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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Partners in Fallibility: Arizona and Los Angeles Stumble to the Finish
2008-08-28 08:16
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

To paraphrase Gregory House, "Everybody loses." Dodger fans can't understand how their team is still in the National League West race; Arizona's faithful must wonder how their team can still be in first place. But there the Diamondbacks sit, mocking Los Angeles with their grandiose .511 winning percentage. It must feel pretty special (relatively speaking), right?

To get the lowdown on the day before another three-game showcase showdown between the two struggling clubs, I checked in with Jim McLennan of AZ Snakepit. Here's how our chat went:

Jon: Jim, the Dodgers have been nipping at Arizona's heels for months now, but haven't been able to do the leapfrog thing. In fact, now the Dodgers are back under .500 and as far out of the NL West lead as they've been all summer. How confident are you guys feeling about winning the division?

Jim: According to coolstandings.com, we have a 71.3 percent chance of winning the division at time of writing, but you'd be hard-pushed to find any Arizona fan who feels anywhere near that confident. Obviously, being in front is the place to be, and every game where the Dodgers don't catch up helps the Diamondbacks: time is on our side, not yours. That said, I'd be a lot more optimistic if both teams were playing well: it's hardly comfortable when our team motto is no longer, "Anybody, anytime," but "Well, at least Los Angeles lost, too." The question is as much, how confident are you guys feeling about not winning it?

Jon: The Phillies series, which reversed the Dodgers' four-game sweep of them earlier in the month, was as big a morale destroyer as I've seen all year, and things haven't gotten any better in Washington. But Arizona losing five of six during the same period just showed that, though Dodger fans shouldn't necessarily be confident, they shouldn't give up either.

Jim: Both teams made post-deadline moves, acquiring sluggers in Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn. Why did the Dodgers not put in a claim on Dunn, to stop the Diamondbacks from getting him? And do you think either team has a realistic shot at signing their player long-term?

Jon: The Dodgers haven't addressed the claiming Dunn question officially; the conclusion we're left with is that it was a non-issue for them, and/or they didn't want to deal with the potential financial and roster implications of having him on the team. Neither of those answers are particularly satisfying for a lot of us.

The Dodgers will have the ability to sign a top-tier free agent this offseason, so I think they have a shot at Ramirez, but I don't know if the will is there. During the brief period in which Alex Rodriguez was a free agent last fall, the Dodgers didn't position themselves as serious contenders. I'm not saying the situations are identical, but I don't tend to think that a Ramirez deal will get done. I have to admit, I hadn't even gotten to the point of wondering whether Dunn would be with Arizona in 2009. What do you think?

Jim: While I'd like to see it, I'm doubtful we have enough room to make a competitive offer. It's a relatively thin free-agent market this year, and it's probable that we also have to replace Orlando Hudson at second base. If we hadn't already committed to paying Eric Byrnes through 2010, I could see us moving Conor Jackson to LF permanently, and making an offer, but I think we'll take the two draft picks and move on.

Here in Arizona, we expect to see pitching phenom Max Scherzer added to the Diamondbacks roster as part of the September expansion, though it's not sure if he will see playing time as a starter or strengthening the bullpen, which has struggled of late. Los Angeles have their own phenom in Clayton Kershaw, but there's some question as to whether he would be available in the playoffs, or even for the full season. How far do you see him going?

Jon: Part of the rationale behind the Greg Maddux pickup was to allow the Dodgers to stick to their plan of curtailing Kershaw's innings at about 170. You won't see Kershaw start in the playoffs even if the Dodgers have the opportunity, and I think he would be used sparingly in relief. Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Hiroki Kuroda and Maddux would form the postseason rotation. It might be worth noting that James McDonald is another young starter who could see some action at least out of the bullpen in September.

I've noticed several commentators of late leaning toward Arizona because of their big three: Brandon Webb, Dan Haren and Randy Johnson. But Johnson's not exactly the pitcher he used to be. What's your feeling about the Diamondback rotation overall heading into the stretch run?

Jim: Johnson has been a second-half revelation. Many people expected him to flag, or be skipped occasionally to keep him fresh, but he hasn't missed a game all year - and has a 1.82 ERA, with a K:BB ratio of 53:7, in eight starts since the All-Star Game. He seems to have benefited from a side session he threw during the break, under the eye of pitching coach Tom House. Can he keep it up? Well, he could double that post-break ERA and still be a formidable #3. Personally, I'm more concerned about Doug Davis, who may be wearing down - understandably - after having his cancerous thyroid removed in April, or Yusmeiro Petit and his amazing .195 BABIP.

The Dodgers offense, even with Ramirez, is scuffling badly. The series opener against the Nationals made it eight consecutive games scoring three runs or less, tying an NL season-high. Is there a particular cause? And, perhaps more importantly for L.A., a cure?

Jon: They're slumping, slumping badly. This is a challenged offensive team, reliant for the most part on stringing hits together, but clearly, if this is some record-high streak of ineptitude in the NL for 2008, it's not the Dodgers' usual behavior. They are leaving runners on base rather than not getting them on in the first place, which is usually a sign that a team isn't hopeless at the plate. So the cure is time. Whether that cure will come soon enough, or with enough time remaining in the schedule, I don't know.

And yet, there's Arizona, with a chance to go four up in the division, letting San Diego knock out Webb. Neither of these teams can really seem to get their act together. Webb losing is obviously a fluke, but what is the Diamondbacks' biggest worry?

Jim: If anything is going to sink us, it's the bullpen. They have a second-half ERA of 5.34, and an 0-8 record after July 10. I've a nasty feeling manager Bob Melvin blew out Brandon Lyon's arm by using him in hard, back-to-back-to-back outings just after the break: his ERA before that was 2.43, but balloons to 12.75 since. Any apparent resulting lack of blown saves is largely because we've only had three in August - and Lyon had to be bailed out in one of those. While Melvin still professes confidence in his closer, I have little, and set-up man Jon Rauch, with his 6.19 ERA for us, isn't much more inspiring. We have good relievers - Juan Cruz and Tony Peña have generally been solid recently - but Melvin apparently dislikes using them in high-leverage situations for some reason.

But enough gloom and depression! Who - presumably outside of Manny - do you expect to step up and carry the Dodgers through the last month of the season?

Jon: Aside from Ramirez, I think it's really going to be up to the younger non-rookies - Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney and even Russell Martin, though he has logged more than 1,000 innings behind the plate, to have enough left to carry the offense. It's getting to be too late for Rafael Furcal to have much of an impact, though perhaps he might be able to offer occasional help off the bench in September. But overall, I think the key to the Dodgers winning will have to be pitching depth. Though Los Angeles can't match Arizona ace-for-ace, the Dodgers do have a solid staff top-to-bottom. There have been some blown saves, but I'm still confident in the group overall. I'm really hoping they can keep the muzzle on opponents in September.

And who will be Arizona's heroes, should they have heroes?

Jim: Justin Upton should return, and certainly has the chance - if he can regain his April form, where he batted 327/.372/.554. It's a big "if" however, since he hit below .200 after that. Third-baseman Mark Reynolds is notoriously streaky, so could get hot down the stretch too. But it's the rotation that has taken Arizona this far, and it'll be them that we need to keep us in games. In particular, I'd love to see Davis come through with some clutch performances: it'd be the ultimate feel-good story off the season, to go from being diagnosed with cancer to leading his team into the playoffs.

Looking into the post-season, how do you think the Dodgers would match-up against the other contenders? Who do you fear most?

Jon: I mostly fear the television industry making fun of the Dodgers even being in the postseason. I can't even think about potential Dodger playoff opponents. I just know that the pitching staff would have to come up huge, and the Dodgers would basically just need to get some of the luck that has eluded them since 1988.

Jim: I look forward to the ESPN angst if L.A. or Arizona make the playoffs, and the Yankees don't, despite a better record! I feel the same about Arizona's chances - but once you reach the playoffs, the first 162 games become meaningless. That's probably the biggest thing either of our teams have in their favor.

Jon: Okay, that should do it for now, Jim. Thanks for the chat – and we'll just wait to see if Colorado passes both these teams by ...

Comments (197)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-08-28 09:08:32
1.   Prescott Pete
I really feel like giving up. But I can't stop watching this train wreck.
2008-08-28 09:14:43
2.   regfairfield
We're not so different, you and I.
2008-08-28 09:28:46
3.   LogikReader
Jon, that was one of the most fun chats I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing that exchange with us.

It's good to see that we're not the only ones with problems in MLB... and that Dbacks fans share the same frustration.

So no matter what the differences are between division rivals, fans of every team have the same passion for the game. That's comforting to know.

2008-08-28 09:30:22
4.   Eric Stephen
I was looking forward to listening to today's 10am game at work, so imagine my surprise when I find out the game doesn't start until 4pm.

The Dodgers are in Washington, roughly 2,300 miles away, and they have to play tonight, then travel to Arizona for tomorrow night's game, while Arizona played a day game yesterday San Diego, took the hour flight home, and gets today off.

I have two different brothers attending Dodger games in the next three days, so hopefully they can bring them more luck than I have.

2008-08-28 09:32:38
5.   underdog
That was indeed a fun read, Jon, thanks to you and Jim for taking the initiative. We'll show those DBacks and their fans a thing or two about struggles and frustrations, hoo boy, boy howdy!

4 Yah, I had the same reaction. Assumed it was a morning game and lo! The schedulemakers add a cruel twist to the Dodgers already rough past week. Be nice to get on that plane with a win, at least.

2008-08-28 09:33:01
6.   scareduck
Somebody in yesterday's or the day before's thread was lamenting Bob Timmermann's absence to answer a question regarding the team's worst road skids. The Los Angeles Dodgers have had only one road skid of 8 or more losses, and that was in 1992 from June 2 through June 21, during which they lost to the Pirates, Reds, Braves, and Astros. The worst road skid in franchise history hit the 1944 team, losing 17 games from June 18 through July 16 to Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Boston.
2008-08-28 09:34:44
7.   Bluebleeder87
thanks for the Chat Jon & Jim. Should be a great series.
2008-08-28 09:39:58
8.   GMac In The 909
Everything ends badly ... or else it wouldn't end.
2008-08-28 09:41:28
9.   underdog
Speaking of ending badly, I can't imagine Shawn Merriman's decision to play despite torn knee ligaments will end well.
2008-08-28 09:46:56
10.   Howard Fox
9 he will anchor their defense, they will have a terrific season, and his knee will give out during the first playoff game, throwing them into disarray
2008-08-28 09:47:42
11.   kinbote
Great read, Jon. Thank you.

For better or worse, I pretty much gave up on this team when we traded Carlos Santana for Casey Blake. At that point, I just could not deal psychologically with our upper management.

More recently, the team's almost daily inability to capitalize on opportunities has made me give up again [!]. Good teams take every advantage given to them; we don't. The only hope we have left is if we somehow radically turn it all around. I just don't see that happening.

The Arizona situation just makes this year all the more frustrating. The fact that the division leader is mediocre doesn't change my impression of this team at all. We are less than good.

The Ned Colletti era is going to end with the quietest of whimpers--and a whole lot of decisions to be made this offseason.

2008-08-28 09:54:36
12.   Eric Stephen
I'm not sure I'm capable of giving up until the Dodgers are mathematically eliminated, but the Dodgers pretty much have to win at least 4 of the 6 games against AZ to have a chance in my mind.

It would be nice being only 1 GB (or better) with 19 games to play, heading into the series in San Diego, which will be the first Dodgers' sweep in SD since June 28 - July 1, 2001.

2008-08-28 09:58:00
13.   Eric Stephen
I just realized technically the Dodgers can't be 1 GB with 19 to play because of the different schedules. Starting after tonight's game, the dreaded ½ game will apply through September 22, the final Monday of the regular season.
2008-08-28 09:59:50
14.   ToyCannon
We only need to be 3 games back with 3 games left to play.
2008-08-28 10:00:29
15.   LogikReader
6

That was me. Thank you for looking that up, scareduck.

Wow only 8... let's hope it stays that way.

2008-08-28 10:01:09
16.   Eric Stephen
14
Once you've experienced 1980, anything can happen!
2008-08-28 10:05:22
17.   briano
The Dodgers season is over. Why consider anything more. This team left its heart in San Francisco a few weeks ago and that was the determining series for me. Unfortunately, the Joe Torre experiment hasn't worked and to think that the Dodgers may consider Brian Cashman when they get rid of Ned scares me. The Yankees haven't been going anywhere since 2000 what makes any Dodgers fan think Yankees west could do any better (without the payroll of Steinbrenner). Again, ad nauseum, we need to go back (way back) to the Dodger Way. Remember, the Dodger Way. Just look south on the 5 and you'll see how it is and how it use to be in Dodgerland. I don't even want to start putting together my suggestions for next years management team or the field team, for that matter. This organization needs to come to the conclusion that it is far off course in its judgment of player and management personnel. Sadly, until the McCourts change their perspective, this organization is going nowhere for many more years
2008-08-28 10:08:31
18.   Eric Stephen
On July 30, 1982, the Dodgers -- losers of 5 of their last 7 -- stumbled into Atlanta, trailing the Joe Torre-led Braves by 10 games. Over the next 13 games, the Dodgers won 12 -- including all 8 against the Braves -- and took the division lead.
2008-08-28 10:09:27
19.   kinbote
Just look south on the 5 and you'll see how it is and how it use to be in Dodgerland.

Well put. The combination of productive farm system, high payroll, and attractive geography/history should make failure not an option.

2008-08-28 10:10:12
20.   underdog
17 That's the spirit!
2008-08-28 10:13:30
21.   briano
20 - I want to believe this team and organization will pull through, but the reality of the situation is the Dodgers have no heart and the organization is not willing to do what is really necessary to bring it back to prominence.
2008-08-28 10:14:39
22.   GMac In The 909
17 I'd like to sign up for your newsletter ... but only if the Nationals complete the sweep.
2008-08-28 10:16:01
23.   Howard Fox
21 and just what should they do to achieve that?
2008-08-28 10:17:32
24.   whodat807
The worst thing about this terrible week is it transforming Dodger fans into pre-2004 Red Sox fans.
2008-08-28 10:18:16
25.   Jon Weisman
"the Dodgers have no heart"

Please explain how you know this.

Is it basically, teams that lose have no heart?

2008-08-28 10:18:47
26.   LogikReader
I'm not going to give up just yet, just because whats the worst that could happen anyway?

The combination of productive farm system, high payroll, and attractive geography/history should make failure not an option.

That's part of the problem, though. I think the Dodger organization, for 20 years at least, rested on its laurels, assuming that great players will just run to Dodger Stadium.

Somewhere down the line the Dodgers as a whole has to realize "we are not very good, we have not been very good, and if we don't recognize our weaknesses, we will never be any good."

I thought the Dodgers were getting there until the last two years. Then Ned and Frank assume that, once again "we're just a player away." It's just not true.

2008-08-28 10:25:06
27.   scareduck
26 - it seems to me that little has changed since 1988. The Dodgers have never really adapted well to the realities of free agency, and this trend has gotten worse over time.
2008-08-28 10:25:10
28.   Eric Stephen
24
It's better than post-2004 Red Sox fans!
2008-08-28 10:25:42
29.   bhsportsguy
21 the Dodgers have no heart and the organization is not willing to do what is really necessary to bring it back to prominence.

Whether you agree or not agree on how they allocated their spending dollars, if we are use their payroll as an example of anything, it would be that they are willing to spend the money to try and build a competitive team.

As far as heart goes, for this year's team, heart was certainly apparent when I saw them comeback against the Phillies down 6-1, two weeks ago. I always think a run scoring drought does more to affect a fan's psyche than bad pitching or even a blown save. When a team is constantly leaving runners on base or doing things out of synch, it just looks to the fan like the players are out of it.

We all follow the numbers here to a certain extent, some a lot more than others and yet its hard to believe that while the other seems to get that one break to score a run with 2 outs, this team somehow blows chance after chance, even with the bases loaded and nobody out.

The Dodgers may not be able to recover this nearly 2 week stretch but they still have their fate in their hands, it might be painful and discouraging, but I will be there until the end.

For the Dodgers sake, they should try to be no more than 1-2 games out by next Friday since that is the deadline for playoff tix.

2008-08-28 10:26:05
30.   scareduck
23 - The Dodgers need some patience. So long as Frank McCourt is running the show, that will never happen.
2008-08-28 10:27:34
31.   CodyS
25 I think it's teams that lose to beatable teams at critical junctures of the season, making mental errors, failing to provide situational hitting, and just generally playing their worst ball when it counts most.
2008-08-28 10:27:41
32.   briano
21 - Talk to the people that were there for the glory years. Sit down with them in complete humility, shut up, and listen. Who? Talk to Garvey, Cey, Russel, Snider, Tommy Davis, whoever was in the Dodgers organization back in the 60's and 70's and 80's. This was the top organization in all of sports at one time. Pride and arrogance is what has brought this organization down. It started with complacency in the 90's under O'Malley, then went down in the arrogance dept. under Fox. Now McCourt needs to forget about the two organizations in the American League East and concentrate on what was with the team that was the best for decades. Again, its working consistently down in Anaheim. There's no coincidence here. Scioscia, Hatcher, Roenecke are all from the Dodgers farm system (not sure on Roenecke though). Mike brought the Dodgers attitude with him down south and it has transferred to their farm system. They have set a standard that will last for years to come. Arte Moreno is Walter O'Malley. He is a true visionary and it's working. Can anyone doubt the success they have had. I tip my cap to the organization. Now, McCourt & Co. need to swallow their pride, take a good look at themselves, look at the Dodgers past, and look at the Angels, and see their possible future. That would be a fabulous start.
2008-08-28 10:32:15
33.   Jon Weisman
32 - First of all, I thought you were talking about the team, not the management. The Dodgers have been arrogant - no doubt about it. But does that mean they don't have heart?

I'd argue that the problem is not so emotional but just a matter of smarts.

So maybe we're just having a semantics issue here. You're throwing a lot of words out there, some of which I'd agree with: pride, arrogance, lack of vision. But "heart" to me implies caring, and I don't think it's fair to accuse members of the Dodger organization of not caring.

2008-08-28 10:32:19
34.   Howard Fox
30 you name one successful business owner who has patience
2008-08-28 10:33:56
35.   LogikReader
Part of the phenomenon is attitude. I get a sense of entitlement from the media and some fans about the Dodgers which doesn't exist for other NL West Teams. If you watch a Giants game for instance, they already know they're going to be awful so they kick back and enjoy the moment.

Meanwhile you get this sense from Charley and Steve that the Dodgers are expected to win every game. Confidence is good, but that kind of arrogance isn't good if it isn't earned. You can't expect a team built to go .500 to win 120 games. There needs be perspective.

2008-08-28 10:33:59
36.   Tripon
34 Warren Buffett
2008-08-28 10:34:41
37.   Jon Weisman
I am very much an also-ran as far as my career goes. Does that mean I didn't have heart?
2008-08-28 10:36:35
38.   LogikReader
33

Jon is right. No matter what the liabilities are for our club, "not caring" will never be one of them.

2008-08-28 10:37:19
39.   Howard Fox
36 maybe now he has patience, but he is already successful

37 success is measured in different ways for different people, and it is by what is important to them, not to others

2008-08-28 10:37:23
40.   Eric Stephen
32
I'm asking in all honesty: what is it about the Angels that makes them current torchbearers of the Dodger Way? Is it just that Scioscia, Hatcher, et al were ex-Dodgers? They have obviously been successful in the past few years, but what are the specifically doing different besides "attitude" that makes them successful?
2008-08-28 10:38:06
41.   Gen3Blue
Excellent idea for a post and also well done. I'm not giving up yet and see a lot more of bad luck and injuries, than of lack of heart in the current situation.

If you extend that situation to the past several years you have to consider management and ownership. I will be nearly suicidal if we emerge from this long run of great farm system work only mediocre. Its hard to state how hard it would be to botch things up after the string of gifts the farm system has yielded, and we haven't quite messed it up yet.

2008-08-28 10:38:21
42.   Humma Kavula
37 When I first moved to LA, I was the cliche guy-trying-to-be-a-screenwriter. I wrote a few screenplays with went no-ho-ho-where. I eventually found success in an entirely different field.

When people ask me why I don't write my own stuff anymore, I say, "I just don't want it all that much."

In other words, I have no heart.

2008-08-28 10:38:25
43.   briano
Jon, they show no heart when I see them in the dugout staring in the distance as if they just had the wind kicked out of them. I understand it's a long season, and they are tired. However, leadership tells them they can still win that particular game. Losing is not an option. Torre has too casual of an attitude towards losing. The players and managers body language seems to me to say, "Oh well, there's always tomorrow's game." That's not what I witness when I watch some other teams that are champions. They won't tolerate losing. And it shows in their actions and in their demeanor. In other words, they don't seem to have any fight in them.
2008-08-28 10:38:26
44.   LogikReader
I get the feeling all of this talk will dissipate if the Dodgers blow out the Nats tonight.
2008-08-28 10:39:44
45.   Humma Kavula
Also, whenever The Dodger Way comes up in conversation, I can't help but remember Jon's words: there's only one franchise that traded Jackie Robinson.

And yes, I know why that's a problematic sentence, but the point is still valid.

2008-08-28 10:41:04
46.   bhsportsguy
32 Hey, I was there, those were the first teams that I would call my Dodgers but I do think we tend to look back at only the good things and fail to remember some the disasterous free agent signings that were made as well as really the slow and ultimately death of the farm system and poor drafts that started in the early '80s.

Also, since the Angels are winning, their past few years of wildly spending Arte's money gets underplayed and certainly they had some contracts leftover from the Stoneman/Disney days that they are finally getting rid of but giving extensions to Kelvim Escobar with his injury history, the large contract to Bartolo Colon, Gary Matthews Jr., numerous middle relievers and their farm system, while certainly productive, has had their share of misses.

I am not saying that the Dodgers will ever be like it was in 1977, it can't be, free agency changed that forever. But baseball teams and management is and always will be pretty much the same, the problems that bother the 2008 Dodgers were probably no different than any other frustrating ball team that has picked up a glove and bat in the long history of the game.

2008-08-28 10:42:16
47.   Howard Fox
44 I'd be happy with just a win

all this talk about heart reminds me of barracuda

2008-08-28 10:43:12
48.   briano
33 Jon, I agree with you. I think the team cares, I just want to see more fight in the team's attitude.
2008-08-28 10:44:13
49.   Tripon
Obviously the Dodgers should start to get Pigs hearts, and chitlins, and chicken feet and the beaks of ducks to get their mojos back.
2008-08-28 10:44:58
50.   Jon Weisman
43 - So when I see Matt Kemp thoroughly frustrated after his eighth-inning bases-loaded out, and putting all the blame on himself after the game, what am I to conclude?

You compare the Dodgers to the look that champions have, but don't you think it's a lot easier to project the right image when you've been on a winning run? Did the Dodgers have the look of no heart when they were down by five against Philadelphia two weeks ago?

I think trying to judge a team's emotional worth from a snapshot of TV images is a waste of time, but we can agree to disagree.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-08-28 10:45:09
51.   Howard Fox
49 sounds great, I'll fire up the BBQ
2008-08-28 10:46:01
52.   LogikReader
Whatever happened to that gnome that worked for us?
2008-08-28 10:46:12
53.   briano
32 Those Angels teams won and went to the playoffs. Every great team and organization has made mistakes. Look at the Lakers we all see the blunders they have made, but they always seem to make a comeback and get back in the Finals.
2008-08-28 10:46:14
54.   bhsportsguy
Its interesting that in both the '70s and '80s team luncheons I went to this year, its apparent that no matter how big a star that player was, outside of Fernando, Tommy Lasorda was the straw that stirred that cocktail for the most succesful run after Koufax, Drysdale and Wills teams.

And to that extent, I do tend to believe that some fans (I am not saying this about anyone on this particular thread), really miss Tommy's constant chatter and emotions on his sleeve approach to managing.

Which is totally counter to both Mike Scioscia and Joe Torre.

2008-08-28 10:47:04
55.   briano
Sorry I meant 46. My apologies.
2008-08-28 10:47:34
56.   Doctor
The problem with this team is what it has always been all year. The model of play the cheap kids and give them some help with 3-4 big ticket free agent doens't work when none of the big ticket free agents helps the team. Jones/Pierre/Schmidt/Furcal are half the payroll and they are useless. I know its been said before, but it is what it is.... that is why this is a busted year. Ned's plan didn't work. Turns out IQ matters.
2008-08-28 10:48:25
57.   okdodge
52 - Kemp must have moved the little guy.
2008-08-28 10:51:22
58.   bhsportsguy
53 It's interesting to me when people point towards the Angels. Since it sounds like you have been following baseball for a while, you have to realize that while the Angels have an incredible run, for the first 4 decades of their existence, it was pretty much not even a fair fight, I guess the 90's could be a draw but it has only been the last 5-6 years that has caused this apparent slide. You could argue that the Angels have made this a two market area because up until recently, it wasn't.
2008-08-28 10:51:50
59.   briano
50 Jon, I can't disagree with your logic. It's solid. However, seeing "the heart" of the boys two weeks ago should still be there in their 6 game skids as well. It's called faith in your abilities. We are problably long on the road of semantics now. Maybe I'd be better to say this: I want this team to appear to believe in themselves and their abilities. I guess that's all I'm trying to convey. But the organization is a different argument.
2008-08-28 10:52:56
60.   Jon Weisman
59 - Yeah, I think we both want the same things.
2008-08-28 10:53:16
61.   bhsportsguy
56 Then, I guess I would have to fire myself as a fan since I agreed with 3 of those moves, it just didn't work out, it happens.
2008-08-28 10:53:36
62.   Howard Fox
60 yes, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness
2008-08-28 10:54:06
63.   briano
58 Since Sciosia and the Dodger Way was instituted. Absolutely my point.
2008-08-28 10:55:37
64.   Tripon
Wonder what the Dodgers eat? Burgers, Fruits, Veggies? Seriously, I think its time to spike the food with heart juices from the blood of new born calves.
2008-08-28 10:55:58
65.   Howard Fox
61 no, we'll just put you on the fan 15 day DL but continue to pay you
2008-08-28 10:57:41
66.   briano
58 Sciosia may not appear to wear his emotions on his sleeve from what I've read over the years he has no problem letting his players know what he expects. Walter Alston was the Quiet Man too. But if you saw that movie, he knew how to get his punch, er, I mean, point accross.
2008-08-28 10:57:43
67.   fanerman
64 Heart juice! So simple.
2008-08-28 10:58:18
68.   Alex41592
61 - I fired myself as a fan when I left early Opening Day 2005. But, the Dodgers keep letting me in so who am I to tell them different?
2008-08-28 10:59:40
69.   Eric Stephen
58
It's generous to call the 1990s a draw. Certainly the Angels have dominated the landscape during the aughts, but the Dodgers relatively ruled the roost in the 1990s:

Dodgers
797-757 (.513), 2 divisions (counting '94), 4 more 2nd place finishes (1 Wild Card), only finished lower than 3rd twice

Angels
738-817 (.475), 3 second place finishes (their only finishes higher than 4th), no playoff experiences

Factor in the periwinkle uniforms of the latter portion of the decade, and the 1990s was all Dodgers. :)

2008-08-28 11:00:18
70.   Doctor
61

Ha, yea... I hear ya. I think you can hold the GM to higher standards though. You probably were not at Andruw's physical, Schmidt's doctors office/scout room etc..... sure, stuff happens though.

2008-08-28 11:00:50
71.   Howard Fox
69 yes, but the angels had heart
2008-08-28 11:02:25
72.   regfairfield
Ned at least seems to be able to acknowledge reality, so he's better than Ed Wade at least.
2008-08-28 11:02:27
73.   Johnny Nucleo
Great idea for a post. Helps to bring perspective as to what the opponents' fans are feeling - and they are feeling far from invincible, that is clear.

As far as the comments are concerned, I really think I've had enough of the bellyaching I've seen here over the past several days about how the Dodgers' season is over. Three games out with a month to play. Anything can still happen, people.

2008-08-28 11:02:38
74.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
25
I thought it was just the opposite.

I've always been a Clippers fan because, in my view, their team was the embodiment of "heart." Of course, for my entire lifetime they have also been the embodiment of "loser."

The Lakers, on the other hand, know nothing of heart--all they care about is winning.

This thread is starting to make me rethink my perception of heart. Has my affection for the Clippers been misplaced all these years?

2008-08-28 11:02:58
75.   Tripon
The Angels had a lawsuit from the Anaheim City of Orange County.
2008-08-28 11:03:46
76.   Eric Stephen
I have heard through a team employee that Scioscia is the absolute no-questions-asked leader of the Angel clubhouse. That's all well and good, but isn't that the same thing that Joe Torre is praised for?

What is Scioscia and his staff doing that the Dodgers are not? That is the $120 million question.

2008-08-28 11:04:03
77.   Howard Fox
73 yes, anything can, the rockies are close...
2008-08-28 11:04:41
78.   regfairfield
If someone hits a ball really hard with RISP, but the defense makes a nice play to get him, do they have heart or not?
2008-08-28 11:05:26
79.   Tripon
76 Not sign Juan Pierre to a $45 million contract? A willingness to develop players on the major league level?
2008-08-28 11:06:35
80.   Howard Fox
76 well, for one thing, Scioscia picks a lineup and sticks with it, injuries excepted...you win a position, you play...not like Ethier coming out of spring training...or the way the whole LaRoche/DeWitt/Nomar thing was handled...
2008-08-28 11:06:59
81.   Eric Stephen
79
They signed Gary Matthews to a $50m contract in the same offseason as Pierre.
2008-08-28 11:07:49
82.   sporky
79 Gary Matthews, Jr. waves hello.
2008-08-28 11:08:06
83.   regfairfield
79 Young home grown players in the Angels lineup: three, Dodgers: four. Plus they signed Gary Matthews who's worse than Juan Pierre for 50 million.
2008-08-28 11:08:13
84.   Doctor
81

But they corrected it with Hunter not Jones. Fool me once....

2008-08-28 11:10:00
85.   regfairfield
84 For five years.
2008-08-28 11:10:28
86.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
I tend to think the Dodgers have more heart than the Angels have. The Angels have been spoiled with their recent run of success.
2008-08-28 11:13:19
87.   Howard Fox
ya gotta have heart...miles and miles and miles of heart...
2008-08-28 11:13:42
88.   sporky
Gary Matthews has a full NTC from 07-09 and a limited on from 10-11. Wow.
2008-08-28 11:14:30
89.   Paul Scott
84 Hunter worked out better this year, but was almost certainly a worse solution than Jones at the time the deal was made. In the long run, I am still convinced that 5 years/$90M for Hunter will be worse than the 2 years/$36M for Jones, even if Jones never takes another PA for the Dodgers.
2008-08-28 11:16:38
90.   regfairfield
89 At this point, Jones never taking another PA is better than him coming back.
2008-08-28 11:17:04
91.   Disabled List
80 well, for one thing, Scioscia picks a lineup and sticks with it, injuries excepted...you win a position, you play

Except that's exactly what Torre did with DeWitt. Blake won the position, and he played. And played and played and played, when it was obvious to everyone else that he was overmatched. DTers were killing Torre for that back in June and July.

2008-08-28 11:18:46
92.   Howard Fox
91 you didn't see my reference to Ethier? didn't he win the job coming out of spring training and Pierre take over for no good reason?
2008-08-28 11:19:29
93.   regfairfield
91 Don't the Angels rotate through their outfielders?
2008-08-28 11:20:10
94.   Howard Fox
and DeWitt was steady defensively, even in his slump batted no worse than LaRoche or Nomar when they came back...

its like my beef with Nomar at SS, I'd play Hu even if he doesn't hit...Nomar isn't hitting

2008-08-28 11:20:22
95.   Tripon
83 Angels starting rotation currently has 4 starters produced from their system, Their bullpen has 4 guys produced from their minor league system. And the Angels start 4 people from the minor leagues everday, Napoli, or Mathis, Kendricks, Figgins, Aybar or Itzutris. And the one trade they made this season in Kotchman for Texiera was partly made because they trusted that Kendry Morales could take over next year. Sure the Angels have flaws, but those flaws are a lot smaller than the Dodgers at the moment.
2008-08-28 11:21:22
96.   regfairfield
92 That happened for about a week.
2008-08-28 11:21:22
97.   Howard Fox
93 only because they have the luxury of the DH to give each of them a rest
2008-08-28 11:22:00
98.   Howard Fox
96 but the point is that it DID happen
2008-08-28 11:22:12
99.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
For those who pay more attention to the Angels, are there practical differences in how they operate (other than emphasis on dubious constructs such as "heart" and "attitude")? Some teams clearly operate in a different way (e.g., Yankees, Marlins), but it seems like most teams, including the Dodgers and Angels, pretty much do the same things. Given that (at least from my casual observation) the Dodgers and Angels are doing the same things, I'm left to wonder whether the Angels are simply better at doing those same things, or whether they are the beneficiaries of luck.
2008-08-28 11:24:40
100.   regfairfield
95 If you're counting Figgins, then you have to consider that we went through nine years where the second best player we drafted was Alex Cora. We have two starters in the rotation and we have four home grown in the bullpen. The only young player that you can argue isn't getting a fair shake right now is McDonald.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-08-28 11:26:15
101.   Alex41592
Interesting stat:

Alex Rodriguez has 3 RBI's all season from the 8th inning on.

Sterling and Waldman are calling his 158 OPS+ season not a good season. Because a guy who makes so much money and looks that good needs to deliver.

2008-08-28 11:26:21
102.   underdog
As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don't know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.

Tin Man: But I still want one.

2008-08-28 11:27:14
103.   whodat807
98 So that one week is why Scioscia's a better manager than Torre? Surely you can find a better reason than that.

Why are we still griping about Ethier v Pierre? That's over folks--Pierre in the starting lineup is practically a distant memory. Can't we all just move on?

2008-08-28 11:27:40
104.   Disabled List
I think the whole thing about how the Angels do things the "Dodger Way" now, and how the Angels have heart and the Dodgers don't, all boils down to perception. The Angels seem to overachieve every year, while the Dodgers seem to perpetually underachieve.

The Angels have been winning games with great pitching and timely hitting, which is what the Dodgers' formula for success was always thought to be. Conversely, the Dodgers have been losing games with inconsistent pitching and a lineup that looks like it ought to be scoring a lot more runs than it actually does. Hence, the "no-heart" argument.

Is it really "heart," whatever that is? Until some other empirical reasoning is established, or the perception is proven to be bunk, then "heart" is all we have to go with.

2008-08-28 11:30:36
105.   Tripon
104 I think its more that the Angels meet expectations. Every year they expect to win the AL West, and for the most part they have done that for the past 5 or 6 years.
2008-08-28 11:31:19
106.   silverwidow
DeJesus is sooooo good right now.

Guys like DeWitt, Hu, etc can't touch his ceiling.

2008-08-28 11:32:34
107.   bhsportsguy
104 The Angels are not overachieving, they were predicted to win the division without any problems. The interesting thing is that they are doing it without a huge run differential since they win a lot more close games than perhaps they should.

An interesting article in BP this week about teams that win more than their run differential suggests and how that relates to their bullpen and the fact that these teams tend to win more close games and when they get blown out, they really get blown out of games.

2008-08-28 11:32:42
108.   sporky
Brandon Webb's BBRef sponsor: It good make bat swing man sad.
2008-08-28 11:33:06
109.   Harold M Johnson
In my opinion, Dodgers v. Angels boils down to consistency with the GM and Manager.

True, the Angels have had a change at GM and haven't been perfect, but they have been pretty consistent. They've had the same manager for, what, 8 years now? And he's a great manager.

The Dodgers have had inconsistency at the GM and Manager positions for too long.

That is the main difference between the two clubs. Given Torre's age and Ned's bumbling free agent signings, I don't think we're in for consistency any time soon.

2008-08-28 11:33:16
110.   Tripon
Just to note, Ethier has 17 HRs to lead the Dodgers. The same amount of Jayson Werth and Cody Ross right now.
2008-08-28 11:34:21
111.   Eric Stephen
99
Organizationally, the Angels appear to be cohesive. I can't remember where I saw this (I want to say Buster Olney), but he mentioned the Angels' devotion to the company line was almost cultish. Everyone in the organization appeared to be on the same page.

By contrast, there have always been grumblings about a division in the Dodgers front office, or at least differing views from different sources.

I don't know if that contributes to the Angels' relative success but it certainly gives them a perception of being a well-run club.

2008-08-28 11:35:39
112.   underdog
104 Very well said.

Brian, I really appreciate what you're getting at and understand the frustrations boiling up over the past week. But I don't share your pessimism for the future, at the least. While you're not only seeing not seeing the glass half-full, there doesn't even seem to be a glass. When I look at the younger players the Dodgers have, most of whom have either come up through the system together or have been peers of the other youngsters (Ethier) and I see a lot of desire to win, sheer joy when they've won big games and come back, and sheer despair when they haven't. The older players have desire, too, though some of them admittedly look particularly glum or dispirited this past week. Who wouldn't? It's been a bad week full of bad luck, too, a lot of bad luck and some tired play. That is being misinterpreted as having no heart and I especially don't despair over their future. I know what you mean, I'd feel less worried if someone more progressive was in charge than Colletti, but the fact is they have a nifty core of young players here and coming up thanks to great drafting and scouting.

As for management, as Jon said, the problem is less a lack of heart and more lack of brains at times. They've thrown their money around in some rather stupid ways at times (not always, but definitely at times). The Angels have made some bad signings, too, but they've expressed more patience with young players, have had consistently good pitching and frankly, have had some good luck, too.

Who knows if this season is lost at this point, it may very well be, but I still look forward to the future and I guess that's where we differ.

2008-08-28 11:35:54
113.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
I'm still trying to figure out what the "Dodger Way" is that the Angels have been using so successfully. I've never seen the Dodgers win a playoff series, so I assosciate the "Dodger Way" with mediocrity.

If the "Dodger Way" is to have great pitching, timely hitting, plus expect to win the division, and THAT is the formula that has made the Angels the standard of excellence, then I'm inclined to think the Angels are simply lucky, and things will even out next year.

2008-08-28 11:40:36
114.   GMac In The 909
110 Umm, Ross has 19 home runs and Werth has 18.
2008-08-28 11:40:51
115.   underdog
If you take a left on Dodger Way, you just stay on that for a couple of miles and then you'll see Angel Way. Stay on that until you get to the intersection of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and the Road to Perdition. When you get there, then ask.
2008-08-28 11:47:01
116.   Dane Bramage
All of this talk of "heart" is drifting dangerously into David Eckstein territory...

http://tinyurl.com/6m5ckd

2008-08-28 11:48:15
117.   underdog
Paul Lo Duca had heart! And soul! The team has not been the same since he left.
2008-08-28 11:49:13
118.   Jon Weisman
117 - If I'm not mistaken, that's actually a rule 7.
2008-08-28 11:50:16
119.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
118
I doubt anyone here will misinterpret that.
2008-08-28 11:55:52
120.   underdog
118 Sorry, I forgot the ":-/" face. Couldn't resist.

I'll go back to Tin Man references. ;-)

2008-08-28 11:56:24
121.   underdog
And if the Dodgers lose again today I'll go back to the mountains again.
2008-08-28 11:56:40
122.   Jon Weisman
119 - We have new readers every week.
2008-08-28 11:59:54
123.   Disabled List
107 The Angels are not overachieving

The Angels are outperforming their 2nd- and 3rd-order wins by double-digit margins. That sounds like overachieving to me, good bullpen or not.

2008-08-28 12:02:41
124.   Kevin Lewis
121

I thought you already left

2008-08-28 12:04:51
125.   underdog
124 I did. This is just a computer program that occasionally posts comments in my absence. However, this weekend when I'm still (really) gone, the program shuts down.
2008-08-28 12:05:29
126.   jtrichey
Probably doesn't matter with the current state of things, but I think that those saying that Kershaw won't be in the post season rotation are incorrect. It hinges on him continuing to perform well, but I don't see the Dodgers ignoring what is possibly their 2nd or 3rd best starter because of an innings limit. If they do, it will again come down to the problem of this decade. Not putting our best players on the field.
2008-08-28 12:12:53
127.   Jon Weisman
Early lineups:

Dodgers:

Kemp, CF
Ethier, RF
Ramirez, LF
Kent, 2B
Loney, 1B
Blake, 3B
Ardoin, C
Berroa, SS
Kershaw, P

Nationals:

Hernandez, 2B
Guzman, SS
Zimmerman, 3B
Milledge, CF
Belliard, 1B
Dukes, RF
Harris, LF
Nieves, C
Lannan, P

2008-08-28 12:16:28
128.   kinbote
Larry Bowa has enough heart for the whole team, darnit!
2008-08-28 12:20:13
129.   Eric Stephen
126
As it stands right now, Kershaw is no better than our 4th best starter:

FIP
Billingsley 3.26
Lowe 3.36
Kuroda 3.66
Kershaw 4.01

If we get into the postseason, the 4th starter is way down the list of things I'm concerned about.

However, there is a legitimate concern that extending Kershaw's inning count this season could hamper his long term development. If Maddux, Stults, McDonald, or whomever is producing as a starter at or near the level of Kershaw (which I will admit isn't the case right now) I'd be perfectly OK with Kershaw working out of the pen in the postseason.

As a side note, Troncoso's FIP is 2.81. It would be cool to see him pick up some leveraged innings pretty soon.

2008-08-28 12:21:52
130.   Eric Stephen
127
A real day off for Martin!

Also, I can't wait for Manny's reaction to his resurgence with Kent protecting him in the lineup. :)

2008-08-28 12:22:10
131.   Zak
127 I wish they would also sit Kent down. Sitting Martin and Nomar is good. Put some fresher guys out there. Here is what my ideal lineup for today would look like

Kemp, CF
Ethier, RF
Ramirez, LF
Loney, 1B
Blake, 3B
DeWitt, 2B
Ardoin, C
Berroa, SS
Kershaw, P

And as sacreligious as it may sound, just for today, I was close to bringing in Pierre over Kemp. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. But man, it was shockingly close. Of course, with my lineup, Ramirez would have a 3 BB day.

2008-08-28 12:25:45
132.   Bluebleeder87
127 I like that Russell is resting...

OT: reading "La Opinion" it looks like Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya will be after all, set for December 6th, if you ask me Paquiao has & up hill battel against De La Hoya only becouse of the whole weight thing. Veremos.

2008-08-28 12:26:31
133.   Alex41592
131 - Well we're facing a lefty today otherwise DeWitt may have received the start at second base.
2008-08-28 12:26:40
134.   dzzrtRatt
Using TINSTAAPP as a philsophical touchstone, can't it be said that the Angels just lucked out with a few pitchers? Every team has a group of promising young pitchers, but a higher percentage of the Angels' promising young pitchers met or exceeded expectations than is normally the case.

The good pitching compensates for the fact that most of their touted offensive prospects have failed to work out, or have at least turned out to be less than advertised.

Pitching makes so much of a difference. Where would the Dodgers be if Edwin Jackson, Joel Hanrahan, Greg Miller et. al. had all turned out the way Billz has, almost immediately upon being called up? That's pretty much what the Angels have seen in the past few years.

Earl Weaver made some comment after a top Oriole pitcher went down to the effect that he was now 15 games dumber. An organization can often look super-smart that is actually just lucky. And vice-versa.

The 2002 Angel team is actually the model the Dodgers are following now. They had a core of players going back to the 1990s who were pretty good: Salmon, Garrett Anderson, Edmonds, Glaus, DiSarcina, Percival, Finley. But they never had enough good pitching. They still wouldn't have had enough in 2002 if Lackey hadn't come on at the end seemingly out of nowhere, and if K-Rod hadn't come out of nowhere AND they hadn't been able to finagle him onto the postseason roster. And if the Yankees hadn't punched the A's out of the postseason when the A's were a better team than the Angels, but the Angels had the Yankees' number

Just saying. The supposed brilliance of the Angel organization has led to one world championship that was almost, if not quite as much, a product of luck as the Dodgers' '88. Their current success, where they've been a repeat contender and are probably the AL's best team now, is more admirable, but it's built on the foundation of pitchers emerging better than expected.

2008-08-28 12:27:26
135.   scareduck
34 - you name one successful business owner who has patience

Warren Buffett. Pretty much everybody in the oil business, which works on at least ten year development cycles. I've worked with several patient owners myself.

83 - how do you get to three? I count four, Figgins, Aybar, Kendrick, and two back of the dish in Napoli/Mathis, assuming you don't subtract any for injuries and perhaps Figgins approaching player middle age.

89 - I was opposed to the Hunter contract at the time it was signed (ditto for the Matthews, Jr. deal as well) on the grounds it was far too long and he was already in his decline phase. The Angels will probably get 2-3 good years out of him (they won't get much of anything out of GMJ, and haven't so far), but when he falls off the face of the earth it'll be precipitous.

123 - the Angels have outperformed their Pythagorean W-L record by 1-5 wins each year from 2004 on.

For what it's worth, the Angels generally drafted well in the early part of the decade, have assembled excellent homegrown pitching, and have useful position players. The pitching has tended to be better than the position players, perhaps because of the hitter-friendly environments at the higher minors, but in the main they've gotten lucky in a few places (their 2002 run was mostly about getting hot at the right time) while changing hands to an owner who understands the basics of running a people-oriented business while is willing to let his baseball operations staff make the big decisions.

It's not so much that the Dodgers can't do well as that they are institutionally predisposed not to in the sense that they feel they must win every year, long-term plans be damned. In a sense, the Angels' history of being nondescript losers put them in a position where they could afford to try things that the Dodgers might not be able to do. The Dodgers have excised a fair amount of talent at the trade deadline this year in order to make one big push, and it's this kind of thing that is really going to hurt them in the not very distant future unless they extend their big prizes. Even then, if those players start declining in a big way, they'll have lost again.

2008-08-28 12:30:26
136.   trainwreck
Are you ready for some college footbaaaaalll?!!!
2008-08-28 12:31:01
137.   trainwreck
132
I agree, Oscar is just so much bigger.
2008-08-28 12:31:37
138.   dzzrtRatt
I should clarify (writing in haste while talking to my wife at the same time). When I say the 2002 Angels are the model the Dodgers are following now, what I was getting at was that the Dodgers are trying to build a core team that grows up together like the Angels of the 1995-2002 era. I liked that Angel team, actually. I liked its home-grown-ness and they played good ball. But how long did the fans have to wait? 7-8 years and a bit of luck. That's what we're probably looking at here, too. Maybe James McDonald will be our John Lackey, the guy projected as a #3 pitcher who becomes a Cy Young-level star. If we're so lucky.
2008-08-28 12:34:21
139.   Eric Stephen
138
Scott Elbert pretty much has to be our K-Rod then. That would be awesome.
2008-08-28 12:35:05
140.   underdog
136 So, what was your favorite Freaks and Geeks episode?
2008-08-28 12:35:21
141.   Terry A
125 - Underdog's right. I help him with the program. I have to enter a series of numbers every 108 minutes.

I shudder to think what might happen if the button isn't pushed every 108 minutes.

2008-08-28 12:35:28
142.   bhsportsguy
134 They also made one great free agent signing in Vlad.

Kevin Goldstein in a BP.com Premium (subscription only) article raises an interesting point that could blow up the whole Alvarez matter.

The August 15th deadline for signing players drafted in the amateur draft is a collectively bargained negotiated term, thereby if the MLBPA is not notifed (and I would presume, gives consent) on any extensions of that deadline, it could be seen as not following the contract.

The MLBPA filed a grievance and hopes to have a hearing in September.

2008-08-28 12:36:55
143.   scareduck
134 - Using TINSTAAPP as a philsophical touchstone, can't it be said that the Angels just lucked out with a few pitchers? Every team has a group of promising young pitchers, but a higher percentage of the Angels' promising young pitchers met or exceeded expectations than is normally the case.

Like who? Ever hear of Dustin Moseley or Chris Bootcheck? Gary Glover? They just haven't traded it away for nothing, in the main.

The 2002 Angel team is actually the model the Dodgers are following now.

It's actually much more like the 1999 Angels: some good young position players (Troy Glaus, Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson), others approaching middle age (Tim Salmon), and some guys nearing retirement who needed to be replaced as soon as possible (Gary DiSarcina, Matt Walbeck) who were overshadowed by an ex-Red Sox star(s) (Mo Vaughn) who couldn't pull the team together to surpass better clubs in the division. Of course, one big difference between those two teams was the pitching, which the Dodgers have in far greater abundance and quality.

2008-08-28 12:40:08
144.   scareduck
138 - John Lackey is pretty much the platonic ideal of pitcher development in the absence of terrific stuff.
2008-08-28 12:44:26
145.   trainwreck
140
Hmmm. That is a tough one. I am going to go with Smooching and Mooching.
2008-08-28 12:46:05
146.   underdog
141 You wanna see what's gonna happen? Let's just SEE what's gonna happen!

(Sorry, was channeling Jack Shephard for a second there.)

2008-08-28 12:48:33
147.   trainwreck
I just saw that Lost re-runs are going to be on Sci-Fi now. I should see the episodes again anyways.
2008-08-28 12:49:31
148.   underdog
145 It is tough isn't it? I love that one, too. Nick in the hallway in his tighty-whities.

"Wow, that dinner smells good. Let me guess, meat?"

A great one.

I like Carded and Discarded and Girlfriends and Boyfriends, too.

Catch the Shia Lebeouf cameo in the mascot episode?

2008-08-28 12:49:55
149.   trainwreck
Why is Aaron Sorkin making a Facebook movie?

Ugggh.

2008-08-28 12:52:41
150.   Dane Bramage
I can't wait to hear what Vin will quip when he gets to cover his first Blake to Blake infield play...
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-08-28 12:53:25
151.   trainwreck
148
Yeah, plus you mentioned it before, but I would have noticed.

What I really liked was seeing cast members from Heavyweights. Paul Feig, of course, as a member of that band. Shaun Weiss in multiple episodes and Ben Stiller.

2008-08-28 12:55:22
152.   Howard Fox
so when is the last time the Nats swept a 3 game series?
2008-08-28 12:56:52
153.   trainwreck
151
Oh yeah, and Allen Covert.
2008-08-28 12:58:43
154.   underdog
I have to finally see Heavyweights just for that reason.
2008-08-28 13:00:33
155.   trainwreck
154
Ben Stiller's best role.
2008-08-28 13:00:45
156.   Joe Pierre
I think it's going to end pretty quickly.
How are the Dodger going to get passed Doug Davis, Dan Haren & Brandon Webb?
And to top it off the games are being played in Arizona.
2008-08-28 13:00:54
157.   trainwreck
Most of his comedies he is just playing a version of the character he plays in that movie.
2008-08-28 13:02:16
158.   trainwreck
Okay, maybe not most, but whenever he plays some kind of jerk.
2008-08-28 13:03:26
159.   Sam DC
152 Nationals swept the Reds at the beginning of August.
2008-08-28 13:04:37
160.   sporky
I miss the Reds.
2008-08-28 13:07:53
161.   Physics DR
Well, I am on the glass is half-filled side.

Here is why I need the Dodgers to keep winning. At the start of the season I thought the Dodgers were 20 games+ better then the Giants.

Therefore I made a bet with a Physics professor at Stanford that the Dodgers would finish at least 15 games better then the Giants. The Dodgers win 85 games and Giants win less than 70.

If I lose I have take his family and the families of his 5 PhD Grad. Assistants to Napa County for a weekend and agree to wear a Giants hat and shirt in public the whole weekend.

SO therefore THE Dodgers are a better team (take 5 of 6 from the Giants), win 85 games (Therefore the Division) and I do not have to wear a Giants Hat!

2008-08-28 13:13:09
162.   scareduck
160 - the Reds miss you, too, and wonder if there's still a chance of patching things up.
2008-08-28 13:16:10
163.   silverwidow
Kershaw w/Ardoin:
Opp: .214/.337/.314

Kershaw w/Martin:
Opp: .293/.364/.427

2008-08-28 13:18:13
164.   okdodge
161 - Harsh bet. What do you get if you win?
2008-08-28 13:19:56
165.   ToyCannon
161
That bet is not looking good but I would have made the same bet at the beginning of the year.
2008-08-28 13:22:30
166.   fracule
25 Thanks Jon. I was just about to ask for stats to prove that statement. Using only observation I would say this team has plenty of heart. Like I've said before, when things are good the joy is genuine. They are hitting well and trying hard. They have lost a few of these games on managerial mistakes (Blake at 1st, and Martin at 3rd in the same game), but I feel like most of it is bad luck. That idea makes it more frustrating for me to watch, but also hopeful that things will turn around.
2008-08-28 13:23:14
167.   scareduck
163 - it's hard to put a lot of stock in catcher's ERA, especially when it's based on only four appearances in Ardoin's case.
2008-08-28 13:24:08
168.   scareduck
164 - tenure?
2008-08-28 13:24:09
169.   D4P
Gary Bennett is making $825,000 this year.

Think about that for a while.

2008-08-28 13:25:45
170.   LogikReader
I would have made the same bet at the beginning of the year.

I wouldn't have. Now at risk of getting kicked out of Dodger Thoughts, I bet my Giants fan friend that the Giants would win at least 73 games. At stake is an In-n-Out meal!

I felt their starting rotation was too good to be a 90+ loss team. But lemme tell you, this bet is very very close!

2008-08-28 13:32:58
171.   ToyCannon
170
I thought they would lose 100 games. As good as the rotation was/is I couldn't see how they could score any runs. Seems I was worried about the wrong teams ability to score runs.
2008-08-28 13:39:25
172.   LogikReader
...in that respect, Aaron Rowand has made a significant difference. It still wasn't a good idea (especially the length of the deal), but for 2008 he's done his job. The Giants have to do way more than just sign one above average hitter to get back to their glory years.
2008-08-28 13:44:39
173.   Tripon
You know what would make a difference for the Giants? Barry Bonds.
2008-08-28 13:56:55
174.   trainwreck
RUMOR:

Los Angeles will be home to an NFL team next season, billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr. said in a San Gabriel Valley Tribune report. Roski said his plan is to build a new stadium in the L.A. suburb Industry, located in the San Gabriel Valley. Roski anticipates the 75,000-seat stadium to cost approximately $800 million, which is roughly $1 billion less than the new stadium the Giants and Jets are building.
According to the report, the stadium would be ready for action for the 2011 season, and the relocated team would play in the Rose Bowl for the two seasons in the interim. Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said the parties have had "very preliminary talks so far."

Furthermore, Roski said that the NFL has identified Los Angeles as a two-team area, and that an additional team could conceivably play in the new stadium as well. In April, Roski listed the Saints, Bills, Vikings, Jaguars, Chargers, Raiders and 49ers as clubs that might have interest in coming to the country's second largest city.

2008-08-28 14:00:12
175.   Physics DR
164 Same bet, only he pays and has to wear a Dodger hat and shirt.

168 While I do teach specific classes and mentor Physics PhD students I took my degree to business and government. My long-term job is part of the LHC team at CERN.

172 The Giants will never get their glory years back.

2008-08-28 14:01:40
176.   trainwreck
I don't buy for a second a NFL team in LA by next year.
2008-08-28 14:03:43
177.   D4P
The Los Angeles 49ers...? Yuck.

Or maybe they'd be the Los Angeles 49ers of San Francisco.

2008-08-28 14:05:44
178.   Xeifrank
My simulator has the Dodgers win expectancy at 53.23% now that the Dodgers lineup has been announced. There was about a 3% drop with the benching of Nomar and Martin (for Berroa and Ardoin). The sim has the over/under at 8.32 runs and Kershaw's final pitch count at 86. FWIW, Vegas paints a rosier picture for the Dodgers, giving them a 61.54% chance of winning, while AccuScore gives the boys in blue a 56% chance.
Go Dodgers!
vr, Xei
2008-08-28 14:05:48
179.   LogikReader
176

I don't buy it either. I'll bet you 100 double doubles it won't happen. Every one of you on DT!

2008-08-28 14:06:53
180.   BlueCrew Bruin
174 "In April, Roski listed the Saints, Bills, Vikings, Jaguars, Chargers, Raiders and 49ers as clubs that might have interest in coming to the country's second largest city."

Irwindale shakes its fist.

2008-08-28 14:07:59
181.   Eric Stephen
The NFL has wisely used LA as a threat for teams with stadium issues. The possibility of a team (Vikings, Colts, etc) moving to the vacant LA market has seemingly always been used to help secure new public-funded stadiums. Until the Chargers and some other teams with potential stadium concerns get their new homes, I don't see a team in LA.
2008-08-28 14:13:08
182.   underdog
IMHO, the existing team most likely to move is the Jaguars. They are in a small market, with a loyal fan base but not very lucrative and have a greedy owner itching to move. I wouldn't be shocked to see them move to LA. A 2nd team in LA is ridiculous since they can't even get one there yet, but I can definitely see a team moving there. (No way on the 49ers, that's ludicrous.)
2008-08-28 14:28:07
183.   trainwreck
Nice to see Justin Ruggiano get some publicity.

Too bad it is not with us.

2008-08-28 14:28:38
184.   Kevin Lewis
169

Part of me feels like I could train to be a back up catcher and tell teams I am willing to take the league minimum every year. I will be happy to fetch water for the players too.

2008-08-28 14:28:43
185.   Dodgering
According to my calculations, the Dodgers are 2-8 since Jeff Kent disregarded the notion that a positive momentum had begun with the acquisition of Manny Ramirez.
2008-08-28 14:30:21
186.   Paul Scott
178 So you'll be betting against the Dodgers today, I assume? ;)
2008-08-28 14:32:05
187.   scareduck
178 - Vegas odds tend to favor the "home team", which means Dodgers.
2008-08-28 14:33:40
188.   Marty
Does anyone know when Ray Walston is supposed to show up?
2008-08-28 14:46:49
189.   Paul Scott
187 Perhaps I misunderstand, but the Dodgers are away at Washington today.
2008-08-28 14:57:40
190.   UVaDodger
189 I believe 187 is referring to Vegas' "home" team, i.e., the team Vegas residents call their own.
2008-08-28 14:58:29
191.   cargill06
I don't know if anyone has touched on this, but A. Martinez was saying Torre informed Tanyon Strutze he had been release to make room for DeWitt, than came back to him 5 minutes later and informed him they changed their mind and are cutting Ozuna instead.
2008-08-28 15:02:09
192.   Jon Weisman
191 - It was widely reported yesterday that Sturtze was told he would be released to make room for Wade, and then that decision was postponed. This is the first I've heard connecting Sturtze to DeWitt.
2008-08-28 15:19:23
193.   scareduck
189 - Sports book bettors generally bet their favorite teams regardless of their actual likelihood of success; therefore, parimutuel betting on sports book tends to favor the geographic distribution of the bettors' preferences. Since Las Vegas is geographically closer to Los Angeles, one would expect their odds for the Dodgers to win would typically skew high.
2008-08-28 15:19:54
194.   scareduck
190 - correct.
2008-08-28 15:24:53
195.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-08-28 15:26:41
196.   scareduck
Not that too many people care about the AL East here, but Beckett's been shut down and will visit Dr. James Andrews:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=mlb&id=3558517

Might mean the Twinks go to the postseason as the Wild Card.

2008-08-29 13:10:27
197.   Joe Pierre
PHYSIC DR
I hope you win your bet.
I don't know how you came to your conclusion, I'm sure most saw the Giants fighting it out for 4th place with our Dodgers.
All I can say if you lose your bet you only have yourself to blame.

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