Dodger Thoughts: Dodger Stadium

Moyer better blues

January, 19, 2012
This post is dedicated to a real '49er ...
  • Jamie Moyer, who turns 50 on November 18, signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies with an invitation to Spring Training. Not that my expectations would be sky high, but I would have been curious to see Moyer, recovered from Tommy John surgery, in a Dodger uniform in March.
  • Here, The Platoon Advantage needs only four degrees of separation to connect Moyer to Babe Ruth and makes the case for six degrees between Moyer and Cap Anson.
  • Want to know what potential Dodger bidder Mark Cuban is up to this week? Just trying to change the business model of TV distribution.
  • Ramona Shelburne of spoke to Cuban this week about why he's interested in the Dodgers. "It's an iconic team," Cuban said. "There's only a few franchises like that. And it's always better to buy a team like that when they're down."
  • Bill Shaikin of the Times does the most thorough look of anyone yet at the threat of Frank McCourt keeping possession of the parking-lot-infused land surrounding Dodger Stadium. Because McCourt's agreement with MLB doesn't require him to sell that land, he can use it as a bargaining chip to extract more purchase money, hang on to it and draw millions in lease revenue from it, or do the very thing we imagined he'd do when he first bought the Dodgers eight years ago, develop it.

    As I've said in the past, though there's a risk that some group will buy the Dodgers without the land, no one with the sense of a bullfrog should be willing to take the risk of remaining beholden to McCourt after the sale. Pay the man up front and get him out of Dodge.
  • The Miami Marlins appear to be the choice to succeed the San Francisco Giants as the featured team on Showtime's baseball documentary series, "The Franchise," Jon Weisman of Variety reports.
  • Still more from the TV front: John Ourand of Sports Business Journal explores how long MLB Advanced Media will keep its digital operations separate from TV rights sales. Stakes are high.
  • Renowned baseball historian Robert Creamer gave a lengthy interview with Graham Womack of Baseball Past and Present. His biography of Babe Ruth was one of the first serious baseball books I ever read. Here's a small Dodger-related tidbit from the interview:
    ... I first became intensely aware of big league baseball in the summer of 1931, when I was nine. My big brother, who was six years older than I, took me to my first major league game, or games — it was a doubleheader between the old New York Giants and the old Brooklyn Dodgers in the old Polo Grounds on the banks of the Harlem River in New York, below the steep hillside known as Coogan’s Bluff. John McGraw was still managing the Giants and Wilbert Robinson the Dodgers, who were generally known as the Robins. Headlines would sometimes refer to the Robins as “the Flock, as in flock of birds. I’m not sure if team nicknames were technically formal at that time. If not they soon were. Both McGraw and Robinson ended their managerial careers in 1932, and the Robins nickname soon disappeared as “Dodgers” returned. The new manager was Max Carey, whose real name was, I believe, “Canarius.” One sportswriter, Tom Meany, bowing to Max, suggested the team’s new nickname be the Canaries, but it didn’t take. ...
  • "Moneyball" won approval across the pond, nabbing nominations for Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and the screenplay by Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin from the British Academy.
  • Our good friend Bob Timmermann wrote a terrific piece at L.A. Observed's Native Intelligence about "L.A.'s Hall of Fame basketball coach who faded from memory," Alex Hannum.
  • Timmermann also passes along this note: "RIP Patsy Tombaugh, wife of Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto. ... She was also the great-aunt of one Clayton Kershaw." Tombaugh was 99.
  • Dioner Navarro, who got a guaranteed $1 million from the Dodgers after finishing 2010 with a .528 OPS and an awkward departure from Tampa Bay, will go to Spring Training this year on a minor-league contract with the Reds after finishing 2011 with a .600 OPS and an awkward departure from Los Angeles. (Remembering 2011: Dioner Navarro.)
  • Vagabond former Dodger draft pick Preston Mattingly has hooked a minor-league contract with his dad's former team, the Yankees. Mattingly, 24, reached base 50 times in Single-A last year.
  • Vicente Padilla signed a minor-league contract with Boston. He will compete for a spot in the starting rotation but could end up in the bullpen – health permitting, of course. (Remembering 2011: Vicente Padilla.)
  • Diamond Leung, former Dodger beat reporter for the Press-Enterprise, has been blogging on college basketball for but now will cover Michigan State hoops for
I woke up itching to compile a To Do list for the Dodgers' new ownership. I'll start it up, and if I've missed anything important, I'll update it with some of your suggestions in the comments.

In no particular order:
  • Overall fiscal responsibility, which implies knowing when and where to spend as well as when and where not to spend. Responsibility means neither miserliness nor excess.
  • Long-awaited renovations to the beautiful but aging Dodger Stadium, with particular attention to the medieval restrooms.
  • Retention of the best personnel in the Dodger front office integrated with a pursuit of the best personnel outside the front office.
  • An expert analysis of Dodger Stadium security and enactment of a forward-thinking plan.
  • A reevaluation of Dodger food, parking and concession prices. No one's saying the place should become a 99 Cent Store, but there has to be some sense. Fans shouldn't have to pay for Prince Fielder with every hot dog.
  • Matt Kemp. Clayton Kershaw.
  • The post-2013 local TV deal, of course.
  • A reevaluation of Dodger Stadium fan atmosphere, including signage and music (including a restoration of Nancy Bea to proper prominence).
  • Anything Vin Scully wants or needs. If he wants coffee, you get it for him.
  • Better wireless access in the stadium. In 2012, fans shouldn't be struggling to get a signal.
  • Elimination of "Don't Stop Believin' " from the eighth inning and in "God Bless America" from the seventh inning except on the rarest of occasions. "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" will suffice.
  • Remove the restrictions on routes for exiting the parking lot after games.
  • Do not insult the intelligence of the Dodger community.
Tony Jackson of has more on this morning's news that the Dodgers were cutting season-ticket prices almost across the board. The price-cutting is an implicit acknowledgment of the flight from Dodger Stadium this year, and what's potentially ironic is that it comes just as the owner who inspired much of that flight, Frank McCourt, continues to see his hold on the team fraying.

The official creditors committee in the Dodgers' bankruptcy case has formally asked Judge Kevin Gross not to approve a premature auction of the team's TV rights, reports Bill Shaikin of the Times, labeling it a "risky proposition" and calling for a sale of the team instead. The committee did ask, however, for a 30-day period before Judge Gross rules, to increase the possibility of a sale strategy that MLB and McCourt could agree upon.

McCourt has become an underdog in the objective sense, he's up against a huge power play at this point. That doesn't mean he can't score, but more than ever, he is facing a situation where in order to retain any ownership, he might have to sell a significant portion of the franchise to potential teammates. And even the viability of that scenario is fading.

In any case, the landscape might change rapidly enough that fans who reduced or eliminated their Dodger ticket purchases in 2011 might have double the reason to amp up their ticket-buying for 2012. You can find a full chart of the price-saving here.

* * *
  • Matt Kemp has been officially announced as the winner of the fan-voted National League Hank Aaron Award for top hitter. From
    ... Kemp made one of the best Triple Crown bids in recent years, falling just short. In addition to leading the NL in homers and RBIs (126), he finished third in batting behind Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun, at .324. Kemp also led the NL in runs (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 NL All-Star also finished among league leaders in multihit games (57, tied for first), hits (195, second), slugging percentage (.586, second), extra-base hits (76, second), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth) and walks (74, tied for eighth).

    Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases in their respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, '09-11), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler ('20), Chuck Klein ('32), Willie Mays ('55) and Aaron ('63). In addition, the sixth-round selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft was the first Dodger to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs since Dolph Camilli in 1941, and the first Dodger in history to lead the NL in homers, RBIs and runs scored....
  • I meant to do some research on World Series that were tied after four games, but Cliff Corcoran of beat me to it. "Remarkably, though a tie-breaking win in the fifth game of a best-of-seven series puts the victor just one out away from a series win, just two-thirds of the teams that have won a tie-breaking Game 5 in a best-of-seven World Series (26 of 39) have gone on to win the series, and just three of the last nine teams to break a Series tie with a Game 5 win went on to win the championship," Corcoran found.
  • I found this anecdote from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about former Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin poignant:
    ... Franklin attended Sunday's game as a guest of general manager John Mozeliak. "He made quite a commitment to our organization," Mozeliak said. "It was very important to him to remain part of this club. And I think that was reflected in the way we worked with each other." Mozeliak frequently sought Franklin's input on rival personnel during the pitcher's 4 1/2 seasons with the club. The two have remained in contact since Franklin's release June 30 and Mozeliak has broached the possibility of Franklin rejoining the organization in another capacity. "It's definitely something I would think about if I decide I'm done" playing, Franklin said. As for watching the team he was a part of compete for the World Series championship, Franklin admitted, "I feel connected in a way, especially to guys like (Jason) Motte and (Mitch) Boggs. It's fun to watch but it's also tough to watch." Franklin hasn't shut the door on playing again but admits he is leaning toward retirement. "I know if it started tomorrow I'd be leaning toward staying around the house," Franklin said. "It was pretty neat to be able to take my kids on their first day of school. My wife thought so, too."
  • Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge will become free agents with the Phillies buying out their 2012 options, but if you're looking for the most fun ex-Phillie pitcher to consider, consider one Jamie Moyer, who turns 49 next month. Moyer will be more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery when Spring Training starts in 2012.

Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comDodger Stadium at the first pitch.

Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comScene minutes earlier at the corner of Sunset and Elysian Park
The crowd Saturday at the first fan-organized protest against Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt might have been small, though nothing felt as sparse as the inside of Dodger Stadium.

About 75 people gathered at the southeast corner of Sunset Blvd. and Elysian Park Ave., down the hill from the ballpark, in the hour before Saturday's Dodgers-San Diego Padres game for the "We Take Our Team Back" demonstration, designed to draw more attention to the frustration a number of Dodger fans have with the team ownership situation.

That turnout was less than organizer Roger Arrieta of West Covina, Calif., anticipated, but perhaps reflected a crowd that largely chose to avoid all things Dodgers on a vintage Southern California summer day.

"It's a step," said participant Joe Gonzalez of Boyle Heights.

As galvanized as the boycotters were by their protest, they might have been even more heartened by what was happening inside the stadium. The season-long attendance decline, amped by a national TV broadcast of a game originally scheduled for the evening, led to swaths of empty seats for the first pitch, at a level that even the cliche of late-arriving Dodger fans couldn't explain.

Dodger attendance this season, amid increasing dissatisfaction with ownership and a team that has fallen into last place, is more reliant than ever on discounts just to mitigate the decline, something that wasn't lost on protester Jesse Delgado of Monrovia, who manned the megaphone with equal parts anger and levity.

"Do not support the McCourts!" chanted Delgado. "Do not fall for his $1 hot dogs!"

Delgado earlier commented that while fan grievances toward McCourt might be well-known, there was an urgency for a solution.

"Our biggest concern as fans is, is it going to be in a timely manner, before (Matt) Kemp and (Andre) Ethier leave as free agents?" Delgado said. "How long can McCourt damage our team?"

Noting the declining attendance, Gonzalez believes that non-Dodger fans should take up the cause.

"The teams back East are used to getting revenue sharing," he said. "They're used to getting 40-45,000 a game (at Dodger Stadium). ... They should be out here."

With fans chanting, holding signs and buying and selling anti-McCourt T-shirts, Arrieta monitored reaction to the protest on his cellphone. The rather soft-spoken organizer calmly discussed his amazement at the state of the franchise and its fans.

"I just want to keep drawing more attention at this," Arietta said. "Frank comes out and says, 'I just keep doing this for the best interests for the community.' Does he not see what's going on?"

Dodger Stadium, 2061

June, 16, 2011
Jon WeismanCh-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.
At the Los Angeles Magazine 50th anniversary party Wednesday (deftly chronicled by Michael Schneider at Franklin Avenue), they had a series of covers imagining the magazine in 2061. A sample of one can be seen to the right. It appears that Dodger Stadium will have come full circle by then.

Elsewhere ... Eno Sarris of Fangraphs takes a stab at what's wrong with Chad Billingsley.

For what it's worth, Billingsley, who has a .379 on-base percentage and .538 slugging percentage in 33 plate appearances, is now the No. 1 hitting pitcher in major-league baseball. Clayton Kershaw is also in the top 10.

Where's Kempo

June, 5, 2011
Where Matt Kemp ranks among National Leaguers, according to

1. - offensive wins above replacement (2.9)
1. - power-speed number (14.5)
1t - RBI (46)
1t - total bases (125)
2. - games played (59)
2. - home runs (15)
2. - slugging percentage (.576)
3. - runs created (49)
3. - win probability added (2.6)
4. - at-bats per home run (14.5)
4t - adjusted OPS (170)
4t - intentional walks (6)
4t - times on base (98)
4t - wins above replacement (2.9)
5. - offensive win percentage (.759)
5. - OPS (.971)
5t - stolen bases (14)
6t - strikeouts (55)
7t - hits (69)
8. - on-base percentage (.395)
8t - extra-base hits (26)
9. - batting average (.318)

Kemp is fifth in the NL in total average (.341), according to Baseball Prospectus. Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness has more on what Kemp could achieve this year.

* * *
  • Fasten your seat belts. Here are the scheduled pitching matchups for the upcoming Philadelphia series:

    Monday – Ted Lilly vs. Cliff Lee
    Tuesday – Rubby De La Rosa vs. Roy Oswalt
    Wednesday – Hiroki Kuroda vs. Cole Hamels

    The Phillies have lost four straight games, two each to Washington and Pittsburgh.
  • Via Baseball Think Factory comes this March 1957 Sports Illustrated piece that is said to be the first mention of "Chavez Ravine" in the magazine. It acknowledges that Walter O'Malley's primary desire was to stay in Brooklyn, but here's my favorite line: "It was even suggested that with the coming of the jet age, when the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will be only three or four hours apart, New Yorkers could get to a Dodger game in Chavez Ravine in less time than it now takes to reach Ebbets Field."

    Conclusion: "The next chapter in the serial will now have to be written by the City of New York some time before next October. Should they fail to get busy, O'Malley and his Dodgers will almost surely head west like so many other overcrowded, ill-housed Easterners. In that event, major league baseball will be a coast-to-coast reality no later than 1960."
  • Orel Hershiser has joined Steve Garvey's group that's interested in purchasing the Dodgers, reports Jill Painter of the Daily News. It's still not clear what kind of financing the Garvey-Hershiser group would have, because initial reports linking it to billionaire Ron Burkle have been disputed.
  • Red-hot Dodger minor-league reliever Shawn Tolleson (0.63 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings this year) and Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw were groomsmen at each other's weddings this offseason, notes Inside the Dodgers, which passes on a link to an upcoming Dodgers Magazine feature on the pair.
  • Dennys Reyes, who made his major-league debut with the Dodgers in 1997, is one of 21 players to steal a base in his first game and then never do so again in his career, according to Reyes has by far the most appearances of anyone on the list. On July 13, 1997, Reyes walked, went to second on a single, stole third and scored on an error. He pitched six innings that game and got the win, one of 10 in his career as a starting pitcher.
  • Oakland has designated former Dodger Andy LaRoche (.654 OPS) for assignment.
  • Not a Dodger note, but I thought it was cool: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jose Reyes is only the second player since 1926 to have 10 triples by June 4. Willie Wilson in 1985 was the other.

Stow family sues Dodgers

May, 24, 2011
The family of Bryan Stow filed a civil suit against the Dodgers in Los Angeles Superior Court this morning. Ramona Shelburne of has details.

Jon Weisman/
Heading from the press box to the club level admissions entrance on the port side of Dodger Stadium, you walk through the recently installed exhibit celebrating the history of the Dodger franchise.

It’s overflowing with mementos so engrossing that you could spend your entire evening inching through the halls. It was also a little too perfect a reminder of what’s at stake when you’re talking about the fate of the team at Chavez Ravine.

I didn’t know what to expect when I came out the other side, minutes after the gates opened to let customers into the ballpark for the first new Giants-Dodgers series since Bryan Stow’s beating in the parking lot March 31. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, other than a vague sense of wanting to capture what it was like.

While I was fairly confident that there wouldn’t be any overt hostilities between Dodger and Giants fans in the hopefully New World Order of Sanity, I did recognize the possibility of a heightened level of wariness among the ticket-holding people.

What caught me off guard was how mellow it was. How completely quiet.

Outside of the disembodied, prerecorded voice of Vin Scully, recalling animatronic Abraham Lincoln at Disneyland as he recited the rules of good behavior, there was such tranquility in the air. I don’t mean just, "Hey, we’re not at each other's throats." I mean a place where you could let out that deep breath that you’ve been holding since McCourt, since Stow, since the offense disappeared.

The way you’re supposed to feel at the ballpark.

Emphasis on park. Early morning rain had given way to perfect May billows of clouds. The temperature was ideal. A cotton-candy evening. Grab a spot and sit a spell.

Yes, there were more police, on foot and on horseback and on Segway, but they chatted amiably like they were at the county fair. Fans strolled. They saunted. They perambulated.

On nights like this, you remember that Dodger Stadium sells itself, if you just let it.

I continue circumnavigating the globe, as it were, working my around the back of the outfield pavilions and heading up along the right-field side, past Loge, past Club. I see a couple, the man wearing an SF cap on his white hair, and I engage them in neighborly conversation.

"We came to a game the same series [as the Stow incident]," recalls Richard Tetu, a San Francisco transplant now residing in Pasadena, "and I deliberately didn’t wear [the cap]."

What changed? Smiling at his wife, he says, "She called me a wuss."

Says Linda Tetu, a Dodger fan with her L.A. cap: "These people [around us] were all decked out in orange."

But in addition to becoming more courageous, Richard, who brought Linda to Wednesday night’s game for free using the Dodgers’ promotion for military veterans, realized there was less reason for fear now.

"We knew the security would be better," he said, noting that he has been following the story raptly since it began, "and we knew the crowds would be smaller."

For Los Angeles resident Carlos Flores, a Giants fan from the days of Will Clark -- "not Barry Bonds; Will Clark" -- there was a sense of patient bemusement at all the fuss. A regular attendee decked in a Giants jersey, he’s already been to a few Giants-Dodgers games this year. He never lost sight of why.

"I think too much was made of it, but they had to put a stop to it," Flores said of the abusive fans. "They’re not here for the game. They’re here for the violence."

Now, one can believe, or at least hope, that violence is off the menu. (You know, like the Cool-a-Coo. Or like an evil Cool-a-Coo.)

We, the people of Dodger Stadium, had to start over. We had to stop being held captive by our basest fans. We had to find our way back to the way a ballgame was supposed to feel. It’s come at an egregious, horrific price, a man in a coma, the lives of his family in suspended animation. Many fans are still staying home. Those that remain are still impatient with the performance of the team and utterly exhausted by its owner. The bitterness is legitimate, but it’s not a weapon to be used on the game itself, or on each other.

Wednesday night, as the Giants pushed their first run across the plate, you could hear cheers. I was back in the press box, having long since completed my around-the-stadium in .08 days walk. I can only hope that the cheers by one group were met with nothing worse than jeers from the other. I can only hope that when the game ends, after I publish this piece, the fans' journey to the parking lot will be the safe, exhaling stroll it was when they came in.

But unlike before March 31, I can believe. I can believe that people remember that it’s a game. At a ballpark.

The foundation for Dodger Stadium’s rebirth has been laid. Now, we just need the team to catch up.
Welcome back to Turning Point Central. A week after the beating of Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and a day after the Dodgers hired William Bratton, the charge against stadium violence has gone full speed ahead.

A security presence once deemed unfeasible is now considered indispensable:
... Calling the incident an "absolute abomination," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday: "We are investigating this matter around the clock and take this horrific crime very, very seriously."

The mayor and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck held a news conference Thursday and vowed a bigger police presence at Dodgers games, starting with the next home game in a week against the Cardinals.

"You are going to see a sea of blue. And it's not going to be Dodger blue. It's gonna be LAPD blue," Beck said.

Beck asked the team to pay for the deployment of uniformed officers and was negotiating the amount with team officials.

Beck declined to estimate how much the extra personnel would cost or how many officers would be deployed but said he would spare no expense to ensure public safety at Dodger Stadium.

"Well, up until this incident, we try to let venues take care of their own security, you know, if they're unable to do that then I do it," Beck said. "And so, I will make decision about how many Los Angeles police officers are deployed in and around, and I emphasize around, Dodger Stadium, based on public safety needs."

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said the club will cover the overtime costs.

"People will be awed by the response of the Los Angeles Police Department to this because we will not suffer this as a city again," Beck said. "People have a right to enjoy the American pastime and we are going to assure that right." ...

Ramona Shelburne of takes an extensive look at the Giants' security approach for AT&T Park.
Former L.A. police chief William J. Bratton has been hired by the Dodgers to assess and consult on security needs for Dodger Stadium and its parking lots. Tony Jackson of has the details:
... Bratton presently serves as chairman of Kroll, a company described by its website as "the world's leading risk consulting company." According to a release issued by the Dodgers, Bratton will be assisted in his work for the Dodgers by a team from Kroll.

"Bill Bratton is widely credited with spearheading modern community policing in America," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said in the release. "There is no one better to lead a top-to-bottom review of our current practices and make recommendations to be implemented now and into the future. ... We are committed to ensuring that Dodger Stadium remains a family-friendly environment for all baseball fans."

Bratton, 63, was chief of the LAPD from 2002 until his resignation in 2009. He previously served as commissioner of both the New York and Boston police departments. ...

This marks a step that could provide some optimism about a problem that isn't going to be solved overnight. You need tangible, creative, real actions, and you need to be able to sell them to a wary public. The hiring of Bratton doesn't guarantee anything, but it increases the chances on both fronts.

Many of us are hoping that somehow, what happened to Bryan Stow becomes a turning point in the problem of fan violence. Here's an example of some Southern Californians showing some initiative:
A community vigil in support of Bryan Stow, the victim of a beating in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after last week's opening game, is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles County Medical Center.

The vigil's grass-roots sponsors, which include the Garfield High School Healthy Start Collaborative, East Los Angeles Prevention Project and the Latino Equality Alliance, are supporting Stow's recovery while also taking a stand against the violence of his attack. Stow has been in a medically induced coma for the past several days.

He suffered a severe skull fracture and bad bruising to his brain's frontal lobes, Dr. Gabriel Zada, a neurosurgeon, said Tuesday.

At one point, doctors had to remove the entire left side of his skull to ease pressure on his brain. The pressure is now normal but Stow remains in a coma from his injuries and from sedation to reduce his brain activity, Zada said.

"There is evidence of brain injury and dysfunction," Zada said.

It was reported Tuesday that Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, sent a text message while inside the stadium to family indicating that he was scared of what might happen to him.

"In response to this tragic event and to show our support for the victim, we call upon all community leaders, Dodgers fans and Angelinos to stand in solidarity with Giants fans and the family of Bryan Stow against any form of violence," said a statement on the vigil's Facebook page. "We call upon our community leaders to address this growing problem with our urban youth and young adults. We need to evaluate and respond to the issue of alcohol and substance abuse association with community violence."

Organizers said a press conference would follow the vigil.

The L.A. County Supervisors, the L.A. City Council, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants and Stow's employer, American Medical Response, have led contributions to a reward now totaling $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the individuals who inflicted the beating on Stow, a paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Giants announced Tuesday that "The Bryan Stow Fund" had been established through the San Francisco Police Credit Union. Donations can be made and further information can be found at

Here's more of the latest news on Stow, a combined report by wire services and's Tony Jackson.

* * *
  • Jim Murray on Jim Gilliam, 50 years ago today (via the Daily Mirror):
    ... You might say Jim is with the Dodgers but not of them. The distinction is important. He starts every season in the dugout. He sleeps every night with his bag packed at his feet and rumors of a trade swirling around in his dreams. He lives his life in a kind of limbo midway between the Dodgers and the rest of the National League.

    Then the season starts and some "phenom" begins to leak at the seams, the stuffing oozing out of him at every trip to the plate. The manager sets a hysterical search amid the bat bags, locker room towels and press clippings of his wunderkind — and there sits Jim Gilliam, waiting. ...

    When the Dodgers came to L.A., they brought Jim along with all the enthusiasm of a man asking his mother-in-law on the honeymoon. They had a hot-shot third baseman named Dick Gray, and began to offer Gilliam around like a claiming horse until Gray began to leak like a sieve in the field and strike out on balls the catcher couldn't get his glove on.

    Gilliam became a third baseman and the Dodgers became World Champions ...
  • Here's a really nice column on the passing of a TV insider by Variety's Brian Lowry.
    ... His most memorable line is a cautionary one I've quoted for years -- one that addresses the way coveted Hollywood promotions are often fraught with peril: "The best job you'll ever have," he said, "is the one that precedes the one you always wanted." ...

ESPN's Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine recap the Dodgers' win over the Giants. Note in the video that Matt Kemp is already standing on third base in the sixth inning when Buster Posey's throw is just coming into the picture.

A final thought about airplanes flying banners. When I see them high above the Pacific Ocean at the beach, advertising this or that, they pretty much have no impact on me. It's hard for me to believe it was any different with the banners (as pictured on Vin Scully Is My Homeboy) flew over Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

Elsewhere ...
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs is pretty much in awe of Clayton Kershaw at this point. Colleague Dave Allen has more on Kershaw's hard slider.
  • Dodger fans offer Frank McCourt advice, via Molly Knight of ESPN the Magazine.
  • Here's one more installment of the LADodgerTalk interview series with Logan White. Lots of Rubby De La Rosa discussion.
  • Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes about Ron Mahay, whose release by the Dodgers might mark the last we see of replacement players from the 1994-95 strike.
  • Eric Nusbaum's profile on former Dodger talkcaster Ken Levine is in the Seattle Weekly.
  • After 1,759 career hits, Randy Winn retired, bucking some expectations by never playing for Ned Colletti in Los Angeles.
  • How Justine Siegel almost threw batting practice for the Dodgers last month. Maybe it will still work out at some point.
  • Greg Simons of the Hardball Times takes a turn on the annual "Five questions" feature on the Dodgers.
One incident of violence at Dodger Stadium is one too many.
Los Angeles police are looking for two men who beat and critically injured a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the opening day game.

Sgt. Sanford Rosenberg says two men in Dodgers clothing followed three men in Giants gear as they walked to their car after Thursday night's 2-1 Dodger victory.

Rosenberg says the attackers yelled slurs against the Giants and began kicking and punching the men.

One victim suffered a head injury and was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

Rosenberg says the injury is not life-threatening.

"It is extremely unfortunate that this incident took place on what was otherwise a great day at Dodger Stadium for tens of thousands of fans," the Dodgers said in a statement. "We're committed to having the most fan and family friendly environment in baseball and will continue to make that a top priority. We are cooperating fully with authorities during their investigation and we wish this fan a speedy recovery."

Investigators don't have the identities of the suspects and are asking anyone with information on the attack to call police.

I really lack the words to describe my feelings of how disturbing this is. There absolutely has to be zero tolerance. It's just appalling. Even though I'm not responsible, as a Dodger fan it's hard not to feel shame, let alone regret.

Just a thought, but maybe it's seriously time, maybe at the start of the eighth inning when people have consumed most of their liquor (alcohol sales stop after the seventh inning), for Dodger Stadium officials to pause during games against the Giants and remind fans — with a new public address announcement and scoreboard message — that we're here to win, not to maim. Because even if 55,997 fans know this to be true, we still need to get the message to the other three.

People get the advisories about fan behavior in the first inning, but that's a long time and a lot of beers in the past — plus, those advisories focus on in-stadium behavior, and could leave the impression to a few people that the parking lot is some kind of demilitarized zone.

I'm not blaming the Dodger organization, whose Opening Day otherwise was quite successful — just offering a suggestion. I'm open to others. I realize you can't prevent all crime from happening, but this is starting to seem like an annual event, and I'm not sure we're at the limit of measures to be taken. The game needs to remain a game, not a war.

78 and sunny

March, 31, 2011

Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesIt's time ...
... for a beautiful Opening Day.

We're going to be game-threading it Cover It Live-style later this afternoon, so the chat should flow fast and freely. (I hope.) Stick around ... I'm heading out to the ballpark in an hour or so.

March 8 game chat

March, 8, 2011
Enter, stage left ...
  • Buster Posey will make $575,000 next season, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Hardball Talk). That's $75,000 more than Clayton Kershaw despite more than a year less in service time. I understand that Posey is underpaid with regards to pure talent, but I'm a little surprised he got that nice a raise.
  • Don Mattingly told reporters this morning that James Loney and Jamey Carroll are expected to return to game action Wednesday.
  • Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness is the latest blogger to be interviewed by Howard Cole of Baseball Savvy. Petriello was a huge contributor to the 2010 Maple Street Press Dodgers Annual, and one of the main reasons I was sorry Maple Street chose not to do one again this year.
  • Evan Bladh Sr. of Opinion of Kingman's Performance has a healthy post on an obscure but memorable record: Rod Carew stealing home on seven straight attempts in 1969.
  • The Onion posts too many great headlines to consistently track, but I couldn't let this one go: "Jim Joyce Accidentally Deletes Book He's Writing With Armando Galarraga."
  • Five-time Oscar nominee King Vidor wrote to Jim Murray about deplorable Dodger Stadium bathrooms in 1974. Letters of Note has the full text.

* * *

Dodgers at Brewers, 12:05 p.m.

The Dodgers also had a B game this morning against the Mariners.



Yasiel Puig
.296 16 69 92
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239