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!

(HEART)BREAKING: Vin Scully To Miss Postseason


We wish you a speedy recovery, Mr. Scully, sir. Your voice will be sorely missed this postseason.

Now, Dodgers, more than ever:

Original Win For Vin art by Mike Brown of

Watching the Playoffs Sans Cable

We heard from Chris, "Mr. Cable Cutter," from Cut Cable Today:

I run the website where I'm obsessed with freeing readers from the shackles of cable. I'm particularly focused on making sure they are aware of the legal streaming options available to watch their favorite TV shows, live sports, etc. Nothing sketchy, just the legit stuff. We've been featured on USA Today, TechCrunch, Engadget, MSN and others.

Thanks, MCC!

And Speaking Of Uribe...We Won't See Him In The NLDS

Former Dodger and current Met Juan Uribe unfortunately won't be with the Mets for the NLDS, as he continues to recover from injury. And I say unfortunate, just thinking about Uribe himself; it's probably better that we aren't facing him, given he batted .357 with 3 RBI against us this year.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed Tuesday that Uribe, who was acquired by New York a week before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, will not be available to play in the NLDS, which begins Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom Uribe began the season.

Uribe, who originally injured his chest while diving for a groundball a few weeks ago, is expected to remain in New York to receive physical therapy while the Mets open the NLDS with Games 1 and 2 in Los Angeles this weekend.

photo: Corey Sipkin / NY Daily News

Kiké Hernandez, Top Banana

Nice profile on Kike Hernandez over at ESPN, though you've gotta love any story that has a lede: "On Enrique "Kiké" Hernandez’s official website, his biography states, 'He might be best known for creating the Rally Banana, but his contributions on the field have been immense.'"

Hernandez’s rise coincided with Joc Pederson’s second-half downward spiral, and Hernandez was ready for the opportunity. For the season, he batted .307 with an .836 OPS while playing every position other than pitcher, catcher and first base.

Whether the Dodgers go with Hernandez or Pederson in any particular game against the Mets, they will have rookies at two of their most important defensive positions, center field and shortstop. Corey Seager won the starting shortstop job from veteran Jimmy Rollins a couple of weeks ago.

As well as Hernandez played, the defining moment of his season might have come when he wasn’t even on the active roster. Still recovering from a strained hamstring, he sheepishly appeared in the Dodgers’ dugout wearing his banana suit during a 14-inning game against the San Francisco Giants that started on Aug. 31. The Dodgers rallied to win that game, won the next two and rode that momentum to their third straight NL West title.

Dodgers veterans admit that Hernandez’s relentless energy and goofy hijinks might be viewed differently if they didn’t seem to be genuine. Like Juan Uribe before him, Hernandez tends to break the tension in a room that is filled with well-paid players who took superstar paths to the major leagues.

“It’s all right,” said Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell. “It does lighten it up. As soon as you find him annoying, you find yourself laughing. That’s how it works with him.”

Hernandez, the modern-day Uribe equivalent. Wow.

Keri Picks Kershaw For NL Cy Young

Jonah Keri over at Grantland gives the 2015 NL Cy Young to Clayton Kershaw, a man who seems to be less commonly mentioned of late than teammate Zack Greinke or the Cubs' Jake Arrieta. Keri leans heavily upon Baseball Prospectus' Deserved Run Average (DRA) as the determining veriable, but it's still worth a read:

Baseball Prospectus combines DRA with innings pitched to calculate which pitchers delivered the most raw value. That combined stat is then scaled to look like the various derivations of Wins Above Replacement, where a 25th man would deliver a score around zero, an average player around two, an All-Star four or higher, and an elite player six or higher. By this DRA-plus-innings measure, Clayton Kershaw was worth 7.9 wins, Zack Greinke 7.6, and Jake Arrieta 7.5. In other words, the difference between the three amounts to maybe a few hits over the course of a 162-game season.

If you believe that a pitcher who just posted the lowest ERA since peak Greg Maddux2 deserves the honor and that suppressing batting average on balls in play is an attainable skill for a select few genius pitchers, then Greinke’s 1.66 makes a great case for the title. For a different kind of historical performance, Jake Arrieta has smacked extra-base hits at the plate more frequently than he’s allowed them this year (and last year), and he also just set the record with an 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break.

Still, my vote is for Kershaw, because pitchers have more control over strikeouts than over whatever happens once a ball is put in play, and he just struck out 301 batters in 232.2 innings. That’s the highest single-season strikeout rate for any qualified starting pitcher in major league history not named Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson. Plus, we can throw in that microscopic edge in DRA for good measure.

It’s exceedingly rare that you get three worthy candidates for one award. And really, any of these guys would be a deserving winner.

Keri also has Kershaw and Greinke 2-3 in the NL MVP race, to Bryce Harper.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

2015 NL Wild Card Game Thread: Cubs @ Pirates

Jake Arietta (22-6, 1.77) vs. Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60).

The Pirates were here last year, and choked to the Giants, allowing the evil ones to start yet another improbable ascent. This year, you've gotta think about this as which one is going to be a better foil for the Cardinals (Cubs were 8-11 vs. St. Louis this year; Pirates were 9-10). Both teams wield a nice underdog storyline, so I'm on the fence for this one.

2015 NLDS Preview: Worrying About The Mets

We're a couple days away from the start of the 2015 NLDS, and I'm starting to get nervous again. Watching yesterday's Wild Card game and feeling the palpable tension in the air has reminded me of how nervous I've felt at NLDS games, hanging on every pitch, not willing to exhale until the final out is made.

I won't be there in attendance for the 2015 NLDS, but our opponent is worrying me sick. And it has nothing to do with superstitious drivel from Steve Dilbeck. No, this one is because I still am scarred by the 2006 NLDS, specifically Game 1 in the top of the second inning, when things went off the rails.

I was watching the game at SoSG Orel's house on his larger-than-life television (which in today's television dimensions is probably a bathroom tv, but back then it was huge). I had just busted out of work early in order to come watch the game, and given the 1pm start time, that was kind of a bold move at the time. And in the first moments after my arrival, this disaster occurred:

It was a double play unparalleled in postseason history (thank goodness).

A double play in which both outs came at home plate. About 2½ seconds apart.

A double play on which one catcher (the always-gymnastic Lo Duca) caught one throw and then applied tags on two different baserunners -- one of which he never even knew was there until he tagged him.

But if Lo Duca didn't know what the heck was going on out there, he wasn't the only one.

The Dodgers had runners on first (J.D. Drew) and second (Jeff Kent), with no outs in the second inning, when all this insanity began.

It started routinely enough, with Martin whacking what looked like an RBI double off the right-field wall. But what it looked like and what it turned out to be were two very different things.

Kent thought the right fielder, Shawn Green, might catch it. So he headed back to second to tag up.

Drew instantly decided this ball was going to take a crazy carom off the fence, and that he was going to be able to score from first. So he quickly revved into a full sprint.

You can see the dark clouds gathering over this mess already, can't you?

Meanwhile, in the third-base coach's box, Dodgers third-base traffic cop Rich Donnelly watched intently as Green scooped up a perfect bounce off the wall and wheeled to throw.

So Donnelly looked up and got ready to throw a giant stop sign up there to hold Kent at third. Then he realized they were all in big trouble.

"As I was about to hold Jeff up, I said, 'Uh oh,' " Donnelly said, "because here came J.D., about 10 feet behind him. So what am I supposed to do? I can't hold them both. And I can't send them both. So I said, I'd better send Jeff and hope they screw up the relay or something." [...]

"Third-base coaches," continued Donnelly, "are like air-traffic controllers. Nobody says anything until there's a wreck. Well, there was a wreck out there, and it was awful. The worst part was, that should have been a four- or five-run inning, and it wasn't."

No, it wasn't, Rich Donnelly. We ended up losing 6-5 and were swept by New York in three games. I remember going back to work for the late afternoon, and being in a stunned sense of disbelief, knowing we were doomed, and brutalized by the fact that the Mets' double play came at the hands of three former Dodgers (Shawn Green, Jose Valentin on the relay, and Paul Lo Duca).

And for weeks afterward, I kept flashing back to the car wreck that was Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew both tagged out at home, like some sort of little league / Keystone Kops scene. You could hear Jeff Kent's bones creaking as he feebly tried to belly flop at home and tag the plate with his left arm. And then Drew's flop was more fit for a slip-and-slide than a playoff game; he looked like an idiot. It was horrible.

Fast forward a decade, and we're again facing the Mets, except now we've got Ron Roenicke as our third base coach. Yes, that Ron Roenicke.

I'm nervous all over again.

photo: Travis Lindquist / Getty Images. GIF of the play also found here.

San Francisco Giants To Blame, Even When Not Involved

Had to laugh at this recent headline on, involving a Yomuri Giants pitcher banned for betting on baseball. Clearly, according to the label tag, the San Francisco Giants are culpable.

I agree.

Matt Harvey Pulls Puig-Like Bonehead Move, But Avoids Puig-Like Outrage

The Mets had a mandatory workout, and Matt Harvey missed it becuase he "lost track of time." Try to tell me that if Yasiel Puig were in Harvey's shoes, that this wouldn't be a national incident:

NEW YORK -- Mets ace Matt Harvey missed a mandatory team workout Tuesday at Citi Field.

Harvey later apologized to teammates for the unexcused absence, which apparently happened because he lost track of time.

"Obviously, today was not the greatest," Harvey said after arriving at Citi Field. "I know we had a mandatory workout. The last thing I ever want to do is not be here with my team. Basically, there's no excuse. I screwed up. I wasn't here. I showed up a little late. I've talked to [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] and I've talked to [manager] Terry [Collins] and my teammates and apologized to them and apologized to everybody. They understand. I'm here to get my workout in and be with the team.

"Unfortunately, today I screwed up. There's not really anything else to say. They know what happened. I told everybody and apologized to everybody and told them it's not going to happen again. It's never happened before. Unfortunately, it happened kind of at a bad time, a mandatory time. Truly, I just screwed up."

Harvey remains on schedule to pitch Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, when the series shifts to Queens.

"I told everybody and apologized to everybody and told them it's not going to happen again. It's never happened before. Unfortunately, it happened kind of at a bad time, a mandatory time. Truly, I just screwed up."

Collins said Harvey would be fined for missing the workout, which took place from noon to 2 p.m. ET. The Mets' manager also indicated that Harvey called to say he was stuck in traffic.

Stuck in traffic for two hours? That can't be possible, either.

Though I suppose if it was indeed Puig in Harvey's shoes, Puig probably wouldn't be stuck in traffic for two hours, either.

Glanville, Kahrl, and Padilla Jump On Dodgers Bandwagon

Jumping on the Dodgers bandwagon, along with Aaron Boone, are colleagues Doug Glanville, Christina Kahrl, and Doug Padilla. All four of them have picked the Dodgers to win the 2015 World Series.

The Toronto Blue Jays were the trendy pick, with 12 of the 23 ESPN pundits selecting them as World Series winners.

Bear in mind, only Adrian Virk had picked the Dodgers six months ago, out of 14 pundits. Virk has since changed to the Blue Jays.

GM Zaidi Confident in Mattingly; Alanna Rizzo, Not So Much

First let's start with the story: Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi gave Dodgers manager Don Mattingly a vote of some confidence recently:

"We're looking at games that are going to be tight, going to be low scoring," general manager Farhan Zaidi said. "So you're looking for a manager that is going to be able to handle the pressure and handle the personalities and the added pressure of the postseason." [...]

"His preparation has been tremendous. We spend some time with him before every game. We see how thorough he is," Zaidi said. "In every other industry, being a manager is managing people. In this industry we think it's just X's and O's. But the reality is, you're being a manager like you would manage a business, but you also have to make X's and O's decisions."

One advantage for the Dodgers is home-field advantage for the first round. Los Angeles tied St. Louis for the best home record at 55-26, and the Dodgers have had their road struggles, posting a 37-44 record.

While Mattingly will take the heat or earn the credit for the Dodgers' success or failure, Zaidi doesn't subscribe to the idea that all the credit or blame should be put on the manager.

"If you're going to tell me that the team's success is solely driven by the manager, I just don't think that's how it works," Zaidi said. "Managers make strategic decisions, but a lot of the decisions they make are 52-48 or 55-45."

Look, I defintely think Mattingly's strategic decisions, or lack thereof, have caused us a game or two or five. And from the look on her face, Alanna Rizzo is with me on this one:

John Wooden used to say, "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." Let's hope Mattingly's preparation pays off this postseason.

MLB Commissioner Manfred Kicks Dodgers TV Blackout Can Down Road

Pretty disappointing reading, that the LAT's Bill Shaikin couldn't get MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to give two shits about the Dodgers being blacked out on television:

For two full seasons now, a majority of Dodgers fans have not been able to see their team on television. You have said the league cannot do anything about the situation, but at what point does the league consider this a black eye for the franchise, especially given how successful the team has been?

I’m not sure I quite said there is nothing we can do about it. Fundamentally, this is a dispute between the owner of those rights – Time Warner, who has an obligation to get distribution – and the [cable and satellite operators]. We are really concerned about having an iconic franchise like the Dodgers, who happen to be playing very well, only available in, what, 30% of the market? We would like to get to full distribution and have expressed our views on this topic to all the relevant parties.

So is there something you can do it about it? MLB does business with DirecTV on league-wide broadcast packages. Could you offer DirecTV an incentive that might persuade them to carry the Dodgers?

No. I wouldn’t do that. I can’t horse-trade 30-club assets to help one team get distribution. It is fundamentally a dispute that is outside our control, but we certainly have weighed in, in terms of our desire to get this resolved.

At the root of the dispute – and the Dodgers are not the first team to have their games blacked out in this way – is that cable and satellite distributors are reluctant to raise rates for fear that subscribers will cancel their service entirely. You don’t need a cable or satellite subscription to watch TV any more. How worrisome is that for you, given the substantial percentage of revenue clubs get from the local cable television contracts?

I think the market in L.A. has been particularly difficult, with the fragmentation of the RSNs [regional sports networks]. I think the ability to pass on additional costs to consumers is a concern. But I think the RSN business is a fundamentally sound business. Occasionally, there are going to be blips in terms of getting distribution. This is not the first one, and it probably will not be the last one. But the fundamentals of the RSN business, the strength of live sports programming, remains solid.

Manfred's responses are bullshit. MLB certainly good do something about this, particularly with DirecTV, and has chosen to do nothing. And it's the LA fans who suffer.

2015 NLDS Starters: Kershaw, Greinke, Anderson

As reported yesterday, the Dodgers finally announced their 2015 NLDS starters through Game 3.

The first three pitching matchups for the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are set.

The Dodgers announced their rotation Tuesday, hours after a team workout and days after the Mets announced theirs. There were no surprises. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom will pitch Game 1, Zack Greinke and Noah Syndergaard will pitch Saturday's Game 2, and Brett Anderson and Matt Harvey will pitch Monday's Game 3. The first two games are at Dodger Stadium before the series shifts to New York's Citi Field for Games 3 and, potentially, 4. [...]

The Dodgers have not committed to a Game 4 starter, but the debate is between using Kershaw on three days' rest and going with young lefty Alex Wood. Under a new front office led by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers are probably less likely to use Kershaw on short rest than the previous regime of Ned Colletti. Kershaw has done it twice in the postseason, with the Dodgers winning one of those starts, in Game 3 of the NLDS versus the Atlanta Braves, and losing the other in Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS versus the St. Louis Cardinals. Kershaw worked 12 innings combined in those starts with a 2.25 ERA.

"I think it at least presents the option," Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said Tuesday. "At the appropriate time, I'm sure we'll have more conversations about that."

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Very Belated AL Wild Card Game Thread: Astros @ Yankees, hours ago

Sorry about this. We're asleep today at SoSG World Headquarters.

It's 2-0 Houston in the top of the sixth.

Dodgers End Up #6 In Jonah Keri's Final "The 30"

In his final "The 30" column for the year, Jonah Keri of Grantland has the Dodgers fifth, and adds some insight into what makes Zack Greinke so good:

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70, plus-72, LW: 5)

While we wait for the playoffs to start and for Zack Greinke to take the lowest starting-pitcher ERA in 20 years into the postseason, check out this piece by Eno Sarris at FanGraphs. In it, Greinke says he’s tried to avoid attacking hitters inside too often, because even though he feels he can induce weaker contact that way, he also found that hitters managed to bloop more balls for hits on inside pitches than on outside ones. As Sarris goes on to explain, Greinke’s suspicion turns out to be well-founded.

Over the years, many misguided writers have tried to argue that Greinke is a head case not fit for the big stage. But as Sarris, Molly Knight in her book The Best Team Money Can Buy, and Greinke himself demonstrate, the Dodgers right-hander isn’t only one of the best pitchers the game has seen in years. He’s also one of the smartest.

#6 is a little bit of a degradation from the prior week, but apparently we've been vaulted by the Royals. Go figure.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Baseball World Heavyweight Title Update: Regular Season Wrap-Up

"Hand it over, Wahoo!"

Our first regular season as commissioners of the Baseball World Heavyweight Title has come to an end. While I didn't end up posting here as much as I would have liked, I did keep track of the title for the entirety of the season, and posted periodic updates on the Sons' Twitter account.

The final weekend of the regular season saw a clash between two teams not destined for postseason play this year. The Boston Red Sox, in their third title reign, defended against the upstart Cleveland Indians. This would be the Indians' third title shot. In a shocking turn of events, the Indians pulled off a sweep and ended the regular season with the belt raised high.

HOWEVER...the Tribe's moment in the sun is short-lived. The rules for the Baseball World Heavyweight Title clearly state:

If, at the end of the regular season, the belt-holder does not make the playoffs -- and due to the dynamics of this thing, that scenario is entirely plausible -- said team will be stripped of the title for not qualifying for the postseason. Then the winner of the playoffs -- the World Series -- takes the belt and the title into the offseason.

So, better luck next year, Indians. We'll take that, thank you.

This means ten teams have qualified for a multi-week tournament to crown a new Baseball World Heavyweight Title. Five of those teams, the Dodgers, Pirates, Rangers, Royals, and Yankees, are former title-holders. Two teams, the Cardinals and Blue Jays, never managed to get a title shot during the year.

Let's take a look at the complete regular season title history:

Current Champion: Title Vacant

1) San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
6 days
(Offseason time does not count towards 2015 reign.)
(vs. AZ)
2) San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
13 days
(vs. CHC, COL)
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
25 days
4) San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
13 days
3 (vs. COL, MIL, ATL)
5) Pittsburgh Pirates
San Francisco Giants
7 days
1 (vs. ATL)
6) Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates
8 days
1 (vs. WAS)
7) Kansas City Royals
Milwaukee Brewers
3 days
8) Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals
4 days
9) Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
6 days
1 (vs. CLE)
10) Texas Rangers
Baltimore Orioles
3 days
11) Los Angeles Angels
Texas Rangers
21 days
4 (vs. COL, SEA, BOS, MIN)
12) Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels
15 days
3 (vs. NYY, SFG, HOU)
13) Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
6 days
1 (vs. BAL)
14) Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners
18 days
4 (vs. CLE, KC, CHW, NYM)
15) New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
7 days
1 (vs. TB)
16) Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
17 days
4 (vs. KC, BOS, TB, WAS)
17) Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles
7 days
1 (vs. NYY)
18) Cleveland Indians
Boston Red Sox
2 days

A few quick tidbits:
  • The Dodgers had the longest single reign of any team, at 25 days.
  • Four teams held the title more than once: the Giants (twice), the Orioles (twice), the Rangers (twice), and the Red Sox (three times).
  • The Red Sox three title reigns totaled 29 days.
  • Aside from the Indians, the Royals had the shortest single reign, losing the belt immediately to the Red Sox.
  • The title switched from the NL to the AL with the Royals win over the Brewers on June 17th, and never switched back.
  • In addition to the Cardinals and Blue Jays, the Reds, Phillies, Tigers, and A's also did not receive a title shot. Though, somewhere, in another timeline, the Reds are former champs.
  • The "Lex Luger Can't Win The Big One" award goes to the Rockies, who had 5 title shots without a title win.
That's it for now. Big thanks again to Dayn Perry for letting me take control of this madness this season. Stay tuned to this space and Twitter and possibly the WWE Network (IT'S ONLY $9.99!) for the announcement of the new Baseball World Heavyweight Champion at the conclusion of the World Series.

What Are The Start Times For The Dodgers NLDS Game 1 And Game 2?

As per the LA Times:

The Friday opener against the Mets in the National League Division Series has been scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m., while Saturday’s Game 2 has a 6:07 p.m. starting time.

The two games are expected to feature outstanding starting pitching, but at least hitters shouldn't have to battle those 5 p.m. shadows at the stadium.

But if they can't talk about shadows during the game, what the heck are the announcers going to discuss?

Aaron Boone Picks The Dodgers

I don't know how to link to those newfangled embedded videos over at, but I'm with you, Aaron.