Friday, November 30, 2012

Pirates Drop One Former Dodgers Catcher, Sign Another

Dodger fans are going to see more of Russell Martin next season after he left the Yankees to sign a two-year, $17-million deal with the Pirates. The Pirates had earlier declined their option on Rod Barajas.

So much for Martin having trouble in this free-agent market. Guess it helps when you're in the best shape of your life!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Vin Scully!

Happy birthday to the man who makes being a Dodger fan worth it!

Also:


The SoSG Vin Scully Respository

Let's Send an SoSG Reader to the MLB Fan Cave

By now you've probably heard of the MLB Fan Cave, that place in New York City where two diehard baseball fans eat, sleep and drink baseball. Baseball players and musical acts drop by; it's all very social-media friendly.

Well, they're doing it again next year, and are currently accepting applications. Although the Sons are too busy with little details like providing for their families to apply, wouldn't it be cool if an SoSG reader stepped up to the plate and made it in?

Let's look at the requirements:

While participating in the MLB Fan Cave program

Each Winner will:
•Be a passionate baseball fan
•Have a fun and creative personality
•Be highly skilled on social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
•Pass a background check to the satisfaction of MLB

Each Winner must:
•Reside in a location provided by MLB in New York City
•Participate in all aspects of MLB Fan Cave activities, including but not limited to, watching every game of the 2013 MLB season, taking part in media events, interviews, etc.
•Share thoughts regarding games and topics of MLB and pop culture interest via daily blogging, vlogging and through social media platforms
•Adhere to all policies and procedures as required by MLB
•Grant all rights in all aspects of his/her participation in the MLB Fan Cave program to MLB for MLB's use, worldwide, in all media, forever.
•Be twenty-one (21) years of age or older at the time of entry

Forced to blog! Is there any worse existence?

But don't get all confident just because you fit the bill. There's also the talent part of the competition:

Please address one of the following three questions in 400 words or less
a.Tell us why you would be the ideal fan to live out your baseball dreams at the MLB Fan Cave in 2013.
b.Tell us which MLB star you most want to meet, why, and describe the video idea you would want to film with this player.
c.What would you like to see the MLB Fan Cave program do that it hasn't yet?

Yeah, the questions make getting in a little tougher, but our readers are some of the best essay-writers out there. So how about it? Which SoSG reader is willing to put their life on hold and spend a year in a baseball-themed fishbowl?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Managers and Coaches, Oh My

Tommy Lasorda, Rick Honeycutt, Mark McGwire and Don Mattingly pose at a recent organizational meeting held at Dodger Stadium. In the background on the left is longtime Dodger employee (current title: Advisor, Team Travel) Billy DeLury.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Curses, Curses Everywhere

The Madden and SI Curses expanded in 2012 as far as the eye can see. No cover nor poster was safe. (Except that F'ing SI Cover with Notre Dame on it).

This last one was from a while back, but it still haunts my dreams.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guggenbros About to Get Paid?

From Nikki Finke at Deadline:
It seems strangely logical that the highest-priced sports team in the world is about to score the richest TV deal ever in pro sports history. Insiders tell me that Fox Sports is close to clinching the exclusive TV rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers by paying between $6 billion and $7 billion over 25 years to put the team on its regional sports network in Southern California and of course its national Fox Broadcasting Company. Fox already shows the games on its Prime Ticket local cable channel but also has Fox Sports West here.

The previous agreement expires at the end of next season, and saw Fox Sports paying only about $40 million per season for the Dodgers TV rights. There was speculation the final price would just go north tof $150 million per season. This new deal soars to $280 million per season (the average for the life of the contract). The huge outlay by News Corp demonstrates the increasing value of sports to its bottom line, while the huge payday for Guggenheim offsets the record-setting $2.15 billion price paid for the Dodgers.

If the Dodgers' TV rights do indeed sell for north of $6 billion — versus the team's $2.15 billion purchase price — then I want to borrow whatever crystal ball they're using at Guggenheim Baseball Management. I mean, they'll be richer than...Frank McCourt!

Collitch Football in LA: Where Do You Stand?


Picture in picture tonight, anyone? Who will win their respective games? How much hateHateHATE is there out there around LA tonight?

(8) Stanford at UCLA

(1) Notre Dame at USC

Image: These folks

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, You Crazy Kids...

May all the SoSG-maniacs have much to be thankful for... and within arm's reach.

Thanks to Danny Silver for the assist.

You Maniacs! You Blew It Up!

Dodger Stadium renovation progress, via Patrick O'Neal:

I wonder if they're changing the seat color scheme again.

Am I crazy, or was there NO formal announcement of what's involved with these renovations? Admittedly, I have my head pretty firmly up Twitter's butt and don't check Dodgers.com a lot, but you think there would have been a press release retweeted a hundred times or something.

Blue Friday!

Yankees 100% More Evil with News Corp. Deal

Meg James at LA Times reports that Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corp. has agreed to purchase a 49% stake in YES, the regional network that carries Yankees games to legions of northeasterners who want to watch that tripe.
In another sign that TV sports rights are the hottest game around, News Corp. has agreed to buy a 49% stake in a regional network that provides local broadcasts of New York Yankees games.

News Corp. did not divulge financial details of the arrangement. However, analysts estimated the media giant controlled by Rupert Murdoch will pay roughly $1.47 billion for the stake in the YankeesEntertainment and Sports Network.

The YES network also agreed to an extension of a TV rights deal that will keep the Bronx Bombers' baseball games on the network through 2042 at substantially higher rates, which could bode well for the Dodgers, who are poised to negotiate a new TV rights deal.
That last sentence is important, leading to this point:
“Now that this deal is complete, the next loudest cheers are probably coming from the Dodgers ownership,” Chase said. “It’s no secret that the Dodgers’ media rights deal is coming up for renewal next year, and you have Fox out there, and Time Warner Cable circling. This now sets the market for what these sports rights deals are worth."
Over-priced pitching busts, here we come! Hell, with that kind of money we could even afford to sign Kevin Brown to do nothing at all. Or to build some more stadium urinals.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Karabell Predicts Beckett Blossoms in 2013

ESPN.com fantasy jock Eric Karabell went through all 30 teams with "bold pitching predictions," and his take on the Dodgers is all about Josh Beckett (with a dig at Brandon League): (link insider only)

Los Angeles Dodgers: A rejuvenated Josh Beckett wins 16 games with a sub-3.00 ERA and 180 strikeouts. Enjoy that home ballpark, fella. And Kenley Jansen saves 40 games. Brandon League for three years? Really? Come on!

A rejuvenated Beckett sounds good to me, too. Our starting pitching could certainly use it.

The Real Reason the Steelers Wear The Stripes

I love throwback jerseys as much as the next guy... especially if they brought back the old noseguards.

But I think many of the SoSG-maniacs out there know why the Steelers have been donning the stripes.

One only has to look back to the 80s for the inspiration.

The Iron Sheik for one is less than thrilled about it, as this VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK interview stresses.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Curse?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hint, Hint, Santa

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dodgers Grounds Crew Visits Pasadena Home

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dodgers Actually Miss Out On Aging Free Agent Outfielder This Time; Hunter To Tigers

Two years, $26M for the amiable 37-year-old Torii Hunter:

Free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter has reached agreement on a two-year, $26 million deal with the Detroit Tigers pending a physical exam, a baseball source said Wednesday.

Hunter, 37, is a .277 hitter with 297 home runs and nine Gold Gloves in 14 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels.

He hit .313 with the Angels in 2012, but his five-year, $90 million contract expired after the season, and the Angels declined to make him a $13.3 million qualifying offer. That means the Tigers are not obligated to give the Angels draft-pick compensation in exchange for signing Hunter.

2012 IBWAA Awards: How I Voted


Through some bizarre mix of witchcraft and happenstance, I recently became SoSG's lone member of the IBWAA. Thus, I had a vote in this year's baseball awards. I figure it's only fair I give you a peek at my ballot.

We were asked to rank ten players for MVP, five for Cy Young, and three for the rest. I'm only sharing my number ones, but I will tell you I threw a tenth-place vote to Luis Cruz for NL MVP. So there.

AL MVP: Mike Trout
NL MVP: Ryan Braun

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout
NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper

AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin
NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson

AL Reliever of the Year: Jim Johnson
NL Reliever of the Year: Craig Kimbrel

So, a slight variation from the eventual winners. I'm honestly surprised that our group did not elect Mike Trout MVP, considering how vocal some of us were about why he deserves it.

My bias is showing a bit with the NL MVP and Cy awards. I'll admit. I voted for Braun because he put up similar numbers to last year, even without Prince. Voting against him this year flies in the face of all the arguments FOR Kemp last year. Yes, I was able to set aside the PED allegations. We'll see if I look stupid later. Uh, I mean more than usual.

Earlier at SOSG: The IBWAA Results Are In

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dodgers' Reign as Blockbuster Trade Kings Lasted 2 1/2 Months


The IBWAA Votes Are In

And here they are....
AL ROY
1st Place: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (unanimous)
2nd Place: Yoenis C├ęspedes, Oakland Athletics
3rd Place: Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

NL ROY
1st Place: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
2nd Place: Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
3rd Place: Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds

AL Manager
1st Place: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
2nd Place: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
3rd Place: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays

NL Manager
1st Place: Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals
2nd Place: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
3rd Place: Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds

AL Relief Pitcher
1st Place: Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
2nd Place: Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
3rd Place: Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees

NL Relief Pitcher
1st Place: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
2nd Place: Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
3rd Place: Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals

AL Cy
1st Place: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
2nd Place: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
3rd Place: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles of Anaheim
4th Place: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
5th Place: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

NL Cy
1st Place: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
2nd Place: Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
3rd Place: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
4th Place: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
5th Place: Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

AL MVP
1st Place: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
2nd Place: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3rd Place: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
4th Place: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
5th Place: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
6th Place: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
7th Place: Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
8th Place: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
9th Place: Edwin Encarnaci├│n, Toronto Blue Jays
10th Place: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

NL MVP
1st Place: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
2nd Place: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
3rd Place: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
4th Place: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
5th Place: Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
6th Place: David Wright, New York Mets
7th Place: Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals
8th Place: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
9th Place: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
10th Place: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 by Howard Cole, editor of BaseballSavvy.com, to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the BBWAA.

Among others, IBWAA members include Barry Bloom, MLB.com; Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports; Fred Claire, former General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers; Joe McDonnell, FoxSportsWest.com; Ramona Shelburne, ESPNLA.com; Tom Hoffarth, J.P. Hoornstra and Jill Painter, Los Angeles Daily News; Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times; and prominent baseball authors Paul Dickson, Peter Golenbock, Josh Pahigian and Dan Schlossberg.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $10, or $20 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available.

For more information please go to www.ibwaa.com.

This Is a Little Weird...

...but I could get used to it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Even Better Than Cool-A-Coos

Is Veterans Day Ned Colletti's Favorite Holiday?


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dad's Hanging Out with Tillman Again

We got a note from Judy at Natural Balance:

Steve Garvey along with former Dodgers Steve Yeager and Bill Russell will be signing autographs at the Jersey Mike’s Subs Granada Hills, CA location tomorrow from 11am to 1pm. They will be there with Natural Balance Pet Foods filming for reality show Who Let the Dogs Out featuring Tillman, the skateboarding bulldog. Also, the first 200 people will get free subs!

We have also posted on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NaturalBalanceFan/posts/10151105566836638

If you go, send us pictures!

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Bold New Era in L.A. Sports?

Expectations — and payrolls — are high, and the Lakers aren't messing around. It makes you wonder if the Dodgers, currently flashing a fat wallet at the GM meetings, are taking notice.

Earlier at SoSG: Hollywood Beginnings

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Jamey Carroll Grabbed A Write-In Vote (Sort Of)

Sorry about that headline. Clearly, it's a trap.

Earlier content here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Cheering On The Home Team

I loved this article in today's WSJ about the Cubs, and specifically about a (shared) season ticketholder's dismay about a $0.60 price reduction (on over $13K), despite the fact that the Cubs have no chance of making the postseason in 2013:

Good. But the Cubs are not going to make the playoffs next year. While I wait for them to improve, I can buy tickets on StubHub at huge discounts—sometimes less than a buck, if last season is any indication. And with the money I save I'll be able to pay whatever it takes to get a ticket to the 2047 World Series.

Tell me why I shouldn't take that approach? I asked.

"Every season's sacred and anything can happen," [Colin Faulkner, vice president for ticket sales and service] said.

Faulkner talked about attending a game this year with his parents and watching his 6-year-old son fall asleep on his mother's lap.

I reminded him that he didn't have to pay for those tickets. When I shell out $300 and my daughter falls asleep, or spends half the game going back and forth to the bathroom, I don't get sentimental; I get upset.

Faulkner goes in for the close.

"I'm asking you to renew your season tickets," he says, looking me in the eye. "We want you to be part of what we're building…. This is not the time to get out. This is the time to double down."

Is it foolish, perhaps even childish, to cheer for something as meaningless as a baseball team? Is it nuts to wear the hats and jerseys of a commercially exploitative corporate entity that happens to own a ball club?

Yes, it is. Especially when you have spouses and kids and jobs to care about.

Yet at a baseball game, I still cheer and dance with joy at the sight of a ball hit long and high over a wall. There's no logic to it.

For 12 years I've been part of a group of Cubs fans who have suffered and (less often) celebrated together. Though the tickets are in my name, they belong as much to my friends as to me. When I put the matter to a vote recently, 13 of the 15 men and women in the group chose to renew.

There may be no logic to my love of the Dodgers (who, unlike the Cubs, have a brighter future for next year). But I've renewed my season tickets anyway, as well.

Ding-ers! Ding-ers! Ding-ers!

Dodgers make it official...


Good? Bad? Indifferent?

The Best Election Day Photo


And then there's this...


Let the "Timmeh to the Rockies" rumors begin!

Vin photo by miss_montoya, via @VinScullyTweet. Colorado image swiped from Tumblr.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hurry Up And Vote Melky Cabrera For "Heart And Hustle Award"

Sorry I'm catching this so late; you have eight minutes left to vote for Melky Cabrera for the MLBPAA's "Heart and Hustle Award":

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart & Hustle Award is voted on by Major League alumni and active players and is presented annually to a player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.

I can't think of a more fitting tribute to a 5-game suspendee for juicing (not to mention the ridiculous botched cover-up).

Or, you could just vote for the Dodgers' Jerry Hairston, Jr.

The Giants Anomaly Will Pass

Great article last week from Bob Timmermann over at LA Observed, who reminds us to keep his Giants aberration in perspective:

Without a doubt, the San Francisco Giants have, much to the surprise of most baseball observers, become one of the more dominant teams in baseball. The Giants sweep of the Tigers in the World Series gave San Francisco its second world championship in three years.

Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, Dodgers fans had high hopes from a good start to the season, only to see the overachieving team from April and May to start achieving at more expected level. And then, when the Dodgers made big trades to bolster a weak offensive attack, the offense got worse.

Up in San Francisco, the Giants made only one trade of note, acquiring infielder Marco Scutaro, who ended up: 1) driving in the game-winning runs in a game that eliminated the Dodgers from playoff contention, 2) was named MVP of the NLCS, hitting .500 and 3) drove in the winning run in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the World Series.

So are the Dodgers headed for an extended period of inferiority to their Bay Area rivals? Probably not. This has not kept the L.A. Times most prominent alarmist/troll/ESPN shouter Bill Plaschke from writing a column bemoaning the sad sack nature of the Dodgers.

Plaschke uses the Giants edge in alltime National League pennants as evidence of that franchise's superiority. The Giants have appeared in the World Series 19 times and the Dodgers 18 times.

(This does not count the 19th Century meeting between the two franchises when the Dodgers, then the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, won the American Association, the second major league of the time in 1889. The Giants won the National League title. The Giants won a postseason series that year that lasted nine games. If you count the 19th Century, the Dodgers and Giants have both won their league 22 times. The Giants also won the National League pennant in 1904, but refused to play a World Series that year. The Dodgers won a pennant in 1900, when no World Series was played either.) [...]

Since the Dodgers World Series win in 1988, the Giants have had the upper hand, making the World Series four times. The Giants edge during this time can be attributed to numerous factors: 1) having the game's best offensive player for a long time in Barry Bonds, 2) achieving financial stability after moving into picturesque (and transit-friendly) AT&T Park out of the horrible Candlestick Park (which has far worse access than Dodger Stadium.) The Giants have had stable ownership and a stable front office. The Dodgers ... have had ... a lot of different people sitting in a lot of different offices since Peter O'Malley sold the team. (In Plaschke's column, he complains about Dodger Stadium's condition, a remarkable change from when he thought it was the most beautiful place in Los Angeles to have lunch.)

The Dodgers new ownership group seems willing to spend just about any or all of its money in order to win. The biggest story of the year was the acquisition of four Boston Red Sox players with enormous contracts. The two most important pieces in the deal were first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who replaced the light-hitting James Loney, and outfielder Carl Crawford, who was injured and did not play for the Dodgers in 2012. If Crawford, a major disappointment in Boston, can come anywhere near his production in his Tampa Bay seasons (a very big if), the Dodgers offense should be improved.

Click over and read the whole article; it's a good one. And get ready, Dodgers fans.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

NFL Week 9 Smack Thread

Over in the SoSG Fantasy Football League (see sidebar), two 7-1 titans are doing battle: Marla's The Sammy Knight Rises vs. Mr. F's Smonks of Steve Garvey. Who will come out with the league lead?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hollywood Beginnings

A Los Angeles team spends a ton of money to acquire a pair of star players. Sky-high expectations turn to disappointment as the team fails to gel immediately. Sound familiar?

The Lakers are now 0-3 in the Dwight Howard/Steve Nash era; the Dodgers went 6-12 after signing Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett (they would end up going 18-18).

What is it about the L.A. sports scene that causes such dysfunction? Are star athletes like star performers, beholden to the first impression of the opening weekend box office?

Common sense tells us if we lower our expectations, we lower the pain of failure. But in this city of blockbusters, we can't think any other way. Go big or go home. Go Dodgers! Go Lakers!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Mark McGwire Joining Dodgers???

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Mark McGwire, who has served as Cardinals hitting coach for three seasons under two managers, has informed the club that he intends to accept a similar position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources familiar with the situation told the Post-Dispatch this afternoon.

Though a deal between the Dodgers and McGwire is not considered final, McGwire has told the Cardinals that he does not anticipate accepting their offer of a contract extension. [...]

McGwire is leaning toward accepting the position with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly's staff because of geography. McGwire and his family live in Orange County and McGwire has long emphasized the role his wife and children play in career decisions.

Wow. Big Mac + (Kemp/A-Gon/Hanley/Ethier) = more runs? Wow.

Vin Scully Bobblehead 2: Vin Scullier


The Dodgers just released their 2013 promotional schedule. Probably the most surprising item on it is another Vin Scully bobblehead, less than a year after the first one. Clearly, the demand was there for another one, but I wonder if anyone feels the first one is just a little less special now. But hey, more Vin is ALWAYS a good thing.

The rest of next year's bobblehead lineup:
  • Hanley Ramirez "I See You"
  • Matt Kemp (his third)
  • Jaime Jarrin (Shut it, Plaschke!)
  • Sandy Koufax
  • Adrian Gonzalez
  • Rick Monday "Flag Saving"
  • Magic Johnson
And two more TBA.

Some are already grumbling on Twitter about Rick Monday being a Cub when he saved the flag. I think there are bigger things in this world to get upset about.

Other items on the schedule include a hooded sweatshirt, fleece blankets, the now-standard Hello Kitty items, and a Fathead (which tells me they do have a plan for Juan Uribe).

Image via Flickr.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Happy 52nd Birthday, Fred!

Fernando Asks for a Sombrero So He Can Throw It to the Sky

Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers