Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hey Neeebs, did you hear about the Dodger Insider blog?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vin Pin

Just obtained my 2014 Rose Parade pin commemorating Vin as this year's esteemed Grand Marshall.

Happy New Year, Vinny!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

More Content for Neeebs

Can we invest in a better handler for Puig already? Maybe the guy who used to handle Josh Hamilton?

Per CBS Sports:
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested Saturday morning on a reckless driving charge in Florida, reports the Naples Daily News. He was driving 110 mph on the Alligator Alley section of I-75 according to a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman. The speed limit is 70 mph.

According to the Daily News, Puig was driving a 2013 Mercedes westbound near mile marker 99. Alligator Alley (otherwise known as the Everglades Parkway) runs east-west from Naples to Fort Lauderdale and is prone to speeding because the road is flat and straight. The Dodgers have not yet commented on the arrest.

Puig, 23, had reckless driving and speeding charges dismissed in Tennessee last month after serving 12 hours of community service. He was caught going 97 mph in a 50 mph zone back in April, when he was with the team's Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga. Puig was reportedly serving as a designated driver at the time.

Dodgers just released this statement:

Say it Ain't Possi'le, Yasiel

Yasiel Puig... ARRESTED. From ESPN:


I think Yasiel is just a kid being steered by the wrong crowd.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

OK, Neeebs, You Asked for Content

Thanks to Scott Killeen for checking in during the dead of winter! Here's his report from Dodger Stadium:

They are going to connect the outfield pavilion with the stadium. The gift shop to the north by the left field entrance is torn down. The last photos of the visiting team locker room, to be torn down after the Ducks use the stadium in January.

Friday, December 27, 2013

HanRam's New Look

Ok, Neeebs, you asked for content:

Photo: @hanleyramirez13

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Australia Wins The Ashes 3-0

Going for the whitewash now! 

Wow this is a long off-season.

The (Cy Young) Champ is Here!

And now, an excerpt from Nomo's dream journal:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ashes Third Test (Perth), Day 4 Game Thread

Mitchell Johnson is on fire

Wow, pretty exciting Day 3 from Perth, as Australia has one hand on the Ashes already, with England going 6 for 61 in the first inning. Australia is 385 and 235 for 3 (Warner 112, Rogers 54) leading England 251 (Siddle 3-36, Harris 3-48) by 369 runs.

Day 4 of the third test starts today. I'm not sure what channel it's on, but you can catch web liveblogs here.

photo: Getty Images

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Who Knew We'd Be Thrilled with a Juan Uribe Re-signing?

[And multiple other sources]

Alas, most of us are elated with this signing. Third base was threatening to go uncovered this season, but it looks like Uribe (nee Urine) will be back on a two-year deal. This passes for much better news than the noise we heard earlier today regarding Ned kicking the (albeit them flat) tires of Michael Young. Though Ned at that point was threatening to shit in our Christmas stockings, apparently talks with Uribe progressed quickly and he has agreed to a deal.

Fine. Let's hope Uribe can pick up where he left off last season: playing a surprisingly strong defensive 3B, hitting well, and providing a good fatherly presence for Yasiel Puig. This concretizes Uribe at 3B, HanRam at SS, and Guerrero at 2B.

Let's get Kershaw and Hanley extended, J.P. Howell back and we'll be well on our way to making another strong run at it.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Hanley the 13th!

Let Vinny shed some light on the history of Friday the 13th. Video here.

No random, freak injuries out there today, okay guys? First game is only 99 days away.

Photo: Uncredited

Monday, December 09, 2013

Comings and Goings

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Beard Is Back!

Beard pictured at right

According to Ken Gurnick, and featured on the Dodgers official website (thus, it must be true), we've re-signed the bearded one, Brian Wilson, to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year.

Apparently Wilson wanted closer salary, so we we gave it to him despite the fact that he's not our named closer at this point. Forget about that, or the salary amount. It's a solid idea. He gets the cash he wanted (and deserved), we get who's now arguably one of the best set up men in the game, and someone who can close if the situation plays out that way, all the while having a thus-far terrific closer in Kenley. Given that we're not a cash-strapped club, this makes way too much sense.

Welcome back, BDub. I was at the game when you made your home debut, sitting along third base line in deep left. I can report that you were strongly embraced at that moment and ever since, despite your Jint-ness.

ps- Mrs. Dusty says no-go on my growing a Wilson-esque beard. Not that I actually could.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Ethier, Kemp Odd Men Out?

Buster Olney of ESPN.com breaks down why the Dodgers are dangling both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier out there--and in his mind, it's not just fixing a crowded outfield; it's also about getting value in return (link insider only):

The first part of the plan was to significantly improve the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately, to turn them into a contender immediately, to the alter perception of them immediately. Cost be damned. These were the first broad strokes, because the Dodgers' new ownership was thinking big picture, and assumed that inefficiencies along the way would be overwhelmed by the forthcoming television contract and an overwhelming response of fans.

So in the first 19 months since Frank McCourt was bought out, the Dodgers saw their attendance increase by more than 25 percent in one year, their season-ticket sales rocket upward, and they had a shot at winning their first World Series since 1988. Some of L.A.'s deal-making for expensive veteran players has confused an industry of value-counters who loathe the idea of an overpay, but the perspective of the Dodgers' ownership has been: Why worry about millions when there are billions in potential at stake?

Now the Dodgers can work in earnest on the finer points, on rebuilding their farm system, on using the massive stack of chips to create a deep, well-designed roster -- a younger roster. This is part of the reason why the Dodgers have indicated a willingness to absorb some salary in order to move Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp.

This is not about a salary dump, or about the discomfort of having four front-line outfielders -- Ethier, Kemp, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig -- for three spots. This will be about dangling players who might fetch some decent prospect return, depending on how much money the Dodgers eat, and have pieces that fit together better.

The Dodgers will probably have a better chance of moving Ethier than Kemp, given the injuries that Kemp has sustained in recent seasons, to his left shoulder and ankle. Kemp hasn't started running yet in the wake of his latest injury, but they believe there is a better than 50-50 shot he'll be able to do so by the start of spring training.

But while Kemp was limited to 73 games last season, Ethier played in 142, posting a .783 OPS while accumulating 47 extra-base hits. Ethier has played his home games in the thick night layer that helps to turn Dodger Stadium into a really good pitcher's park, and interested teams will consider this number: Last year, Ethier hit .311 in road games, with an .885 OPS.

He has been a good player, and in a market in which Jacoby Ellsbury will command $100 million (or more), and Shin-Soo Choo seeks something close to that, Ethier could be more attractive, if the Dodgers eat some of the $69 million he is owed and turn him into a $10 million-$13 million a year player.

The Dodgers will seriously consider moving either Ethier or Kemp, if they can get younger and improve their roster, and a trade of Ethier or Kemp will allow them to push prospect Joc Pederson, who is a pure center fielder, something that neither Ethier nor Kemp probably is now at this stage in their respective careers.

This is a tough one because I like both players, but I agree that both have been plagued by injuries and streakiness / unfulfilled potential, during the course of their Dodger careers. We probably don't need both, however, especially with Pederson in the wings. Wonder which one will be on the roster come March 2014?

This Picture Does Not Go With This Headline

Screenshot from the LA Times website, late December 3, 2013:

To be fair to ol' Dylan Hernandez, this was (thankfully) the only mention of Gordon in the article:

If the season were to start next week, Dee Gordon would probably make the team because of his increased versatility. Once considered the shortstop of the future. Gordon played 20 games at second base and was an outfielder in the Dominican winter league this off-season.

Increased versatility means nothing if you can't get on base (and certainly not by stupidly trying to bunt every PA).

Beard Growing On Dodgers?

Maybe it was the after-effect of the 2013 World Series championship team, but Brian Wilson is apparently close to returning to Dodger blue:

The Los Angeles Dodgers are close to bringing back free-agent reliever Brian Wilson, sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

Wilson, the former San Francisco Giants closer, went 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 18 games as a setup man to Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen this past season after coming back from his second Tommy John surgery.

Sources said Wilson has made it clear to the Dodgers that he's willing to return to the team as a setup man in 2014, with an opportunity to take over as closer if Jansen falters or gets hurt.

A strong and deep bullpen was a significant factor in the Dodgers' run to the National League West title in 2013. Los Angeles' bullpen went 30-24 with an aggregate 3.49 ERA, while ranking seventh in the league in strikeouts (451) and fourth in batting average against (.240).

After years of hating Wilson as a Giant, I have to say, he was pretty good for us late in the 2013 season, making it easier to digest seeing him in our uniform. I could be okay with him coming back, at a short-term contract (befitting all relievers).

The LATimes also reports we're closing in on Wilson. Which is good, because the Detroit Free Press reports the Tigers are interested in Wilson, too.

t-shirt design stolen from this etsy account. I don't understand using the face as an "A" rather than an "O", but okay.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Dodgers Watch, Wait - Lose Belli

Good luck you buggy-goggled cokehead!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Nomar's Back

From "Nomar Garciaparra joins Dodgers broadcasting crew " by Steve Dilbeck at the LA Times:

Plans for the Dodgers’ new regional sports network, SportsNet LA, are still being formulated, but there is progress.

Nomar Garciaparra has been hired as a new commentator by the Dodgers, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. [...]

Garciaparra is expected to do pre- and post-game commentary and be utilized on both the television and radio broadcasts. Roles are still being defined.

The Dodgers are also pursuing ex-Dodger Orel Hershiser to be an announcer and the future broadcasting face of the team, according to USA Today. Hershiser is also currently with ESPN, though is contract will soon expire.

photo by Jeff Lewis/AP

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Vin!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Party People!

My god, can you imagine being the unpaid intern assigned to execute this shitty graphic? Nonetheless, the baseball world appreciates the sentiment as we scarf down large quantities of carbohydrates with family and friends.

SoSG hopes you have a wonderful holiday. If you're drinking, don't drive. And if you're not drinking, then start.

For a truly great Thanksgiving-themed image, head over to baseballvandals.com.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Haren Joins Tortuga on Dodgers

Monday, November 18, 2013

Catching Up with the IBWAA


1st Place: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
2nd Place: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
3rd Place: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
4th Place: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
5th Place: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
6th Place: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
7th Place: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
8th Place: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
9th Place: Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers
10th Place: Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers


1st Place: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
2nd Place: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3rd Place: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
4th Place: Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics
5th Place: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
6th Place: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
7th Place: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
8th Place: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
9th Place: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
10th Place: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays


1st Place: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
2nd Place: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
3rd Place: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
4th Place: Matt Harvey, New York Mets
5th Place: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies


1st Place: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
2nd Place: Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
3rd Place: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
4th Place: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
5th Place: Bartolo Colon, Oakland Athletics

AL Manager

1st Place: John Farrell, Boston Red Sox
2nd Place: Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians
3rd Place: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics

NL Manager

1st Place: Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
2nd Place: Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves
3rd Place: Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers

AL Rookie

1st Place: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
2nd Place: Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers
3rd Place: Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays

NL Rookie

1st Place: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
2nd Place: Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
3rd Place: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

Friday, November 15, 2013

Too Much Awesome for One Photo?

The State of Clayton Kershaw

The back page of today's LA Times sports section.

From "Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in special company with Sandy Koufax " by Bill Shaikin at the LA TImes:

Kershaw said there have been no contract talks since the season ended.

"Right now, I'm in L.A. for one more year, regardless," he said. "That's as far as I look."

He said he loves L.A., and he believes the Dodgers can win the World Series. But he declined to make the one declaration the Dodgers and their fans would most love to hear. He would not say L.A. was his first choice.

The Dodgers might be funded by Big Insurance, but the Texas Rangers are funded by Big Oil. The Rangers have Yu Darvish but have also called the likes of C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis their ace in recent years, so no doubt they would jump at the chance to bring Kershaw home. The Dodgers could sign Masahiro Tanaka, trade for David Price, and consider themselves insured against a Kershaw departure.

It was four years ago that Jamie McCourt was calling herself the face of the Dodgers. Since then, that billing has gone to Magic, and Gonzalez and Matt Kemp.

The true face of the Dodgers is the face of unparalleled accountability, work ethic and leadership. The face of the Dodgers is the guy who leaves next week to visit the orphanage he and his wife built in Zambia. The face of the Dodgers is the distinguished gentleman and worthy heir to Koufax.

Let us hope the Kershaw story is not entitled "Legacy, Interrupted."

When a smart veteran reporter like Shaikin wonders out loud if Kershaw intends to stay with the Dodgers, I start to worry. In the meanwhile, let's enjoy Kershaw while we have him.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kershaw Wins Award...for Being Adorable

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hurdle Edges Out Mattingly For 2013 NL Manager Of The Year

Mattingly finished second:

Cleveland's Terry Francona and Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle were honored as the top managers in baseball Tuesday night. [...]

Hurdle guided the Pirates to their first winning season since 1992. They finished 94-68, third-best in the NL.

They lost in five games to the Cardinals in the NL Division Series.

"It's a bit overwhelming, to tell you the truth," Hurdle said in an interview on MLB Network. "It's humbling. It's gratifying from an organizational standpoint."

It was the first Manager of the Year honor for the 56-year-old Hurdle. His highest finish had been third in 2007, when he led the Colorado Rockies to the World Series.

The only other Pittsburgh manager to win the award was Jim Leyland in 1990 and 1992, the bookends to three consecutive division titles for the Pirates.

Hurdle was the only manager picked on every ballot. He had 140 points in the 5-3-1 scoring system to 68 points for Don Mattingly, who received two first-place votes after leading the Dodgers to the NL West title.

All right, maybe it wasn't that close. Damn 5-3-1 scoring system.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dodgers 2014 Coaching Staff Announced

Lorenzo Bundy moves from AAA to 3B coach, Wallach as had been previously reported moves to the bench. Still horrible to remember what Bundy's brother Ted did to all those people.*

* We can also go with King Kong Bundy and/or McGeorge Bundy jokes if we get desperate.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

And All We Have To Do To Get David Price Is Give Up Zach Lee

That is, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN, who places the Dodgers as the #1 landing spot for Rays starter David Price (link insider only):

I also think it's unlikely the Rays decide to trade Price within the AL East unless they were to be completely overwhelmed by an offer. Here are the six best trade partners to acquire Price from the Rays this offseason:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers owners Mark Walters and Magic Johnson got a good taste of the postseason until their team was eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. They are supremely motivated to win a world championship and will do everything they can to win it next season. They are working on a long-term deal with ace Clayton Kershaw; they already have Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu tied up long term. If they acquire Price, they would control him for at least two years. More important, the Dodgers would instantly become World Series favorites.

The Dodgers have enough in their farm system to make this type of deal with the Rays as long as they're willing to part with a top pitching prospect such as Zach Lee, Ross Stripling and Chris Reed as well as top outfield prospect Joc Pederson. Pederson is one of the most underrated outfield prospects and would be a long-term answer for the Rays. Pederson would give them a young, solid outfield of Myers, Desmond Jennings and Pederson. If they get Lee in the deal, he could join their rotation around the All-Star break.

Rays' trade targets:

  • Primary: Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, Corey Seager
  • Secondary: Chris Withrow, Ross Stripling, Chris Reed
  • Throw-ins: Dee Gordon, Tim Federowicz, Jose Dominguez

Tell you what we'll do Dee Gordon for David Price, straight up. Call it, Tampa.

Greinke: Slugging, Even When Others Were Slogging

Props to Dodgers starter Zack Greinke for picking up a 2013 Silver Slugger award:

LOS ANGELES -- Starter Zack Greinke was awarded the Silver Slugger on Wednesday as the best hitting pitcher in the National League, the first Dodgers pitcher to win the honor in 20 years.

Greinke batted .328 with 19 hits, seven walks and a .409 on-base percentage. His batting average was highest for a Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser's .356 in 1993, the last time a Dodgers pitcher won a Silver Slugger. Tim Leary (1988) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981, 1983) are the only other Dodgers pitchers to win the award.

Greinke just completed the first year of a six-year, $147 million contract. He went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, despite missing a month with a broken collarbone suffered in a brawl April 11 in San Diego.

Greinke came into the season with a .170 career batting average, having spent only 1 1/2 seasons in the National League.

Greinke was the only Dodger to pick up a Silver Slugger award this year (Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates edged out Luis Cruz at third).

Friday, November 08, 2013

Okay, I'm Salty Again

I asked Siri "When are the Dodgers next playing, in Sydney?" And this was her response:

Not cool, Siri. Not cool.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, that's right. I feel a bit better now.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Come Meet D.E.L.I.N.O in D.E.L.A.W.A.R.E

From the AP News Wire. Breaking Story.

Jeremy Maclin and Delino DeShields to Make Special Appearances

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- DICK'S Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS), the largest U.S. based full-line sporting goods retailer, invites the community of Dover to their three-day grand opening weekend.

On Saturday, Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin will make an appearance in-store from 12:30-2:00 p.m.** A 2009 first round pick, Maclin has recorded 26 touchdowns and over 3,400 yards in four seasons.

On Saturday, former MLB player Delino DeShields will make an appearance in-store from 4:00-6:00 p.m.** A Delaware native, DeShields collected 1,548 hits and 463 stolen bases over his 13 year career.

Follow me HERE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delino-DeShields/11570168953?hc_location=stream

Monday, November 04, 2013

Ignite That Hot Stove

Hiroki Kuroda? David Price?

ESPN.com completed its divisional review with the NL West, and says the Dodgers-- "heavy favorites in the West"--will be dealing this winter:

On June 21, the Dodgers were 30-42, they were 9.5 games out of first place, Don Mattingly was about to be fired and the team with baseball's highest payroll was a complete disaster. Then the Dodgers won six in a row, kicking off one of the most remarkable stretches in baseball history: They would go 42-8 over a 50-game stretch during which they posted a 2.45 ERA and averaged 4.9 runs per game.

Yasiel Puig was a lightning rod for the surge, having been called up in early June, but Hanley Ramirez returned from the DL and was the NL's best hitter the final four months, Clayton Kershaw had another Cy Young-caliber season and Zack Greinke showed why he was worth the big free agent money. The season ended with a disappointing loss to the Cardinals in the NLCS, with Kershaw getting shelled in Game 6 and Dodgers fans wondering what would have happened if Ramirez hadn't fractured a rib in the first game of the series.

Primary needs

The Dodgers have three-fifths of the rotation locked in with Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and will have Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley returning from injuries (with Beckett expected to be ready for spring training and Billingsley perhaps in May after Tommy John surgery), but expect them to be a player in the starting pitcher.

They also signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, who is expected to compete for the second base job. Juan Uribe is a free agent, opening up a potential slot on the left side of the infield, depending on whether Ramirez plays third base or shortstop. Bullpen depth will also be a priority.

Free agents
• 2B Mark Ellis
• 3B Juan Uribe
• IF Michael Young
• IF Nick Punto
• IF Jerry Hairston
• OF Skip Schumaker
• P Chris Capuano
• P Ricky Nolasco
• RP Brian Wilson
• RP J.P. Howell
• RP Carlos Marmol

Expected losses

The Dodgers may bring back Ellis to hedge their bet on whether Guerrero is ready to jump straight to the majors. They'd consider bringing back Wilson and Howell, although Wilson will look for the opportunity to be a closer, which he won't get with Kenley Jansen around. The team could decide to bring back Uribe, but the Dodgers may still have the taste of his poor 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Potential targets

For the Dodgers, that's just something to walk around with in their very deep pockets. They do have about $30 million coming off the books, although Kershaw will get a big raise in his final year before free agency and they do have $175 committed to just 12 players (not including Kershaw). Expect them to make a huge offer for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Barring that, they could look to re-sign Nolasco, bring back Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year deal, or look to deal prospects for Tampa Bay lefty David Price.

Shortstop Stephen Drew is another attractive free agent who would improve the team's defense if Ramirez is moved over to third.


No matter who the Dodgers bring in --- and they'll bring in somebody -- they'll enter 2014 as the heavy favorites in the NL West. The most interesting offseason decision they face could be whether they trade Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier – in either case, they'd have to eat some money to make a deal happen -- to erase the outfield logjam, not that the group will ever be healthy at the same time. Ethier is probably the guy they'd like to trade as he's not a center fielder and doesn't have a position with Puig and Carl Crawford in the corners."

Let's get that hot stove cookin'!

Dia de Los Dodgers

One of my favorite things to do each year is to attend the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For those of you unfamiliar, Dia de Los Muertos is a time for family and friends to remember and honor friends and family members who have died. The mood is festive, not somber, however, and there are some great traditions associated with the celebration, including building private altars ("ofrendas") honoring the deceased. The ofrendas feature sugar skulls, marigolds, the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and favorite or symbolic possessions of the deceased.

Yesterday I again found myself wandering through Hollywood Forever Cemetery, fresh off some terrific street tacos and a coupla Negra Modelos. The altars this year were nothing short of amazing. They seem to get more creative each year. But one thing that struck Mrs. Dusty and me was how many of them prominently featured Dodger-related pictures, clothing, and other items. Caps, bobbleheads, pictures of lost loved ones at Dodger Stadium, flags and pennants, blankets, t-shirts, baseball cards, you name it. Which made me to realize what a huge influence the Dodgers have throughout the greater Los Angeles community. Clearly, supporting the Dodgers is a big part of many people's lives, binding families and friends together with a sense of regional and community pride. To process death, I suppose, we seek to remember that which bound us together in life, thus the prominent Dodgers theme as expressed through memorabilia.

With that in mind, I present some images I captured as I helped honor the lives of those being celebrated. Rest in Blue.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Mike Napoli Owns Boston

Via Deadspin, we learn about how Mike Napoli spent his post-rally parade time in Boston:

Apparently Napoli started in on the cheap yellow fizzy stuff while riding on the duck boats along the Charles River as part of the victory rally. He then went to not one but two locals near Fenway Park where he drank more beer, took shots with the adoring Red Sox fans, bartended, sprayed beer on people, and ended up shirtless.

We should sign this guy.

[More pictures at Deadspin]

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Some Vintage Dad

Thanks to Terry Elrod for the photo. Explains Terry:

Steve and my father use to associate when spring training was going on. Don Elrod, he managed a Lincoln Mercury dealer in Fort Pierce back in the late 70s early 80s. Steve would do commercials for the store. Long time ago.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Options Declined On Mark Ellis, Chris Capuano

$1M to both Capuano and Mellis, as the Dodgers declined options on both, rather than pay either big money for the 2014 season:

The Dodgers on Thursday declined the 2014 options on left-hander Chris Capuano and second baseman Mark Ellis, buying out each for $1 million to make them free agents, although either could re-sign with the club.

The Dodgers and Capuano had a mutual option at $8 million for 2014, while the club held a $5.75 million option on Ellis. The team seems to have more interest in bringing back Ellis, but in a reduced role after signing Cuban free agent infielder Alexander Guerrero, based on comments made last week by general manager Ned Colletti.

Ellis, 36, would be viewed as insurance at second base if the 26-year-old Guerrero isn't ready to start the season in the Major Leagues. Ellis also could be a starting option at second if the Dodgers believe Guerrero can handle shortstop and Hanley Ramirez would be willing to move to third base. The Dodgers will evaluate Guerrero while he plays in the Dominican winter league. [...]

Capuano, 35, had a rugged season in 2013, also his second with the club. He went on the disabled list in April with a strained calf muscle suffered in a benches-clearing incident with the Padres, then in June with a strained lat muscle and was limited in September with a strained groin. He went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 24 games, 20 starts, one of them on three days' rest in June when the club was in a real jam. He would still be valuable to the club as a left-handed swingman, but not at an $8 million salary, especially with right-handers batting .312 against him.

Mark Ellis was a steady albeit old second baseman, and this certainly puts a lot of pressure on Guerrero to be ready soon. As a friend of mine mentioned last night, Mellis could have made a good Schumaker-like utility player for us off the bench.

Capuano wasn't worth $8M to be a distant 4 or 5 starter. Hopefully he ends up finding a home at a lower salary, but my hope is that that home is somewhere else; despite rare pockets of steadiness, Capuano was more often than not a shaky starter. Either player could still end up back with the Dodgers having tested free agency.

TiqIQ Contest

Here's a contest from our ticket partners at TiqIQ:

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After customizing your cards, users can purchase a pack of their cards, which are printed on premium-recycled stock that come wrapped in a custom wax pack. Each pack contains 20 cards and you have the ability to choose to receive 20 of the same cards, or create a collection of your own designs and get a pack of all cards in that collection.

TiqIQ is a leading live event ticket search engine with a singular mission to make buying event tickets more transparent, efficient, and simpler. We deliver on that mission each day by providing ticket buyers with real-time information on the latest price trends, and access to the best deals from all sellers--for any event. TiqIQ also allows you to Sell tickets using their totally free service, Seller Direct.

Also, for a full update on ticket prices for events of all kinds, visit the TiqIQ blog.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Early Ratings For 2013 World Series Very Weak

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it...

We know that no one noticed when the Giants won their recent titles. Same goes for this year's contest:

By any measure, the 2013 World Series should be a big television draw. The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are historic franchises with terrific national followings, and they're attractive teams with great pitching and plenty of interesting storylines.

So why is this Fall Classic getting a relative ho-hum reaction from baseball fans, who are delivering another series of mediocre overnight TV ratings and appear to be spending more time at the water cooler actually drinking water than talking baseball?

This is not a new phenomenon. National TV viewership of the World Series took a dramatic fall in 2005 and reached an all-time low last October. The ratings have edged up some over the first five games this year, helped by a couple of crazy finishes over the weekend, but this Series still is on pace to post the third-worst average audience since Major League Baseball's postseason moved to prime time.

There are a number of variables you have to consider if you're trying to make sense of that. The baseball postseason now competes with pro football three nights a week instead of one. The NFL kicked off Sunday Night Football on NBC in 2006 and recently expanded its Thursday Night Football schedule to 13 weeks, which, along with an expanded prime-time college schedule, has to explain some fragmentation of the sports viewership.

MLB magnified that with the decision to go to a one-weekend World Series format in 2007, starting on a Wednesday (instead of a Saturday) and putting Game 5 in direct competition with Monday Night Football.

Of course, ratings are also driven by the size of the TV markets that take baseball's biggest stage, but that appears to be only a factor in the modest variability of the recent numbers. The proof of that may be found in the last World Series before the big 2005 ratings drop-off, which matched up the same two teams vying for the world championship this year and which drew nearly twice the average number of viewers per game.

Maybe it's that no one cares about the Red Sox and Cardinals. Chew on that, Mr. Selig.

Congratulations, Boston Red Sox

And THAT'S what you get for breaking our guy's ribs, St. Louis.

Congratulations Boston, as we know you've been through some difficult times in 2013.

Now shave those damn beards.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Scoreboard Watching: World Series Game 6: Clinching Team vs. Underdog, 4.30p

Michael Wacha (1-0. 3.00). vs. John Lackey (0-1, 3.68).

I still want both teams to lose. But maybe this torture can end tonight.

The Other Broadcaster Shoe Drops

Earlier this month, Steve Lyons announced he will not be returning to the Dodgers next year, and now it's Eric Collins' turn.

I don't think it's right to celebrate a guy losing his job, but it's safe to say most are going to be OK with this move. Collins' brand of bland commentary never once felt "right" over Dodger games.

So long, Eric. Best of luck to you. Thanks for being a good sport about The Collins Curse.

List of Dodger Players Named Winners of 2013 Gold Glove Awards


Here are the non-Dodger winners:

POSAL winnerNL winner
CSalvador Perez, KCYadier Molina, STL
1BEric Hosmer, KCPaul Goldschmidt, ARI
2BDustin Pedroia, BOSBrandon Phillips, CIN
SSJ.J. Hardy, BALAndrelton Simmons, ATL
3BManny Machado, BALNolan Arenado, COL
LFAlex Gordon, KCCarlos Gonzalez, COL
CFAdam Jones, BALCarlos Gomez, MIL
RFShane Victorino, BOSGerardo Parra, ARI
PR.A. Dickey, TORAdam Wainwright, STL

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brilliant Column on The Cardinal Way vs. Red Sox Nation

Pitchers & Poets is back (at The Classical)! And Eric Nusbaum has written another insightful piece, one that puts baseball worship in its place. Not even going to quote from it because you should read the whole thing:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scoreboard Watching: World Series Game 5: Massachusetts @ Missouri, 5p


Adam Wainwright (0-1, 5.40) vs. John Lester (1-0, 0.00)

Is this really still going on?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scoreboard Watching: World Series Game 4: Red-Themed Team vs. Red-Themed Team, 5p

Obstruction? Or a choke job?

Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97).

The Cardinals won last night's game with the most curious of walk-offs: an obstruction, caused by Will Middlebrooks on Allen Craig at third base. The call was controversial at first because it appeared that Middlebrooks, prone at third base, might have deliberately lifted his legs to impede Craig's progress; however, the obstruction rule has nothing to do with intent, so count the run anyway once Craig tripped over the Red Sox 3B.

And let's be serious: Jarrod Saltalamacchia never should have tried that throw to get Craig at third base in the first place. If he doesn't throw the ball wide of third, 0-for-4 Pete Kozma comes up for the final out. And if Woody had gone to the police, this would never have happened. (We could also point the finger at other questionable managerial missteps in the game.)

So today's game becomes either a continuation of what is being stretched as a "Gibson-like moment", or just another obstacle for the Red Sox Machine to overcome on their unstoppable path. Either way, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will be there to call it. So my television will be on mute.

(Dodgers') Rising Tide Lifts All (MLB) Boats

Bloomberg projected values for all 30 MLB teams, and not only was there a 35% increase in average value from prior year, but much of that was led by the recent sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which reset team values league-wide:

Major League Baseball is catching up to valuations of the National Football League,” Anthony Di Santi, the managing director of the sports finance advisory division of New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s private bank, said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit on Sept. 10. “It’s because they’ve been exploiting the media opportunities that are available to them on a national level.”

He said regional sports networks also play a role when valuing teams. The Dodgers were sold in April 2012 for $2.15 billion to an affiliate of Guggenheim Partners LLC, a New York-based investment management firm with more than $190 billion in assets under management. Di Santi said the transaction price was influenced by the potential creation of a new cable TV network, and increased franchise values across MLB.

Ten teams are worth more than $1 billion. The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets each are valued at more than $2 billion, the data shows. [...]

The Dodgers’ $2.1 billion valuation is based on information provided by two individuals involved with the transaction who asked not to be identified because the details were private.

Guggenheim Baseball Management LP, a Los Angeles-based company led by financier Mark Walter, paid $2 billion for the team and Dodger Stadium, plus $150 million to form a real estate joint venture with Frank McCourt, the team’s previous owner. In exchange, McCourt transferred ownership of the 261 acres that surround the ballpark, most of which are parking lots, to the partnership.

The Guggenheim group includes basketball hall of famer Magic Johnson, who won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

McCourt, who bought the Dodgers in January 2004, agreed to sell the franchise as part of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court settlement with MLB. He retains an option to buy back Guggenheim’s share of the land for its initial investment plus inflation, according to one of the people, contingent on construction of another sports stadium on the site.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a June 2012 memorandum to professional football team owners that the league is considering sites in Los Angeles for a new stadium. Guggenheim will receive its $150 million investment back if the land is sold for any non-sports use.

Since the sale, the Dodgers’ annual revenue has risen by 38 percent to $450 million, according to a person with knowledge of team finances. Attendance also has gone up by 13 percent to about 3.7 million fans this season, the most in baseball, according to MLB.

During negotiations, McCourt’s representatives proposed starting a new regional sports network, which they referred to in presentations as YES West, that the new owners could create because the team’s deal with Fox was set to expire.

Guggenheim transformed YES West into SportsNet LA. The Dodgers will retain full ownership of the network through a subsidiary, American Media Productions LLC. Time Warner Cable Inc. has a 25-year agreement that allows the company to keep any profit made above guaranteed payments to Guggenheim, which will receive $200 million a year, after network costs and revenue sharing obligations to MLB.

The first payment from Time Warner is scheduled for January, and they would continue until 2038, stopping only in the event of a baseball labor dispute, according to the terms of the agreement.

Guggenheim believes the network is worth $2.75 billion, a discounted value of the guaranteed payments, one of the people said. SportsNet LA is scheduled to debut next spring. MLB has yet to approve the deal.

“That process is at a point where it’s pretty clear there will be approval of the Dodgers’ arrangement well before the 2014 season starts,” baseball’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said during an Oct. 15 interview at his office in New York.

There's also a cool interactive infographic which dissects how they came up with the value by team. For the Dodgers, total franchise value is $2.1B (2nd), with $1.84B of that from the team value (2nd) and $153M from related businesses (1st). Other ingredients to the team valuation break down as follows:

  • team revenues are $325M (3rd),
  • gate receipts $81M (10th),
  • concessions $29M (4th),
  • sponsorship $39M (4th),
  • media rights $100M (5th),
  • parking $10M (1st),
  • 2013 attendance 3.7M (1st).

One figures that with media rights set to skyrocket, there's a lot more value that can be unlocked with the Dodgers. Another interesting fact is that we lead the majors in parking revenue, but at a $10M revenue benefit it really is an insignificant figure relative to other team income streams--making Frank McCourt seem pretty short-sighted in his tenure's move to raise rates from $10 to $15 (a move which has since been rescinded by the Guggenheim Group).

Looking forward to us widening the gap between us and the third-most valuable MLB franchise, the Red Sox ($2.060B). (The Giants are 6th, with a $1.23B value.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scoreboard Watching: World Series Game 3: Beards @ Shards, 4:30p

Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) vs. Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69)

The next installment in the Bitter Party makes for an interesting story line. Wait, there's really only one story line:

Now is your time to avenge the Joe Kelly pitch to HanRam's ribs, Red Sox. Do it. We'll owe you one and we certainly have your back against the hated Shards.

David Ortiz checks in at first base while Mike Napoli sits based on the NL rules. Pivotal game, and it should be a great one. Sam Adams up, everyone!

This will also serve as your comments thread for UCLA at Oregon, Stanford at Oregon State, and South Carolina at Missouri Game Thread. However, no comments re: Furman vs. LSU are welcome here.

ps- Sorry for the anti-Cards vibe around here, @DiamondFischer! We still love you.

Giants Under Investigation For Federal Wage Law Violations

While the Giants throw insane amounts of cash at washed-up starters, they are simultaneously under investigation for unfair labor practices--specifically not paying interns--possibly in order to fund those spending sprees:

Two Major League Baseball clubs–the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins—are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for possible federal wage law violations. The investigations come amid wider concern about questionable pay practices throughout professional baseball, according to interviews and records obtained by FairWarning under the Freedom of Information Act.

Labor Department spokesman Jason Surbey confirmed the investigations of the Marlins and Giants, but would not give details. However, emails reviewed by FairWarning show that possible improper use of unpaid interns is a focus of the Giants probe. It is the Labor Department’s second recent investigation of the Giants over pay practices involving lower level employees. [...]

Officials with the department’s Wage and Hour Division announced in August that the Giants had resolved the prior case by agreeing to pay $544,715 in back wages and damages to 74 employees. Many were clubhouse workers the agency said were paid at a daily rate of $55, but who sometimes worked so many hours that they got less than minimum wage and no overtime. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

In announcing the settlement, Susana Blanco, director of the San Francisco district office of the Wage and Hour Division, said she was “encouraged that the Giants acted to resolve this issue,” but disappointed ”to learn that clubhouse workers providing services to high-paid sports stars weren’t making enough to meet the basic requirements of minimum-wage law.”

The Giants were also found to have improperly classified some workers as exempt from overtime pay, including clubhouse managers and video operators at both the parent team and its minor league affiliates.

The Giants in June also reached a $500,000 settlement in a private class action suit on behalf of security guards, who had claimed they were owed back pay for overtime and for working through breaks and meals.

As if getting shit on by seagulls wasn't enough of a workplace violation; not getting paid while getting shit on sounds doubly bad. Good times for Giants employees!

Mattingly Security Might Cost Dodgers Wallach

Now that the Dodgers have chosen to go with Don Mattingly as the coach for 2014, everything should be settled, right? Well, except for the fact that it may have come at the cost of 3B Coach Tim Wallach:

Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach interviewed for the Detroit Tigers' managerial job Friday, Wallach confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

"It would be a great opportunity with a very good team," he said.

Wallach has been one of the leading managerial candidates for the past few seasons. He was the runner-up to John Farrell last winter for the Boston Red Sox job.

Look, we always knew that Wallach was a desirable managerial candidate. I liked him as a third base coach, however, despite that horrible call to send Mark Ellis home in the 10th inning of NLCS Game 1. Watching Glenn Hoffman hold back 20+ runs each year at third base anesthetized me from that pain.

Bringing back Donnie might be fine, but it would be a pity if we lost Wallach as a result.

photo: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Friday, October 25, 2013

One More Look Back at 2013

Mr. Scully, the floor is yours...

They played a version of this at the last regular season game I went to, but it's cool to see the postseason stuff in there too. And Vin's right, we were two wins and one rib away from the World Series. No reason we can't do better next year.

Pete Holmes: Not A Gambit Fan

From the upcoming Pete Holmes show, via Kotaku, this is pretty funny.

Bill James: Not A Yasiel Puig or Amanda Bynes Fan

Found this tidbit in the October 14, 2013 issue of ESPN the Magazine (the Bay Area issue), in which Peter Keating looks at the small sample size around Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson, alluding to Yasiel Puig and Bill James along the way (link insider only; emphasis mine):

The thing is, hits and runs allowed, WPA, wins, losses -- they all look backward. To zero in on a player's future, we should consider stats that measure true-outcome skills and aren't affected by batted balls. And since 2011, [Jim] Johnson's core performance has been amazingly consistent. He's had a strikeout-to-walk ratio around 2.75-1; an xFIP (Expected Fielding-Independent Pitching) around 3.50; and SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA) around 3.15, all with little variation. He's not as good as he seemed last year, but he's not nearly as bad as he appeared this season.

Now, we need to handle these predictive metrics with care. Analysts who toss aside all backward-looking stats run the risk of interpreting actual results out of existence. Here, for instance, is Bill James on a player having a very different type of streak than Johnson's: "A portion of the public is for some reason disproportionately enchanted by [Yasiel] Puig's piddly-ass little hot streak, in the same way many of us are proportionately interested in the Zimmerman trial and/or Amanda Byrnes [sic], whoever she is … We choose random things to get all worked up about, far beyond their real significance."

I would point out that the results of Puig and Johnson, however determined by luck, have had real impacts: They have influenced games and helped decide pennants. But James is right that streaks don't predict future performance. And predictive stats say Johnson's bad mojo likely won't continue in 2014. That's great news for the O's, not least of all because their record in one-run games mirrors Johnson's results in high-leverage situations: from 29–9 in 2012, the best in the modern era, to 17–30 through Sept. 23 of this season, second worst in MLB.

Puig's streak may have been short this year but it's undeniable that he had an impact on the Dodgers' 2013 playoff run, perhaps as the most important contributor behind Hanley Ramirez. I don't see Amanda Bynes' career stats ever reaching the postseason.