Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dodgers Add LHP Kazmir, RHP Kenta to K Krew

And these guys should actually pass their physicals!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Adventures Of Kiké Hernandez, Twitter Farter

Thanks to SoSG reader Mr. F for this nugget (probably not the right word to be using here, but you get the idea).

Dodgers utility infielder tweeted this, which made people think he was traded (not to mention the comment, below):

Yikes! So Kiké then tweeted this:

Whoops. Don't fart and tweet, Kiké!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoiler-Free) Review

If there is one movie that we've mentioned most during the course of this blog's nine-year journey, it's Star Wars. And with the first Star Wars movie release during this fine blog's tenure, it's only fitting that we give Episode VII: The Force Awakens a little bit of love.

Through manipulating the space-time continuum, I was able to watch this movie early...and came away not disappointed whatsoever.

All of the foundations that we fondly recall from the original trilogy is there, in Episode VII: the epic scope of the story; the evil villain and his legion; the prevailing hope of the light side of the force. The space battle scenes are dizzying, with amazing camera angles and speeds. The fancical creatures nonchalantly wandering through the background, unlike in the prequel trilogy less dependent upon CGI wizardry, seem believable and almost comfortable. The planet landscapes fill the viewer with awe (especially in 3D). The primary droid character, BB-8, is adorable. And all of the main actors: Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo, have solid acting chops that surpass the expectations from their short resumes (Rey and Finn, in particular, were both really strong and extremely believable).

I loved the fact that there are multiple winks back to the original trilogy, from commonly said lines to a cantina scene that echoes Mos Eisley, to humorous turns used to cut the tension at appropriate times. Having familiar characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Nien Nunb, and even Admiral Ackbar re-take the main stage, is a wonderful throwback (and I imagine, for the seven people who haven't seen the original trilogy, might be a little hard to follow). But it's like the Han Solo line from the early Episode VII trailer: when he says to Chewie "we're home", one can't help but feel nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside just like we did 32 to 37 years ago.

And one gets that feeling right from the opening sequence, which dutifully follows the opening horizon-line fading words canon, into a pretty fast-paced, J.J. Abrams-typical quick-character development scene. One understands good and bad right from the start, and your introduction to two key characters comes effortlessly. And the pacing isn't always quick from then on in, but it does find the right places to crescendo.

If there's any complaint I had--and it is a mild one--it's that Episode VII plays it extremely safe. On many of the scenes, you can tell far in advance where they are going, often because the sets are either deliberately derivative or the constructs seem way too obvious (for example, as one planet starts to crumble, the earth is obviously going to separate two warring characters). It doesn't hurt the tension any, or make the dramatic parts any less meaningful or impactful. But there didn't seem to be many of those killer world-rocking twists like we had at the end of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (that said, Episode VIII is perfectly set up for at least one, if not two, killer plot reveals and / or twists).

But I guess the most important thing is, J.J. Abrams (and co-writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt) successfully reignited all of the majesty of the original trilogy, almost making one forget the dramatic and plot-dragging missteps of the prequels. They've been able to put together a good story that should spark imagination, curiosity, and excitement in a whole new generation of fans, while paying great reverence and respect to the past. I can't wait to take my kids, and see if their eyes light up just like mine did back in 1977.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gospel Of Stan Kasten Decrees Utley Signing Might Not Be Complete Off-Season Panacea

As we adjourn the Winter Meetings, with the Dodgers having done nothing of note while divisional rivals place big bets, one might think that the Dodgers are settled with merely their Chase Utley signing. Not so, sayeth Stan Kasten:

Bottom line

"The big picture is not complete yet." -- CEO Stan Kasten

And there you have it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dodgers Prepare For 36-Year Old Utley's Return By Extending Safety Netting Around Home Plate

Hours after re-signing Chase Utley to a one-year deal, the Dodgers announced they will extend the safety netting around home plate. Coincidence? I think not:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Dodgers will extend the netting at Dodger Stadium in accordance with new safety recommendations issued by Major League Baseball, the club announced on Wednesday.

The screen behind home plate will be extended to cover the seating area between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate and within 70 feet of home plate. [...]

Said President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, "There's just no way Utley is catching up to big-league fastballs, not at his age. We want to make sure our fans don't get clocked in the noggin by a late-swing foul ball."

Fans with field level seats behind the Dodgers' third-base dugout will also be asked to stay alert during Utley ABs.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Utley Deal Complete: Dodgers Confident About Strong Core

In the same article that speaks of the official signing of Chase Utley's $7M, one-year deal, Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers, even less Cy Young runner up Zack Greinke (and possibly also sans Howie Kendrick), were still "solid":

As Friedman talked about the composition of his roster, he offered this reminder: The Dodgers still have a solid foundation.

Their roster remains stocked with several players with All-Star experience, including Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal, Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson.

"We're really excited about the core we have in place," Friedman said. "The core group of guys, we feel, is a championship-caliber core."

Even if the Dodgers don't make any significant additions over the remainder of the off-season, Friedman believes their nucleus is strong enough to lead them to another NL West championship.

"Yeah, definitely," he said.

Yeah, okay.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Samardzija Signs With Giants, Saving SoSG From Inevitable Typos Every Fifth Day

With Jeff Samardzija going to the Giants, San Francisco picks up a starter who went 1-8 with a 9.24 ERA for a stretch of last season:

The San Francisco Giants landed a top-tier starter to complement ace Madison Bumgarner, agreeing with free-agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija on a five-year, $90 million contract Saturday, a day after losing out on pitcher Zack Greinke.

The Giants said a formal announcement will come once Samardzija passes a physical, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Samardzija chose the Giants over the Dodgers and Cardinals, a source told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

This marks the third large contract for a pitcher this week. David Price joined the Boston Red Sox on a $217 million, seven-year deal, then on Friday night Greinke chose the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Giants and three-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, his former team. Greinke's deal is for six years, according to ESPN and media reports, and is worth a total of $206 million, a source told ESPN's Pedro Gomez.

Samardzija joined the White Sox via trade at the 2014 winter meetings to take over as the club's No. 2 starter, only to have an inconsistent 2015 season.

Heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, he delivered 10 consecutive starts of at least seven innings. After not being traded at the deadline, he immediately went 1-8 with a 9.24 ERA over his next nine starts.

To their credit, I suppose, at least the Giants have deployed Plan B (post-Greinke). I'm sure we've got something up our sleeves. Unless Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi are into short-sleeved shirts, that is.

Uh oh.

Iwakuma Set To Fill Greinke Spot

Okay, that may be a bit much. But early reports have Hisashi Iwakuma headed to the Dodgers, right before the Nashville Winter Meetings:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Scrambling after losing Zack Greinke to the D-backs, the Dodgers on Sunday reportedly agreed to terms with free-agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and free-agent infielder Chase Utley, and were trying to trade for Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman on the eve of the annual Winter Meetings.

The Dodgers did not confirm any of the reports, and the free-agent agreements would be pending physical exams.

Reports have Iwakuma agreeing to a three-year, $45 million deal, a response to the loss of Greinke, as it will mean forfeiture of the Dodgers' first-round Draft pick because Iwakuma rejected a qualifying offer from the Mariners. He was 9-5 with a career-high 3.54 ERA in 2015, and he will be 35 years old next season. The Dodgers did receive a compensatory pick after the first round for losing Greinke. [...]

Iwakuma would join Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood in the rotation, with Hyun-Jin Ryu a question mark as he tries to return from shoulder surgery. The Dodgers are expected to continue shopping for starting pitching, most likely via trade, and have already been rumored to be interested in Miami's Jose Fernandez, among others.

Many of the better free-agent starting pitchers (David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Jeff Samardzija, John Lackey) have already gone to other clubs.

[oooh, snap!]

Because the needs are now so great, management might have no choice but to fill holes through trades, perhaps involving outfielder Yasiel Puig or Jansen. Outfielders Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, as well as infielder Alex Guerrero, could also be shopped.

The right-handed Iwakuma battled injuries the past two seasons -- a sprained finger in 2014 and a strained lat muscle in 2015 -- limiting him to 179 and 129 1/3 innings, respectively. But when healthy, he has pitched well, going 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in four seasons with the Mariners after a 12-year career in Japan. He also tossed a no-hitter this past season.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Dodgers In The Hunt For Chapman

Not this Chapman, I hope.

On the eve of Nashville's Winter Meetings, the Dodgers are apparently close to signing Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the Reds:

There is growing confidence in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization that the team will be able to finish a trade for Cincinnati Reds All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, a source told ESPN's Buster Olney.

Fox Sports earlier reported that the sides were progressing on a deal, with sources saying the Dodgers would be sending prospects to the Reds for Chapman, the hard-throwing 27-year-old from Cuba.

Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said last month that he hoped to move the closer before the winter meetings, which will take place this week in Nashville, Tennessee. [...]

Los Angeles already has an established closer, with Kenley Jansen recording 36 saves in 2015 and 44 in 2014.

And there's the kicker. I'm not sure what the benefit of adding Chapman is; it certainly has seemed like the Dodgers tend to bulk up in areas where we have too many options already (see: outfield). But assembling a team shouldn't be like going to Costco, in that 100 lbs of mayonnaise doesn't mean much if you don't have any bread.

Not that Chapman is a bad piece, however. Would be interesting to have him on the staff. Don't we have bigger holes to fill, though?

Dodgers Off-Season Is Complete: Utley Coming Back

Dodgers fans are treated to another season of creaking bones (pending no injury, of course)

Chase Utley, a career .281 batter who batted a torrid .202 for the Dodgers down the stretch last year (career OPS+: 121; Dodgers OPS+: 81), has reportedly signed for another year.

The Dodgers and second baseman Chase Utley have agreed to a one-year deal, according to Yahoo Sports.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

Utley, who will turn 37 this month, was traded to the Dodgers from the Phillies this past August and batted .202/.291/.363 during his time in Los Angeles.

The move gives the Dodgers another option at second base. Los Angeles adds Utley back into the mix alongside utility man Enrique Hernandez and Jose Peraza, whom they acquired from Atlanta in a three-team trade in July. Hernandez hit .307/.346/.490 in 76 games for Los Angeles last season, and Peraza is ranked by as the club's No. 4 prospect but is only 21.

Adding Utley could also be an indication that the Dodgers are unlikely to re-sign free agent Howie Kendrick, who hit .295/.336/.409 in his first season with the Dodgers after coming over via trade from the Angels last offseason.

Who needs Greinke?

Or, as SoSG Dusty coined in the SoSG staff room: "Utley will slot in nicely at the two spot in the rotation, with Dave Roberts pencilled in for the three spot."


(h/t SoSG Orel for the headline) photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Friday, December 04, 2015

Once More, with Feeling

photo: @thkbleu

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Bowden Predicts Greinke Back, Puig Gone

Jim Bowden over at ESPN had ten bold predictions for December (link insider only), and two of them involved the Dodgers:

2. The Dodgers re-sign Zack Greinke

I feel the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants or Chicago Cubs have the best shot at signing Greinke to a long-term deal, in part because he likes to hit and thus prefers the National League. But in the end, I say he remains with the Dodgers. He enjoyed pitching at Dodger Stadium and established a very good working relationship with catcher Yasmani Grandal. Plus, the Dodgers allowed him to be in their draft room during the 2015 MLB draft, which might seem like a small thing, but for the cerebral Greinke, it was definitely appreciated. I can't see the Dodgers letting him get away, especially to the rival Giants.

9. The Dodgers trade Yasiel Puig to either the Rays or Indians

Many Dodgers players have had enough of Puig's antics and lack of focus; they're tired of waiting for him to figure it out. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are desperately in need of young, controllable starting pitching, and have to consider moving him if the offer is right. Los Angeles has the resources to replace Puig's talent either in free agency, trade or international signings, and replacing Puig production's is a lot easier than getting top-notch starting pitching. The Dodgers match up well with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians, as both teams have quality young starters to deal and both are in need of an affordable power bat.

I'd be okay with both of those moves.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

MLB Commissioner Manfred Hoping Dave Roberts Counts As Two Minority Hires

Okay, that joke is a lot funnier ten days ago, but I've been pretty busy with Thanksgiving holiday and all that.

More on Dave Roberts, who was introduced in a press conference today:

FWIW, we Sons are pretty excited.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Welcome Back, Mr. Roberts

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Our Short National Nightmare Is Over

...and SoSG Sax does a happy dance.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hot Stove Thread

UPDATE: Welcome back, Brett Anderson!

Let's get this party started:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Saturday, November 07, 2015

Molly & Larry to Join Charley in Peoria

Thanks to the eagle-eyed Steve Dittmore for this find. First of all, did you know Charley Steiner has a university department named after him? It's the The Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication at Bradley University (Steiner's alma mater) in Peoria, IL.

Second, the Inaugural Charley Steiner Symposium is occurring there from Nov. 9-12 and some SoSG favorites, as well as Larry King, will be participating:

Monday November 9

  • 11am-11:50am Charley Steiner and Larry King visit Com 220 Introduction to Advertising/Public Relations: GCC 214
  • 1pm-2pm Visit Day Live Broadcast: A Conversation with Charley Steiner and Larry King: Marty Theatre

Wednesday November 11

  • 11am-Noon Panel: Sports Reporting: Issues and Challenges: Charley Steiner (moderator), Jane Leavy, Jeff Passan, Molly Knight and Dave Kindred: Marty Theatre
  • Noon-1pm Panel: Women in Sports Media: Opportunities and Obstacles Dr. Dunja Antunovic (moderator), Julie DiCaro, Jane Leavy, Molly Knight: Marty Theatre
  • 2:00pm-3:00pm Panel: Recognizing the Sports Story Charley Steiner (moderator), Jane Leavy, Jeff Passan, Molly Knight and Dave Kindred: Marty Theatre

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

And So It Begins: Dodgers Vegas Favorites To Win 2016 World Series

Not a lineup move has been made, but the Dodgers are already the Las Vegas favorites to win next season's World Series:

The Dodgers are 8-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, followed by the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals, who are all 10-1.

The Giants are 20-1; the Padres and Diamondbacks are 60-1; and the Rockies are 150-1 (second-worst odds, to the Phillies who are 300-1).

Sunday, November 01, 2015

World Series Game 5 Thread: Nov. 1, Royals vs. Mets, 5p

That's life (that's life), that's what all the people say

You're singlehandedly destroying the Dodgers and Cubs in the playoffs

Shot down in World Series Game 4

Each time I find myself flat on my face
I wonder how much not using two hands will cost me in free agency

Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55) vs. Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71).

Friday, October 30, 2015

World Series Game 3 Thread: Oct. 30, Royals vs. Mets, 5p

Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08) vs. Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

World Series Game 2 Thread: Oct. 28, Mets vs. Royals, 5p

Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54) vs. Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World Series Game 1 Thread: Oct. 27, Mets vs. Royals, 5p

Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71) vs. Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55).

Wait, there's still baseball? I thought the season ended two weeks ago. Have at it, you gluttons.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gone Mattingly

MLBTR: Don Mattingly Won’t Return As Dodgers Manager

(I don't have much to add to the conversation. I just REALLY wanted to use that headline.)

I will say, speaking personally, that Donnie was never as bad as his most vocal detractors claimed (Three straight NL West titles!), but never as good as I'd hoped he'd be. (PEDRO BAEZ?!! C'mon, man, I'm trying to defend you here!)

So, the search begins for a new skipper. Any volunteers?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Palate Cleanser: New Star Wars Poster

Conte Resigns, Disappointed To Finish Second In DL Rankings

Dodgers head trainer Stan Conte resigned yesterday, having come up short in his bid to lead the league in days spent on the disabled list with the Dodgers in 2015 (bold emphasis mine):

LOS ANGELES -- Stan Conte resigned on Saturday as the Dodgers vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer, effective immediately.

"I want to thank the Dodger organization and specifically each and every one of the dedicated medical staff for their support these last nine seasons in Los Angeles," Conte said in a club release. "My resignation will allow me to focus on my research in baseball injury analytics as I remain committed to determining the causes and effects of various baseball injuries."

Translation: "I want to figure out how I can cause more injuries to other teams, applying reprehensible therapeutic tecnhiques.

Conte was hired by former general manager Ned Colletti, the pair having worked together in San Francisco. He is the first departure since the Dodgers were eliminated by the Mets on Thursday in the National League Division Series.

However, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been aggressively remaking the baseball side in recent months, replacing roughly 40 scouts and Minor League staff, and the Major League medical staff figured to be scrutinized.

This season, the Dodgers had 20 listed disabled list stints, which included four hamstring strains, two for Yasiel Puig. Their 1,196 games missed were second-highest in the National League to, coincidentally, the Mets' 1,332 games.

The list also includes Bronson Arroyo, who was already injured when acquired, but doesn't include Paco Rodriguez, who was on the disabled list when traded away, or Jose Peraza, who injured a hamstring in September and wasn't placed on the DL.

Conte was named director of medical services and head athletic trainer in October 2006, following 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, including the last seven as head athletic trainer/physical therapist. He was promoted to senior director, medical services in 2011 and vice president, medical services prior to the 2013 campaign.

Under Stan Conte, the Dodgers were second in the entire major leagues in days spent on the DL (2010-2014) and days lost to the DL (2012-2014). Only the Padres were worse. I'm not going to explicitly reference the names of Nazi criminal doctors--but let's be clear, Stan Conte didn't help the Dodgers stay healthy during his tenure. The statistics speak for themselves.

I'm sure Conte is disappointed to not get to #1 with the Dodgers. Perhaps he can go injure some other team with his analytic research.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NLDS Game 5 Thread: Oct. 15 vs. Mets, 5p

Forever dreamy...
(Thanks again to @ThkBleu for capturing the defining image of this season.)

Donald Zachary "Spongeworthy" Greinke (19-3, 1.66) vs. Jacob "Cut yer hair, hippie!" deGrom (14-8, 2.54)

Well, everyone, we made it through Game 4. Rallying cries were answered, narratives were destroyed, pants were shat. But guess what? We get to do it allllll over again tonight.

Last time, we turned to The Bard for some inspiration. This time, we turn to the man who carries our hopes and dreams with him to the mound, Mr. Zack Greinke. I combed through Molly Knight's excellent tale of the last two Dodgers seasons, "The Best Team Money Can Buy", to find a moving and powerful quote from our beloved co-ace:
“Some of you guys have been doing the number two and not washing your hands. It’s not good. I noticed it even happening earlier today. So if you guys could just be better about it, that would be great.”
Thank you, sir! A more rousing speech has never been uttered anywhere. Victory is within our reach. Let's make sure we have clean hands when we grab it.


OK, OK, if you're in need of genuine inspiration, you might want to note that today is the 27th anniversary of something pretty good...


I'll end this GT with a brief personal aside. On Tuesday night, after the Dodgers survived to fight another day, my wife and I were listening to songs by the seminal '70s/'80s L.A. band Sparks. Their song "All You Ever Think About is Sex" came on, and I screamed when I heard the following verse:
Say, do you remember
The Dodgers and the Mets?
Fifty thousand people
Saw us and turned red
Dodgers and the Mets? 50,000 people? Turned red? Like Red Turn? Justin Turner? Huh? Huh?

I don't really believe in signs, but if I did...

Interesting Observation About The Upcoming LCS / World Series

No matter who wins today's Dodgers-Mets game, all of the remaining 2015 MLB games will have a lot of the color blue on the field and in the stands.

Do not adjust your television set.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Other League LDS Games 5 Thread

The Texas @ Toronto game is going nuts. Blue Jays up 6-3 in the eighth, with two benches-clearing events and the Rangers giving up the lead by allowing three errors in one inning.

Houston @ Kansas City later tonight: Collin McHugh vs. Johnny Cueto. Said Cueto, poignantly:

"Obviously this is the deciding game," Cueto said through a translator after the Royals worked out Tuesday afternoon. "We either win and stay or you go home."

Uh, yeah.

Both are winner-take-all games. It's crazy out there!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NLDS Game 4 Thread: Oct. 13 @ Mets, 5pm

Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13) vs. Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27)

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our Dodger injured.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest Dodgers.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Sandys,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in Chavez Ravine, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Clayton, Los Angeles, and Saint Vin!'

tl;dr version: LET'S DO THIS!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Reports of Violence outside Dodger Stadium

From the LA Times:
Los Angeles police are looking for the people involved in a fight outside Dodger Stadium after Friday's playoff game that sent one fan to the hospital with critical injuries.

Few details were available Monday, including the gender or age of the person who was injured. LAPD Officer Matthew Ludwig said the person remained hospitalized Monday in critical but stable condition.

The fight broke out in a parking lot about 10:30 p.m., after the Dodgers dropped the opening game of the National League Division Series to the New York Mets, 3-1. Ludwig said a verbal argument between fans escalated into the physical confrontation.

It was not clear whether the fans were from rival teams, Ludwig said.
From ABC7's Facebook:
Attacked at Dodger Stadium. The LAPD is investigating a Friday night fight that left a Mets fan hospitalized with serious injuries after the NLDS playoff opener.

The fight, which occurred in the stadium parking lot, resulted in the victim having a portion of his skull removed, and has some fans drawing comparisons to the 2011 attack of Giants fan Brian Stow.
From KTLA:
An argument escalated into a physical altercation about 10:30 p.m. Friday outside Dodger Stadium in one of the parking lots, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said. [...]

The victim, whom Lopez described as “younger” but not a juvenile, was transported to a hospital in critical but stable condition, the officer said.
No one was arrested, Lopez said.
Lopez did not know if the fight occurred between fans of opposing teams or fans of the same team, and, if so, which team.

A witness to a fight that occurred around that time said an altercation took place in Lot L of the Dodger Stadium parking lot. A fight broke out and a Mets fan threatened to shoot a Dodgers fan, whose mother began to scream at the Mets fan to get away, the witness said.
[Editor's note: More facts are out there, so let's wait for them. -D]

NLDS Game 3 Thread: Oct. 12 @ Mets, 5:30p

Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69; 180.1 IP (prev. career high 175.1 in 2009))
Matt Harvey (13.8, 2.71; 189.1 IP (prev. career high 178.1 in 2013)).

Dodgers. Mets. NLDS. 2006. Remember that? 2006 was a shitty playoffs year. First there was Joe Beimel. Joe Fuckin' Beimel. That's right, we're not afraid to bring him up because he's a symbol of the Dodgers' haunted playoff history against the Mets — a history that can get purged today.

Then there was the infamous home-plate double play, starring Paul "Fuck the Dodgers" Lo Duca. That's right, same year! The Dodgers' most humiliating playoff moment of the aughts still stings nine years later.

But...things are different now. The Dodgers, playing like zombies until, oh, the seventh inning of Game 2, are now the most hated team in the playoffs.

And in the center of the storm is one Chase Utley, until recently firmly in the Jim Thome school of "Legends for Other Teams with a Few Meaningless Innings as a Dodger."

If the Dodgers can step on the Mets' throat today, reveling in the boos and inevitable HBPs, and come away with a huge Game 3 win, we'll look back at the "Chase Utley moment" that started it all. Go make history, Boys in Blue!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Torre Pulls Goodell-Like Bullshit; Suspends Key .202 BA Dodger For Two NLDS Games

Joe Torre climbed back down the mountain after seeking wisdom from the oracle, doffed his robe, and then suspended Dodger Chase Utley for two games for his legal, but now called "violating", slide:

Torre said: "I recognize that there has been much commentary and many questions regarding the unfortunate play in last night's game in which Ruben Tejada was injured. As I said after the game, the determination of whether a baserunner has intentionally interfered with a player attempting to turn a double play is left to the judgment of the Umpire on the field, and that judgment call is not subject to review. I should add that determining where to draw the line between an illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our Umpires.

"However, after thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley's action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a)(13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.

Yep, MLB decides to Chase Utley now, after years of him pulling this same shit, because Joe Torre gets some heat. Unbelievable how capricious this is.

Utley, who had PH in both games, now will not be able to bring his .202 batting average to the plate in those key situations. I'm sure Don Mattingly is calling Eugenio Velez right now to see if he's available.

Meanwhile, Utley will appeal the "ruling."

Other Less Important Games Thread: October 11, 2015

This game is happening:

Kansas City vs. Houston - 1pm
Volquez (13-9, 3.55) vs. Keuchel (20-8, 2.48)
Series tied 1-1

Then this one will happen:

Toronto vs. Texas - 5pm
Estrada (13-8, 3.13) vs. Perez (3-6, 4.46)
Texas leads series 2-0

On Chase Utley, And "Hard-Nosed" Double-Play Breakup Slides

It's six hours after NLDS Game 2 as I write this, and I've spent about an hour reading up on this in earnest on the interwebs. And I still feel really conflicted.

First and foremost, I am very glad the Dodgers won. We needed a spark, after sleeping through last night's game and preparing to sacrifice another great starting pitching performance tonight. And sure enough, Chase Utley's slide into second, taking Ruben Tejada out of the play and removing the threat of a double play that would end the inning, pivoted the whole game. The Dodgers tied the game on that play; consecutive three-strikeout-victim Adrian Gonzalez came up and doubled in Utley and Howie Kendrick (from first) to make it 4-2, and we didn't look back. After watching so many breaks fall the opposing team's way in the playoffs, it was unbelievable to see the baseball gods smile on the Dodgers for a change.


Secondly, and not far behind that first point--I feel horrible for Ruben Tejada, whose leg was fractured on that slide.

Here it is, once more:

I don't think Tejada could have made that double play anyway. So I'm not sure why he was pirouetting to being with--but that isn't the point, I know.


Most of the pundits I read last night say it was hard-nosed, but clean. The Baseball Tonight crew was 2-1 in favor of it being clean, with Dallas Braden and Doug Glanville on Utley's side.'s David Schoenfield thought it was dirty, blaming all of baseball:

This is the reward you reap as an industry. Chase Utley's "slide" that sent Ruben Tejada out on a stretcher with a fractured fibula in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the New York Mets-Los Angeles Dodgers Division Series was within the boundaries of how the game is played and called by the umpires but also clearly dirty and malicious. Just a few weeks ago, everybody fell all over themselves saying that Chris Coghlan's slide that sent Jung Ho Kang to the sidelines for the season wasn't dirty. So this is what baseball deserves for letting this nonsense linger 45 years after Pete Rose destroyed Ray Fosse, 38 years after Hal McRae crushed Willie Randolph and just a couple of years after they actually did move to protect catchers in home-plate collisions: A stinking heap of controversy, angry baseball fans across the country, casual fans turned off by obvious rules lunacy and a crucial playoff game that turned because baseball has been too gutless to call this the right way.

Chief Baseball Officer (and former Dodgers manager) Joe Torre is also conflicted, though he said he thought the slide was a little late:

Q. You said you're still talking about it. In what regard?

Torre: We still -- I'm still in charge of determining if it's something that shouldn't -- like the slide was over-the-top type of thing. As I say, it was a hard slide. ... Looking at it a number of times, I thought it was a little late. So that's what I'm digesting right now.

Q. You would review it to see if you need to impose any discipline?

Torre: Again, I'm looking at it just to see if there's anything we feel should be done. [...]

Q. Does it help that Chase used his arm to try to grab the bag, trying to sort of sell the play: 'I'm trying on get the bag and not try to hurt anybody'?

Torre: I sure hope as hell that Chase Utley -- I mean, he's been a great player for a long time, and he's played hard. I certainly don't feel that he was trying to hurt somebody. I think his goal was breaking up a double play, and in doing that, someone broke their leg. He was, I agree, he was within range of the bag, yeah. It wasn't like the fielder was over here, and he went right at him and couldn't reach the bag. Yeah, that's where it becomes not cut and dry. So it's all this stuff that we're going to look at and digest.

Bill Plaschke, unfortunately still employed by the LATimes, said it was dirty, which probably indicates it was a fair play. Plaschke manipulates the quotes in the article to feign disgust from both dugouts, but it's a stretch.

Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post incites a riot against Utley, but more so due to Utley's Phillies history rather than this particular play. So there's a pattern, Mets hate Phillies. I don't blame them.


Mets coach Terry Collins didn't address the cleanliness of Utley's slide in the post-game conference, which was pretty amazing to me. "The umpires handled it great," Collins said. "They handled it right."

If I was in Collins' shoes, I would have gone apeshit, whether I thought the slide was clean, or not. I was surprised at how poised he was in that press conference. Lord knows what he's saying in the locker room to fire up his team, however.


And what the heck is up with Bartolo Colon in that clip? Instead of running over to help his injured teammate writhing on the ground, he saunters out toward second base at Jabba the Hutt-like speeds. Or maybe that was hurrying?


Chase Utley is one hard-nosed motherfucker. Honestly, you watch that slide from the opposite angle, and Utley not only gets a knee to the head but he also has his head knock squarely into the ground afterward. That he could stand up and run to the bench afterward is remarkable.

Now, Utley has a history of this sort of stuff. Here's Utley, one month ago in San Diego, doing the same thing to Jedd Gyorko--allowing the Dodgers to tie the game. "And that was all Chase Utley," said Nomar Garciaparra in the commentary.

And here's Utley again, going in strong on Ruben Tejada in 2010.

So is it personal? I don't think so. I do think Utley plays hard and in that situation, is going for the takeout. Should Tejada have a broken leg as a result? I don't think that's right, either.

I guess there is some question about whether I would have felt differently if this had come from a more tenured Dodger rather than Chase Utley, a trade-deadline rental (and former divisional rival to the Mets). Maybe it's good that it was Chase Utley and not Adrian Gonzalez or Kike Hernandez (the latter of whom then wouldn't be scoring on the same play, I suppose).


Anyway, I'm still a wreck over this play. My thoughts are with Ruben Tejada on his broken leg. I'm sure we'll see Utley, or some Dodger, get plunked Monday in New York. Here we go.


Just a reminder...


Guest Writer: Bebop, Baseball and Barbecue

Mrs. Orel is back with another travelogue!

Kansas City, Missouri, is startlingly green in September. It may also be verdant in other months, but I happened to be a September visitor and grateful for a weekend away from our SoCal beige.

I had an entire Sunday to roam around a charming city dedicated to preserving architecture and culture while, one hopes, advancing beyond a bitter history of racial exclusion.

I drove through quiet streets in a downtown both fully modern and historically authentic, with brick buildings and signage that had my head spinning with images from the 1930s and 40s.

The city's main library branch sports a stunning facade of giant book spines.

The refurbished Folly Theater, built in 1900, is close to the modern Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

I found my way to 18th & Vine, the birthplace of Charlie "Bird" Parker and the signature Kansas City sound of jazz. In the early 19th century, this African-American neighborhood bebopped and bustled in 24-hour clubs virtually ignored by the laws of prohibition.

A black-owned hotel both employed and served members of a community otherwise banned from dining at linen-covered tables in downtown Kansas City.

As the civil rights movement took hold in the 50s and 60s, much of the population left 18th & Vine, the music scene diminished and the fine side of a robust locale became derelict.

A determined restoration of the area began in the 1990s and continues now, anchored by the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

I wandered through both of these museums, engulfed in poignant stories of struggle and bigotry side by side with artistic and athletic triumphs.

In the 1920s, tens of thousands showed up to watch the Kansas City Monarchs play on Sundays after church. In 1930, the Monarchs were the first team to rig a portable lighting system, enabling night games. This was five years before any major-league team adopted a nighttime lighting system.

Some of the baseball stars of the era:

  • Buck O'Neil
  • Rube Foster
  • Satchel Paige
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Josh Gibson
  • Oscar Charleston
  • Cool Papa Bell
  • Martin Dihigo

The baseball museum, a font of historical information, includes short films, replicas of player housing on the road, a typical barbershop, and the stunning Field of Legends, where bronze sculptures of the stars appear to be caught in mid-game.

Statue of Satchel Paige.

After a few hours of swimming in Kansas City jazz and baseball, I scored a table at Jack Stack Barbecue's famous Freight House joint for a cold brew, burnt ends, pork ribs and cheesy corn.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Then it's time for you to take a trip to Kansas City, MO.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mets Loser Makes It Home

It only took 40 minutes to get out of the parking lot, partially due to my cutting off EVERYONE.

I want to thank all the kindly Dodger fans who opted not to shiv me.

And I want to give a special shout out to the most creative taunt I received. A young man walked right up to my face and shouted "F--K YOU." (Given, I might have replied with something about his Mom taking care of that the night before, with his Father filming, but I digress)

Though I know this d-bag is most likely not one of our readers - since our readers actually know how to read - I do request that any insults at least attempt some form of creativity. To which I offer the following. Please click to embiggen it.

Post-Game NLDS 2 Thread: Dodgers Get Huge Break


The evening started out, as in Game 1, glumly — as the Mets bashed solo homers against Zack Greinke to take a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

The Dodgers scored a run in the 4th on back-to-back doubles by Turner and Ethier. In the 7th, with the score still 2-1, the Dodgers finally managed to knock out Mets starter Noah Syndergaard after 115 pitches.

Then this happened:

Legal or illegal, clean or dirty, Chase Utley provided the spark the Dodgers needed to finally take a lead in this series. Not only did Hernandez score on the play, but Gonzalez and Turner followed with RBI doubles to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead, which Jansen made stand up.

So: Thoughts to Ruben Tejada, who broke his leg when Utley slid into him. Props to the offense for finally waking up. And nervous looking forward to Game 3 on won't be dull.

Mets Loving Loser chronicles.

950pm I'm at
My car.   
Tear still on cheeks.  (Just one)

Will write again when I escape this cursed parking lot. 

NLDS Game 2 Thread: Oct. 10 vs. Mets, 6p

Zack Greinke (19-3, 1.66) vs. Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24).

Cut cut CUT! (throws script to ground) Can't this cast get anything right?

In Take 1 you guys just repeated what you did last time. The character of Clayton read 6 strong pages then ran into trouble on Page 7, and the character of Donnie ended up doing the wrong thing. AGAIN. The rest of the cast stood around and contributed next to nothing.

You call that acting?

What's that? What's your motivation? How about the millions of dollars we pay you? How about your audience of millions that just wants to see you hit your marks, say your lines and make this series a hit?

No more bullshit, OK? And...ACTION!

Friday, October 09, 2015

NLDS Game 1 Thread: Mets @ Dodgers, 6.30p

Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13) vs. Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54).

After almost a week of waiting, this is IT. The weight of past postseason shortcomings, on the shoulders of our three-time Cy Young Award winner and reigning National League MVP. The pressure of a first postseason appearance on the pulse of the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year. The hangover from nightmare NLDS' past, tightening any Dodger fan's sphincter to total constipation.

Let's get this party started. Let's grab the first of 11 wins, starting tonight!

Mattingly on NLDS photo: Chris Carlson / AP

UPDATE FROM SOSG AC: Let's do this.

Other LDS Games Thread: October 9, 2015

Rangers (Cole Hamels, 13-8, 3.65) @ Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman, 4-0, 1.67). Rangers won Game 1; Game 2 is already 3-3 in the second inning.

Astros (Scott Kazmir, 7-11, 3.10) @ Royals (Johnny Cueto, 11-13, 3.44). Astros are up 1-0 on this series.

Cubs (Jon Lester, 11-12, 3.34) @ Cardinals (John Lackey, 13-10, 2.77). We probably won't even care about this one given the BIGGER game is later tonight.

Thank You, Nancy Bea

Nancy Bea and her husband Bill.

We noted this earlier but it deserves its own post: Nancy Bea Hefley is retiring. (cries)

From Nancy Bea's Instagram:

Wow! What can I say! I am overwhelmed by the response to my retirement notice. I can’t begin to tell you all how grateful I am for your love and support. In my wildest dreams I would never have thought I would get so much love. Many have asked if this was our decision and yes, it was and is. Last week Bill had to go back to see a specialist on his right eye while I stayed to finish the home stand. He has to see another specialist at the end of the season. We talked about it and decided maybe this was God’s way of saying it’s time to retire. We aren’t getting younger (however I have never heard of anyone that is) and we would like to enjoy our home and family. This was not brought on by the Dodgers in anyway. I know I said I would be back but it was taken out of our hands. I can’t begin to express my thanks to the Dodger organization for all the years I’ve enjoyed being there. They have told me I am welcome anytime we want to come back and will be back for some special occasions. I told them anytime they want me to come, let me know and if it is possible, we will be there.

Again, thank you ALL for you love and kindness.

Nancy Bea and Bil

Now we'll never get the all-organ music night at Dodger Stadium that we pitched years ago. Now we'll be subjected to more canned pop tunes (in addition to player walk-up tunes, mind you) that you can hear on any radio station or music stream — all at an ear-splitting volume. Now we'll have yet one less beloved Dodger Stadium employee among us during a home game.

Enjoy your retirement, Nancy Bea. You're a true Dodger and we'll miss you at every game we're at.

Vin Scully to Receive College Baseball HoF Award

We hope Vin is recovered enough to attend this ceremony next month. From a press release:


LUBBOCK, Texas — The National College Baseball Hall of Fame will honor the post-college baseball accomplishments of one of baseball’s greatest broadcasters with the George H.W. Bush Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Hall of Fame will honor Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully at 5 p.m. PST on Nov. 8 at the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.

The award is named after its inaugural recipient, George H.W. Bush, who played at Yale from 1946 to 1948 and eventually was elected the 41st President of the United States. [...]

Scully was an outfielder at Fordham in the late 1940s, and even played in a game against Bush’s Yale team in April 1947. He began his broadcasting career while a student and shortly thereafter was offered the opportunity to join the then-Brooklyn Dodgers’ broadcasting booth.

Congratulations, Vin — get well so you can enjoy this event!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dodger Emojis

MLB Clubhouse app has some emojis for you to use and message the world. What do you think?  Any resemblance to the player?  I think that is supposed to be Yasiel Puig, but I don't think he has a mustache.  Maybe Howie?  I like how everyone is smiling except for Zack.   Anyhow, download the app and spread the Dodger love!