it.'

"I said as long as it’s cleared by the umpires beforehand. I don’t want them throwing me out. So I put on a uniform –- spring training tryout No. 76, but not for Union –- and wait until almost before the game starts and walk through the Wrigley hallway, sit on the dugout and pull my cap down all the way to my eyes. I don’t want anyone to even notice me.

Click here for...the rest of the story!

Rookie Hazing, Part Four

Lonnie Murray is Director of Marketing for Dave Stewart's company, Sports Management Partners. She posted these pictures at @SMPLonnie:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rookie Hazing, Part Three

?, Kenley Jansen, Dee Gordon, Tim Federowicz, Javy Guerra, Jerry Sands, Russ Mitchell, Justin Sellers, Trent Oeltjen, Josh Lindblom.

Some additions on the right. Let us know if you know who they are!


Gordon & Sellers.

Federowicz, Gordon, Sands.

Guerra, with Lindblom and ? in the background.

Gumby doing the Gumby?

1, 3, 5 & 7: @Dodgers; 2 & 8: @TheRealMattKemp; 4: @dodgerscribe; 6: PONealFSWest