Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Thank you as we close out this Memorial Day

As I drive in to work everyday, I pass the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.  It's a beautiful tranquil setting where thousands of our nation's heroes were laid to rest, including 15 medal of honor recipients.  Thank you to all that have sacrificed to preserve our freedoms.

Time to Make a Move

Now’s the time.  A stretch of hitting combined with decent pitching.  It’s time for the vets on this club to carry them forward and sweep a series and get back in the race.  The Dodger hitting has not only returned the last two days, but there has been timely hitting.  Dodger hitters the past two games have gone 9 for 21 (.429) with runners in scoring position.  We know that clutch hitting has been virtually non-existent this entire season so far, so this is a welcome change.
James Loney Connects for his third homer of the season.
James Loney has raised his average to .249, and Rafael Furcal to .213 (he was as low as .130 a few days ago).  The club has scored 15 runs and had 28 hits the past 48 hours.  Those aren’t earth shattering numbers, but who could have guessed that this team could come up with that kind of offensive output just three days ago?

He got all of it.
Okay, it’s only two games, but there hasn’t been much to get excited about this season, and a two day offensive outburst is a big deal when you consider what this club has been doing all season.  Tomorrow they attempt to put together their third three game winning streak of the season.  A three game streak is the longest  this club has been able to muster.  If they take the next two from Colorado, they’ll take over third place in the division.  One team at a time by one game at a time.
Chad Billingsley didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he was good when it mattered, serving up two double play grounders and snuffing out Rockie rallies as he went 7 innings and improved his record to an even 4-4.  Dodger defense did it’s part in helping as well when Matt Kemp gunned down Carlos Gonzalez at the plate to end the inning.
Kuo Comeback?
Reports out of Arizona are that Hong-Chih Kuo has faced 50 batters in simulated game situations and has fared well.  Personally I thought it was a bit premature to start comparing Kuo to Steve Blass.  I think he’ll come back fine provided that he is healthy.  What many seem to forget was that Kou was battling a back ailment and it threw his mechanics out of wack, thus making it difficult for him to find the strike zone.

It would be nice to see him back with the club by the time his bobblehead day arrives, which is Tuesday, June 14th.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It All Clicked Today. Offense Arrived and Kid K Shined.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

For the second time since April 24th, the Dodgers won a series.  That’s quite a stretch of futility.  The Dodgers scattered 17 hits in a blustery Dodger Stadium that was reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon game at old Candlestick Park.  Take a look as Kershaw pitches in the 8th inning and almost gets blown off the mound.

Then there are the adventures of catching fly balls that Jay Gibbons and Rafael Furcal experienced in the 7th inning.

Nevertheless,  Clayton Kershaw pitched a two hit shut out (one of those hits being the Gibbons miscue).  Today he was again within a hair of pitching that no-hitter that I’m convinced will occur this year.  Clayton leads the National League in strikeouts with 87 and has an ERA at 2.62 that ranks 8th in the league. 
The Giants are falling and the Rockies are a mere 2 games ahead of the Dodgers who are 5.5 games back of the first place Diamondbacks.  It has been mentioned before and I’ll say it again, as bad as the Dodgers have played, they are still in the thick of things.  A series win against Colorado will really put them back on track.  I’m hopeful that today’s 17 hit attack wakes up the bats for an offensive surge we haven’t seen with the club so far this year.
With the fine Dodger starting pitching, even a mediocre offensive production will easily put them in playoff contention.  The N.L. West foes have been very kind and have not run away with the division.  Hopefully Florida goes into Arizona tomorrow and returns to their winning ways.  The Gnats are in St. Louis, so they have their hands full.
Ejection was Ridiculous
Ron Culpa has some mighty large rabbit ears.  He ejected Matt Kemp from about 70-80 feet away as Kemp made some comments about his strike zone as he walked back to the dugout.  Now granted, I don’t know what Kemp said, but judging from Dave Lopes and later Don Mattingly’s reactions, he didn’t appear to say anything that warranted an ejection.  It is another episode of one of today’s umpires forgetting again that we don’t come to see them, we come to see the players.
Mattingly’s post game comments on the topic:  “well, obviously Matt’s mad, so I’m sure he was saying some things...the main thing for me is that Matt’s walking away at that point, and he’s looking away. And that’s where, all he (Culpa) has to do is turn around and walk away and then you have no confrontation.”
And that is the point and problem I have with many umpires in the game today.  Unlike most of the veteran umpires from 20-30 years ago, umpires today seem to be much more sensitive and confrontational.  Culpa didn’t need to toss out Kemp.  Steve Lyons said on the post game show that Dave Lopes said to him that when he accompanied Kemp to the bench, he warned Kemp to keep his mouth shut because Culpa was “looking to run somebody.”  What is that all about?  An umpire wanting to run someone.  Whatever happened to being the faceless arbitrators of the game?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

McCourt of Course...Needs to Just Sell and Go Away

McCourt Juggling his finances
My crude attempt at cartooning.  I think I got the Frank McCourt face down though...
(tough to read inscriptions, The bomb says "June Payroll", the Torch "Kids $600K allowance", the cleaver "Jamie's Alimony",  Knife "Attorneys Fees", Ax "Malibu Mortgages", Chain Saw "$30k monthly hotel bill", bowling pin "Holmby Hills Mortgages", Mace "Vlad's 'good vibes' bill")

The only payroll dates that I really pay attention to are the ones that affect me.  Those are a direct deposit that occurs every other Saturday afternoon and I also know that my adult son gets paid on every 5th and 20th of each month, because I charge him rent and get a check from him shortly after the 20th.  Isn't it crazy that we know exactly which dates Frank McCourt is paying his employees?  If I worked for him, then I’d care, but I don’t, so it bothers me that I care about these things.  Why should I care about these things?  
What I find mind boggling is that here we have this owner of the team, a multimillion dollar enterprise, and he's juggling his books and attemptiong to come up with funds at the last minute to simply pay his employees.  This isn't the local corner dry cleaning business or the mom and pop sandwich shop at the strip mall.  This is the Los Angeles Dodgers. An organization with incredibly inept management running the show.  And he can't even blame his situation on being bilked by some ponzi scheme.  It was simply caused by stupid overindulging, overspending, and a careless misuse of funds.  Worst part of it all is that it was all financed by us,  the fans.  The private jets, the physchic Russian "good vibe sender", the $10,000 haircuts, the mansions in Malibu and on the Playboy Mansion Street, his $30k/month hotel bill.  All of it, financed by the 3.5 million plus fans that went through the turnstiles, paid the $15 parking, bought the $45 caps and $200 jerseys.  

Yes, we were used.  We were bilked.  The ponzi scheme was on us as we watched our farm system deteriorate as McCourt bought another house in Malibu.  We watched key free agents go elsewhere because the Dodgers wouldn't pony up, all the while McCourt gave his kids a $600,000 salary for doing next to nothing. We watched key type A players like Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf leave, without us even getting a compensation pick, because the team didn't have the resources to offer them arbitration, yet MCourt continued to pay over $200K per month for the use of a private jet.  We watched as our best minor league prospect Carlos Santana was given to Cleveland because our owner didn't want to pay Casey Blake's salary for the remainder of 2008, all the while Frank and his wife were tearing out tennis courts and building an olympic size indoor pool in their Holmby Hills estate a stones throw from the Playboy Mansion.
When I read about Jamie McCourt badmouthing her ex-husband and his management of the team, it angers me to no end.  She spent just as frivolously as he did with her Olympic size pool (so she could swim distances to satisfy her training regimen and the math was easier for her), and 4 mansions, and trips to Israel during the season with her driver, and enormous fees to political consultants that massaged her political aspirations.  Who is she to talk?
The McCourt family has no reserves in place, no backup plan.  They're upside down in their real estate as I am and I'm about as flat broke as they come.  In fact, I think I could probably argue that I'm in better financial shape, which is pretty pathetic.  Yet, he owns the Dodgers.  How can this be?
Frank is still living in a Beverly Hills hotel and shelling out $30k a month to stay there.  Where is this guys common sense?  Live in an office suite at Dodger Stadium, cut off the kiddies allowances, tighten up the expenses and for heaven's sake, reach a settlement with your ex and stop paying attorneys.

Let us talk about baseball instead of your lifestyle Frank.  We're sick of it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Review of the Bone Crushing 1986 Mike Scioscia/Chili Davis Collision

Yesterday’s post addressed some classic home plate collisions and Mike Scioscia was quoted talking about the 1986 collision with Chili Davis of the Giants.  Lo and behold, through the magic of my DVR, I found the play, ranked as the 23rd most violent collision in baseball on the MLB network.  They aren' t the clearest of images, but you can definitely see the crashing of bodies on the play.  You be the judge.  On the play in the 4th inning, Chili Davis separated his shoulder and left the game.  Scioscia finished the game and went on to go 1 for 3 with a walk in the Dodgers 3-2 victory.  What follows  the sequence of photos is video footage of the play.
Scioscia is about to apply the tag on Chili Davis as Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey looks on.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Injury Bug Attacks Other Clubs Too-A Look at Home Plate Collisions

The recent injuries to San Francisco Giant Buster Posey and Colorado Rockies starter Jorge DeLaRosa is proof that this season is far from over.  As awful as this Dodger team has performed against the lowly teams of the National League, they are only a small winning streak away from being right in the thick of the N.L. West Title race.  A lot of things need to change with them, particularly in the clutch hitting department, but if they turn things around, they’ll be in it.  They are only six games out while they are 7 games under .500.

Sports talk radio here in San Francisco is abuzz about the Buster Posey injury yesterday.  I am a bit surprised that Giant Manager Bruce Bochy is actually suggesting that some rules changes be made to protect catchers at the plate from collisions.  Last time I checked, a catcher planting himself into a plate blocking position is an option for the catcher, not a mandatory activity.  What he is proposing is to throw away some 125 years of baseball tradition to prevent collisons at the plate.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News conducted an interview with the Giants skipper and it was interesting to see his perspective on the play:

KAWAKAMI: Do you think the collision was a clean baseball play?
BOCHY :  It’s part of baseball. I understand that. Guys running into catchers… Being a catcher, I’ve been in a few of them. You’re in harm’s way there.
I do think we need to consider changing the rules there a little bit, because the catcher’s so vulnerable and there’s so many that have gotten hurt. And not just a little bit. I mean, careers ended or shortened.
And here’s a guy that’s very popular in baseball. Fans want to see him play, and now he’s out for a while.
I’d like to see maybe something considered here where we can protect these guys a little bit more. They just don’t have the protection to take a guy coming at full speed with that kind of force.
It’s part of the game. (But) he had two paths to go. He could’ve gone for home plate. But he elected to try to knock the ball loose. He didn’t know that Buster had dropped the ball.
KAWAKAMI: Had you ever talked to Buster about trying to avoid those kinds of collisions—don’t block the plate?
BOCHY: I’ve talked to Buster. He’s heard me tell him I didn’t want him blocking the plate. He was not completely in front of the plate. He was in a position where he could make the tag without getting hit, too.
He just got himself in a tough position there because of how his leg was situated. He was down on one knee and ideally you’d like to have the foot pointed that way to have it protected a little bit, but again, you’re trying to handle the throw. You don’t have time to get set up perfectly.
That’s what hurt him, his leg was tucked underneath him when he got hit.
-KAWAKAMI: What kind of rule change are you suggesting?
-BOCHY: I think you could say, you know what, if there’s a lane there, you’ve got to go for home plate.
I know in high school and college, they have a rule there. But if there’s no place to go, then, sure, you can run into the catcher.
I don’t know .I’m just saying we might need to consider something to protect these guys. Because they are getting bigger and faster and hitting these guys when they’re not really prepared to get hit.
It’s a little different than football. It’s not really built to be a contact sport, as much as it my look like it. You saw what happened here.
There’s been a lot of really nasty injuries with catchers… I just don’t want to see somebody carried off when they get their neck."
So there you have it.  Bruce Bochy is promoting a rule change, understandably, because he just lost his best position player for the season.  I just think that things should remain the same.  The home plate collision is part of the game.  If a catcher chooses to sacrifice his body to block the plate, he does so at his own risk.  As far as the vulnerability they face,  there is no doubt they are vulnerable since the catcher must concentrate on catching the throw, blocking the plate and applying the tag.  But it shouldn't go unnoticed that the catcher is wearing the armor when the collision occurs.  Mike Scioscia used to regularly lay the armor on runners colliding with him.  Addiitionally, there have been some tough catchers over the years that did their share of damage to runners in collisions too.

The Dodgers faced this problem years ago when Mike Piazza was their superstar position player.  As far as I recall, they never seriously considered moving him to another position.  I have read that Minnesota is considering moving Joe Mauer away from the plate specifically to avoid injuries such as this.  Washington was proactive and moved 1st round pick Bryce Harper to the outfield before he even started catching on the professional level.
This injury may make San Francisco re-think putting Posey back behind the plate after he heals up from this injury.  Posey has played 1st, 3rd and SS during his college career.  I hope this injury doesn't destroy his career.   He truly is an talented player.
I recall from my younger days some spectacular, bone jarring, memorable home plate collisions.  The first being the 1970 All Star Game where Pete Rose took out Ray Fosse in extra innings.  Controversial to this day, Ray Fosse never was the same player after that play.
Dave Parker donned a facemask after breaking his cheekbone in '78 collision with John Stearns
Gary Matthews crashed into Johnny Bench in a 1975 collision that was the beginning of the end for Bench behind the plate.  He hurt his shoulder bad and needed off-season shoulder surgery, but the big guy toughed it out for the entire '75 season and won a World Championship with the Reds.
Scioscia was a Dodger from 1980-92
Dave Parker's collisions with catchers were quite memorable.  Breaking Johnny Oates collerbone, knocking out Steve Yeager cold (who, by the way, held onto the ball to record the out), and Parker breaking his cheekbone in a collision with Met catcher John Stearns in 1978.  And there were the Mike Scioscia collisions that took blocking the plate to a new level.  According to Dodger scout Ben Wade in 1985, Scioscia was the best plate blocker he had ever seen in his thirty years in the game.  Wade was convincing enough that his testimony in an arbitration hearing was good enough to win Mike a victory, to the Dodger organization's chagrin.
There was a collision at the plate between Chili Davis of San Francisco and Scioscia in 1986 that was for the ages.  Davis separated his shoulder and Scioscia was knocked out for a small spell.  The year before, Cardinal Jack Clark and Scioscia collided with Scioscia being sent to the hospital, but Clark was out.  Many agree with Wade's assessment that considered Scioscia the greatest plate blocker the game ever saw.  Mike would always apply the tag with the ball firmly placed in his catchers mitt, giving the runner a full force shove when applying the tag.
"You try to keep tabs on the runner, but the important thing is to catch the ball," Scioscia said in a 1985 Los Angeles Times interview with Scott Ostler.
"You have to be fearless, it's not something you can teach yourself, you do it or you don't. It's probably something you get from your background. Growing up, everyone I played against played the game hard."
To no one's surprise, the king of plate blockers is being asked his opinion on changing the rules following the Posey injury.
"When something like this happens it's unfortunate, but I don't know if there's enough there to rewrite the rulebook."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rookies Roll in Minute Maid Park

Let’s not get too excited, afterall, it is a win against the one team that is actually worse than us.  But a wins a win, and it was delivered by three rookies.  Sands, DeLaRosa and Guerra.

Jerry Sands is figuring out the big leagues.  His performance exudes confidence in all areas of the game.  Today’s grand slam homer was mashed to deep left center field.  422 feet.  It’s a beautiful thing to see a home grown prospect gel into a confident and productive player.  Jerry Sands will be a fine player for a very long time.  I can see him as a solid veteran playing in all star game after all star game into the 2020's.

Rubby DeLaRosa concentrates in his Major League debut.  He retired the side in order with 2 K's.
Rubby DeLaRosa was electric with his stuff.  That guy is going to raise some eyebrows around the league.  He reminds me of Pedro Martinez back in ’93.  He has such poise. And Javy Guerra raised himself to a clutch level by retiring the side in order to record his first save.   Some of Ned Colletti’s comments about (first) Rubby DeLaRosa and (second) Javy Guerra on Dodgertalk following the game were:
“I think if he (DeLaRosa) does end up staying here the rest of the year, he’ll end up pitching out of the bullpen most of the time.  I think some of his appearances could be two or three innings...we’ll have to measure the durability issue with him.  I’m not really concerned whether or not he’s gonna have enough innings this year in order to be a starter next year.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, we’re worried about the 2011 season right now...”
“We’ve thought for a while that Javy Guerra had the talent to do it.  The question was whether or not he had the big league maturity to do it.  Sometimes when you’re put in a spot, like we’ve been put in now where we have four relievers on the D.L...sometimes you gotta take a chance, and he was game for the opportunity, and except for the inning in Chicago the other day, his 4 or 5 appearances have all been pretty good.  And to come into the 9th inning, after losing the game like we did yesterday, you know there was no safety net for him, being that DeLaRosa was already out of the game.  The performance he put up was pretty good.  We preach all the time, velocity is great but throwing strikes is the best...he and DeLaRosa throw strikes and if you do that, you have a chance to win.”

Javy Guerra records his first major league save against Houston tonight.

I am sitting in my living room watching the Sharks-Canucks playoff game.  Not because I have a real love for hockey, nor because I’m a fan of either team.  It’s because I have an overtime assignment tonight in San Jose, that is supposed to be at 12:30 am.  It is the Sharks charter flight that returns from Vancouver.  They are right now playing their second overtime period, so it looks like I’ll be working into the wee hours of the morning.  No way that flight arrives before 2:30 am.  Even if the game were to end right now, (it’s 9:43 pm).

In my years working for Customs, I have come across a lot of athletes from nearly all sports.  By far, the most professional and polite of those I have encountered are hockey players.  For the most part and with few exceptions, they are friendly, polite, usually smile and have a friendly conversation.  Even the superstars.   Believe it or not, I think a lot of those from the hockey culture have just been raised well.  Canadians are nice people.
I'm telling you.  Those guys are leaving their lives out their on the ice, they play with such intensity.  I can't think of a sport that is so physically taxing.  This is a great game.  Anyway, I hope the Sharks win because I’d like to see them return in a good mood and not after a playoff elimination.  The Sharks coach, Todd McLellan, is an really nice guy.

Shoot, Vancouver just won it.  That’s going to be an unhappy group of guys coming in this morning.

Scooped by the Best

I guess I’m learning as I go.  If you sit on a great story, eventually someone else will beat you to it.
I had a posting a month or so ago in which I recommended Tom Seidler be selected by Bud Selig to be the new conservator of the Dodgers.  

Tom, as many of you know, is the grandson of Walter O’Malley and owner of the Single A Visalia Rawhide in the California League.  He is the only remaining O’Malley in organized baseball.

I fired him off an email and he kindly responded.  I then sent him a request for an interview and he said, “anytime, come on out and visit.”  So I sat on the story.  I even marked my calendar for a trip out there in July, to speak with Tom and watch the Quakes play the Rawhide.  My mistake because now Kurt Streeter at the Times beat me to it.  I'll still go out there though.  I look forward to seeing the Visalia facility and personally experiencing the Visalia baseball experience.
It’s a great piece from last Saturday.  Take a look at it.

It looks like Tom Seidler is a great fit for minor league baseball where he found the passion of the game that existed years ago.  When money wasn’t the only driving force in the game.  I can’t help be feel extremely disappointed that he isn’t providing those personal touches and attention at Chavez Ravine as the owner of the Dodgers.  That's where he should have been in the first place.  L.A.'s loss is Visalia's gain.
A big thank you to Martin over at http://truetotheblue81.blogspot.com who sent me a message and tipped me off on the article.


About the Dodgers...uh, sometimes, I find it healthy to step away from the happenings of the big club.  I must say though, things can't get much lower than they are right now.  With the tough part of the schedule coming up, we're probably in for a long, rough ride.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It was a Perfect Day for a No-No

As I write this, it is 5:37 PM and Kershaw is pitching in the second inning and has retired the first 4 hitters he has faced.
In my mind I have written about Clayton Kershaw pitching a no-hitter many times.   If he was able to face the Dodgers, I’d say he could do it a few times each year, but unfortunately for Kid K, that isn’t the case.   I believe that the day of Clayton’s no-no will arrive soon.  Today’s game against the lowly Houston Astros seems to me like the most likely of days when he can accomplish the feat.   

Here are my reasons why:
First, Houston is about the most inept and punchless lineup in the National League.  At least we have Kemp and Ethier.  Who does Houston have that is a legitimate threat?
Second, there is the pitching near his home theory.  Houston is about as close as Kershaw will get to pitching near his Dallas suburb home.  So there is a motivation factor.
Third, we have not much else to root for this season, so it might as well be a great individual accomplishment, like a no-hitter.
Fourth,  and most importantly, home plate umpire, Bill Welke, is an umpire known to have a relatively liberal strike zone.  In fact, Welke, Eddings and Bill Miller have been reported to have the most pitcher friendly strike zones in the game.

 If Kershaw is able to stay ahead in counts, that will play a major role in him retiring the side over and over.
So if by the fifth inning, Clayton is spinning a no-no...watch out!
Guess what?...just as I wrote that sentence, the scrub of all scrubs, Bill Hall, doubled to deep right field off of Jay Gibbons glove.

Never Mind...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm Cursed When it Comes to Collectibles

I'm 0 for 3 in the baseball memorabilia world this season.  I am the poster child for the person that has run into the worst luck in trying to get memorabilia autographed.  You don't want to get near me, I'm cursed.   Perhaps the Dodgers are doing the same things I am doing to extend their string of bad luck with all the losses and injuries they are having.   It must have been that black cat that crossed my path yesterday or the mirror I broke this morning.  Perhaps it's because I walked under a ladder in the garage or was it the salt I spilled at the table yesterday?  Today I struck out in my attempt to get Johnny Bench to sign an authentic jersey I purchased.
I have this plan to one day turn a spare bedroom of mine into a baseball memorabilia shrine.  (Okay, first I need to get an adult child of mine to move out of that spare bedroom and fend for himself in life...but that's another post for another day).  I have a few collectibles that I cherish but nothing overwhelmingly valuable in price.  Just things with sentimental value to me.  But I wanted to upgrade my collection this year, mainly with authentic replica jerseys that I’d like to get signed and then framed for my “baseball room.”  When I saw that there would be a few opportunities to obtain some fine autographs, I decided to go out and purchase the jerseys.
First up was Dave Stewart.  I knew he’d be signing (for free) at the Oakland A’s Single A affiliate Stockton Ports game on April 30th.  So I searched for jerseys on sale for him and decided to purchase the 1989 Oakland A's home jersey over the Dodger one I saw on eBay.  It was sold at a reasonable price, so I purchased it.  Timing was just not in the cards for me on this one.  My dad passed away a few days before the event, so I missed it.   So, I didn’t see missing this one as a big deal.  I figured there will be another opportunity one day and I’ll see Dave somewhere along the line in the future.

Next was the Tristar collectibles show at the San Francisco Cow Palace scheduled for May 20-22nd.  Quite a few players were scheduled to appear.  I was particularly interested in Johnny Bench and Gary Carter.  Two great Hall of Fame catchers, one from near my neighborhood in SoCal.  I purchased their jerseys via eBay auction also and was lined up to get their signatures.  I actually shelled out $125.00 to get Bench’s autograph with an inscription and official authentication.  For Carter, I received word that he cancelled his appearance and so I was stuck with that jersey purchase too.
(Sadly, I read of Gary’s health problems and wish him a speedy recovery).

So today is the day of the Johnny Bench signing.  I arrived at the venue and had my tickets in hand,  Mind you, others were to also appear.  McCovey, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Whitey Herzog, Ricky Henderson, but I chose Bench because I always respected the man, he was a great catcher and classy player.   I wouldn’t have minded getting memorabilia signed by some of the others, but my budget will only go so far and I really couldn’t afford to pay for other signings.  Also, keep in mind that I already shelled out bucks on Stewart and Carter jerseys that will sit in a drawer waiting for another opportunity for a signing in the future.
So, as I’m waiting in line for the place to open, I check my iphone and look at the Tristar Web site and see the following message:

Great!  So now I have three jerseys that I have failed to get signed.  I might as well start wearing them now. 

It isn't over yet.  I have vacation the week of the Frank and Son Show in the the City of Industry where Andre Ethier is going to appear and I already bought his jersey.  So we'll see if my dumb luck continues to run it's string.  Knowing how my misfortune is, MLB won't pick up the slack for McCourt missing his May payroll and Ethier will become a free agent and be playing for the Red Sox by June 18th.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Comeback!

Just as it appeared the Dodgers would fall again and suffer another grating defeat, an unlikely hero emerged before the 27th out could be recorded.  
Russ Mitchell, who many of us have been eager to see jettisoned back to Albuquerque, homered off Chisox closer, Sergio Santos, in what proved to be the first run he had allowed all season.  Mitchell, who up to that moment had only managed a squib single over 14 at bats, belted Santos’ 2-2 fastball just inside the left field foul pole.  An inning later, the Dodgers mounted an offensive attack against Santos that resulted in 3 more runs as they closed out the victory in the 10th inning.
This was probably the biggest win of the year so far and most dramatic.  I'm happy for Russ who now will be locked in our memories of Dodger lore for that clutch homer.  It's great to see the kid's hard work pay off. Let’s hope that the Dodgers get on a role and are able to get their offense off and running.  Below is a photo sequence of the dramatic homer with two outs in the ninth inning.

Andre went Ape Over Camera Clicks

You’re kidding us, right Andre?  He went off on the press over camera clicks?  That’s the kind of thing that makes me laugh at golfers.  It wasn’t 4 or 5 years ago that I watched a news clip of Tiger Woods going ballistic over someone that snapped a photograph of him while he was taking a swing at the ball.  Apparently that little camera click ruined his concentration.  He literally called the guy out, embarrassed him publicly and had a PGA official have the guy removed from the golf course.
So Ethier flipped out over too many camera clicks.   Yet, he seems to be fine when performing before 50,000 screaming fans dealing with 100 MPH heaters, change ups, curves, cutters, spiltters.  No loss of concentration when facing all that.
And then, knowing full well that there are PHOTOGRAPHERS present, TAKING PICTURES of him, he gives them the international peace sign.  Both hands, mind you.  Well at least Andre showed some versatility there.
I know many think this whole episode is much ado about nothing.  “So he flipped the bird,” they’ll say.  “what’s the big deal?”  Well, it isn’t what he did that bothers me, it’s the poor judgement in doing it before a sea of photographers knowing full well that a segment of the population is going to get offended by it.  It is the poor judgement that is bothersome.  It’s not like he was going to get away with it.  He had to know that.  
Tell them off, but don’t give them ammunition to post in the newspapers and on the web.  Now those photos will forever follow Ethier around.  Every time he loses his temper or shows his hot-headed side, those photos will appear.  They can’t be undone.
Is this a tactic by Ethier to work his way off the club?   I have to wonder.  First he made those ridiculous statements on the eve of opening day stating that he thinks he’ll be non-tendered at the end of the year, and now this.  Andre sees the direction that the club is heading and probably wants out to a contender.  These types of events that occur are the fallout of having an owner that is broke and a fan base that is losing patience.

I hope that this episode was isolated and that the Dodgers run off a winning streak that makes us forget the whole thing.  Tonight's win was the kind of victory that they could build on and accomplish that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Random Notes and a Few Blogs to Look at

A few new blogs to take a took at, both related to the ownership fiasco:
  • http:abortmccourt.blogpot.com
Nice interesting perspective on all Frank McCourt happenings and Dodger issues in general.  A nice start and interesting read.
    A new web site mentioned at cbssports.com and yahoo’s big league stew that is dedicated to endorsing Mark Cuban as the new owner of the Dodgers.
    Dodger notes:
    So Jamie McCourt has filed a motion for Judge Scott Gordon to force Frank to sell the assets and split the proceeds, thus delaying the decision until June 22nd, long after it is projected that Frank won’t make payroll.  So it looks like Bud Selig will have to take over club operations after all.
    Vicente Padilla was sent to the disabled list, leaving the already depleted Dodger bullpen in tatters.  Broxton, Kuo and Padilla are all shelved.  It is so bad that Troncoso was recalled from Albuquerque, and he has be awful.   So awful that he has allowed 12 of the 17 batters he has faced to reach base against him. Now the bullpen with Cormier and Troncoso is definitely the worst Dodger bullpen that I can remember.

    Ramon Troncoso is back

    Andre Ethier was caught flipping the bird to some fans on Monday and now MLB is investigating.   Great Andre, things just get worse and worse for this club.   
    Maury Wills and Tommy Lasorda are reported to be the Dodger representatives at the 2011 First Year Player Draft on June 6th.  If things continue as they are, we’ll have a great pick in 2012.
    Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness tweets that the Dodgers are now playing Trayvon Robinson exclusively in left field in Albuquerque.  So perhaps we’ll see another rookie call-up to man the left field position.
    Vin Scully calls Rod Barajas with 7 HRs and a .228 batting average a “feast or famine” hitter.  Perfect depiction of the Dodger backstop who should be a reserve and not a starter with the club.
    The Giant victory last night was costly to the defending champs as they lost Aaron Rowand (back), Mark DeRosa (Wrist) and closer Brian Wilson twisted his ankle.  Only DeRosa landed on the D.L. being replaced by Emmanuel Burris today.
    Dodger fans complain about James Loney’s woes at the plate.  Few have noticed that Giant catcher Buster Posey’s double in the second inning was his first extra base hit in May and only third double for the season.
    With the Dodger bullpen in shambles, it isn’t a good time for Kershaw and Billingsley to start having sub-par starts.
    Will 2011 be the first year in many that the Dodgers will perform well in inter-league play?  It starts tomorrow against the Chisox.  I can’t remember the Dodgers ever having a winning record against AL foes in the inter-league games.