Monday, March 31, 2014

Breaking Dodgers News From USA Today

The Dodgers, apparently, have a large payroll this year.

"Opening Day" Game(s) Thread: Just About Everybody But The Dodgers vs. Just About Everybody Else

Whatever, MLB on FOX. In my mind, Opening Day is the first day real baseball is played. (I also like how they missed that I was joking.)'s a thread to talk about today's games if you're so inclined. No one can catch the Dodgers today.

A Call to Arms

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Post-Game 3 Thread: See You in TJ

Padres 3, Dodgers 1

Our own Dusty Baker's Toothpick, my second cousin once removed, summed it up nicely tonight:
"...our offense sucks big donkey [redacted]...Tijuana style..."
Although Ryu got off to a shaky start, he righted the ship and pitched a jewel, only for the Dodgers' noffense to shit the bed. Clinging to a one-run lead thanks to a Carl Crawford RBI, the bullpen collapsed under the weight of Brian Wilson's new, modified beard, allowing a solo Seth Smith home run and some Chris Denorfia RBIs.

I don't begrudge anyone their home opener, but...yeah, I do. I wanted this one. The team has an off day tomorrow to think about what is and what should have been.

Game 3 Thread: March 30 @ Padres, 5p

Hey MLB Graphics Dept.: We're available!

Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 0.00) vs. Andrew Cashner (Morse code).

Welcome to Opening Day! Opening Evening, really. Actually, it's the second of three Opening events for the Dodgers. They beat the Diamondbacks what seems like years ago and April 4 brings the Dodgers' home opener, when they'll already be 5-0.

If you're a non-TWC subscriber, this evening's game is the last chance you'll get to see the Dodgers on TV until Stan Kasten blows a gasket and goes postal on DirecTV and Comcast. Unfortunately, that means no Vin unless you want to suffer dread sync issues.

Oh, and Clayton Kershaw is on the DL. Is this a referendum on Qantas' business-class seats? Start an investigation!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Freeway Series Game 3 Thread: March 29 vs. Angels, 6p

Dan Haren vs. Tyler Skaggs

This is about as much as we can tout tonight's game, which is mercifully the last exhibition/Spring Training game that is strangely trapped between regular season games Down Under and our stateside opener in San Diego tomorrow. Not a lot of regular players from either team are likely to figure, at least for very long, but nonetheless we'll dutifully follow along.

Real one tomorrow, but let's squeeze some blood out of the proverbial turnip tonight. It's at Anaheim and covered by the Angels TV provider, thus most of us should be able to watch. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

First Thoughts on Dodger Stadium Enhancements

The Dustettes and I were filled with anticipation to attend our first game at Dodger Stadium this year. Albeit an exhibition game, we wanted to use the opportunity to scout out all the new highly-touted stadium enhancements. I can report that our expectations were far exceeded.

The first thing we noticed was the brand spanking new asphalt in the parking lot. Bright new lines are now painted in a pattern that make far more logical sense than the old "system" did. In the parking area we were directed to after entering the Sunset gate, the lines run north south now, not east-west. (This is tedium that only people like the Sons and its readers pay attention to, I realize.) Moreover, there were plenty of overly-friendly parking attendants directing people to specific spots to maximize parking space.

Entering on the Loge Lounge area, I always stop off to grab a drink from my favorite bar lady at the Loge Lounge. Alas, she wasn't there! I was lost. I even asked the staff where she was and they didn't seem to know. I was bummed as it is a seasonal ritual to greet the same bar lady and chat with her. Nonetheless I grabbed a drink.

The first thing I wanted to try out, and one of the most eagerly-anticipated enhancements was a working WiFi system. Check! Sign-in was smooth, speed was great, and being on WiFi saved precious iPhone battery life as I tweeted out masterful insight to the masses. The only drawback - and this could easily be my iPhone 4S shitting the bed at the end of its life cycle - was that after a while, I would be kicked out of WiFi and would have to manually sign back in. It could also be a load balancing exercise in their system, which may not be the worst idea. Overall, solid experience that we've all been clamoring for. The real test of course will be when the system has to hold up to an Opening Day crowd all trying to get on WiFi.

One of the best feelings in the world is to sit down in one's own season ticket seats. As a season ticket virgin, the experience was even more meaningful. These are MY seats, dammit! I love my Loge Level section view and the seats are on the aisle of a short section so there won't be a lot of people walking in front of me all year.

One of the biggest question marks I had going into the night was how I would react to the new placement of retired number signs. They are now located on the rail along the Club Level above left field. They actually look nice there for the people who have the angle to see them, but I fear there are large chunks of sections that can't see them at all as they could when the signs were up under the Pavilion roofs. I get it...progress and all and of course there is now advertising where the old placement was. I guess I'll look at it as a down payment on Kershaw's contract.
Another thing I immediately noticed was the right field scoreboard, instead of having a Miller Lite of 76 or whatever ad in the round area atop the scoreboard, there is simply a Dodger "LA" logo. I don't know if that means they haven't sold an ad yet or if that's going to be the sign, but I hope they keep the LA. It looks majestic there.
Given that by the fourth inning or so we were down 4-0 and Zack Lee was smelling up the place, and that it was an exhibition game, and that we were massively hungry, we decided to go walkabout and explore other areas of the stadium. First off, finding the stairs leading down to the Field Level - and hence the new common area near LFP, was difficult. We went to where we assumed they would be near the leftmost bathrooms on the edge of the Loge Level, but didn't see anything. So went went to the central staircase we knew existed. The steward wouldn't let us walk down from there and pointed us back to where we had first tried. So we went back and after a moment noticed a set of unmarked doors that looked like our ticket downward. Sure enough, we were finally on our way. This part seems like a big duh, and of course once you know where the doors to the stairs are it will be easy, but there is absolutely no signage near there to indicate it's the way to the new zillion dollar stadium enhancement that they hope you will take advantage of. Minor, but come on folks, do a walk-through and notice the details (which they have in so many other ways).

The stairs dump you out right at the the new LFP bar area. God I loved typing that sentence. This was one of several moments when I got a little teary during the game. They absolutely knocked this part out of the park. The bullpen overlook is great; there are places to stand and look and there are other seats right over the bullpen. Options for everyone. There is a full bar with stools all around and some tables/seating nearby. The most beautiful part is that the Three Sisters as we reported have been returned to their rightful place, and are now actually part of the sidewalk in the area in a way that one can walk up and stroke each sister.

Moving from LFP to RFP area, we passed the new Think Blue BBQ. Can't wait to try it, but last night we were hellbent on trying out Tommy's new Italian-themed joint. Infrastructure-wise, all this area described above and the area as one moves from LFP to RFP area are now enclosed as part of the stadium itself, not open with old asphalt and concrete planters as in the past. Thus, one can (as the press release said) walk around the entirety of the stadium after having entered anywhere. This part just felt like a modern stadium (while of course still preserving what is right about a venerable old park).

The RFP area mirrors the LFP area in terms of setup (so easy heckling of the visiting pitchers). We grabbed some pizza slices at Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria and headed for the nearby tables to enjoy some cheesy goodness. Dying of thirst from our long walk around the back of the Yard, I sauntered to the adjacent bar to grab a beer. Lo and behold, my beer lady was there! This was another point at which I wept. Her eyes brightened as she recognized me and we exchanged warm greetings as I ordered a Goose Island IPA. Turns out they asked her to move to this back bar (key note: the bar is called Blue Heaven on Earth - another tear was shed when Mrs. Dusty in Law pointed that out) to help get it up and running but she'll be there all season. The great thing about this story line is that there were guys to my left and to my right who had the same experience, having missed her at the Loge Lounge and found her here. I think it really tickled her.
It was at the RFP area above the visitor's bullpen where we were sitting as the earthquake hit. Most everyone around us also being Angelenos, we just sort of looked around at each other and acknowledged what was happening (because it seemed to go on and on), then went back to watching the game. I can report that bar patrons did not even hesitate at all trying to get their orders in. LA is not as soft as the rest of the country would have you think.

By the way, there are nice flat screen TVs everywhere so keeping up with the game wherever you are is very easy. Far cry from the McCourt era tiny, analog, picture tube TVs hanging here and there in the concourses. Again, well done, Dodgers.

As the game moved toward a close, we decided to go back up to the Loge Level to do some shopping. Notably, the signage for finding the up staircase was well placed and clear.

The many team stores around the stadium feature a lot of new sweet gear that we felt we needed to indulge in. A new cap for the season for Mrs. Dusty and me, a hoodie for me, the new 2014 yearbook featuring Vin on the cover. Thankfully it was payday yesterday for us.
I was proud of the fact that 39,000 or so showed up for a meaningless exhibition game, and even prouder that at least half of them stayed to the end and into extra innings.

Exiting the parking lot was logical and orderly. We were directed by someone who actually knew what they were talking about and the newly-implemented traffic flow seemed to make a ton of sense to pipe people out of the parking area. Again, the true test will be a sold-out Opening Day, but all signs point to a much better system than in previous years.

Overall, it was a terrific stadium experience that I believe people will really enjoy and appreciate. There will always be glitches and refining needed and personal gripes, but the Dodgers should really be praised for doing so much in the offseason and putting so much money into it.

Drop us a comment in the next several days when you have had a chance to experience the new enhancements and let us know what your reaction was.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Rundown with Steve Garvey - 100 Tickets Only

From a Tommy Bahama press release:

Tommy Bahama Presents “The Rundown with Steve Garvey” Speaker Series with Special Guests Tommy Davis and Maury Wills

WHAT: Steve Garvey hosts a new Speaker Series with special guests Tommy Davis and Maury Wills in Tribute to Jackie Robinson and Major League Baseball

WHEN: Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 5:30-8:30pm

WHERE: Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, The Garden on El Paseo, 73-595 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

For tickets call: 760-836-0188

Tommy Bahama presents “The Rundown with Steve Garvey” with special guests Tommy Davis and Maury Wills in a tribute to Jackie Robinson and Major League Baseball. A lively Q&A and meet and greet with these charismatic baseball greats will be held on Tuesday, April 15 from 5:30-8:30pm at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Palm Desert. The evening will benefit the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), an organization founded to assist members of the "Baseball Family" in need. A portion of the proceeds from the event and 10% of all retail sales made in the Tommy Bahama Palm Desert store on April 15th will be donated to BAT.

The event takes place on Jackie Robinson Day, and these three Dodger favorites are coming together in a rare appearance to honor the one and only Robinson! MVP Steve Garvey played 14 seasons with the Dodgers, was a 1981 World Series Champion, a 10 time All Star, and still holds the National League record for most consecutive games played. Maury Wills played 12 seasons with the Dodgers, was a three time World Series champion, and is a base stealing legend. Tommy Davis was with the Dodgers for eight seasons, was a 1963 World Series champion, and holds two National League batting titles.

Guests will meet Steve, Tommy and Maury, take pictures with them (bring your camera!), and receive a Rawlings baseball autographed by all three of these baseball greats! Afterwards, Steve will host a fun and informative Q&A session where Tommy and Maury will take questions from the audience about their lives in baseball, the upcoming MLB season, and of course the legendary Jackie Robinson.

“The Rundown with Steve Garvey” is a new speaker series that will be held at Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Palm Desert. Each event will feature baseball greats and professional athletes in a small, intimate setting, sharing stories about their lives in sports and the relevant issues in the sports world today. It’ll be a night any sports fan won’t want to miss. The series begins on April 15 with the Tribute to Jackie Robinson and MLB, followed by an event on May 15 with Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.

Appetizers and signature cocktails will be served throughout the evening. Only 100 tickets will be sold for this incredible evening. Tickets are $195 and can be purchased by calling 760-836-0188.

Only 100 tickets? That's pretty exclusive, Dad. Let us know if you know someone's who's lucky enough to go!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Freeway Series Game 1 Thread: March 27 vs. Angels, 7p

Zack Greinke vs. Hector Santiago.

At last, Dodger baseball returns to where it belongs! (No, not your TV sets...yet. Though, the Angels broadcast is available everywhere in L.A.) The Dodgers start the first of three more meaningless games while they hold onto their two-game advantage over the rest of baseball.

Sure, the game doesn't mean anything, but it's still DODGER BASEBALL IN DODGER STADIUM. Really, nothing beats it. Plus, fans will get their first chance to try out the stadium enhancements. Will the re-opening of the Scott Ave. gate have any impact on traffic flow? Will the paperless tickets and parking passes be a technical nightmare? Will the wi-fi FINALLY work?

If you're going tonight, drop us a line in the comments. Be sure to try the cannoli!

Photo: Scott Killeen

Get Yer Dodger Stadium Enhancements Here!

Per a Dodgers press release, many changes are ready for the masses to begin the new season. I'm glad the front office continues to make major enhancements and upgrades, and we should all be thankful they are prioritizing spending in and around the Yard. Most of them sound terrific and I'm looking forward to seeing everything in person on Friday night. The only thing I'm apprehensive about is the new placement of the retired numbers. I loved being able to look out at the pavilion rooftops and be able to give a quiet nod to say, Pee Wee Reese. Now with the new placement, only a portion of the stadium will be able to see the retired numbers at any given time.

We've seen visual of some of the new changes thanks to Team Killeen, and now here is an exhaustive list of enhancements from the official press release:
LOS ANGELES -- When the Dodgers play host to the Los Angeles Angels in the Freeway Series Thursday and Friday nights, the second round of enhancements to 52-year-old Dodger Stadium will be unveiled. True to their promise to improve the team on and off the field, Dodger ownership has invested more than $150 million on stadium upgrades for fans and players in the last two off-seasons.

Enhancements for 2014 for Dodger Stadium, the third oldest park in Major League Baseball, include:

Expansion of the entries at the field level, enabling all fans with Pavilion, Dugout, Field, Loge and Club tickets to enter the convenient entrances on the north side of the stadium. This will lead to two new 25,000 square-foot plazas in right and left field. Each plaza will house a 5,000 square-foot new team store, tickets and concessions space, as well as memorabilia to celebrate Dodgers history.

Seating and lounging areas at bars and drink rails overlooking the bullpens in the outfield, giving focus to pitchers warming up, as well as infield game views. The new bars, presented and programmed by Anheuser Busch, are hexagon shaped, just like the unique Dodger Stadium scoreboards, and they will have TV monitors for keeping up with the game action.

A new fenced walkway within the gates will allow fans to migrate between the new right and left-field plazas. For the first time at Dodger Stadium, fans on the field level will be able to do a 360 degree interior walk. Fans, whose seats are on the loge and club levels, by using the staircases at the far ends of the buildings, will also have the ability to navigate the entire circumference of the stadium. Not only will this allow fans to more easily access both sides of the plazas, it should also ease traffic on the concourses.

The new plaza area will be a great spot for fans to come to the stadium early and enjoy many activities throughout the season. Included among the activities will be balloon makers, arts and crafts tables for youngsters, face painters, airbrush tattoos, Dodger player cutouts for photo opportunities, KLAC live broadcasts, Dodger Alumni autograph signings, DJs and music.

New food services with outdoor grills and specialty fare will be located in the plaza area. Tommy Lasorda's Italian Trattoria, where the Hall of Fame manager and other former players will spend time with the fans, will be located on the right-field area of the plaza.

The hot-off-the-grill THINK BLUE BBQ will be located on the left-field area of the plaza.

The left and right-field entry ways will feature photo moments, Dodger memorabilia, five-foot diameter World Series rings, an eight-foot replica of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, a life-size statue of the iconic Farmer John Dodger Dog and interactive replicas of the 76 ball, both Dodger partners for more than 50 years.

A clock in left field will greet fans with Vin Scully's signature line, "It's Time for Dodger Baseball."

The right-field plaza will be dotted with blue lights in homage to Tommy Lasorda's name for Dodger Stadium, "Blue Heaven on Earth." And Tommy's Italian Trattoria will also feature a life-size bobblehead of the Hall of Fame manager.

The Dodgers will have a new Team Store located in the left-field plaza area and a New Era Store located in the right-field plaza area. The plaza areas in left and right field will feature new Hello Kitty locations. Two other new retail stores-one on the left-field Reserve Level has been converted to an Exclusive Majestic Store and the other at the Lexus Dugout Club lobby will also be a new Majestic Store. The new stores in the plazas replace the outfield tents previously located near the pavilions in left and right field. The loge level will feature a NIKE team store on the left-field side along with an American Needle store at section 151. A 47brand store will be on the right-field Loge side along with a small NEW ERA store at section 150. The official team store located on the Top Deck now houses a custom shop where you can customize hats, bats and jerseys. Pricing on on-field merchandise is unchanged and still the lowest price place to get AC fitted Hat and Diamond ERA headwear as well as all official jerseys both blank and player specific.

The popular Reserve Level "LA Taqueria" stand near the kids play area at the left field Reserve entry has been enlarged to better serve fans.

Fans will be connected and enjoy a new state of the art wireless system throughout Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers upgraded the electrical infrastructure and added new equipment and substations in 2013. Work continued in the offseason to connect the new equipment to improve safety and provide the best technology available for fans.

Time Warner Cable is transforming the Left Field Pavilion to become TWC Studios Live and On Location at Dodger Stadium. In this new interactive space, fans will also have the chance to participate in photo activations, win tickets and other exciting prizes throughout the season.

Three new season seat opportunities-the Executive Club Level, featuring in-seat service, the Stadium Club rail seating, including food and non-alcoholic beverages, and the Loge Party boxes with seating for six, eight or 10. The Executive Club Level, located down the left-field line, will feature a new food and drink menu and a new bar and concessions area.

Other enhancements fans will notice on Opening Day and throughout the season include:

The circular displays honoring the 10 retired numbers in Dodger history have moved from the outfield pavilion overhangs to the left-field Club Level balcony, in a placement that will parallel the World Series banners on the right-field side of the club level.

Enhancement of the ballpark's landscaping. The palm trees known as the Three Sisters, which were temporarily moved to protect them during the renovations, are back beyond the bullpen.

More than 90 new trees are part of the new plaza area, greater than three times the number previously in this area. The 30-plus trees removed from the area have been relocated on site to the downtown Gate B entrance and along the Top Deck berms framing the views of the downtown skyline from Dodger Stadium's picturesque Top Deck.

The Dodgers are improving vehicular and pedestrian access to Dodger Stadium. There will be dedicated pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes leading into the entrances formerly designed for autos only, as well as new lights, signage and circulation patterns on resurfaced parking lots. The Stadium Way Gate B (formerly Scott Avenue) will be open to assist traffic flow. Access to the gate is only from Stadium Way and will not be permitted from directly through the Echo Park neighborhood on Scott Avenue. A media campaign will encourage use of MTA buses on Sunset Blvd., the Gold Line in Chinatown and the Dodger Stadium Express at Union Station. The Dodger Stadium Express will have two stops in 2014-behind the pavilions and a new stop at the Top Deck, Lot P.

In an effort to improve traffic flow at all Dodger Stadium entrances, the Dodgers are encouraging fans to purchase parking passes in advance online to eliminate transaction time at each entrance. Fans purchasing parking in advance will pay $10 for general parking and $35 for premium parking, a savings of $5 and $15 over paying upon arrival, respectively.

The Dodgers' main entrance, Sunset Blvd. Gate A, along Elysian Park Avenue, will feature a dedicated pedestrian entrance with new lighting in an effort to encourage fans to utilize parking lots 13 and 14 along Stadium Way and the Number 2 and 4 buses along Sunset Blvd.

Every Sunday home game will feature live musical performances on the Reserve Level Plaza areas.

Phase two of a new visiting team clubhouse was completed. Additional enhancements are planned.

Building materials that defined Dodger Stadium in 1962 were carefully researched and used in the creation of all new construction. These included scored, patterned concrete block, corrugated metal and folded roofing similar to the outfield pavilions.

The Dodgers are implementing a paperless ticket program for season and mini-plan holders. Fans will be able to utilize their smart phones to gain entrance to Dodger Stadium as all gates will be equipped with digital turnstiles.

The restrooms in the former 76 station in center field are being expanded and made ADA accessible for use by fans that are on site, but outside the gates.

The two clubs on the left and right Field Level will be the Ketel One Baseline Clubs and the area at the Top of the Park featuring the Dodgers' retired numbers is the Bank of the America Retired Numbers Plaza.

Enhancements completed in 2013 included: a new expanded player clubhouse; fan amenities like large, new restrooms on every level, new plazas on the Top Deck and Reserve Level featuring kids' areas, new team stores and specialty foods at the Elysian Park Grill and LA Taqueria; wider concourses with field views on each level with standing room and wheel chair positions; as well as state of the art scoreboards and ribbon boards and a new sound system.

Architects for the projects include D'Agostino Izzo & Quirk (Boston), Los Angeles-based Brenda Levin & Associates and Los Angeles landscape architects Mia Lehrer & Associates. PCL Construction of Glendale, CA, is construction manager.

Greetings from Our Sister Site:

Ever wonder what happens when typing in ?

Wonder no more.

I thought it was just our site, directly translated.

As the translation shows... it ain't.

Apologies if - after clicking on the site - you get Chinese spam for the next year.

Mmmm.... Garlic Spam.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aaaannnnd Here We Go with the Injuries

Per Ken Gurnick, Kid K out with an inflamed back, and scratched from his scheduled Sunday start.
LOS ANGELES -- Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched from Sunday night's start because of an inflamed teres major muscle, which stabilizes the upper arm near the upper back.

Kershaw underwent an MRI on Wednesday that showed the inflammation. A Dodgers news release indicated that Kershaw complained of discomfort playing catch at Tuesday's workout. He wouldn't say if he felt the discomfort while throwing 102 pitches in the season-opening win in Australia.

"Whatever Donnie said is what we'll go with," said Kershaw, referring to manager Don Mattingly, who said the first the club heard about the injury was Tuesday.

Kershaw will miss Sunday night's game with the Padres.
And KangaRyu has toenail fungus or a hangnail or some shit.
Ryu played light catch during the Dodgers' workout on Tuesday, but didn't participate in fielding practice. He was scheduled to see a podiatrist later in the day. Ryu's spot would likely be taken by Dan Haren or Paul Maholm.

"Yeah, I'm concerned," Mattingly said. "It's not a long-term thing, but it could set us back and make us change the rotation we've been talking about."
To go all Karina/positive with my thinking, at least it's happening now and not down the stretch. We're all just sensitive since we've been hit with the inure bug repeatedly this last couple of seasons. And because they have to start tossing out names like Paul Maholm and Dan Haren.

In non-inury but somewhat notable news, looks like Javy Guerra (White Sox) and Rule 5 Draft acquisition Seth Rosin (Rangers) are in the Dodgers' rearview mirror. Javy pitched some good games for us two seasons ago and seemed to be an all-around good guy. Good luck, Javy.

Juan Uribe with the Between-the-Legs Transfer

Video by Scott Killeen. Thanks, Scott!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Blue Heaven From Scott

A few more shots from Scott Killeen's visit to Dodger Stadium yesterday. Thanks again, Scott!

Note: The Dodgers will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new outfield plaza tomorrow.


New ticket windows. The old free-standing booths are gone.

New food option.

New welcome sign at Sunset gate.

The Three Sisters live!

I wonder if Scott managed to swipe this.

Re-striped parking, but what's going on in the lower left?

P. Diddy Has Got Your ESPN Classic Hookup

Thanks to Prof. Dittmore for pointing this out on ESPN Classic:

Set your DVRs!

Segundo on the Barbie: Late Night w/ the Dodgers

Joining Nomo and Team Killeen, #ineedmydelino ventured over the hill and down the 110 to Time Warner, El Segundo. Let me just say I have found the new gold standard for watching baseball from 1am to 5am. Thanks to our wonderful hosts at Time Warner Sportsnet, we got to eat and drink like kings. At least, local kings at Dodgers stadium... with an open bar.

The perfect menu for watching a game during the witching hour.
My personal goal was to pack on a Puig 26... but after Aussie beer three and meat product number four, I hit the wall.

Picture and boomerang provided by Sir Killeen.
We even got some face time with one of the all time greats, the (real) OREL!!!

Orel and Time Warner management. Woman not affiliated with either.

There was a game too... as the Dodgers showed the strength of a Vegemite sandwich and the dexterity of a Dingo. Actually, I'm not sure if these are accurate statements, having never tasted either. But the Dodgers won. The local Aussie fans won. And Sportsnet won... our admiration and appreciation.

Makes we want to switch to Time Warner tomorrow... but I think DirectTV has ways of dealing with those who break contract early.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blue Heaven on Earth Awaits

Thanks as always to Scott Killeen!

Sydney Takeaways

Mark Saxon goes through some of the things the Dodgers may have learned from their two games in Australia:

You can't make sweeping generalizations about two games of a season, but you can draw a hazy conclusion or two:

  • The starting pitching, at least at the top, is strong. The Diamondbacks took a blow just before they came to Australia when they learned young lefty Patrick Corbin had an elbow injury. But remember, the Dodgers were without Zack Greinke, who stayed behind in Arizona after his spring was delayed by a sore calf. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu got the Dodgers off to a roaring start in both games, giving up one run in 11 ⅔ innings combined. "When your pitching's this good, you really don't want to allow teams to get back in games," Mattingly sad.
  • Which brings us to the biggest worry, once again: infield defense. Hanley Ramirez made a poor decision trying to step on second base to start a double play when he could have shoveled to Dee Gordon at least to get an out at second. Everybody was safe. Gordon dropped a liner right in his glove. Stopping balls hit up the middle is crucial and might become a long-term worry. Then again, the games were played on a lightning-fast infield, so perhaps we should withhold judgment.
  • Second base could be fine. Gordon looked like a catalyst in Sunday's game, sparking almost all of the Dodgers' scoring action. "I'll do what I can to be the starting second baseman and show they can trust me to be the guy every day," Gordon said afterward. Justin Turner looks like a solid right-handed half of a Gordon-Turner platoon. The Dodgers can be patient and allow Alex Guerrero to develop at Triple-A as long as the platoon works. Good early signs.
  • The bullpen should be good. Relief pitching was awful Sunday. The first five relievers in the game for the Dodgers gave up seven walks among them. Then again, some of those guys won't even be on the team in a week, as the Dodgers scramble to find roster spots for Greinke, Dan Haren, Brandon League and Carl Crawford. When the three top relievers, Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, pitched in Saturday's game, it was lights-out. Jansen did allow a Mark Trumbo home run Sunday but cut him some slack. It was a non-save situation.

photo swiped from here

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Post-Game 2 Thread: Small Sample Size in Sydney

At this rate, the Dodgers are on pace for a 162-0 season, following a 7-5 victory over the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Grounds (their second in two days). The Dodgers also lead all of MLB in wins in Australia (suck it, Giants!). And the new lineup Donnie went with today worked offensive magic (too bad we didn't know this for Game 1, as the over/under for that game was 6.5, and my friend chose the under).

Dee Gordon led off and went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs. Yasiel Puig went 3-for-5 with a double and one run. Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier each had RBI, and Juan Uribe dropped to the eight hole and went 3-for-5 with a double of his own (and not a double cheeseburger, either). Hyun-Jin Ryu went five innings but gave up only two hits and 0 ER, and if not for a shaky four-run ninth inning, the Dodgers would have made this one look very, very easy in Australia.

We've got heaps of pictures to show from this game (some of which we were tweeting live during the game at @sosgsosg), but this is one of the angles from the O'Reilly Stand which has the SCG Members Club in the background. Note the open seats; today's game seemed a lot less crowded than yesterday's season opener (to be fair, Clayton Kershaw is a much better draw). But the merchandise lines were still batshit crazy. More pictures, and stories, for future posts.

For now, the Dodgers open up a two game lead on everyone in the NL West. Get some sleep, boys! Oh, and speaking of small sample size:

Adrian Gonzalez, leading the league in stolen bases.

Dee Gordon, leading the league in offensive power categories.