Dodger Thoughts: Derrick Hall
Getty ImagesManny Mota Mota Mota ...
I can't tell that this story is getting the coverage it deserves, although it is mostly just a painful waiting game. I'm thinking my best thoughts.
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Catching up on some Dodger ownership news and notes:
- Orel Hershiser tells the skeptics his group will have the dough, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Shelburne writes that the new owners, whoever they are, need to look toward the future to be successful, not the past.
- Patrick Soon-Shiong, who bought Magic Johnson's minority stake in the Lakers last year and reportedly the richest man in Los Angeles, has been approached by at least one Dodger ownership group, reports Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- One ownership candidate who has the money is former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, write Craig Karmin and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal. However, the Journal says "he has never attended a game at Dodger Stadium and is a lifelong New York Yankees fan." That'll go over well.
- Jill Painter of the Daily News has a solid interview with Peter O'Malley. "First, I'm blessed with good health," O'Malley said. "Second, the challenge. Thirdly, I do believe I can do it better than anybody else. Maybe that doesn't sound right, but I don't know how else to say it.
- Dodger sale news combined with a reduction in prices has boosted Dodger season-ticket sales 30% compared to this time last year, writes Bill Shaikin of the Times. Season-ticket sales dropped from 27,000 four years ago to 17,000 this past season.
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- Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness writes about the early signs that 2012 free-agent contracts will be insane.
- Related ... Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Phillies' four-year, $44 million offer to reliever Ryan Madson might be so high that it has Major League Baseball concerned and might be slowing locking down the next collective bargaining agreement.
- Might Rod Barajas' ability to frame pitches be a reason he deserved a $4 million deal from the Pirates? Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk thinks it's possible.
- Former Dodger executive Derrick Hall of the Diamondbacks had successful surgery to remove his prostate in response to cancer.
- Former Dodger outfielder Mike Marshall has been named manager of the independent San Rafael Pacifics, notes Dave Allen of the Marin Independent Journal, and his wife Mary will be assistant general manager. The Marshalls had the same roles with Chico.
- Jim Breen of Fangraphs says that hard salary slotting for MLB draft picks would be bad for the game, and uses the Dodgers' Zach Lee as a reason why.
- Shawn Green, Brad Ausmus and Gabe Kapler have joined forces to try to guide Israel into qualification for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. "While it remains unclear if the recently retired players will take the field themselves, their involvement provides an immediate boost to Israeli baseball, which remains a niche sport in a country where soccer and basketball reign supreme," writes The Associated Press.
- Clayton Kershaw and Roy Halladay tied for the SB Nation National League Cy Young vote. Kershaw got 14 first-place votes to Halladay's 13, but Kershaw also received a fifth-place vote from Padres blog Gaslamp Ball, which provides an unimpressive explanation to say the least.
- No Dodger connection here, just wanted to pass this along – Norwegian film "King Curling" is "a hilarious take on the mock-heroic sporting-underdog genre," writes Leslie Felperin of Variety.
has prostate cancer. More from the Diamondbacks' official site:Tough news out of Arizona: Diamodbacks CEO and former Dodger executive Derrick Hall
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... A date for surgery to remove the tumors has not yet been scheduled. Hall underwent a series of tests recently and had a prostate biopsy performed on Sept. 14.
"I was informed by my doctor while in San Diego with the team Saturday," Hall said. "I am fortunate the disease was caught in the early stages and expect a full recovery. I will use this news as an opportunity to educate and drive awareness, while hopefully saving more lives in the future. I am in great hands, and my family and I are confident we will get through this successfully. I notified all of my staff immediately and am eternally grateful for the overwhelming support, love and prayers."
Hall underwent a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, which resulted in elevated numbers and then underwent the prostate biopsy. That test was diagnosed as positive and revealed cancerous tumors.
D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick is a prostate cancer survivor. ...
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- Congrats to Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness - he's engaged! To his girlfriend! She finally bagged her a Homer.
- Matt Kemp won the Dodgers' Roy Campanella Award, "given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher." Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin, James Loney, Juan Pierre and Jamey Carroll are previous winners of the six-year-old trophy.
- Frank McCourt winning his hearing on TV rights, Tony Gwynn Jr.'s close friendship and James Loney's willingness to move to left field — all reasons to speculate about Prince Fielder coming to Los Angeles, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
- Manny Ramirez plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic this year, reports The Associated Press.
- Tommy Lasorda will be in uniform as an honorary coach for the Dodgers' home finale September 22, which happens to be the birthday of Lasorda, my daughter and Molly Knight.
- From the Dodger press notes: Dee Gordon "is tied the for NL lead along with Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio with 28 September hits and ranks fifth on the circuit with a .373 batting average this month (28-for-75). The 23-year-old also leads the Majors with nine stolen bases in 17 September games and overall ranks second among NL rookies with 21 steals in 27 attempts (77.8%). Gordon went 3-for-4 on Sunday to extend his career-long hitting streak to six games and is batting .423 (11-for-26) since the run began on Sept. 13. He is batting .337 (35-for-104) in the season’s second half, which ranks sixth among NL qualifiers."
- Tonight's matchup between Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum reunites two pitchers who, as of now, are in the top 20 in major-league history in adjusted ERA for starting pitchers (minimum 700 innings), according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Ready to put 2011 behind you? The Dodgers have released their preliminary 2012 schedule. After beginning this season on March 31, Opening Day 2012 comes on April 5 (a Thursday) at San Diego. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more:
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The Los Angeles Dodgers will begin the 2012 regular season with a four-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park April 5-8. Following an off-day, the team then will begin the home half of its schedule on April 10 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, kicking off a six-game homestand that also will include three more games against the Padres.
Major League Baseball released the 2012 regular-season schedule on Wednesday.
The interleague portion of the Dodgers' schedule includes the usual six-game, home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Angels, who will visit Dodger Stadium June 11-13. The Dodgers then will play at Angel Stadium in Anaheim June 22-24.
Additionally, the Dodgers will host the Chicago White Sox June 15-17 and visit the Seattle Mariners June 8-10 and the Oakland A's June 19-21.
The Dodgers will finish the first half with a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field July 5-8, then return home immediately after the All-Star break to begin the second half against the Padres on July 13.
The Dodgers finish the season at home with a six-game stand against the Colorado Rockies Sept. 28-30 and San Francisco Giants Oct. 1-3.
The schedule remains subject to change, and certain specifics such as starting times and day games/night games have yet to be finalized.
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- Former Dodgers executive and current Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall is profiled by Vincent Bonsignore of the Daily News in a story that is well worth your time.
- The McCourt ownership saga, which has been in a quiet period of late, resurfaces today in a hearing in which attorneys for Frank and Jamie fight over bill payments and spousal support, reports Bill Shaikin of the Times. Shaikin notes that the all-important issue of whether McCourt will be allowed to auction the Dodgers' future TV rights has been delayed indefinitely.
- ESPN.com baseball analyst and former Blue Jays exec Keith Law reviewed "Moneyball" at his personal blog – and hated the film, both as cinema and as a depiction of the book.
There's no doubt the film takes liberties on the baseball front and has some legitimate flaws, but I disagree with Law on a number of points – such as the idea that the secondary characters, from Art Howe to the scouts, are one-dimensional buffoons. I think it's very clear that these guys are real people, men to be respected, and that there's a real conflict going on, not a steamrolling of ne'er-do-wells.
At one point, Law criticizes the movie for staging a scene in which Beane crosses the country to discuss a trade in person with Cleveland's general manager, because that wouldn't happen, then later criticizes the movie for a scene in which Beane talks on the phone with the same GM, because it's boring to watch him talk on the phone. Hard to win.
I definitely expect some will be so put off by the film's inaccuracies that they won't be able to enjoy it, but I still think it stands up overall.
- Here's an excerpt of what Jackson wrote late Tuesday for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Chad Billingsley.
... Billingsley's pitch count was high again in this one, but that was mostly due to those first three innings. From the fourth on, we saw the dominating pitcher we know Billingsley can be, which makes it all the more maddening that we don't see that guy more often.
Those previous three starts lent themselves to all sorts of speculation, such as whether Billingsley was feeling OK physically. I went so far as to ask pitching coach Rick Honeycutt that question during last weekend's series in San Francisco, whereupon Honeycutt said if Billingsley was hurting, he wasn't admitting it. That appears to be a moot point now.
What Honeycutt did say was that Billingsley had lost command of his fastball -- the pitch that sets up the effectiveness of all his others -- and it probably was a mechanical issue having to do with his release point. Whatever it was, it wasn't much of a problem against the Diamondbacks. ...
- Update: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has a glowing portrait of Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.