Thursday, January 31, 2013

Don't Call It a Bobblehead

From a Dodgers press release:

In celebration of Jackie Robinson’s 94th Birthday, the Dodgers have unveiled a Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella Statue. The statue, which features Robinson and his teammates, Dodger legends Newcombe and Campanella, will be given away on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm vs. San Diego, the 66-year anniversary of Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier. The giveaway item will be distributed to the first 40,000 fans with a ticket.

WOW this looks awesome. Last year it was the Vin bobblehead, this year it's this: the must-have SGA of the season. Good work, Dodgers.

Hear Vin Tell His Ice Skating with Jackie Robinson Story

This one never gets old.

photo via @VinScullyTweet

Dodgers Create Rewards Program in Two Days to Spite SoSG Reader

Why can't the Dodgers create a rewards program like the Nationals did? asked BJ Killeen on Tuesday.

Well, they just did. From a Dodgers press release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the launch of a comprehensive engagement program that will reward fans for supporting the club online, via social media and at Dodger Stadium. The free Dodgers Rewards ( program is the first-of-its-kind in Major League Baseball and offers fans the chance to win prizes by supporting the team through an array of digital activities including merchandise purchases online, checking in to games through’s mobile application At The Ballpark and interacting online at and on the Dodgers’ official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“We are creating an interactive rewards portal for all things Dodgers,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Los Angeles Dodgers, Lon Rosen. “Being a sports fan is about passion and competition, and we believe through this platform we are entering the next phase of fan loyalty with the ultimate goal of rewarding our fans for their support.”

The Dodgers Rewards program will create unique experiences and promotions for fans as incentives for supporting the club. The program will feature its first three sweepstakes with its first starting today through Saturday, March 15, 2013 with prizes including two tickets to Opening Day 2013, a mention from @Dodgers and a Sandy Koufax signed baseball.

Which SoSG reader will gain the most points?

Google Does Jackie

To commemorate what would have been Jackie Robinson's 94th birthday, Google has Dodger-ized their logo today. Very nice work, Googs.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crawford, Kemp: Critical Recovery Stories

No big news here, but ESPN says Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp's recoveries from injuries are obviously part of the key elements if the Dodgers are going to thrive in 2013 (in fact, it made their "five most important injury comebacks" list):

Carl Crawford/Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

This is the first tag-team entry on our list. But it's hard to separate these two when assessing the state of the Dodgers' health. Don't you think?

What's their diagnosis? Crawford has been pretty much a physical train wreck over the past two years. First, he had wrist issues that led to surgery in January 2012. Then, he returned late in spring training, tore an elbow ligament and eventually needed Tommy John surgery on Aug. 23. In between, he squeezed in just 31 games and 125 plate appearances. Kemp, meanwhile, needed what was described as "significant" left shoulder surgery to repair a detached labrum on Oct. 5, about six weeks after he'd clanked into a fence in Colorado. But GM Ned Colletti says his center fielder had been dealing with "wear and tear" issues with that shoulder even before that.

What they're doing now: The Dodgers report that Crawford began easing into baseball activities about three weeks ago. He's swinging a bat and has been doing some light throwing. Colletti says they're "encouraged" (there's that word again) by his progress and overall condition. And Kemp began hitting off a tee this month while continuing to strengthen and rehab his shoulder. He isn't expected to be ready to rock at the beginning of spring training, but he told the Los Angeles Times last week, "I'm not trying to be 100 percent for the first game of spring training. I'm trying to be 100 percent for the first game of the season."

State of their team's optimism: If Colletti is worried that either of these guys won't be ready for Opening Day, he's doing an excellent job of hiding it. In the long haul, he says, he's actually more concerned about Crawford's persistent wrist issues than his recovery from Tommy John surgery. And the GM's upbeat assessment of Kemp's shoulder went like this: "A lot of players have this. It's really from a lot of swings. When he ran into the wall in Colorado, that pushed him over the edge. But it's a common injury. It's just wear and tear on the shoulder. But they say once you have it done, it should be good for a very long time. It's not like a labrum issue with a pitcher, where a guy comes back and he can't throw as hard as he did before. This isn't even his throwing shoulder."

Reason to worry: Ah, but in Kemp's case, it wasn't just his shoulder that was an issue last year. He hit 12 home runs in April -- and 11 in the other five months of the season combined. He pulled a hamstring muscle in mid-May, blew it out again in late May and didn't make it back from hamstring purgatory injury until after the All-Star break. Then, he hit just five homers in 184 trips between his return and the day he met up with that fence in Denver. So after April, he had pretty much a lost season. Then there's Crawford, whose .711 OPS the past two years ranks behind the likes of Ryan Roberts and Emilio Bonifacio (who make a lot less than 20 million bucks a year). "He's not just an X factor for me," one scout says of Crawford. "He's a capital X factor. Not many guys have had multiple health issues like he's had, with Tommy John and the wrist problem. And they're counting heavily on this guy. To me, he's a huge part of the puzzle, with all the money they've invested in him and this team."

Why they're on this list: Do we really have to explain this? is projecting the Dodgers to have a $217 million payroll. That's $60 million higher than the next-closest team in their league. Kemp is arguably the face of their franchise. And the gamble they've taken on Crawford is the most unique roll of the dice we can ever remember a team taking on any player. He had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 23. The Dodgers traded for him -- and the more than $100 million in salary he still had coming -- the next day. True, it was part of a much bigger deal and a much bigger storyline. True, he's no longer in Boston, where he looked like the wrong player on the wrong team at the wrong time. But the Dodgers still need this to work if they're going to be the team they expect to be. Right?

"First of all," Colletti says, "Tommy John surgery is very successful in this day and age, especially for somebody who doesn't make a living as a pitcher. And we're talking about a player who, a year and a half before we traded for him, was one of the most sought after free agents in baseball, at a young age. Now he's still at a youngish age (31), and we think he has a chance to be the player Boston expected him to be when they signed him. He should still be in his prime. And he's coming to a different team and a different situation, which we believe should be a plus for him." All we can say is, it had better be.

photo: Chris Humphreys / USA TODAY Sports

Greinke Poised To Flourish In Dodger Blue

David Schoenfield did a quick assessment of how Zack Greinke will likely fare in Dodger Stadium this year, and things look to be pretty positive:

What's in store for Greinke? Over the past three seasons, as you may know by now, Greinke's actual ERAs have failed to match the ERA suggested by his peripherals in the Fielding Independent Pitching statistic:

2010: 4.17 ERA, 3.34 FIP
2011: 3.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP
2012: 3.48 ERA, 3.10 FIP

Some of that was caused by poor defense in Milwaukee, some by bad luck, some by Greinke not pitching as well with runners on base.

His defense may not improve behind him with the Dodgers. With Hanley Ramirez scheduled to play shortstop, he's one liability; Ramirez has minus-39 Defensive Runs Saved at shortstop over the past three seasons, in what amounts to about two full seasons of playing time. Matt Kemp, despite his two Gold Glove Awards, has never rated well defensively (by either DRS or Ultimate Zone Rating), his occasional spectacular play masked by misreads and bad jumps. Carl Crawford was a Gold Glove left fielder with the Rays, but hasn't rated well the past two seasons and he's coming off Tommy John surgery, making his arm a big question mark.

On the other hand, Greinke moves back to the National League after a couple months with the Angels and into a better pitcher's park than Milwaukee. He'll also get a few extra starts in San Francisco and San Diego, two other good pitcher's parks.

Most projections have Greinke's ERA around 3.25 to 3.50. He was at 3.44 with the Brewers last year before his trade to the Angels. I'm going to set the over/under at 3.30.

So Greinke's success comes down to how Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford can step up their collective defensive games next year. Let's do this, boys!

Dinner with Ned?

"Is Suchon still staring at me? I can't eat when he stares at me."

Would you pay $75 to pick Ned Colletti's brain? If you're a MasterCard holder, now you can. Thanks to old friend J. Steve for sharing this incredible offer:

Dodgers fans, get the chance to hear directly from the Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti. During a special Q&A, he’ll give a first-hand recap of the 2012 season and the hopeful 2013 outlook—and you’ll get a chance to ask him any burning questions about players and trades.

Then you’ll enjoy a special dinner with other avid Dodger fans. To round out this incredible experience, you’ll get to take a photo with the Dodgers World Series trophy, get an exclusive stadium tour and take home a commemorative baseball.

This event takes place from 6:00pm - 8:00pm on Wednesday, February 6.

All for a measly $75! Not a bad deal, actually — the stadium tour alone costs $15. Wonder if SoSG can get a plant in there.

25 Years Ago: Kirk Captains the Dodgers

It happened 25 years ago yesterday: The centerpiece of the Dodgers' 1988 World Series championship joined the team. From "25th anniversary: Kirk Gibson signs with Dodgers" by Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times:
25 years ago [yesterday], one of the biggest and best examples of an immediate gratification free agency signing occurred. On Jan. 29, 1988, the Dodgers signed star Tigers outfielder Kirk Gibson. Yeah, this turned out to be a good move. Behind Gibson, the Dodgers would win the 1988 world title—still the last one in franchise history.

Gibson had become a free agent under unusual circumstances. By “unusual circumstances” I mean collusion. In the 1980s, owners conspired to keep salaries down by refusing to bid for free agents. Only if a team didn’t want their veteran player would other franchises make a play on him. Only under extreme circumstances did someone switch teams. Most notably, Andre Dawson was so desperate to leave Montreal’s turf field behind him to save what was left of his knees, that he offered the Cubs a blank check. Name their price, and he’d play for them in 1987.

Click here for the entire article!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More On Melky Cabrera, The Latest Cheater On Whose Shoulders San Francisco Sat

Despite the fact that Miami is about 3000 miles away from San Francisco, it wasn't enough distance to stop San Francisco Giant Melky Cabrera from using a Florida firm's services to load up on illegal drugs in 2012:

New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has hired an attorney and is denying involvement after his name -- along with other baseball players like Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez -- appeared on lists obtained by the Miami New Times from an anti-aging clinic in Miami that allegedly dispensed performance-enhancing drugs.

The names were on records Miami New Times said were given to it by an employee who worked at Biogenesis of America before it closed last month. Miami New Times reported that the records show the firm sold performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids. [...]

Miami New Times reported that Cabrera, who signed a $16 million free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason, is mentioned 14 times in the report. He was suspended in August 2012 for violating baseball's performance-enhancing drugs policy while a member of the San Francisco Giants. The paper cited entries in April 2012 indicating Cabrera "has enough meds until May 4" and indicating what the paper terms a "cocktail of drugs including IGF-1."

But don't fret, baseball fans! Although he was suspended after being caught midway though last year's season, Cabrera received a full playoff share from the Giants. In fact, the Giants were quite thrilled to award Cabrera over $377K for his help.

Dodgers On Course For Disaster (x2)

Fresh off of the ebullience of striking it rich on a television deal, the Dodgers came into Monday getting hammered by critics on multiple fronts.

First off came news that MLB will be negotiating with the Dodgers exactly how much gets put into revenue-sharing buckets:

The new ownership group, which bought the team out of bankruptcy court in April 2012 for a record $2.1 billion, said it has created a company called American Media Productions that will start broadcasting Dodgers games in 2014 on a channel called SportsNet LA. Time Warner Cable, the largest carrier in the area, will be the network's first distributor.

Although terms were not disclosed, the SportsBusiness Journal calls it a 25-year deal worth $7 billion.

"We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want -- more content and more Dodger baseball -- was to launch our own network," Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said in a statement. "The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a world championship home to Los Angeles."

The deal is subject to approval by Major League Baseball, and one baseball source privy to the negotiations told the team and the league could very well butt heads regarding exactly how much of the deal will be shared with other teams.

TV rights are subject to revenue sharing, and high-revenue teams, including the Dodgers, have to share approximately one-third of their rights fees with low-revenue teams.

As part of the negotiations with the bankruptcy court, MLB agreed that the Dodgers' fair-market value would be set at $84 million a year with 4 percent increases each season.

The Dodgers could keep anything above that assuming the club took significant risk in starting its own network, as stated in the league's current revenue sharing rules.

But the team readily admits in its announcement that it is not taking the risk.

Time Warner Cable "has assumed most of the risk around the channel and promised to cover affiliate fees from distributors who refuse to carry it," the news release said.

Time Warner will also be responsible for other programming and will be the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales network of the channel.

In essence, the network will serve as a partner making guaranteed payments to the team.

Magic, time to lay on the charm and work us out of this one! But even if we get past the evil Minions of Selig, there's other issues: the "hangover" of all of our big-time contracts, says Dan Szymborski (link insider only):

The Los Angeles Dodgers have finally signed their gigantic TV contract, landing a deal with Time Warner that would yield the Dodgers between $7 billion and $8 billion over the next 20 years.

A chunk of that money will head back to MLB in the form of revenue sharing -- the haggling with MLB on just how much hasn't yet been completed -- but even after MLB and the Dodgers agree on just how much of that revenue will be subject to the 34 percent cut that heads to the revenue-sharing pot, that's a lot of green raining in Chavez Ravine. On the trajectory that they're on, the Dodgers will need quite a bit of it.

For the 2013 season, depending on how you count things, they currently have between $210 million and $220 million committed to players on the roster. That figure doesn't include the 2013 bills the team owes to Hyun-Jin Ryu ($3.3 million), Yasiel Puig ($3.7 million), Andruw Jones ($3.2 million), Tony Gwynn Jr. ($1 million) and an additional million from various contract buyouts. Throw in an extra $20 million or so for luxury tax and a half-million or so for each of the pre-arbitration players who play the year on the roster, and we're talking one-quarter of a billion dollars in payroll this upcoming season.

Just how much do the Dodgers owe in guaranteed salary? Through the end of the decade, more than $900 million. In fact, $100 million is already on the books every season through 2018, when the Dodgers will owe Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier (buyout), Ryu and Puig $105 million.


The Dodgers project to be the best team in the NL West, north of 91 wins. But given our error bars at predicting the future no matter the method, a playoff spot, let alone the divisional title or a trip to the World Series, is far from certain. ZiPS gives the Dodgers a 62 percent shot at a playoff spot, not a number high enough that you want to start ordering the Cristal in bulk quite yet. Guggenheim Partners didn't invest massive sums of money not to get a solid financial return on its investment. A disappointing year or two, and it wouldn't be shocking if the biggest member of the consortium started to find the guaranteed cash from the TV contract a lot more appealing than playing high-stakes fantasy baseball.

The Dodgers certainly have a good chance at playing games until the end of October this season. If they do win the World Series in 2013, which would be the franchise's first since 1988, there will be one sweet celebration party. But as most can attest, the best parties frequently lead to the worst hangovers.

So basically, right when Guggs and Co. are trying to make it rain, everyone else is raining on our parade.


"Why can't the Dodgers do this?"

...wonders BJ Killeen:
More details here.

With all the changes the Guggenheim group is making, maybe the question should actually be "When are they going to get around to it?" What do you think, SoSG readers? Would you go for a Dodger Stadium rewards card?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dodgers, TWC Announce Generic Channel Name

The SportsNet LA logo (artist's rendering).

From "Dodgers, Time Warner Cable announce new channel: SportsNet LA" by Bill Shaikin at the LA Times:

The name for the Dodgers' new television channel: SportsNet LA.

The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable officially announced their television contract on Monday, with the team-owned channel starting in 2014. The deal, pending the approval of Major League Baseball, covers 25 years and is believed to be worth between $7 billion and $8 billion to the team.

The Dodgers are to remain on Fox Sports through the 2013 season, but the team decided it wanted its own channel thereafter and negotiated with Fox and Time Warner Cable.

Get ready for those cable/satellite bills to go up. It's too bad we won't be able to order this channel à la carte, as I have no use for the Curling Channel or LacrosseTV.

Masters at Work

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brandon League Has Terrifying Hair

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Don't Forget, Kids!

Dodgers single-game tickets go on sale TODAY. Get yours or be left out of the party, ostracized, belittled, and left for dead on the side of the street. Like Spanky.

Dodgers FanFest will begin at 10:30am today as well (if you're a season ticket holder; general admission is at 11am). Anyone going?

I'm starting to get that feeling that the new season is around the corner!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dee Talks

From Verizon:

Verizon's in the dugout with Los Angeles baseball shortstop Dee Gordon (@FlashGJr), and you’re invited to chat with him via Twitter! The Tweet Chat is on Monday, January 28, at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST).

Catch this chance to ask Dee your most burning questions, like how he got his start in baseball or what he's been up to in the offseason. Just be sure to RSVP first, and use the hashtag #VZWDee at the chat to get started.

"Dee, do you think you'll be on the 40-man roster to start the year?" "Mr. Swag? Can I call you Mr. Swag?" "Don't you want to be in a commercial with more than a $5 budget?"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time Warner to Make It Rain on Chavez Ravine

First Sandy, now this. From "Time Warner wins Dodgers TV deal" (AP/ESPN):

Time Warner Cable Inc. has won a contract to carry Los Angeles Dodgers games for at least the next two decades starting in 2014, snatching the games away from Fox Sports after this year's baseball season ends, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal has not yet been finalized, although it is to be announced within days, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The Los Angeles Times earlier reported the nation's second-largest cable operator will pay around $7 billion to carry the games.

A second person familiar with the situation said that Fox Sports, a division of News Corp., had been prepared to pay more than $6 billion for a 25-year deal to keep the Dodgers on its Prime Ticket regional sports network. But it lost the bidding war after its exclusive bargaining period ended in November. The second person was also not authorized to speak publicly.

(Blinking ours.) Zack Greinke is rich, Frank McCourt is richer, and Guggenheim Baseball Management is about to become the richest. A five billion-dollar profit? Hell, they'll be able to rehire Vladimir Shpunt!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sandy Koufax Back in the Fold

From "Dodgers to be joined by Koufax at Spring Training" by Ken Gurnick at

The Dodgers, who will take eight starting pitchers to Spring Training next month, will also take the greatest pitcher in franchise history.

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax has returned to the club as special advisor to chairman Mark Walter. Koufax will spend a portion of Spring Training working with the club's pitchers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and consult during the season.

"I'm delighted to be back with the Dodgers," Koufax said. "I'm looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium."

Koufax's return is another in a string of fan-friendly decisions by new ownership.

"The Dodgers are thrilled to have Sandy back with the organization," president and CEO Stan Kasten said. "Sandy's experience and perspective will be invaluable as we endeavor to do everything in our power to bring the city of Los Angeles a World Series champion."

Chalk up another victory for the Guggenbros. Welcome back, Sandy!

photo: @TommyLasorda

A Word from the Grand Marshal

Monday, January 21, 2013

Remembering the Great Ones Today

Courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers

Everything's Turning Up Bison

He may not be a video game cover boy, but he's a grand marshal, he's a family man, he's getting healthy, and his favorite football team is going to the Super Bowl. It's good to be Matt Kemp.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

NFL Playoffs Game Thread: Jan. 20

"Just because I root for a San Francisco team doesn't mean you have to!"

12n PST 49ers @ Falcons
3:30p PST Ravens @ Patriots

Friday, January 18, 2013


  • From "For Clayton Kershaw, work in Zambia only just beginning" by Bob Nightengale at USA Today:
    Washington Nationals All-Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez, filming a video-game commercial Tuesday with Kershaw, was briefly informed of Kershaw's trip and orphanage, and stood momentarily in silence. His eyes widened, and almost in a whisper, reached back and fired the greatest possible praise.

    "He used to be my favorite left-handed pitcher in baseball," Gonzalez said. "Now, he's my all-time favorite player. I guess if Roberto Clemente can do it, why not Clayton?

    "He's like our Roberto Clemente."

  • From "Kemp named grand marshal for MLK parade" by Ken Gurnick at
    Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will serve as celebrity grand marshal for the 28th annual Kingdom Day Parade in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. The parade will be held Saturday in South Los Angeles. [...]

    The Dodgers are a sponsor of the parade, whose theme will be "His Dream Will Never Die." The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. PT from the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue and will be televised live locally on KABC-TV Channel 7. [...]

    He has raised more than $400,000 for families affected by autism at his annual Spring Training fundraiser and participated for several years in the Dodgers' annual Community Caravan and Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza.

Pretty impressive on and off the field, boys.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Bird's Eye View of Dodger Stadium Renovation

Thanks to loyal SoSG reader BJ Killeen for passing along this video of Dodger Stadium construction taken when her husband visited to buy some tickets. The video ends in the area where the home clubhouse is being expanded.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Your Diversion Of The Day

We know you come to SoSG to escape the drudgery that is work, or chores, or off-season hot stove. So here's another thing to steal your time: the iOS RPG / puzzle game, 10000000.

It's great fun, sort of like the way Puzzle Quest 2 was when it came out; however this has a retro feel (video and audio) that's also kind of funny. Took me about six hours of gameplay to beat the game. Good luck!

We're #1! (In 2013 Payroll)

Forget all that talk about the new-look Dodgers being the Yankees. Rather, at this stage, they're trying to be us

"Baseball's opening-day payrolls will exceed $3 billion for the first time this season, jumping more than 7 percent from last season and redistributing the windfall from landmark local television deals across the sport, according to a Yahoo! Sports analysis.

Using Baseball Prospectus' contract database, arbitration projections from MLB Trade Rumors and expected salaries for the remaining free agents likely to garner major-league contracts, Y! Sports estimates opening-day payrolls of teams' 25-man rosters will total about $3.15 billion, a 7.1-percent increase from last year's opening-day figure of $2.94 billion.

More than half of the increase comes from the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose projected $213 million payroll is the highest in the major leagues – and a 123.9-percent increase over their $95.1 million from opening day in 2012. The Dodgers signed the richest free-agent deal of the offseason, giving starter Zack Greinke a six-year, $147 million deal.

The Miami Marlins, on the other hand, have shed nearly three times as much as any other team, going from a $118 million opening-day payroll last season to an estimated $45 million this year, a 61.9 percent decrease.

Despite promises to get beneath the luxury tax threshold of $189 million before the 2014 season, the New York Yankees are projected to spend more at the start of this year than last. Their estimated $210 million payroll is more than $12 million ahead of 2012's and second to the Dodgers'. The two are in their own payroll stratosphere, far ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies ($158 million), Los Angeles Angels ($152 million) and Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers ($150 million).

I know that money doesn't necessarily bring championships. But it certainly can't hurt our chances, either. Keep it up, Stan!

Angels Announcer Recognizes the Best

Angels announcer Victor Rojas has a blog. He also has Vin Scully's phone number. He asked Vin for an interview. Vin obliged. Here's an excerpt (read the entire piece here):
VR: It makes sense & to a certain extent, may be similar to how writers today have to deal with the steroid era. Were you surprised that no players were voted in?

VS: No. I was not surprised. In fact, there was a sense of gratification that baseball stood up and made a declaration. So, no. I can’t say that I was happy that these players are being denied but I did feel deep inside, 'good for baseball...good for the writers...I'm glad they stood up.' Now, when it comes to just some kind of a suspicion, I'm wondering about several players who didn’t make it this time but maybe over the years they eventually will get in. And I specifically think of somebody like Mike Piazza, who had an incredible career. There is suspicion but perhaps that will disappear over the years.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dodgers Unveil Tiered Ticket Pricing

From a Dodgers press release:

Single-game tickets for the Dodgers' 2013 regular season will go on sale Saturday, January 26 at 10:00 a.m. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase regular season single game tickets for all 81 home games including Angels, Yankees and Red Sox games at Dodger Stadium and on A limited number of Opening Day tickets will be available. This marks the first time in several years in which the Dodgers have made all regular season home games available for purchase on a single-game basis.

The Dodgers' 2013 individual game pricing starts at $8 per ticket for One-Star games, $10 per ticket for Two-Star games, $20 for Three-Star games, and $30 per ticket for Four-Star games. Auto Gates A (Sunset) and E (Stadium Way) will open at 6:30 a.m. and fans are encouraged to come to Dodger Stadium to purchase single game tickets. Fans will receive wristbands as they enter Lot G to determine purchase order. Fans must obtain a wristband by 8:30 a.m. for a chance to purchase tickets for Opening Day. Opening Day at Dodger Stadium is Monday, April 1 at 1:10 p.m. versus the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants.

What's it all mean? Let's go to True Blue LA for the breakdown:

The tiers of games at Dodger Stadium is broken down as follows:

  • Four-star (6 games): Tickets ranging from $30 to $160
  • Three-star (26 games): $20 to $120
  • Two-star (33 games): $10 to $115
  • One-star (17 games): $8 to $100

The six four-star games are Apr. 1 against the Giants, July 30-31 against the Yankees, and Aug. 23-25 against the Red Sox.

The three-star games include five games against the Giants, including Apr. 3 during the opening series. There are eight Saturday home games in the three-star games, one Friday game (Sept. 13 vs. San Francisco) and one Sunday contest (May 12 against the Marlins). All 11 bobblehead games are three-star games.

The two-star contests include 11 Friday games, 10 Sunday games, and four Saturday games.

One of the one-star games is the lone home exhibition game against the Angels on Friday, Mar. 29. Another one-star game is Sunday, Sept. 1 against the Padres. The remaining one-star games are either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

More information on individual game tickets can be found here.

Giants Dominate Top 5 List...Of Offseason Moves That Will Backfire

To be fair, the Giants allegedly won a title or two using lineups consisting of retreads and washed up players. I can't confirm the allegations, as I didn't watch any of it. But here they are again, flirting with two new deals that ESPN's Jim Bowden believes will go awry (link insider only):

1. Angel Pagan | CF | Age: 31 | San Francisco Giants
Contract: Four years, $40 million | AAV: $10 million

Giants senior vice president/general manager Brian Sabean is one of the best in the business, with two world championships in the past three years. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t make his fair share of mistakes on long-term contracts, such as Barry Zito’s seven-year, $126 million deal or Aaron Rowand’s five-year, $60 million albatross. Sabean’s history also includes being loyal to players (read: overpaying) who helped him win rings. After winning the World Series in 2010, he overpaid Aubrey Huff by re-signing him to a two-year, $20 million deal.

Likewise, fresh off winning the 2012 World Series, Sabean handsomely rewarded Pagan, who had a solid defensive year while serving as an effective table setter who got the job done on a consistent basis. It was easily the best year of his career. But this offseason was the first during which scouting reports on Pagan didn’t include phrases such as “loses focus,” “continuously gets bad jumps and leads” and “very inconsistent.”

The length of the deal is more troublesome than the dollars. Pagan has not been a consistent enough player to think he’ll be able to repeat what he did last season, let alone for four more. With financial security, I’m also not convinced he won’t revert back to the player who loses focus on occasion. His decline years are coming soon, and I think the last two years of this deal could end similarly to Rowand’s, which led to his unconditional release well before the contract ended.


5. Marco Scutaro | 2B | Age: 37 | San Francisco Giants
Contract: Three years, $20 million | AAV: $6.6 million

Scutaro is a solid player who knows how to play the game and is fundamentally sound. He can turn the double play, make the routine plays, hit and run when called upon and lay down a bunt when needed. And yet, he came to the Giants because of what his teams thought he couldn’t do. In 2011, the Red Sox decided to trade him to the Rockies because they thought he’d lost some range and bat speed. The Rockies traded him to the Giants after only 95 games when they decided his bat was slow and the adjustment back to second base wasn’t going as smoothly as planned. However, once Scutaro became a Giant he put it all together and ended up as the NLCS MVP.

So why not a three-year deal? Scutaro’s performance was only a snapshot of success, a period of time when he played at his optimum level but not a true reflection of the player he’ll be over the next three years. If he was showing signs of decline with both Boston and Colorado, what will he look like at age 39?

This contract is way too risky. They might get one solid year out of Scutaro, but I doubt he’ll be able to give them three years of the level they witnessed last season and in the postseason. Scutaro made about $20 million over the course his entire major league career from 2002-12. And now, at age 37, will make $20 million for the final three years of his career.

To be fair, when Sabean hasn't gone and rewarded Giants players on his own, he's often dumped them on the Dodgers who have been happy to oblige (Jason Schmidt, Juan Uribe). But it was nice not to see the Dodgers, or any other NL West team for that matter, on this list.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Which One of These Doesn't Belong?

From @Dodgers:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Downton Abbey GameThread: Season 3, Episode 2 (9p)

Carson @ Grantham, 9p.

After Lord Grantham lost all his money with last week's Jason Schmidt (an investment gone very bad), it's up to Matthew Crawley to step up and save the home team. And all he has to do is inherit some money from his deceased ex-fiancee's father's estate. (Well, now that he's finally ambulatory, after spending a season on the DL, you'd think that's the least he could do.)

NFL Playoffs GameThread: Seahawks/Falcons, Texans/Patriots

Seahawks @ Falcons, 10a PT

Texans @ Patriots, 1:30p PT

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NFL Playoffs GameThread: Ravens/Broncos, Packers/49ers

Ravens @ Broncos, 1.30p PT

Packers @ 49ers, 5p PT

It's been a while since we've done GameThreads, but let's see what happens here. If nothing else it will help me practice rooting against San Francisco.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pardon Our Dust, Says Janet Marie Smith

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bison + Mac = Imagine the Possibilities

Matt Kemp and Mark McGwire at the Dodgers' Winter Developmental Camp at Camelback Ranch in Arizona.

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers

Mike Piazza Thinks You Hate Him

"We're caught in a trap."

2013 IBWAA Hall of Famer Mike Piazza has been in the news lately. From "Suspicious minds might keep Mike Piazza out of Hall of Fame" by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

Although the decision is the Hall of Fame's, Piazza has said he would want his plaque to depict him wearing a Mets cap.

"He thought he was treated better when he was with the Mets," Lasorda said. "I can’t say anything to him because that's his feeling."

But Lasorda is trying to change Piazza's mind about something else. He wants him to return to Dodger Stadium, something he hasn’t done since retiring in 2008.

The Dodgers wanted to honor Piazza with a bobblehead night last season. Piazza declined the offer.

"He doesn't want to come back because he thinks the fans will boo," Lasorda said. "I've got to make him believe they will not boo."

Piazza received a standing ovation in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a Met, but was booed in subsequent visits.

Lasorda's goal is to get Piazza to work for the Dodgers in an official capacity. He said he introduced Piazza to Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter last year and that Walter took a liking to him.

"I will continue to try to get him here," Lasorda said.

The Mets cap in the Hall of Fame? Understandable — even Tommy won't argue that one. But getting booed as a returning favorite son? Man up and come home, Mike. You have nothing to be afraid of.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Matt Kemp Has Some Cool Fans

Matt Kemp has been campaigning to get on the cover of MLB 13 The Show (vote here!), and some of his higher-profile supporters are helping him to get out the vote:

Dodgers Get A Sandoval Of Our Own

So claims Yardbarker via Fox Sports: Dominican prospect Ariel Sandoval:

A week after signing Mexican prospect Alfredo Amezaga, the Dodgers dipped into international waters once again, signing 17-year-old prospect Ariel Sandoval from the Dominican Republic.

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Sandoval’s signing includes a $150,000 bonus.

“Sandoval is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and impressed the Dodgers with his potential to hit for both average and power from the right side of the plate,” Badler wrote. “He’s an above-average runner who should begin his career in center field, though he has the arm strength to play right field if he outgrows the position.”

So wait, it isn't a fat Ariel? Then I can get back to knowing my fonts:

For Howell, Showing Up Is (A Little Less Than) Half The Battle

Turns out the J.P. "Thurston" Howell deal, whose terms were released today, is pretty incentive-driven, with many incentives based on appearances:

Howell can earn $750,000 based on relief appearances: $75,000 for 50, $125,000 for 55, $150,000 for 60 and $200,000 each for 65 and 70. He also can earn $300,000 for innings; $50,000 each for 50, 55, 65 and 70, and $100,000 for 75.

Howell also has $700,000 in games finished bonuses: $100,000 each for 30, 35 and 40, and $200,000 apiece for 45 and 50.

This collective $1.75M is incremental to the $2.85M one-year deal, I assume. Wow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dodger Stadium Is Gonna Be Sweet Next Year

Just check out the awesome work underway that Stan Kasten and the Guggenheimers have initiated (covered by Beth Harris, AP/Yahoo News):

President and CEO Stan Kasten said Tuesday the goal is to improve the experience for fans while preserving the history of the third-oldest ballpark in the major leagues.

''This is more than a Band-Aid,'' he said. ''I think this will stand up for a very long time.''

Kasten said he planned to talk with Commissioner Bud Selig this week about holding a future All-Star game at the stadium now that it's undergoing one of Hollywood's biggest makeovers. It last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1980, with new ballparks having long surpassed it in the pecking order.

''That will never be an excuse again,'' Kasten said.

He unveiled the changes for the upcoming season - estimated to cost $100 million - as heavy equipment rumbled around the field.

''We do still think we're going to get done by Opening Day, but it's going to be a scramble,'' Kasten said. ''It might leak into the season.''

Among the upgrades are two high-definition video boards in left and right field that will be 22 percent bigger with the original hexagon shape of both being restored; a new sound system that will be heard on the concourses and in the restrooms; and an improved Wi-Fi and cell antenna system so fans can better use their mobile devices inside the ballpark.

The video boards' viewing area will be 66 percent larger, allowing for more video content and stats to be shown. [...]

The changes also include wider concourses; more locations for fans in wheelchairs and their companions; new food stands and menus; and new field level entry plazas and bullpen overlooks to create standing room areas with views of the game.

''You're going to feel like you're in a place that you love,'' Kasten said.

The players haven't been forgotten, either, with major changes to what Kasten described as ''these really awful clubhouse facilities.''

The home clubhouse is being doubled in size, the training and conditioning areas are being expanded, and new batting cages are being installed. The visitors' clubhouse won't be made over, but opposing players will have a weight room and batting cage on their own side for the first time. Previously, visiting teams had to enter the Dodgers' clubhouse to use those areas.

''The players are loving it, and we've involved them every step of the plan,'' Kasten said.

Two to four rows of seats are being removed from the back of the field, loge, reserve and upper reserve levels to create an additional 8 to 15 feet of room for walking the concourses, but it won't change the stadium's capacity of 56,000.

Smith said the Dodgers are going through their historical items and will be putting many on display for the first time, including MVP, Cy Young and Gold Glove awards.

The team's 10 retired numbers will be part of a display at the Top of the Park level behind home plate, while a kids area on the reserve level will include life-sized bobbleheads, and six oversized World Series rings representing each of the Dodgers' championships will be installed on the first base side of the stadium.

The Dodgers had a hot dog taste test on Monday, but Kasten was quick to say they won't be messing around with the famed Dodger Dog.

This stadium upgrade sounds a heck of a lot better and more meaningful for the fans (and players) than Frank McCourt's obsession with secret urinal rooms. Wider concourses, kids area, HD video boards, standing room areas, improved clubhouses (for former players like myself)

This is going to rock. Thanks, Stan!

photo: AP/Reed Saxon

Think Spring

Some beautiful sunsets going on behind Matt Kemp in Arizona (screenshot taken from the Dodgers' website):

I'm starting to get really fired up for 2013.

Dodgers' Pen Mightier; Than The _____? [S-Word]

rbnlaw's favorite ESPN pundit, Buster Olney, has the Dodgers' 2013 bullpen ranked seventh in the majors (the Giants slot in at number five) (link insider only):

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

J.P. Howell agreed to terms with the Dodgers on Friday, another good piece to an already deep bullpen; the left-hander saw his velocity increase markedly in the 2012 season, in his first full year back from shoulder surgery, to the point that his highest radar gun reading came in his last appearance of the season. Don Mattingly's weapons include Brandon League (who posted a 2.30 ERA for the Dodgers after being acquired from Seattle), Kenley Jansen (99 strikeouts in 65 innings despite some heart issues) and Ronald Belisario.

The force of the pens is strong with the NL West, with the Padres coming in ninth and the Diamondbacks in eleventh ("10a"). I'm still waiting for the top ten on flush-free urinals by MLB club, Buster.

Sarah McLachlan and The Plight of Pau Gasol

Via Deadspin, Ballerball Films' video and the post, "Pau Gasol Needs To Be Rescued From The Lakers, And Sarah McLachlan Is Here To Help"

JP Howell and SoSG

Turns out that new reliever J.P. Howell has a lot in common with us here at Sons of Steve Garvey. Picture if you will, a monkey named...Dangles.

Dangles is inspired from a gift Heather Hennessy-Howell received from her husband, J.P. Howell, who is a Major League Baseball pitcher. The book shares the tales of their true-life adventures and travels shared with the beloved monkey.

Inspired by fellow Son Nomo and his reference to Howell's wife, Heather Hennessy, it looks like there will be even more monkeying around next year with the Dodgers.

Bring it on! Dangles, unchained!

Oh, and about that wife:

Monday, January 07, 2013

Dodgers Sign Millionaire Howell

Rather than casting anyone away, the Dodgers are still signing people up: in this case, former Tampa Ray J.P. Howell:

Left-hander J.P. Howell has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for is $2.85 million in base salary, plus performance bonuses, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Howell, 29, had a 3.04 ERA in 50 1/3 innings last season out of the bullpen with the Tampa Bay Rays. He had success against left-handed hitters, who batted a mere .200 against him.

The reliever spent seven seasons with the Rays, posting a 21-22 record with 21 saves and a 4.42 ERA.

Howell joins Brandon League as the second major addition to the Dodgers' bullpen this offseason. League agreed to a three-year deal worth $22.5 million in November.

Actually, League was with the team last year, but I guess ESPN's other "sources" hadn't caught that point yet. More from the Dodgers:

The Dodgers want a veteran lefty because Scott Elbert is returning from elbow surgery and Paco Rodriguez has only one month of Major League experience. Those are the only other lefty relievers on the 40-man roster.

Howell, who attended Southern Cal and the University of Texas at Austin, was a first-round pick of the Royals in 2004 and was traded to the Rays in 2006.

With about 96 people on the roster at this point, spring training is going to be awesome. I can't wait.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

One More ESPN Top Ten: Dodgers Sixth Overall; Giants In Catbird Seat

Building off of Buster's more granular assessments, Olney came up with his overall top ten teams ranking for the 2013 season. And the Dodgers end up sixth (link insider only):

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

NL evaluator: "A tremendous rotation and outfield (if their health keeps), Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, a good bullpen -- and tons of money."

Ah yes, the money thing again. That's certain to be a common cliched harangue (though not a Harang) this year from the national baseball press (both Olney and that other guy).

But in fact, Olney got some yips over his choice of the Giants as the favored ones for 2013:

After the initial power rankings column was posted, with the Giants at No. 1, I got a lot of feedback from readers wondering why I had San Francisco at No. 1, rather than Washington or Detroit or the Dodgers or Reds. Some readers felt that given the questions about Tim Lincecum and other parts of the team, San Francisco doesn't appear to be as good on paper as some other teams.

In my opinion: After winning two titles in the past three years, they've earned the credit we should give them -- and it's evident that the Giants have become very adept at playing in close games, from the depth of their bullpen to the ability of manager Bruce Bochy to maneuver. They may not be as dynamic as the 1976 Reds or the 1927 Yankees, but they've been the best team in the National League playing in close games, and this cannot be dismissed as just luck; it's a trait.

Justin Havens of ESPN Stats & Information dug out these numbers:

In one-run postseason games over the past three years, the Giants are 8-1, which is in keeping with their regular-season success in close games. The Giants are 91-66 in one-run games over the past three regular seasons, which is the second-best mark by win percentage over that span (to Baltimore). It is first, however, in total wins.

Most Wins in One-Run Games (2010-12)

  • Giants 91
  • Reds 87
  • Twins 84
  • Phillies 82
  • Orioles 80

In total, the Giants have a .580 win percentage in one-run games over the past three seasons, while the other 29 teams cumulatively have a .497 win percentage.

I thought that the general rule was that one-run wins, like BABIP, would revert to the mean over time. I'm still thinking this is the Dodgers' division to win in 2013.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Congrats, George!

Not a bad year for George Lucas. First he announced his plans to donate billions to education, and now he's engaged to a lady 25 years his junior.

photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Sizing Up The 2013 Dodgers

It's Top Ten season for's Buster Olney. And the Dodgers don't end up too bad, all things considered.

First up, the pitching rotations. And Buster Olney places ours third in the majors: (link insider only):

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly/Chris Capuano/Aaron Harang/Hyun-Jin Ryu. For Greinke and Beckett, this is the perfect situation, because they don't have the burden of being The Guy. Kershaw is the National League's best pitcher and he fully embraces all that comes with being the staff leader, from the media responsibilities to those moments when retaliation is needed. Greinke and Beckett can just worry about pitching, which is probably how they prefer it to be. The reason the Dodgers are ranked third -- and not higher -- is that it's not really clear what Don Mattingly is going to get out of Billingsley, Lilly or the starting pitcher who isn't dealt.

Linchpin guy: Beckett. Like other veteran starters who have moved from the AL to the NL, he should benefit from the shift, and Beckett is smart and savvy enough to be able to take advantage of those weakest spots at the bottom of the lineup. Beckett had a 2.93 ERA in his seven starts with the Dodgers, after being acquired from Boston, and now he gets a full-season reset button. He could be excellent. It's evident from Beckett's FanGraphs data that he relied a lot more on his cutter in his last few starts; it's a small sample size, but his strikeouts-per-9 ratio jumped from 6.64 with the Red Sox to 7.95 with the Dodgers.

Olney's got Detroit and Washington ahead of us, with only the Giants mentioned from the rest of the NL West (ninth).

Next up, the outfield, where the Dodgers rank fourth (link also insider only):

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

It's the outfield with the most star power, for sure: Matt Kemp in center, flanked by Carl Crawford in left field and Andre Ethier in right. Kemp was plagued by injuries and limited to 106 games, and still managed to hit .303 with 23 homers, and Ethier finished the season with 20 homers and 89 RBIs. Crawford missed almost all of last season with elbow trouble before having Tommy John surgery, and he may not be ready for the very beginning of the 2012 season. If each of the three match their best seasons from the past, this group could be the best in the majors, with power, speed and defense. But a significant factor will be how Ethier and Crawford fare against the parade of left-handers they will see, especially in the later innings of games.

Ethier had an OPS of .606 versus lefties last season, and Crawford had even worse numbers (OPS of .566) against lefties while playing for Boston in 2011. Kemp did a ton of damage against lefties last year, with a 1.105 OPS, and the Dodgers will need him to continue that trend, because he's going to see a ton of lefties while hitting among Crawford, Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez.

Something to remember: The Dodgers' payroll is going to be far beyond the luxury tax, and the team's management has a distinct win-or-bust, Steinbrenneresque style of operation right now. If Crawford or Ethier struggle against lefties and the Dodgers suffer in the standings, it's hard to imagine the front office waiting patiently for them to figure out their swings. They're more likely to pursue a right-handed-hitting outfielder who can help balance the lineup -- which might explain why they were open to retaining Shane Victorino for 2013.

The unknown of Crawford is the key, clearly. Although a fully-healthy Kemp and a consistent performance from Ethier would also come in handy. Victorino? Come on.

Oh yeah, the Angels, Nationals, and A's are ahead of us, with the Diamondbacks at #9.

Infield? We didn't make the top ten (link insider only, if by now you haven't figured this out). Washington snagged #8, and the Giants finagled #9.

Nor did we place in today's post, the top ten lineups. Angels lead the pack, with the Nationals fifth and the Rockies seventh.

Well, two out of four ain't bad (though the Nationals certainly look pretty good, on Olney's paper). The Angels only placed in two of the four top ten lists as well. Let's see how we fare in Olney's next sets of top tens (peanut vendors, concession stand line lengths, and flush-free urinals).

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Giants @ Dodgers April 1 Gets ESPN Audience

Jim Bowden over at ESPN just walked down the hall to give us this news:

I'm a little surprised we beat out Padres / Mets, but okay. I'm still going to be there in person, anyway.

FanFest Reloaded

It must have been a success when they did it last year because it's coming back, and soon:

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Time: 11am-5pm
Location: Dodger Stadium, Lot 6

Join the Dodgers for the 2013 FanFest! FanFest is a free event featuring player autographs, on-stage interviews, a Kids Zone, interactive games, music, and more! Parking Gate C (Golden State Entrance off of Academy Rd via Stadium Way) will open at 10:00am to cars for FanFest.

Are you a Season Ticket Holder? Bring your MVP or other STH proof and get into FanFest at 10:30am!

January 26th is the first day of individual ticket sales! Tickets to all 81 Dodger home games will be available, including Opening Day, Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox games. Parking gates A (Sunset Gate at Sunset and Elysian) and E (Downtown Gate by the 110 fwy) will open at 6:30am for fans interested in purchasing individual tickets. Fans will receive wristbands as they enter Lot G to determine purchase order. Fans MUST receive a wristband by 8:30am if they want to purchase tickets for Opening Day.

Interested in Season Tickets? Meet a sales rep at the Field Level entrance starting at 7am and see season ticket and mini plan locations for the 2013 season!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Linkin' In the New Year

"Hey, gimme five! Get it? Because I'm on the — oh, never mind."

The hot stove has cooled and spring training feels like it's miles away, so here are some links to help you get your Dodgers fix: