Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jon SooHoo Goes Back in Time

Vin Scully behind the Green Monster in 2004.

If you haven't checked it out lately, head over to Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo's blog. He's publishing some of his historic photos along with commentary.

Dodger Thoughts On the Road Again

Jon Weisman is packing his bags and moving to his own URL. So, who could be taking his place at ESPNLA.com? Nothing's official, but I've got a hunch.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Slightly Later Word on Dodger Bidding

From @BillShaikin:

Confirmed: Garvey/Hershiser group not selected to advance in #Dodgers bidding.

Go Magic!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Early Word On Dodger Bidding

Word, however correct it may be, is that the winnowing process has already begun in the bidding:
Hedge fund head Steven Cohen and groups including Joe Torre and Magic Johnson have survived the first round of cuts in bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, speaking after his basketball team's game Friday night, refused to say whether he was in or out. The Los Angeles Times reported he did not advance.

Initial bids were submitted Monday to the financial firm handling the sale by Frank McCourt, and people affiliated with process said Friday they were notified they will be advancing in the process. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.
UPDATE: Shaikin says Cuban and Gilbert have been eliminated.

SoSGSACBEWPCL: The Reckoning

It's almost time!

I'm opening today's contest up to SoSG Nomo and MLASC, as they've stuck with the contest all the way through (and Jason dragged the other finalists to the finals in spite of themselves.  If you, or any of the qualified players can unseat Jason as King of the Pool, take your shot.

Staunch Reminder Re: Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament

From LFP:
There are over forty players that have yet to pay. If I do not receive payment by midnight Saturday night. I will remove you from the roster for the team you signed up for, and you will no longer be guaranteed a spot on that team. The final deposit is way past due and I need to confirm the amount of teams so they can make the game schedule. There have been several reminder emails sent out with the link to make your payment and I asked for you to respond to the emails if you still intended on playing or wanted to be dropped. For those that have not paid or replied back. Please do so today or tomorrow by midnight. If you do not have a credit or debit card. you can send an E check through We Pay. If you want to Pay the day of the event. Let me know and I can make arrangements for you to do so, but you must let me know now.

Riot Goin On In San Francisco

According to Jon Heyman, Ryan Theriot has inked a one-year deal with the San Francisco Hated Ones. How bad is he going to destroy us this season?

In other ex-Dodger news, my how the tiny have fallen. Dylan Hernandez reporting that the Phillies have signed Juan Pierre to a minor league contract and invited him to their Spring camp.
Juan Pierre's cannon arm demonstrated
Image: www.thechicagodope.com

This is what passes for Dodger player news these days; reports of ex-players signing insignificant contracts for hated rivals.

Kershaw Receives Spahn Award

Congratulations, Clayton!:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw accepted the Warren Spahn Award on Thursday night as the best left-handed pitcher in baseball.

"It's the biggest trophy I've ever gotten," Kershaw said, laughing. "I don't know if I'll be able to carry it on the plane."

Kershaw, the National League Cy Young winner, led the NL with a 21-5 record, 248 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA. He also was selected to his first All-Star game and won his first Gold Glove.

"It's been a progression. I think a lot of it has to do with being more comfortable and getting more experience," Kershaw said. "It's just a lot of things coming together. Once you have some success you gain some confidence and you expect to do that every time out."

The Spahn Award is based on a pitcher's wins, strikeouts and ERA. Spahn won 363 career games in his Hall of Fame career. He died in 2003.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Missed Him By THAT MUCH

Well, whattya know...

Jon Heyman: Dodgers Secretly Bid For Prince (CBSSports.com)

The Dodgers surely gave a spirited effort to secure Fielder, even flying to meet with him at an undisclosed neutral location a few weeks ago, but somehow managed to keep the entire undertaking under wraps, save for a few internet rumblings from fans speculating that they may have been a mystery team in the mix.


The Dodgers' offer was said to have called for an average salary of about $26 million for the first four years and something in the low $20-million-range in the next three years. The bid was designed not to discourage Fielder from opting out and possibly moving to the American League where he could DH after the first four years. The total Dodgers deal was believed to have been worth in the low $160 millions.

This makes me feel a little better. I was fairly vocal about having a good feeling that Prince was coming to L.A., despite logic screaming at me for being stupid. That's a solid offer, and the Dodgers were simply outbid. I can live with that.

It's going to sting a bit later, if Loney doesn't perform at all (I think he'll be better than the past two years, if not by much.). For now though, I'm just happy I wasn't crazy for thinking the Dodgers were in on the Prince sweepstakes.

Finish The Limerick

We're way overdue for a nice round of Finish the Limerick. You know what to do!
This offseason, quite frankly, is sad,
ps- This doesn't seem right without EK. Here's hoping he weighs in with a saucy little number.

Previous Finish the Limericks

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SoSGSACBEWPCL Semi-Finals Thread

Here it is, boys and girls. Prepare yourself for the 3 o'clock showdown.

Remember, only comments date stamped between 3:00 and 3:01 count towards your totals. The more comments you can cram into that time, the more chances your team has to advance. Content of the comments does not matter, just keep them flowing.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ah, The Memories...

There should be a word to describe the feeling of reading about off-season transactions involving players that were once associated with the Dodgers, but I had previously either purposefully or accidentally wiped from my baseball memory.

That is all.

Dodgers' King Trumps Prince

Looks like Prince Fielder is going to the Tigers, not the Dodgers:

The Detroit Tigers and slugger Prince Fielder have agreed to a nine-year, $214 million deal, a source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

CBSSports.com and Yahoo! each had earlier reported the deal between the Tigers and the free-agent first baseman.

Even though he never expected to re-sign Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin called his departure "somewhat of a sad day," in comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Melvin said the Brewers never made Fielder an offer once the team found out the terms that agent Scott Boras was seeking.

"Scott said from Day 1 it was going to be $200 million," Melvin told the newspapper. "When you hear those kinds of numbers, we couldn't get involved in that. All I can say is we had the feeling it was going to be very difficult to keep him."

The first base job is all yours, FJL!

UPDATE 5:53p (Sax): Oh, and Timmah got two years, $40.5M.

SoSGSACBEWPCL - The Next Generation

The Teams 

OK, team Guernsey. You've gotten through to the final round thanks to big contributions from Jason, MLASC, and Hideo Nomo. Now, the big three commenters from Round 1 will have to face off against each other.

St. Peter Port
Hideo Nomo MLASC Jason
KarinaOrel Loney Fan
Steve K Fred's Brim Rbnlaw

Remember, for round two, you just need to get as many comments as possible for your team between 3:00pm and 3:01pm on game days. The team with the most sequential comments advances to the head-to-head-to-head final round.

Wednesday 1/25, 3pm: 3x3x3 Round
Friday 1/27, 3pm: 1x1x1 Round

Stay Classy, San Francisco

On the other hand, you can't spell SUFFERING without SF

Look, I know that losing a conference championship game, at home, to the upstart New York Giants, when you were favored to win, is not an easy pill to swallow. That said, are death threats really the right vehicle for your frustrations?

Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams questioned the "culture of sports" after his son Kyle received death threats on social media outlets following Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Williams' son is the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver and kick returner who made two glaring miscues late in Sunday's game that helped the New York Giants advance to the Super Bowl.

Kenny Williams also said that his son was playing with an injured left shoulder Sunday, an injury that happened in the third quarter. Kenny Williams added that his family does not make excuses and did not blame his son's miscues on the injury.

Injury or not, some people were apparently outraged enough to wish harm to Kyle Williams after his two turnovers, the second of which led directly to the Giants' game-winning field goal.

One early threat, via Twitter, wished harm on Kyle Williams' wife and child. He is single with no children.

"I'm used to the years of criticism and threats on my life from time to time, but I have to hear about threats on your son's life while you're watching TV and it certainly makes you question our culture of sports as it stands," Kenny Williams said.

For his part, Kyle Williams said Monday he takes full responsibility for the fumble, calling the moment "painful." And Williams' teammates are on his side, too, along with others from around the NFL who have called in support after San Francisco's season ended.

He insisted it's part of his job to face the criticism in the aftermath of his mistakes and not hide out in a difficult time. Perhaps that will go a little way in calming down the angry fans, some of whom wished harm on Williams and his family after the gaffes.

"It's one of those things you have to take accountability for," Williams said. "Everybody is responsible for what they do on the field. It's something that I was responsible for and I made a mistake and it's time to own up to it and move forward."

Perhaps converting a third down here or there might have contributed to the loss? I'm just saying.

(Oh, and SF had 110 fans ejected from Candlestick Park.. That was twice as many as the prior game against the Saints, and this time, included a man with a two-year-old in tow, threatening an officer.)

photo: Michael Macor / The Comical

Caveat Emptor

The list of the Dodgers bidders, as reported by multiple sources. According to Tony Jackson, there's only two confirmed bids and at least ten other bids waiting in the wings:

The Blackstone Group, the global investment firm that is handling the sale for McCourt, was expected to receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 bids, although one source close to the situation said that number could vacillate.

As the deadline passed, there were only two confirmed bids:

• Dennis Gilbert, the Beverly Hills insurance agent and founder of the Beverly Hills Sports Council who also serves as a special assistant to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, confirmed that his group, which is largely financed by Imperial Capital chairman and chief executive officer Jason Reese, placed a bid.

• Joshua Macciello, CEO of ArmItal Sports Inc., issued a news release through his company stating that he also had made what Macciello characterized in that release as "a more than fair and considerable offer to both Frank and Major League Baseball."

Also, a group headed by Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson and primarily funded by Guggenheim Partners chief executive officer Mark Walter placed a bid, according to a source close to that group who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In total, there were more than 10 opening bids, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing an anonymous source. Among those who got their bid in before Monday's deadline were: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; hedge fund giant Steve Cohen; former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley; developer Rick Caruso and Joe Torre; investor Stanley Gold and family of the late Roy Disney; and Dennis Gilbert, Jason Reese and Randy Wooster, according to the Times.

Former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire -- who has been linked to a group that includes Bay Area sports consultant Andy Dolich, a former high-level executive with the Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and San Francisco 49ers -- declined to say whether his group had submitted a bid, citing confidentiality agreements all prospective bidders signed when they received bid books.

So, just to keep track of the consortiums reported by different sources--which at this stage count 10:

  • Gilbert / Reese / Wooster (confirmed)
  • Macciello (confirmed)
  • Cuban
  • Cohen
  • O'Malley
  • Caruso / Torre
  • Gold / Disney
  • Magic Johnson / Stan Kasten / Mark Walter (reported by John Heyman)
  • Stan Kroenke (reported by Bill Shaikin)
  • Leo Hindery / Marc Utay (reported by the WSJ)

Unconfirmed, but mentioned in recent months (from the WSJ:

  • Claire / Dolich / Ben Hwang
  • Garvey / Hershiser / Herrick
  • Ron Burkle

Groups can of course still combine forces a la the Wonder Twins.

Monday, January 23, 2012

James Loney Makes Top Five List...Of Most Frustrating Players

Geez, this was really not where I wanted to find FJL. However I have to say that at least from the Dodgers' perspective, the enigma that is Loney is indeed a point of frustration:

As a Mariners fan in the 1980s, one player absolutely wrecked me above all others: Jim Presley. He was a third baseman with good power, a quick bat and a strong arm. In 1985, his first full season, he hit .275/.324/.484 with 28 home runs and 33 doubles. He looked like he'd be a star.

But while he made the All-Star team in 1986, his strikeouts increased from 100 to 172. The problem was obvious: The dude couldn't lay off the slider low and away. Time after time, he would flail helplessly at the pitch. It got comical; pitchers learned they didn't even have to throw the pitch close to the plate and Presley would chase. With two strikes, you knew it was coming; Presley knew it was coming. Swing and a miss. By 1991, not yet 30 years old, he was out of the majors.

All fans have their most frustrating players. Here are five current major leaguers who pop into my mind. [...]

James Loney, Dodgers: In 2007, Loney hit .331 with 15 home runs in 344 at-bats as a 23-year-old rookie. He looked like a future stud, a first baseman who would hit for a good average and 25 to 30 home runs per season. But he's never matched the power potential, settling in with numbing consistency, hitting between 10 and 13 home runs each season. Since he's not a .300 hitter nor does he draw many walks, Loney's numbers remain subpar for a first baseman. The improvement just hasn't happened, yet Dodgers management continues to stick with him. He's now making $6.375 million; that's a lot to pay for a first baseman who's hit .281/.341/.411 over the past four seasons.

Now, I'm frustrated by Juan Uribe and Andre Ethier a little bit too, but I have to say that Loney probably inches out both of them (if it's even possible to inch out Uribe to anything at all).

And though there are no other NL West teams on the list, every team's got these players: Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand come to mind (not to mention that Posey guy who couldn't even play a full season last year!). Do the Dodgers, and their on-field frustrations, necessarily have it worse than anyone else?

Bill Plaschke Needs You To Know That He's Been To A Lot Of NFL Championship Games

Saw an interesting piece in Sunday's LAT in which Bill Plaschke was trying to make the argument that yesterday's conference championship day was a better NFL day than the Super Bowl itself. Okay, not such a bad argument; the only reason why anyone watches the Superbowl anyway is the commercials (and that kickass nacho cheese bean dip that Ingrid makes each year!).

But Plaschke decided to detail his thesis not by using facts, or ratings, or even statistics. No, Plaschke just wanted to talk about himself and all the cool games he's attended (bold emphasis mine):

The two conference championship games played Sunday will be more compelling than the one game played two weeks later, and it won't even be close.

Sunday is the Super Bowl minus the capital letters, Roman numerals and incessant glitz. Sunday is real football, played in real weather, in front of real fans, for real stakes.

I've never seen a Super Bowl winner cry. I've seen New Orleans Saints players weeping when they beat the Minnesota Vikings to qualify for their first Super Bowl.

I've never seen a Super Bowl quarterback quiver. I've seen Peyton Manning nearly faint from emotion as he staggered off the field after finally beating Tom Brady and qualifying for his first Super Bowl. [...]

I was in a press box in New Orleans a couple of years ago when grown men started screaming at the sight of the Vikings' Brett Favre throwing that horrible interception at the end of regulation. I was there in Indianapolis a couple of years earlier when all of Middle America seem to rock at the sight of the Colts overcoming an 18-point deficit with Peyton Manning using a last-minute drive to pound the final nail into the omnipotence of Brady. The first truly breathtaking moment of my sportswriting career occurred while I stood on the Cleveland sidelines and watched John Elway's drive to give the Denver Broncos the 1986 AFC championship.

It's all about you, Bill!

Final (Opening) Bids Due Today!

The Dodgers' sale process formally begins today! And the key point from the LAT's Bill Shaikin is, don't cry for Frank McCourt:

How much money does McCourt need to break even?

That could be a billion-dollar question. In a court filing last week, the Dodgers listed $573 million in debt. McCourt has the option to sell or keep the Dodger Stadium parking lots, but the McCourt entity that owns them carries debt of about $70 million. McCourt's divorce settlement obligates him to pay his ex-wife $131 million and pay off an $18-million mortgage. He owes $30 million to Fox, to repay a personal loan.

In addition, his attorneys have estimated the tax liability from the sale of the team at "between $80 million and $200 million." By using the higher number and including the parking lot debt, his total obligations would reach $1.02 billion.

So how might McCourt make out financially?

Just fine, thank you. He and his advisors think the Dodgers could sell for at least $1.5 billion.

Thank god, now I can sleep easy at night.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Playoffs Day 5: Tebow-Free Goodness (Ravens/Patriots, 12n; Giants/Niners, 3:30p)

Everybody outside of Wisconsin is delighted by the storylines of today's matchups, featuring quarterbacks with chips on their shoulders and fanbases from a couple of decent-sized cities.

Bah, Harbaugh. I just want San Francisco to not win it all.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Olney: Braun Should Give Back MVP Award

Ran Braun speaks to the Baseball Writers' Association tonight, accepting his NL MVP Award. and ESPN's Buster Olney thinks Braun should proclaim his innocence, but give it back (link insider only):

From the moment the news of Ryan Braun's positive test for performance-enhancing drugs broke in December, he has maintained his innocence, texting to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the PED charge was "B.S.," and he and his representatives followed through with an appeal that was heard on Thursday in New York. He's the only person who can know, with certainty, how this happened, and he insists he did nothing wrong.

But by now Braun understands that no matter how his appeal is decided, the perception of him has been shaped. Under the terms of baseball's drug prevention program, the positive test from October means, quite literally, that he is guilty until proven innocent, and this is true for many in the court of public opinion, as well.

This is a reality that Roger Clemens didn't seem to comprehend the instant his name was published in the Mitchell Report: He had already lost what he was trying to protect.

The best chance for Braun to extricate something good from his situation would be to stand up on the dais Saturday, hold the NL MVP trophy in his hands -- and offer to give it back to the Baseball Writers' Association of America at its annual New York dinner, even while maintaining his innocence. This gesture would elevate Braun and separate him from the legions of athletes who have issued denials in the face of accusations of performance-enhancing drug use.

Braun could say something along these lines when he speaks Saturday night :

I want to thank the Baseball Writers' Association for this award. But you all know, I failed a drug test in October, right in the middle of the playoffs.

I don't believe I did anything wrong. I didn't take any drugs meant to enhance my performance. My case is under appeal, which was heard here in New York this week, and I remain hopeful that the decision will go my way and that I can be ready to help the Brewers at the start of the 2012 season.

But I also understand the importance and the stature of the Most Valuable Player Award, which has been won by the likes of Ted Williams and Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax and Cal Ripken. I do not want my situation to cast any negative light on the award, and if the Baseball Writers believe it's in the best interest of baseball that somebody else would be the NL MVP for 2011, I am here to offer back this award, for the sake of the sport we all love. Thank you. It would be the right thing to do. For baseball and for Braun, who would be lauded for the gracious offer.

Hmm. I wonder where Matt Kemp is eating dinner tonight?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, and Juan Uribe

There is no mistaking the precocious maturity of Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Whether in his calm focus on the mound or in the clubhouse, he is beyond his 23 years. He appears remarkably centered and at peace with himself, recognizing where he is personally and professionally.

Kershaw is a professional athlete, though unlike Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe, he is hardly labeled as "an disastrous signing". Kershaw and Uribe are two Los Angeles baseball players who outwardly approach their workout preparation and physical fitness in markedly different ways.

If there is a robust, does-my-girth-slow-my-bat-speed aspect to Uribe and his 2011 OPS+ of 56 (the starting lineup's worst), Kershaw has a more understated ERA+ of 163 along with a league-leading 248 Ks.

I've never heard him bring up his Cy Young Award-winning campaign and role as team role model while philantrhopically benefitting underserved Zambian children whom have lost their parents to AIDS. Yet, I have a clear understanding of his overall awesomeness.

"I think everybody has different approaches to it," Kershaw said. "For me, everything I do has a purpose to it beyond what’s in this lifetime. At the same time, on the field I have a job to do and that’s what I’m focused on.

"I guess you could say I’m a little more skinny than Juan is. Not to say either one is wrong, that’s just kind of my body type a little bit."


photos: Uribe: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America; Kershaw: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

The Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, and Beaker

There is no mistaking the precocious maturity of Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Whether in his calm focus on the mound or in the clubhouse, he is beyond his 23 years. He appears remarkably centered and at peace with himself, recognizing where he is personally and professionally.

Kershaw is a devout Christian, though unlike Beaker the live-hand muppet, he is not made of felt. Kershaw and Beaker are two lanky characters who outwardly approach their strong faith in markedly different ways.

If there is a showy, look-at-my-crazy-hair aspect to Beaker and his scene-stealing antics in Dr. Honeydew's Muppet Labs, Kershaw is more understated in his approach, if no less sincere.

I’ve never heard him bring up God in postgame interviews or seen him point to the sky after a big strikeout. Yet, I still have a clear understanding of his commitment.

"I think everybody has different approaches to it," Kershaw said. "For me, everything I do has a purpose to it beyond what’s in this lifetime. At the same time, on the field I have a job to do and that’s what I’m focused on.

"I guess you could say I’m a little more understated than Beaker is. Not to say either one is wrong, that’s just kind of my personality a little bit."

Indeed, even if it’s not exactly his way, Kershaw admires Beaker for his resilience while being victimized by experimental hijinks, using his signature "meep!" utterings to bring attention to his faith.

"I have a lot of respect for Beaker," Kershaw said. "I don’t know him personally, but I think what he’s doing is special. I think what he’s trying to do should be recognized, in whatever way that you try to do it. He’s assisting Dr. Honeydew but I think there’s more to it than that.

"He gets a lot of recognition, publicity for it good and bad. People have opinions about his antics and dress because it’s so over the top. I think it does help to have other people in the muppet world that are doing that, and just try to follow their lead."

Earlier: LAT: The Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Tebow and Jesus Christ; SoSG: LAT's Steve Dilbeck, Constrained By The Shackles Of His Dodger Beat, Finally Uncorks His Own Bottled Tebowmania

photos: Beaker: Raving Toy Maniac; Kershaw: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ramona Shelburne Nails The Dodgers' Debutante Parade

Four days left before preliminary bids are due, and ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne does a fine job of stepping back and assessing why the Dodgers, despite Frank McCourt's encumbrances and the organization's weakened state, is still a hot ticket that promises to be a contested battle of billionaires:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Rob Reiner is a serious movie producer and a funny guy. So when he stepped to the podium to present an award at the ninth-annual Pro Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner late last week, everything that came out of his mouth had several layers of meaning.

The ballroom at this swanky Beverly Hills hotel was packed with baseball luminaries. No fewer than a half a dozen Hall of Famers were in attendance for what's become something of a winter meeting in Los Angeles since former sports agent Dennis Gilbert's began hosting the fundraiser nine years ago.

Reiner took one look at the crowd and laughed.

"Show of hands," Reiner said, clearly going a bit off script. "Who in this room isn't trying to buy the Dodgers?"

The audience erupted in nervous laughter, relieved someone had let the air out of the balloon hovering above the room. I counted no fewer than four prospective ownership groups in attendance -- Peter O'Malley, Gilbert, Joe Torre, and members of the group headed by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten -- and none of them could say a word because they've signed non-disclosure agreements with the Blackstone group, the New York-based investment firm handling the sale of the team.

About the only man in the room who could provide a bit of an answer to Reiner's question was baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was in attendance to shake Gilbert's hand and present an award to longtime executive Al Rosen.

"It's a manifestation of how popular the sport is," Selig said, when asked why the Los Angeles Dodgers have attracted so many potential bidders since Frank McCourt announced he would sell the team.

"We have five or six terrific groups, or maybe even more and I'm very confident that out of that will come an excellent owner. You look at the quality of the people in each group and they're very very good."

Shoot, I myself would be trying to buy the Dodgers, if this blog was only a tad more profitable (DelinO's paycheck is out of control, I tell you). But besides the fact that I'm jealous about Shelburne's dining options, I also liked the way she ended the piece:

The problem is that the Dodgers and their fans have suffered long enough. Their next owner needs to be simple and uncomplicated. Unfunny, maybe. But of noble intention.

As Kemp put it: "It doesn't really matter to me who owns the team as long as they have the same interests as me, and that's winning."

Leave it to the true MVP to break it down to what really matters. Let the best billionaire win.

McCourt, Using Parking Lot Leverage, Generates Character Description Understatement Of The Year

No surprise that the Dodgers owner commonly referred to as "the parking lot attendant" in an LA Times column is holding his claim to the Dodger Stadium parking lots as a negotiating chip in the impending sale process:

Frank McCourt has the option to sell the Dodgers but keep the surrounding parking lots, and his interests as landlord and potential developer might not coincide with those of the new owner.

"You want to make the experience at the ballpark the most pleasant experience you possibly can," former Angels President Richard Brown said. "You're not going to be able to do that unless you have control."

The Dodgers are in bankruptcy, but the McCourt entity that controls the Dodger Stadium parking lots is not. In order to get McCourt to sell the team without a round of litigation over the parking lots, Major League Baseball agreed to grant him "sole and absolute discretion" over whether to keep or sell the land.

The agreement stipulates that prospective buyers "may submit bids that include the purchase of the parking lots."

If the lots are not sold with the team, the new owner would lease them from McCourt for $14 million a year. The annual lease payment would rise in 2015, and every five years thereafter.

Someone with microsoft excel could quickly crank out the NPV on a ~$14M/year perpetuity in their sleep. But what was truly remarkable and breakthrough about this article was the assessment of McCourt's wily and clever strategy done by Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd (picture at left):

Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based Sportscorp Ltd., said a buyer might well pay a premium now to eliminate the risk of a future lawsuit against McCourt over development of the property. McCourt has been in court against his ex-wife, his former law firm, MLB and Fox Sports over the last three years.

"He's shown himself to be very contentious and litigious," Ganis said. "That is never a good situation to walk into. I suspect he will use that reputation to command a higher price."

Frank McCourt, contentious and litigious? Wanting to use his assets to command a higher price?

What insight! Thanks, Marc!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Your Fleetwood Mac News Item Of The Day

LAT: Second hand is found near man's head below the Hollywood sign

Well, That Was...Fun?

Alright, I'll take my due punishment as Master of the Revels here at SoSG that presided over that debacle. Congratulations to our new abalone overlords, the Guernsey Ormers. As we all know, however, off-season competitions around here end like Highlander, so it's time to pit you against each other! In a contest that requires much less skill and tactical awareness!

Next week, you start... The Elimination Round! Team Guernsey will be divided into 3 factions. You objective will be to comment as much as possible in a 1 minute window. The faction that has the MOST SEQUENTIAL COMMENTS in that time window will be further divided for a final round. In case of a tie, the next longest uninterrupted sequence will be counted, and so on. And, oh yes, there will be victory spoils.

If there can be only one, why are there so many damn sequels?

LAT's Steve Dilbeck, Constrained By The Shackles Of His Dodger Beat, Finally Uncorks His Own Bottled Tebowmania

Credit Deadspin for calling out the LAT's own Dodgers blogger on this very unusual profile piece on Dodger Clayton Kershaw...which really ends up being a profile piece on non-Dodger Tim Tebow:

There is no mistaking the precocious maturity of Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Whether in his calm focus on the mound or in the clubhouse, he is beyond his 23 years. He appears remarkably centered and at peace with himself, recognizing where he is personally and professionally.

Kershaw is a devout Christian, though unlike Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, he is hardly in your face about it. Kershaw and Tebow are two highly famous young professional athletes who outwardly approach their strong faith in markedly different ways.

If there is a showy, look-at-me aspect to Tebow and his kneeling in prayer on the football field and near zeal off it, Kershaw is more understated in his approach, if no less sincere.

I’ve never heard him bring up God in postgame interviews or seen him point to the sky after a big strikeout. Yet, I still have a clear understanding of his commitment.

"I think everybody has different approaches to it," Kershaw said. "For me, everything I do has a purpose to it beyond what’s in this lifetime. At the same time, on the field I have a job to do and that’s what I’m focused on.

"I guess you could say I’m a little more understated than Tim is. Not to say either one is wrong, that’s just kind of my personality a little bit."

Oh, you may be devout, young Kershaw, but you're no Tebow! NO TEBOW! Go ahead and win all the Cy Young Awards you want, or make charitable pilgrimages to Zambia. The fact remains, you're no Tebow. And Dilbeck is going to make that comparison abundantly clear.

Or, as Deadspin put it:

Here is a story about Clayton Kershaw. He is a good pitcher, and he likes Jesus, but beyond that he doesn't have much in common with Tim Tebow. In fact, he's nothing like Tim Tebow. They play different sports and haven't met. Still: Tebow in the headline! Tebow everywhere. What do you have to say about Tebow, Clayton? That's fascinating. Here are some more questions about Tebow. Please answer them for us. OhbythewayhowaboutheDodgersthisyear? Never mind: what do you think of Tebow?

photo of Tebow by Jim Rogash / Getty Images; photo of non-Tebow by Jeff Gross (also of Getty Images, which owns other photos of Tebow by the way)

Game 4 Comment Thread (11:00 am - 11:15 pm)

Alright, this is it! 15 minutes separates 9 players from simulated glory. Bring your "A" game. A win or a draw clinches outright for Guernsey.

Update 11:33 am: Not surprisingly, it's a scoreless draw. Guernsey advances 6-3.

To 86 The 49ers?

As a true blue Dodger fan, I don't care much for the San Francisco Giants. I mean, I'm civil and everything, but I will (politely) boo them and their players with a lot of gusto. And even if I come upon the rare record book which registers their virtually unwatched 2010 World Series fluke, I am careful to remind Giants fans that their San Francisco trophy case carries four fewer trophies than our own Los Angeles Dodgers' case.

Which brings me to football. I don't care much about football, and the little eneergy I do spend in following it skews toward college football rather than the professional spectacle known as the NFL. Perhaps this reflects the fact that Los Angeles doesn't have a pro football team (besides the USC Trojans); at the very least, this doesn't help any. But even as a kid growing up in SoCal, I didn't care much about the Lambs (too weak) or the Raiders (too scary).

So here come the 49ers, having rebuilt their squad on the back of an old-school Stanford coach who has given washouts like Alex Smith a reinvigorated and perhaps unrealistic perspective. Yet the 49ers, mediocre for years before, are suddenly in the conference playoffs.

San Francisco fans are psyched, of course. They haven't seen a winning 49ers team for decades, and frankly, they're so overcome with giddiness that they can barely hold their pinkies in while grasping their chardonnay glasses.

I recall about six or seven years ago when I was waiting for a table at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, along with a large party of inlaws from my wife's family. The queue was long and people were getting ornery. And then, in walks another group, much later than us, and puts their similar-sized party's name in the queue. And suddenly, they vault ahead of us and are seated.

My brother-in-law and I raise the issue of this inequity to the hostess, who acknowledges the favored treatment and promises to seat our party promptly. However we were pretty aggravated, so much so that the about-to-be-seated party looks back and notices the affront. The next thing I know, one of the older guys in their party comes over to us and says, "hey, sorry about this. Can I buy your party a round of drinks, on us?"

Totally cool move on his part, right? And I'm rarely one to turn down a free drink. However my brother-in-law just glares at the guy, and while I'm taking drink orders from the rest of our clan, he retorts that he doesn't want this guy's charity. I shrug my shoulders and put in my drink order, but my brother-in-law just glares at the guy, and I don't really understand why at the time.

Turns out that guy was John York, husband to the co-owner of the 49ers. And my brother-in-law, a lifelong fan of every San Francisco sports team, was so pissed at how the 49ers franchise had degraded under York's tenure, that he couldn't stomach even an offer of free alcohol from the owner. So be it.

Anyway, I digress. I've got nothing in particular against the 49ers, and certainly not the level of hatred as my brother-in-law had toward York. I mean, I find them annoying, but only insofar as I find most Bay Area sports fans insipid and bothersome.

I'll watch the NFL if it's on TV and there's nothing else. And sure, the single-elimination playoffs are more compelling theatre. But these teams evoke no passion in me; I'm largely indifferent about the New York Giants, let alone the Ravens and Patriots. And I think if push came to shove, I'd probably root against the Niners--simply because they're from the same city as the hated San Francisco Giants.

Is this wrong? Is this even rational? And are any of you Dodger fans going through the same set of emotions about the NFL playoffs? Discuss, as I'm about to consider (more) therapy.

Game 4 Reminder

Don't forget the final game will be early today. I'll see you chumps at 11:00 am to put this stage out of its misery.

Enter... THE CAVE!

Though this contest from MLB.com looks inviting...

... whenever I hear the word cave, I'm concerned it's going to be more like this.

Or a Man Cave....

Former Dodgers, On The Move

Here's a gaggle of stories about former Dodgers.

  • Battletoad Vicente Padilla has an invitation to come to spring training with the Red Sox to compete for a starting role. Better hope the equipment guys bought some extra towels this offseason!

    BOSTON -- Newly signed Vicente Padilla will come to camp as a starter and be "in the mix" for the back end of the Red Sox rotation, general manager Ben Cherington said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

    He also acknowledged that Padilla could wind up in the bullpen.

    Padilla was briefly used as a closer by his last big-league team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, recording three saves before requiring neck surgery.

  • Hee-Seop Choi may not be a hero after all; that is, not if the Kia Tigers can't deal him. Here's the skinny (no link, but this article is from the Korea Times):

    Trade talks involving former Major League Baseball first baseman Choi Hee-seop have broken down, Choi's South Korean club said Monday, as it mulled an outright release.

    The Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said they have called off trade discussions with the Nexen Heroes. The Gwangju-based Tigers had been seeking to deal Choi, who missed the start of their team practice earlier this month citing personal reasons.

    The Tigers said the Heroes, based in Seoul, had the most interest in acquiring Choi. Though neither team disclosed which Nexen players were on the trading block, sources have said a left-handed reliever and a right-handed infielder would have been traded for Choi.

    Kia officials have said Choi was suffering from flu when he didn't show up for the team workshop on Jan. 6 and the start of the offseason training camp two days later. Sources said Choi had put on extra pounds in the offseason and was in no shape to play baseball.

  • And finally, though he's not a former Dodger: Tim Lincecum has asked for a 65% increase in pay next year, from $13.1M to $21.5M. Says the ESPN article, "The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner's request neared the record amount sought in arbitration. Houston pitcher Roger Clemens asked for $22 million in 2005."

    Not bad for a 13-14 pitcher! Stick it to 'em, Timmah! (And wash your hair.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Game 3 Comment Thread (3:00 pm - 3:15 pm)

Alright, fellow Bourdelots. It's all on the line today. We've got to at least get ourselves a draw to keep the series alive. Another Guernsey win and we're cooked.

Bourdelots: Delicious, but potentially terrible at comment-based water polo.

photo: Johann Parkin - Guardian

Ethier Given $11M For 2012 Season; Dodger Fans Hope It's A Full One

I'm an Ethier fan, so I'm glad Andre Ethier is back (one year, $10.95M). It has been challenging, however, to see him torrid for half a season and seemingly lost for the other half. I'm crossing my fingers that 2012 is the season where 'Dre puts it all together for all six months...

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier avoided arbitration on Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year, $10.95 million contract.

Ethier would receive an additional $25,000 for each of 600 and 625 plate appearances.

Ethier, who will turn 30 on April 10, is a five-plus player (at least five years of major league service time) and is in his final winter of arbitration-eligibility and will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season unless the Dodgers sign him to an extension before then. He received $9.25 million in 2011, the final year of a two-year, $15.25 million contract he signed before the 2010 season.

Ethier hit .292 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs and earned his first Gold Glove in the outfield last season.

He had a 30-game hitting streak early in the season but was bothered by a right knee injury and had surgery in September.

UPDATE (Orel): From @dylanohernandez:

James Loney agrees to 1-yr, $6.375 MM deal with #Dodgerrs, avoids arbitration.

UPDATE (Sax): Who are these "Dodgerrs" that Dylan speaks of? Does Dylan think it's September 19th? Yarrrr!

UPDATE (Orel):


My best attempt at coalescing the themes of pirates and Nelly:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Game 2 Comment Thread (3:00 pm - 3:15 pm)

The Ormers have the Bourdelots on the ropes after last weeks dominating performance, but Jersey isn't beaten yet. A win in one of the two Matches played in St. Helier will keep them alive to see the final match.

Both teams lineups have been fortified with new talent and they've both got something to prove out there.

Go, you delicious local pastries! Go!

Update 5:33 pm - Check that, make it a 0-0 draw, no time violations. It makes a difference when you miss a block early in the sequence.

Game 2 Reminder

Per Friday's developments, there are a couple of changes to note. To draw from a larger talent pool, we're contracting to two teams. Since not everyone commented in the previous thread, I'm just going to go in the order of sign-up. Myself, Paul, a Fernie V will suit up with Jersey, While Loney Fan, Steve K, and Rbnlaw will join Guernsey.

See the updated fixtures, as well. Since we're down to 2 teams, we'll wrap up this round on Wednesday.

Jersey BourdélotsGuernsey Ormers
SpankHideo Nomo
Steve Sax Karina
Dusty Baker MLASC
Mr. F Fred's Brim
StubbsLoney Fan
PaulSteve K
Fernie VRbnlaw


Friday 1/13 : Jersey 0 - 4 Guernsey

Monday 1/16, 3pm-3:15pm: Guernsey v. Jersey

Tuesday 1/17, 3pm-3:15pm: Guernsey v. Jersey

Wednesday 1/18 11am-11:15am: Jersey v. Guernsey

Offseason Mov(i)es: A Player to Be Named Later

Are you in need of your baseball fix but cannot get anything but football and basketball on the television? If you have Netflix / Qwikster (oops was I not supposed to mention that name?) streaming, you can watch the 85 minute documentary "A Player to Be Named Later" which was released in 2005. *** Update *** I just tried to search for this movie on Netflix / Qwikster streaming and it is no longer available (but you can still get the dvd through the mail). Granted I watched this about 4 months ago and am just now getting around to writing about it. I did not realize that some movies vanish from the streaming portion of Netflix. WTF? Did Netflix kill some of the movies when they killed Qwikster? Anyways back to the review. The movie chronicles the trials and tribulations of six minor league players of the Indianapolois Indians, the Triple A affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers.

This movie take you back to those "Hoop Dreams" type movies where these amateur players are striving so hard to make it to, and stay at, the professional level. There are the cliche baseball stories such as the "Bull Durham" Crash Davis character that has been in the minors for his whole career and he realizes that this is as far as he will get, but loves the game so much, he can't quit. Then there is the player who gets injured and needs to rehab and you can see the his struggle trying to overcome the injury as well as the high level competition. What is neat is that watching this in retrospect about six years later, you know which player makes it (Marco (Polo) Scutaro), and who doesn't. Also with the interwebs, you can look up the statistics of all of the players and actually see how they did beyond the film's end.

Overall I enjoyed this movie. I think most of us dream of playing baseball as a career and, at least for me, this is the closest we will get to see the behind the scenes daily lives of a professional baseball player. So on the SoSG scale of 1 to 5, "A Player to Be Named Later" gets 4 Dodger dogs. And if you watch this as well, tell me what you thought below. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

USA Today: Longtime Dodgers Scout Honored By Peers

It's great to read that Dodgers scout Carl Loewnstine was honored last night at the ninth annual "In the Spirit of the Game" banquet that benefits the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
They couldn't have picked a better man to honor,'' said longtime scout Ken Bracey of the Dodgers. "Carl is one of a kind, a great baseball guy, a very religious man. He's sicker than a lot of people know. Just getting on those long plane rides are so tough for him, but he's so loyal. And he loves the Dodgers.
The bigger story is that Loewnstine is battling bone cancer but still soldiering on at his job. So I just wanted to call attention to Loewnstine's health struggle and send a big thanks to him for working behind the scenes to help our Dodgers. Your work is greatly appreciated and we at Sons of Steve Garvey hope you are soon healthy.

NFL Playoffs Day 4 GameThread: Oilers/Colts (10a), Giants/Packers (1:30p)

This can only mean God likes Gisele more than unorthodox quarterbacks. Can you blame him(/her)?

So I got one out of two yesterday. I have no horses in today's races so hey man, go nuts. Vegas says Baltimore and Green Bay, each by about 8 points.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Playoffs Day 3 GameThread: Saints/Niners (1:30p), Tebows/Patsies (5p)

I can't think of a better outcome than the vanquishing of both a San Francisco team follows by a loss by the little Broncos that could. Knowing my luck, I will get neither of the above.

A Moment Of Silence For The Departed

Friday, January 13, 2012

Official Results, Game 1

It was a lopsided battle on the isle of Guernsey today. The Ormers may have won 4-0, but a heroic effort on the defensive side of the ball, even in the face of insurmountable odds, is what everyone is talking about. If Jersey can climb back in this, they will owe it all to Spank for keeping it close with an astounding 13 blocks. They don't call him the Spanktopus for no reason.

On the offensive side, SoSG's own Hideo Nomo scores the hat trick, and Mr. LA Sports Czar nets a goal, as well.

And now, for administrative matters.

Several players who nearly succumbed to exhaustion have petitioned the league for a reduced game duration. The commissioner concurs with this proposal. Future fixtures are to be 15 minutes in length. As for the stat sheet, I think the score should stand as-is. If it comes down to 2 goal difference, we'll discuss what is a fair solution at that time.

The second proposal, in light of participation and "work" schedules, is that the Alderney team be contracted into the Jersey and Guernsy. There is wisdom in this, but there needs to be an impartial method to assign them. Fellow Sots, please comment in this thread. If the last digit of your comment URL is odd, you'll be added to Jersey. If it is even (or 0), suit up with Guernsey. When one team has three players, the remaining players will be assigned to the opposite team. Any questions/objections?

Hiroki Kuroda Is a Yankee


The Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract with Hiroki Kuroda, pending a physical, tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). The deal will pay Kuroda $10MM, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Kuroda is represented by the Octagon agency.

Kuroda was originally looking for a one-year deal worth $13-$14MM for next season, but recently dropped his asking price and was sending feelers out to the Yankees and Red Sox. Olney reports that Kuroda's salary was an "extra expenditure" approved by ownership, so the club will not have to move a similar salary in order to fit the team's payroll.

The Dodgers paid Kuroda about $12 million last year. No word if Kuroda has to donate part of his salary to a Yankees charitable organization.

This IS Your 3:00 PM Comment Thread!

Here we go, ladies and gentlemen. Everybody in the pool!

The Ormers host the first leg, and home to hold on to that precious home field (court? water? pool?) advantage. Jersey is looking to start off strong on the road so they can potentially advance in front of their home crowd.

Rumor has it that the crocodile for this match enjoyed the local night life in Saint Pierre Port a little too much last night, and is good and ornery.

Go, you local mollusks! Go!

For the record, as acting commissioner, I do not officially support one team over any other. But I DO officially support not getting roughed up by water polo hooligans.

Update 3:57 pm- Unofficial results show the home team posting a 4-0 victory, after the ferry apparently arrived late from Jersey. The requests to shorten the matches and contract to 2 teams are both good ones. I think would be both wise and beneficial towards Spank's continued existence.

This Is NOT Your 3:00 PM Comment Thread

Just a reminder that the official SoSGSACBEWPCL comment thread goes up today at 3:00 pm pacific. Remember that to be counted, they need to contain the relevant action. As long as they contain the word pass, catch, or block, you're safe.

The first possession will be determined by the first comment on the official thread, so be prepared.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get Your Tournament Schedule and Rules Interpretation Here!

Well, the commissioner has heard your cries for mercy. To simplify things, I'm eliminating Rule #3. If you complete 5 consecutive unblocked passes, that's a goal, no shot required. String together as many sets of 5 as you can. To get possession, you'll need a successful block. Your rules, in layman's terms, are as follows.

  1. Pass to your teammates.
  2. Block the opposing team's passes.
  3. Get rid of the ball within a minute.
The legalese rules in the original post have been updated accordingly, for those interested in such things. As a bonus, this makes things much easier for the commissioner, so we've got that going for us.

The Teams

Jersey BourdélotsGuernsey Ormers Alderney Sots
NeeebsJason Loney Fan
SpankHideo Nomo Franklin Stubbs
Steve Sax KarinaSteve K
Dusty Baker MLASCPaul
Mr. F Fred's Brim Fernie V

Each team will play each other twice. Wins count for 3 points, Draws count for 1 point, Losses count for nothing. The teams with the most points after all games are played will advance to the championship. In case of a tie, goal differential will be used.


Friday 1/13, 3pm-3:30pm: Jersey v. Guernsey

Monday 1/16, 3pm-3:30pm: Jersey v. Alderney

Tuesday 1/17, 3pm-3:30pm: Guernsey v. Alderney

Wednesday 1/18 11am-11:30am: Guernsey v. Jersey

Thursday 1/20 3pm-3:30pm: Alderney v. Jersey

Friday 1/21 11am-11:30am: Alderney v. Guernsey

As promised, here are some simulated examples of play:

Rule #1

3:01 pm: Dusty Baker controls the ball and PASSES.

3:02 pm: Steve Sax CATCHES the pass.

3:03 pm: Steve Sax PASSES.

3:03 pm: Dusty Baker CATCHES the ball.

3:03 pm: Dusty Baker PASSES.

3:04 pm: Mr. F CATCHES the pass.

...and so on.

Rule #2

3:04 pm: Mr. F PASSES the ball.

3:04pm: Karina BLOCKS Mr. F's pass and starts possession for Guernsey.

3:04pm: Dusty Baker attempts to anticipate Karina's pass and BLOCKS.

3:05pm: Karina PASSES. Dusty now may not block this pass, having used his attempt.

3:05pm: Hideo Nomo CATCHES the pass.

Rule #3

There is no rule #3

Rule #4

3:12pm: Franklin Stubbs CATCHES a pass.

3:14pm: OHMYGODGETHIMOFFMEfhfdjjlfdamzv!

3:14pm: The last player to comment from the opposing team restarts play.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seemingly Good News Coming Out Tonight

Per Associated Press:
NEW YORK - The Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox have settled their lawsuit, removing an impediment to the sale of the bankrupt team.

In a motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the Dodgers said they were abandoning their attempt to sell future media rights and will adhere to their contract with Fox's Prime Ticket subsidiary, which has an exclusive negotiating window from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 this year.

The team said in a statement "this agreement is a significant step towards a successful sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers."
Let's get this thing done, lads. Hopefully this is another barrier removed.

UPDATE: Bill Shaikin has more here. (h/t: Greg Hao)

DeSean Jackson Representing Dodgers

Maybe not in the best light, though, upon reflection. Deadspin has the details. Hint: they involve strippers, Twitter, and being out past 2AM.


Baseball is in hibernation, Football is winding down, and Basketball is getting a late start. There is, however, one sport that is in the heart of it's season. If not a sport of Kings, then a sport of Archdukes. A sport of Viscounts, at the very least. As I'm sure many of you have already guessed, I'm talking about Professional Extreme Water Polo.

For those few of you who have not been following the harrowing events of this current season, the situation is dire. All participants in the most prestigious (and only) tournament of the year have gone on strike, demanding increased profit sharing and decreased risk of death and dismemberment. The leaugue has had to take some drastic measures to insure the survival of the grand traditions of the game. Specifically, calling us.

So, it is with great pleasure that we bring you the first-ever Sons of Steve Garvey Semi-Amateur Comment-Based Extreme Water Polo Champions League tournament. In the spirit of its non-comment-based (and more deadly) predecessor, there will be three teams of six players, each representing the great powers of Channel Islands Professional Extreme Watersports Association (No, not those. These! Not coincidentally, the only remaining place that the sport is even legal)

The rules - The object of comment-based extreme water polo is to score more goals than your opponent. To achieve this, your team must: Advance the the ball by connecting comments with a teammate.

  1. To move the play forward the player with the ball must PASS the ball, and another player must CATCH it. Connected posts must at least contain these words to be valid. That player must then PASS in turn. The passing player need not identify the specific target of a pass. One may pass to any teammate other than yourself.
  2. Avoid giving the ball away to the defending team. If an opposing team member can BLOCK a between a pass and a catch with a comment containing the word BLOCK before the catch is made, that player takes over possession and begins a new sequence of play in the other direction. Any opposing player may attempt to BLOCK any other player, but only once per pass attempt. Only the first BLOCK attempt by each defender will be counted on each pass.
  3. Nothing to see here, move along.
  4. Not delay gameplay. If any player with possession of the ball fails to PASS within the next minute after a CATCH or BLOCK, that player will be viciously attacked by a saltwater crocodile and possession will be awarded to the opposing team. If a player is attacked by a crocodile twice in the same match, that player will require immediate medical attention and must withdraw from the match, as well as remain under strict medical supervision for the next match. For example, if one CATCHES the ball with a comment time stamp of 2:30, pm, one must PASS before 2:31 pm expires. 2:32 pm? Maulings.
If, for some inexplicable reason, a team is left with only one intact player, the match will be considered to be forfeited. For tournament play, the match will be scored as equal to the largest naturally-occurring margin of victory.

Team rosters and the official tournament schedule will be posted tomorrow. Godspeed and good luck!

Quotes That Come Back To Bite One In The Ass

Baseball Prospectus's Sam Miller had a sweet text collage from Sam Miller over the holidays, which compiles some of the loftiest of quotes about what turned out to be the deepest of bottom-fed signings (link subscribers only). And guess, what, there are a ton of Dodgers in there (20% of the list!) (emphasis by Sax):

Good morning, and thank you all for being here. We are excited to introduce to you our newest player. He will be out momentarily, along with some of the key decision makers responsible for bringing him here, and they will answer your questions. The entire organization is very excited, and our city should be, too. We’ll begin with some opening remarks from our general manager.

“We've gotten a tremendous player (1). The gem of the lot (4). A top-of-the-rotation starter who can dominate a game as well as any pitcher in the major leagues (7). A big-game pitcher, and a really tough competitor (12). He’s going to be a difference-maker (6). This guy is a tremendous all-around player (9). This man gets on base an awful lot (3). He makes the lineup deeper and more dynamic (11). It gives you a bona fide run producer (15). He can change the game all the time on defense, on the bases, at the plate, and not a lot of players can do that (11). We had the chance to get one of the best center fielders in the game, maybe the best defensive one in the National League, and we did it. We did it (2). Being a premium defender is something that is a priority for us (6). He is a great fit in our lineup and in our ballpark (10). He'll be a centerpiece of our ballclub on the field and in the clubhouse (5). He is a guy that is very versatile offensively and I think he's going to be able to hit in a lot of different spots (6). He’s been extraordinarily durable throughout his entire career (12). He’s definitely a great player (1). He’s going to be out there for a long time (7). Do we expect seven all-star seasons? No. If he has five seasons like the last few years, we'll be fine with it (5). He's a really special player(11). We landed an elite player and laid the groundwork on many other fronts. So, yeah, we feel good about ourselves right now (5).

“The bottom line is, we like him (13). He's a proven winner, and that's something that's very hard to find (7). A player of his talent, charisma, leadership and durability comes along maybe once every 10 years (4). I've long admired how he plays the game (3). He takes such good care of his body (5). His no-nonsense approach is known throughout the game (9). He comes highly recommended from people who know him (3). He's the type of guy who's going to hold everyone accountable to do the same thing he's doing, which is playing the game right and playing to win (9). He’s a fun person to be around (10). He has a chance to win here. When you have a chance to win, you play hard (1).This is the type of guy to give a long-term deal with. We still think his best days are still ahead of him (5). Every year he just seems to get better (11).Guys learn at different paces in their careers, and he is coming into his own (6). What people lose sight of is the ripple effect he has on the rest of the team. Greatplayers and pitchers make good players and good pitchers better (4). He has a history of being a good player. We really like this player, and he fits. He fits with what we're doing (1). I think this says that this organization is here to win (15).

“It's no secret that we have coveted his services for quite some time (10). If the alternative is not getting him, we'd rather be accused of overspending (4). The money doesn’t play. You put a ballplayer out there. You don’t put money out there (5). You have to keep swinging for the fences (8). When our revenues increase, our fans should know that we look to put that money back into the team. That's how you build franchise value (4). When two rival GMs in your own division are saying that you overspent, you must be doing something right (5). This is clearly the best way for us to go (12). Adding him was a priority and we were able to fulfill this today (14). I couldn't see us filling the needs that we laid out at the end of the season any better (1). We're going to follow the plan. We're a ball club that's on the rise. We’re going in the right direction (5). We are set. Not only for the year but beyond (14). If we win—if we get to the playoffs and get a shot at it—then we managed it right (1). We were a contending team before this deal. We’re stronger now (1). This is the start of something (5). It’s very exciting (12). This signing gives us hope (4). I’m not ashamed (5).”

(All of the above are real quotes from club officials)


  • 1. Angels trade for Vernon Wells
  • 2. Dodgers sign Andruw Jones
  • 3. Dodgers sign Juan Pierre
  • 4. Giants sign Barry Zito
  • 5. Nationals sign Jayson Werth
  • 6. Angels sign Gary Matthews, Jr.
  • 7. Dodgers sign Jason Schmidt
  • 8. Yankees sign A.J. Burnett
  • 9. Giants sign Aaron Rowand
  • 10. White Sox sign Adam Dunn
  • 11. Red Sox sign Carl Crawford
  • 12. Red Sox sign John Lackey
  • 13. Mets sign Jason Bay
  • 14. Mets re-sign Oliver Perez
  • 15. Astros sign Carlos Lee

(To be fair, the Giants, Red Sox, Angels, and Mets are all on the list twice as well. But we're the only team represented by three busts! Whoo hoo!)

Jobe And A John

Tommy John and Frank Jobe

Dr. Frank obe had a nice interview in the Sunday Press Telegram, and if you can get past all the "qqq" typsetting errors, it's a nice interview reflecting on Jobe's illustrious, Dodger-filled career:

No matter how many athletes' lives he might have improved with his orthoscopic breakthroughs, Dr. Frank Jobe's legacy in the sports world will be defined by three words: Tommy John surgery.

Nearly 200 Major League Baseball players - not all of them pitchers - have had their careers extended by the ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in their elbow, which Jobe decided to try with the 31-year-old John when he was a Dodgers left-handed pitcher in 1974 and on the verge of retirement.

John went on to pitch another 14 years and win 164 more games, more than the 124 he won in the previous 12 seasons.

Another Dodgers All-Star, Orel Hershiser, came up with an unstable right shoulder in 1990, also at age 31. He added 10-plus seasons after Jobe figured out a way to reconstruct the ligaments in the rotator cuff and joint.

In recognition of his contribution to the sport, the soon-to-be 87-year-old Jobe will be given the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation at their annual "In The Spirit of the Game" banquet Saturday at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Congratulations, Dr. J.!

photo: Los Angeles Dodgers

Monday, January 09, 2012

SEC Championship Rematch GameThread, 5.30p

LSU and Alabama, in the massive collegiate football powerhouse showdown that everyone wanted to see...about four weeks ago. But yet, here we are, once again, in the national championship game. Yay.

It's obvious who's going to win tonight, right? Right?! So let's just get to playing. Roll, Tigers!

Congratulations, Non-Dodger Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin was the sole electee to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

NEW YORK -- Barry Larkin was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Monday with plenty of room to spare.

The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop was chosen on 495 of 573 ballots (86 percent) in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, well above the necessary 75 percent. Larkin was on the ballot for the third time after falling 75 votes short last year.

"I was absolutely shocked," he said in an interview with ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Monday.

Larkin, who currently is an ESPN baseball analyst, said he expected to get the call from Hall of Fame, if he was elected, at 1:30 p.m. ET. But he didn't receive a call until 2:50.

"I was absolutely floored," he told ESPN when asked about his reaction upon receiving the call. "I'm just so, so proud."

He will be inducted July 22 in Cooperstown along with the late Ron Santo, elected last month by the Golden Era Committee.

Former Dodger Eric Young got one vote.

Nothing But Roses In The Dodgers' Future

Settle yourselves in for a long run of disappointment, Dodger fans; so says ESPN's Mark Cameron (link insider only):

With prospective owners lining up around the block to bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers, we thought it'd be helpful to shine a light on just what kind of team they'd be buying. While the franchise's history and large fan base offer value on their own, the team will be more profitable if the new owners can turn them into winners in a hurry. So, how far away are the Dodgers from being contenders?

Let's start with the good news. The team has two franchise building blocks in Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, young stars who are already performing at an elite level. There aren't many teams in baseball that have two young players of this quality, and they are certainly capable of forming the foundation of a championship team.

The bad news is that those two performed about as well as anyone can realistically be asked to in 2011 and the team still won just 82 games, finishing in third place in the NL West. If the team is going to contend, it will have to get better performances from the supporting cast, because they can't realistically expect to get much more from Kershaw and Kemp than they got a year ago.

In looking at the rest of the roster, it gets a little bit tougher to find long-term value once you get past the big two. Chad Billingsley has a good arm and has pitched well at times, and he's signed to a pretty reasonable contract that will keep him in LA through at least 2014. Kenley Jansen looks like he could develop into one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. Dee Gordon held his own in the Majors as a 23-year-old rookie, and could provide value at shortstop, especially while he's cheap.

However, when your list of long-term assets on the Major League roster are a starting pitcher coming off his worst season, a reliever with command problems, and a 150-pound infielder who might not ever hit a home run in the big leagues, you know your roster might have some issues. And there's no question that whoever buys the Dodgers is going to have some work to do to turn the team into a perennial winner.

Beyond those five young talents, the rest of the roster is mostly made up of aging veterans -- many of them being paid handsome salaries that limit the team's abilities to replace them -- and mediocre role players who probably won't be part of the next good Dodgers' team. [...]

Given that the team spent about $110 million in each of the last two years, there would only be about $15 million left to fill out the remaining 14 roster spots. At $1.1 million per roster spot, you're not getting much in the way of premium talent, so the Dodgers new owners will simply have to spend more money in order to lure impact players to LA.

How much would they need to invest? Well, let's calculate out the expected value of the guys under contract for the 2013 season, based on their prior performances and the assumption that they will age fairly normally (see table to right). Remember that 2 wins above replacement is basically league average for a full-time player.

That's 30 WAR from 15 players. No playoff team in 2011 finished with fewer than 45 WAR, so the team would need to add approximately 15 wins in order to make themselves legitimate contenders, and they'd only have 10 roster spots in order to do it. The free agent market is currently pricing wins at $4-to-5 million apiece, so if the new owners wanted to buy their way into contention within a year, they'd need to green light between $60 and $75 million in spending next off-season.

In reality, turning around the Dodgers is probably going to be a several year process, and the franchise will be better off if the group that wins the bidding accepts that the team might need to struggle for a year or two before the turnaround can begin in earnest. By 2014, the team will only be on the hook for significant salaries to Kemp, Kershaw, and Billingsley, leaving the team with plenty of flexibility to remake the supporting cast around their young stars.

I'm not quite as bearish on the Dodgers' future, not only because I'm a fan but also because the NL West is so weak. The fact that we can be dicking around with an embarrassing ownership debacle, tightened pursestrings, and a bunch of concrete-block weights in the lineup, and STILL be considered as a dark horse in our division, reflects also on how poorly the rest of the NL West truly is. None of our four rivals has made an off-season move that has scared me this winter. And we still have Kershaw and Kemp, the 2011 Cy Young Award Winner and 2011 non-suspended MVP winner, in our arsenal. That's a decent foundation on which to build...and we can.

Final 2012 Bobblehead Lineup Set

  • Sat., Apr. 28 vs. Nationals - Don Drysdale and Maury Wills
  • Tue., May 15 vs. D-backs - Orel Hershiser
  • Tue., May 29 vs. Brewers - The Infield: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey
  • Tue., June 12 vs. Angels - Mike Scioscia
  • Thurs., June 28 vs. Mets - Eric Karros
  • Sat., July 14 vs. Padres - Tommy Lasorda and Walter Alston
  • Tue., July 31 vs. D-backs - Kirk Gibson
  • Tue., Aug. 7 vs. Rockies - Sandy Koufax
  • Tue., Aug. 21 vs. Giants - Fernando Valenzuela
  • Thurs., Aug. 30 vs. D-backs - Vin Scully
Photo Courtesy of VSIMH

Pujols Pours On The Perks

You see, Dodgers, it doesn't take much to sign a once-in-a-lifetime offensive power. Just a lot of cash, and then some creative extras here and there (and there, and over there too):

NEW YORK -- Guess $240 million wasn't quite enough for Albert Pujols. In addition to his salary, the Los Angeles Angels are giving the slugger four season tickets to home games over the next decade.

He and the Angels still need to work out the location of the seats, which are his to enjoy for the duration of his contract. After that, if he still wants them, he has to pay.

Those details were contained in the terms of his deal that was filed Thursday with Major League Baseball and the players' association.

Other perks include:

  • A hotel suite on road trips.
  • A luxury suite at the ballpark for the Pujols Foundation, his charitable group, for 10 home games a year.
  • The right to buy a luxury suite between first base and third base for all home games.

Los Angeles' offer to Pujols surpassed St. Louis' offer by more than $40 million. Pujols played his first 11 seasons with the Cardinals.

The Angels' deal was so complicated that it includes three separate agreements: His playing contract, a marketing deal and an agreement to enter a 10-year, personal-services agreement following the playing contract's expiration or Pujols' retirement, whichever is later. That will pay $1 million annually, but because it is contingent on Pujols actually working for the team, it is not considered guaranteed money for the purposes of baseball's luxury tax.

High-payroll teams such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are likely to examine that structure closely and may emulate it in future agreements.

There also is a marketing agreement that will pay Pujols for milestone accomplishments. The player will receive $3 million for 3,000 hits and $7 million for a record 763rd home run. He currently has 2,073 hits and 445 home runs.

Including all three agreements, Pujols could make up to $268.75 million over 20 years. That includes $875,000 in possible award bonuses each year for accomplishments such as Most Valuable Player, World Series and League Championship Series MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, and making the All-Star team.

Unsigned Prince Fielder: probably taking some notes here and there?

(By the way, is it "perks" or "perqs"? I followed the ESPN.com article's convention, but I'm not sure.)