Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kemp Feature Stokes Dodger Fans' Hopes, Until...

Dylan Hernandez' piece profiling Matt Kemp as the "king of the clubhouse" was really well done. Using locker room props as his opening device was smart:

At the northwest end of the Dodgers' spring-training clubhouse, several steps from the rear exit, is a wooden stall that shortstop Dee Gordon calls "the Big Dog locker."

Manny Ramirez used the space for two springs. After his drug-tainted departure, Rafael Furcal took up residence.

Now, with Furcal playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Kemp is occupying this corner parcel of real estate that serves as the team's spiritual center.

Kemp understands the significance of where he sits.

"I'm not saying I have to be a leader, but I want to be a leader," Kemp said. "I want to win bad. If it takes me being a leader and stepping up and saying something that needs to be said, then I'm going to do it."

Awesome, right? Filled with hope, ye Dodger fan? Well, you should be. That is, until you hit this part, late in the same article:

Kemp has said he models himself after Juan Pierre, who played with the Dodgers from 2007-2009. Pierre was pushed to the bench by Kemp and Andre Ethier but maintained his reputation as the team's hardest-working player.

Kemp is now a role model himself, particularly to Gordon, 23, the club's second-year shortstop.

"We talk about everything," Gordon said. "Everything about being a professional. The stuff that Juan Pierre taught him."

Oh, God. Please don't go from an MVP-caliber season to a slap-hitting noodle-armed outfielder, Matt. Don't make me cry.

photo: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

Matt Kemp Is Haunted By Angels' Rally Monkey

Cute piece over on by Tony Jackson, who tries to stoke the fires of a cross-town MLB rivalry by goading Dodgers manager Don Mattingly into an initial salvo.

Said Mattingly: "I don't want to badmouth the Angels at all. Mr. (Angels owner Arte) Moreno has done a great job down there in Anaheim, and (Angels manager) Mike (Scioscia) does a great job. But we're the Dodgers, and that isn't going to change."

But that isn't the real nugget in the story. No, the gold comes late in the piece, when Jackson asks Matt Kemp to comment on the Angels' shucky-darn-cute rally monkey tradition (emphasis mine):

Mattingly later said that as a visiting manager, he actually likes the Angels' rally-monkey promotion because it usually comes out only when the Angels are trailing.

"(The monkey) is funny," Mattingly said. "I try to tell guys they should like the rally monkey because when the rally monkey comes out, it means you have the lead. You're not behind. So I like when he comes out."

It was on the subject of the monkey that Kemp went against Mattingly.

"I don't like the rally monkey," Kemp said. "I'm scared of the rally monkey. Out in the outfield, the monkey just pops up on the screen, and that can be scary. The rally monkey has gotten us sometimes. Hopefully, it won't happen this year."

I didn't think Matt Kemp was scared of anything. But come to think of it, having a giant hyperactive primate jumping around behind him must be pretty frightening. Maybe he's got a point.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Revised Angels Pujols Billboard Plans Probably Aren't Going To Fly, Either

Angels say "El Hombre" issue has been handled (

THR's Lack of Preeminent Dodger Blogger on Staff Bites Them in the Ass

From "L.A. Dodgers Bids Reach $1.2 Billion" at The Hollywood Reporter:

Fans can head over to Dodgers Stadium on Tuesday, March 6 for the first pre-season home matchup vs. the Giants.

Sure, has that annoying paywall, but Jon Weisman would never allow two factual errors in one sentence about the Dodgers at his entertainment publication.

Sound Familiar?


The 75-year-old [Mets owner Fred] Wilpon reiterated he has no intention of his family relinquishing majority control.

"They shouldn't be concerned about us owning the franchise, because we intend to own the franchise for a very long time," Wilpon said about his message to fans.

From Frank McCourt, two years ago:

"I own the team, it's not for sale and my hope someday is that my four boys will own the team."

Even with Herpes McCourt clutching to the Dodger Stadium parking lots with his cold, dead hands, Dodger fans can take solace in his inevitable departure. But for Mets fans, it looks like more of the same.

Now Here's A Dodgers Parking Lot Frank McCourt Wouldn't Have Wanted

That's only like 30 parking spots total, right? Forget that!

Mechanix Illustrated magazine illustration courtesy of Dodger Thoughts, who caught it on Baseball Think Factory.

ESPN: The Magazine for Men Who Like S--T

When did Maxim start putting dudes on their covers?
It comes free with my ESPN Insider. Takes approximately two BMs to read. Yet why do I hate this magazine with the white heat of a thousand suns? Is it their ADD Layout? Their remedial writing which makes all the Sons seem like Hemingways?

Oh yeah, that's why.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Matt Kemp, Second To Braun In NL Fantasy Sports As Well?

So now that he's dodged the 50-game suspension, Ryan Braun has vaulted to the top of the fantasy baseball charts, backed by statisticians who hope that he continues to have his allegedly-doped samples mismanaged by future sample handlers. I'm okay with that...but I'm more excited to see our own Matt Kemp right there behind Braun, second in the NL and fourth overall:

Braun vaults to the very top of my first round, Numero Uno, and of course the feedback was interesting (and always welcome). My take is simple: This 30/30 guy was a fantasy monster last season (third on the Player Rater) and I don't see any reason why that will change in 2012. In fact, he should be mighty motivated to ensure another splendid statistical year.

Of course, others do have reasons why Mr. Braun will not repeat his exceptional numbers, so let's discuss them in this forum.

Question: Aren't you worried that he'll regress now that he's off the juice?

Answer: First of all, I'm paraphrasing for what was the most common choice of verbiage. I don't know what Braun did or did not do to trigger a positive test, to be honest, and while the cloud around his reputation might or might not have lessened after his stellar press conference on Friday, the fact is I am not reading too much into the situation. Braun had a magical year. He's had other terrific seasons as well. This is not Brady Anderson or Luis Gonzalez producing numbers shown in time to be aberrant to their respective careers. Braun hit 33 home runs, knocked in 111 runs, scored 109 and hit .332. He stole 33 bases. The previous four seasons he hit .307 and averaged 32 home runs, 105 RBIs, 99 runs and 16 steals. Braun's 2011 might end up an outlier to some degree -- mainly batting average and steals -- but he's not Jason Bay, either. Braun has been a top-5 player for years.

I'm not a doctor and let's face it, even doctors can't say for sure to what effect steroids play a precise role on performance. We don't know if Braun took anything, and if he did, when he actually took it, and I'm simply not going to play the guessing game projecting ahead and expecting major regression. I expect he'll remain, as he was before, one of the most durable and consistent players in the game, one of perhaps five or so outfielders capable of making a run at 30/30, and safe to own. [...]

Here's the rest of my top 10, as of today, with potential downside, though I don't really buy the downside as likely to occur.

2. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers: Switching positions often trips hitters up. And while I'm not big on lineup protection, who's protecting him?

3. Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels: Switching leagues often trips hitters up. And just look at the rest of that underwhelming lineup.

4. Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: Who owns the franchise? And didn't this guy hit .249 in 2010?

Yep, Matt Kemp's 2012 productivity is constrained by the Dodgers' ownership lack of clarity. Of course, that makes total sense...and, it explains 2011.

SoSGSACBEWPCL Championship Prize

There's still a bit of housekeeping that needs to be dealt with before we can move on in the SoSG reader competition calendar. Since March Madness is looming, we've need to settle accounts with our previous competition winner, Jason!

For successfully navigating a game that came straight from the darkest corners of my imagination, we'd like to present him with a memento of a game that went nearly as well: The Dodger Blogger Softball Tournament! Not only is it autographed by what appears to be the tournament DFA list, I'm pretty sure there's more than a little beer on it.

Jason, please send us your address, and we'll send this little piece of history home to you!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ned Colletti Is at the Oscars

2012 Academy Awards Viewing Thread

Who's watching? Who's gawking at cleavage? Catty remarks to share? How are you doing on your own ballot? Let's hear it!

For the haters, Deadspin has a primer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scully, Koufax Bobblehead Tickets Not Available Individually


Individual Dodger tickets will go on sale Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. PT. Registered users of will have the opportunity to participate in a presale on Friday, March 2nd. Tickets will be available at for 78 games, which includes all Dodger home games except for Opening Day and the Sandy Koufax (8/7) and Vin Scully (8/30) bobblehead giveaway dates.

Must...get...Vin...bobblehead. To TiqIQ! (Prices start at $13.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

This Is Not A Post About Ryan Braun


Free (Floating) James Loney

"I've got more hops than an IPA."

Much-maligned Dodger first baseman James Loney attempts to silence his critics by mastering the Jedi art of levitation.

How will this help him hit? Who knows, but it's totally badass.

Photo via Jon SooHoo's super-mega-awesome blog.


Friday Odds And Ends

  • 7:2
  • Turns out that Beli was on those nose candy - at least once - and was caught, which kept him from entering the US last season. Thank god for small miracles. Here's hoping he gets back on the snow and stays far away from our bullpen. Although we could perhaps use him on the SoSG softball team, where drug testing and moral determinations of recreational substance use are not in place.
  • Mike MacDougal had a bullpen session pushed back on Thursday after feeling stiffness in his back. That's meh.
  • Clayton Kershaw had a bullpen session pushed back on Wednesday after feeling stiffness in his back. That's HOLY SHIT THAT BETTER NOT BE THE START OF SOMETHING.
  • Jerry Sands went from substitute 1B/outfielder last season to substitute teacher this offseason, teaching English and math to middle and high schoolers. Thanks for contributing to the enlightenment of our youth, Jerry.
  • Dodger coaching is putting out the word that they expect more from Billingsley this season. Don't we all. Not that we can complain that much. It was a little surprising to note that "He' (and the youngest) of only three pitchers in the league to notch double-digit wins in each of the last five seasons." But clearly we're all yearning for a little more from him. Apparently there have been some mechanics issues identified that he will be addressing as we round into training camp.
  • Interesting piece on how Stan Conte assesses the potential health and success of prospective signees. I found this part humorous:
  • Since he knows it's coming, he brings up Jason Schmidt before he's asked about him. It's a wound Conte wears on his home screen. Every time he fires up the Internet on his laptop, it loads the career statistics of Schmidt, the $47 million pitcher he signed off on five years ago whose previously injured right shoulder lasted a total of 43 innings for Los Angeles.
  • What is wrong with this sentence?:  "Hawksworth was a mostly effective middle reliever for the Dodgers last season, going 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in a career-high 49 games."
  • Oh, and a very happy birthday to Dodgers organist Nancy Bea Hefley today!
Some crazy stuff out there, folks. Let's try to have a good weekend. 40 days, 978 hours, 58,718 minutes until opening pitch.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kemp Back To Second Place In 2011 NL MVP Race

So Bud Selig, who was at the risk of having his tenure further besmirched by an ugly steroid suspension to an up-and-coming star, suddenly gets pardoned when Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension is mysteriously overturned. Hmmm:

So Ryan Braun is an innocent man. Or is he?

So the MVP's successful appeal proves he's clean. Or does it?

So a man who has always proclaimed that his positive test was "baloney" (or a word that means something similar to baloney) can now resume his fabulous career and reclaim his golden-boy image. Or can he?

It's amazing, isn't it, what we don't know, even in the wake of Thursday's stunning news that Braun's 50-game PED suspension had been overturned by baseball's long-time arbitrator, Shyam Das.

This is a verdict that seems to tell us, if you just read the headlines, that Braun is as innocent as he's always claimed. It's a verdict that appears to suggest that the circumstances surrounding his positive test last October were as odd as his side has long contended they were. It's a ruling that theoretically proclaims that this was not a man who cheated his way to a Most Valuable Player award, as his supporters desperately wanted to believe.

But is that a proper reading of this decision, or isn't it? The sad part of this news is this: We may never know.

We still don't know exactly what caused Braun's test results to produce such a vastly elevated testosterone level, and it isn't likely anyone will ever tell us.

We're still not totally sure what caused this arbitrator to overturn this suspension, and we may never know that, either.

We're trying our best to digest a report by ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada that Braun's appeal was based not on the results of the test itself, but on questions about whether it was proper for the test collector to take the sample home overnight and store it in a refrigerator. Hopefully, it wasn't then contaminated by ketchup or a loose pizza topping.

Again, if 2011 NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp goes out and gets the 50-50 on which he's said he's got his sights, this all goes away. Maybe Selig can fix that outcome, too.

Caruso / Torre Bid Withdrawal Gets In One Final Zinger

It took me a second to read all of the fine print of their letter announcing the withdrawal of their Dodgers bid. However, Rick and Joe are also getting in their digs for Frank's wasting of their time!

Nice job, Rick and Joe!

Caruso/Torre Out, McCourt Remains Evil

From the most trusted source in the ongoing ownership saga...

Shaikin has more here. (

This is depressing, to say the least. Not necessarily for the loss of Caruso and Torre. They weren't my personal choice for new owners, but they were close to the top of my list. Despite the negative connotation around the term "developer," I've actually come to enjoy Caruso's Americana complex in Glendale. I was intrigued by what plans he might have for bringing a broader audience to the Ravine.

No, the real depressing part comes as we get concrete (no pun intended) evidence of what we all suspected: Frank is hell-bent on maintaining control of the Dodger Stadium parking lots. His intent (and this is pure speculation on my part) is most likely to either jack up parking fees for the paying fan, or charge the new owner an exorbitant amount to do what they want to do with the land. Either way, it sucks. Academy Road, Scott Road, and other alternate parking venues will be even bigger battlegrounds than they are now.

Shaikin mentions that Frank already has at least one bid that allows him to keep the lots. It's a safe bet that's his odds-on favorite right now, no matter how high the other offers are. Maybe that one won't make it past the MLB approval process.

Hold tight everybody, it looks like we're in for some more ugliness before the end of the McCourt Era...if that end even comes at all.

Angels Billboards Post Early, But With Reservations

Los Angeles is a town addicted to outdoor advertising (even despite the city's much-appreciated crackdown on illegal building wraps). And each year, I have to chuckle at how Arte Moreno's deep experience in outdoor advertising seems to give him a leg up in invading Los Angeles early, usually leaving the Dodgers' outdoor campaigns behind.

This year, the Angels billboards are up, with Albert Pujols as their obvious centerpiece. But according to LA Observed, their new star isn't exactly ecstatic about the new ad campaign:

In St. Louis, the fans, his teammates and the Cardinals PR people learned that Albert Pujols did not want to be known as El Hombre. It was a play on The Man, the longtime nickname for local legend Stan Musial. Pujols felt that Spanish-izing the name for him did Musial a dishonor. So now he comes to the Angels in Anaheim, and just before the start of spring training this week, 20 billboards go up in Southern California marketing Pujols as El Hombre.

"Like I say, I haven't talked to them, but I prefer not to use [El Hombre]," Pujols told a reporter at Angels camp on Wednesday. Says Angels VP Tim Mead: "We're more aware of his feelings about that now...."

Whoops. I guess the one with Albert and the "Big A" message can stay, however.

(More from Mark "axonometric projection videogame" Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles here.)

photo credit to Stanford's own Molly Knight

Baseball's Off-Season Winner: The Los Angeles...Angels

So calls the Wall Street Journal, who did their annual WAR-vs.-Prior-Year-Wins two-by-two matrix:

At some point this winter, a baseball general manager made a genius move—or resisted making a stupid one—that will propel his team to the title. But which team?

The Angels made the biggest splash in the free-agent market, spending about $300 million on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. A new ballpark allowed the previously frugal Marlins to lure Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle to Miami. Meanwhile, the defending champion Cardinals lost their biggest slugger, but opted not to radically shake-up the rest of their roster.

The Wall Street Journal examined every transaction this off-season and ranked each team by how well it fared. The numbers are based on FanGraphs' projected 2012 wins above replacement (WAR), a statistic used to compare a player's value to the average Triple-A fill-in.

The rankings don't include contract extensions, promotions within organizations or players returning from injury. They are limited to players who pitched 40 innings or played 50 games, except in the cases of uber-hot prospects like Seattle's Jesus Montero or Texas' Yu Darvish.

1. ANGELS (13.3)
Key Acquisitions: 1B Albert Pujols (6.8), SP C.J. Wilson (4.3)
Key Loss: SP Joel Pineiro (1.4)
Outlook: A new television contract brought additional revenue that allowed the team to add Pujols and Wilson.

14. DODGERS (0.8)
Key Acquisitions: SP Chris Capuano (2.1), 2B Mark Ellis (1.5)
Key Loss: SP Hiroki Kuroda (2.9)
Outlook: The Dodgers added depth to a Clayton Kershaw-led rotation, but a Matt Kemp-led lineup could use some punch.

Over in the NL West, the WSJ has the Diamondbacks 11th (2.6, led almost completely by the acquisition of starter Trevor Cahill); the Rockies 12th (2.2, thanks to the pickup of SS Marco Scutaro but countered by the loss of catcher Chris Iannetta); and the Padres 21st (-2.2). Oh, and the Giants were 26th at -5.3.

Spring Training Sights

Tommy Lasorda greets warriors Javy Guerra and Matt Guerrier.

A gaggle of pitchers.

Lindblom, Hawksworth, Kershaw, De La Rosa, Guerra, Guerrier.

Aaron Harang.

Blasts from the past: Maury Wills, Jody Reed and Jose Vizcaino work out with Dee Gordon.

"And put your garbage in a garbage can, people. I can't stress that enough."

all photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers except 2: AP

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Look Who's Covering the Dodgers

From left to right: Clayton Kershaw, Dylan Hernandez (LA Times), Eric Stephen (SB Nation), I don't know, Ken Gurnick (

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

O'Malley Out

From "Peter O'Malley reportedly out as bidder for Dodgers" by Bill Shaikin at the LA Times:

Peter O'Malley has withdrawn his bid to buy the Dodgers, two people familiar with the sale process said Tuesday.

The decision means the O'Malley family will not reclaim the stewardship of the team it owned for nearly half a century, a span during which the Dodgers won all six of their World Series championships. [...]

One of the people familiar with the decision characterized it as strategic and said O'Malley and his family remain interested in helping to restore the pride and prominence of the Dodgers in any way possible. In that 2010 interview, O'Malley said he would be willing to assist new owners during a transition period.

So much for going back to the future, but O'Malley's bid always seemed like a longshot. Wouldn't mind seeing him rejoining the club in some advisory position, but here's guessing the new owner will have plenty of people offering him advice.

Kemp Doesn't Want 2011 MVP Award, Even If Evasive Drug-Test-Failing Guy Ahead Of Him Is Actually Punished

Way to keep looking forward, Matty, and not dwell in the past:

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said Tuesday that he doesn't believe he should be given the National League Most Valuable Player Award if the actual winner of the award, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, loses his appeal of a 50-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test.

Kemp finished second to Braun in balloting for the award by the Baseball Writers Association of America, which already has said the award will stay with Braun no matter how his appeal is resolved.

"I feel like that would be by default," said Kemp, who already is in spring training several days before the Dodgers position players are required to report. "I wish I would've won it just by them voting me and me being the MVP. That would be special. But hopefully, I will have the same type of year or even better and win it straight up this year, with us making the playoffs."

Kemp expressed concern for what Braun is going through.

"It's an unfortunate situation," he said. "I still don't know what is going to happen. I know Braun. We have always been cool, and we have been friends. He is one of my favorite players in the big leagues. I hope it's not true, but I don't think it's for me or any of (the media) to decide. Only he knows for sure, and I don't know what the outcome is going to be."

Just go out and focus on having another monster year in 2012, Kemp. We'll be right behind you, cheering you on with choruses of "MVP!".

Kershaw Ace-iness Confirmed

From "Clayton Kershaw quickly named Dodgers opening-day starter" by Steve Dilbeck at Dodgers Now (LA Times):

Say this about Don Mattingly, when he knows what he wants, he gets to it. Either that or he’s wise enough to get the obvious out of the way in a hurry.

Players had barely completed their first-day greetings at Camelback Ranch spring training camp on Tuesday morning when Mattingly announced Clayton Kershaw would be the Dodgers opening-day starter April 5 in San Diego.

In other developments, Dodgers’ caps will continue to be blue.

UPDATE: From Eric Stephen:

Don Mattingly said Dee Gordon will lead off and Matt Kemp will hit third

And the New Blogger Is...

Tony Jackson! Guess we should have seen that one coming. Congrats, Tony!

Monday, February 20, 2012

June 19-21: Dodgers @ Manny Ramirez (and A's)

From "Manny Ramirez says he'll join A's" at

Manny Ramirez told ESPN's Pedro Gomez on Monday that he has agreed to a deal with the Oakland Athletics.

Sources tell Gomez the deal is worth about $500,000. Ramirez is obligated to serve a 50-game suspension without pay before beginning play for the A's due to violating baseball's drug policy for the second time. With no rainouts, the first game Ramirez would be eligible to play is June 2 at Kansas City.

Pitchers & Catchers Report Tomorrow

Dodgers start camp with an ace on the hill (Ken Gurnick,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gotta Catch 'em All! (Pack 5)

"It was a ton of fun. The other teams couldn't quite figure us out. It felt like the others came as Rose Parade floats and we were Doo Dah material."

Ah, beer: the tenth man. Starting at 9AM, our drink pitchers (not to be confused with our drinking pitcher) held the likes of Newcastle, Pacifico, Stella Artois, Dos Equis, Budweiser, Coors.... I could go on and on, and I did.

There I am, lard at work.

Proof positive that Team SoSG did in fact hold the lead at one point!

Weisman vs. Baly!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Breaking news, via The LFP's Facebook page...

Who's up for another softball tournament? The park emailed me back today with their only available Saturday this season. Sadly it is not till Sept 29th. That will also be the last home stand for the Dodgers.

We're down, right? A tourney that conflicts with actual Dodger baseball might be a tougher draw, but should still be a blast!

(starts stretching already)

Gotta Catch 'em All! (Pack 4)

John G brought the sexy. The Official Clothier of Team SoSG (look out, Botany 500!), he helped shore up our middle infield (second base and shortstop) and held his own in the trash-talking department as well (I believe the phrase "denim thunder" escaped his lips).

The first Son on the scene. Thanks to Josh, you found out we were losing the game — during the game. How about these kids and their mobile devices? Josh was blogging from the dugout, and I approve. Josh also spelled CVF at catcher, providing Neeebs with a bigger backstop than the backstop itself. There were no passed balls under his watch.

CVF drove down from Fresno, so Mr. C takes second place in distance traveled by driving up from San Diego. Is that dedication or what? On the field, he plugged up the middle of the infield at second base, bravely keeping hot smashes in front of him. And between games, he displayed some positively Son-like beer consumption.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

R.I.P. "The Kid"

Hall of Fame catcher Carter dies at 57. (

Photo: Brad Mangin Photography

"The Truck HERE!!!"

Quoted from a Tweet and picture from Dee Gordon. The Dodgers' equipment truck has now arrived at the training facility in Glendale, Arizona. Doubtful that Matt Kemp had to help unload it.

Pitchers and catchers report in T-minus 5 days.

UPDATE: VSIMH has a few more pics here.

Dodgers Get into FanFest Scene

From a Dodgers press release:

Dodger Stadium 50th Anniversary FanFest

Fans can join the Dodgers on Saturday, May 19 for Dodger Stadium’s 50th Anniversary FanFest presented by State Farm. FanFest will take place from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. prior to the 7:10 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals. FanFest will feature autograph sessions with current and former Dodger players, question and answer sessions with Dodger players and coaches and family-friendly games and activities. Entry is included in the price of a game ticket for that day. Several Dodger sponsors and broadcast partners will be on hand to help celebrate with various giveaways and promotions.