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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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A Happier 9/11
2008-09-11 00:01
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

It's been five years since this piece was first published: September 11, 2003. A lot has happened since then - including a very happy September 18, 2006. But this game will always remain special, and I hope you don't mind me continuing to remember it on this date.

* * *

Twenty years ago today, Dodger Stadium hosted its greatest game.

It began swathed in bright blue skies and triple-digit temperatures. When it ended, 228 crazy brilliant minutes later, shadows palmed most of the playing field, and every Dodger fan who witnessed the spectacle found themselves near joyous collapse.

The game was between the Dodgers of Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero, of Greg Brock and Mike Marshall ... and the Braves of Dale Murphy, of Bruce Benedict, of Brad Komminsk.

In the end, however, it came down to one man. A rookie named R.J. Reynolds.

A Brave Battle
Los Angeles entered the game with a two-game lead in the National League Western Division over Atlanta. Their battle for the division crown came a year after a near-epic contest in which the Dodgers rallied from a 10 1/2-game deficit to the Braves in 12 days and took the lead, only to falter and have a home run by the Giants' Joe Morgan off Terry Forster knock them out on the final day of the season.

On September 11, 1983, coming off an extra-inning loss to Atlanta the night before, Los Angeles took the field behind starting pitcher Rick Honeycutt, making his fifth start for the team since being acquired from Texas in exchange for Dave Stewart, a player to be named later and $200,000. (Supplementary information in this article courtesy of Retrosheet.)

After a scoreless first inning, the Dodgers tallied two runs in the second off Braves starter Len Barker. With two out, catcher Jack Fimple, near the height of his brief but shining heyday as a fan favorite, doubled home Brock and Marshall.

Murphy brickwalled the Dodger momentum in the next inning, displaying the form that left his contemporaries certain he would become a Hall of Famer. In the top of the inning, Murphy hit a three-run home run, his 32nd of the season. In the bottom of the inning, he crashed into the center-field wall, glove extended above and beyond it, to rob Guerrero of a two-run homer.

Stunned at the end of the third, the crowd had no idea that the frenzy was only beginning.

Four on the Floor
With the kind of mathematical symmetry normally found in Schoolhouse Rock cartoons, the Dodgers used four pitchers in the fourth.

Honeycutt got the first two batters out in the top of the fourth, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Jerry Royster and Rafael Ramirez. Having seen his starting pitcher allow seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman in 3 2/3 innings, and with Murphy again at the plate, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda brought in Pat Zachry.

Ramirez stole second base, and then Zachry walked Murphy.

With the bases loaded, Lasorda made another move, bringing lefthander Rich Rodas - in his second major league game - to face Chris Chambliss with the bases loaded.

Rodas walked Chambliss to force in the Braves' fourth run, then allowed a two-run single to Komminsk that made the score 6-2 Braves.

The fourth Dodger pitcher of the inning came in ... a young, young-looking guy by the name of Orel Hershiser. Compared to Rodas, Hershiser was a veteran. This was the Bulldog-to-be's third major-league game. To the naked eye, Lasorda was trying to win the way Buttermaker relied on Ogilvie and Miguel in The Bad News Bears.

Hershiser loaded the bases again with a walk to Benedict. The ninth batter of the inning, third baseman (no-not-that) Randy Johnson, came up with a chance to bury the Dodgers, but popped out to his hot corner counterpart Guerrero to end the top of the fourth.

The score stayed at 6-2 for two more innings. Marshall and Brock, who combined to reach base seven times in this game, led off the bottom of the fourth with singles. Reynolds, however, grounded into a double play. Fimple followed with a walk off Barker, but future Braves hero Sid Bream grounded out batting for Hershiser.

Burt Hooton, a longtime Dodger starter who went to the bullpen shortly after the acquisition of Honeycutt, became the team's fifth pitcher in the fifth. The teams gave the fans a breather with an uneventful inning, and Hooton retired the Braves in order in the top of the sixth.

Then the surreal moment arrived.

No, You're Not Even Warm
After Marshall flew out to open the bottom of the sixth, Brock walked, Reynolds singled him to second, and the Midas behind the recent Yankee dynasty, Atlanta manager Joe Torre, replaced Barker with Tommy Boggs.

Rick Monday, his heroic days behind him, batted for Fimple and was called out on strikes for the second out. But Ken Landreaux, the Dodgers' regular center fielder, pinch-hit for Hooton and walked to load the bases.

Torre went to the mound and signaled for a pitcher to replace Boggs. None other than Terry Forster - the fall guy of 1982 - emerged from the right-field bullpen.

But then a strange thing happened. Torre signaled again - for a right-handed pitcher.

The strange thing was not that Torre wanted a righty to face Sax. It was that he wanted a righty when none had been warming up.

On the telecast, Vin Scully reported that Tony Brizzolara had warmed up earlier in the game, but in this inning, it had clearly been Forster who was backing up Boggs. Brizzolara had been cooling off for some time.

As a puzzled Forster stood on the edge of the warning track and the outfield grass, looking back and forth between the mound and the bullpen, Torre insisted that Brizzolara come in to face Sax.

In Brizzolara came. He threw four pitches to Sax - in the dirt, low, low and high. In the Dodgers' third run came, and out went Torre to replace Brizzolara with Forster.

Atlanta was rattled, a thespian who had forgotten his lines on Broadway, but Los Angeles got the minimum out of the comedy, as shortstop Bill Russell struck out against Forster and left the bases loaded.

Joe Beckwith, the losing pitcher in the previous night's game, laid anchor for the Dodger bullpen, throwing three innings and scattering two singles and a walk. Meanwhile, the mythic Donnie Moore provided a dose of calm for the Braves, retiring the Dodger side in order in the seventh and the eighth.

And then came the bottom of the ninth.

With a Flick of the Wrists, It Begins
Jose Morales, 38 years and 116 pinch hits old, led off, batting for Beckwith. Against a change from Moore, Morales' off-balance swing, arms well behind his hips, wrists trailing his arms, presaged Kirk Gibson's flick at the backdoor slider from Dennis Eckersley five years and one month later. Morales' ball flew into the left-field corner, and Morales easily won a battle of his old legs and Brett Butler's weak arm, cruising into second with a stand-up double, and giving the master improvisationalist, Scully, his modest opening line ...

He just kind of felt for the ball.

Dave Anderson entered the game to run for Morales. As Sax batted (with S. Sax on the back of his uniform, to distinguish himself from his brother Dave for the easily confused), the television camera found a much-in-need-of-SlimFast Lasorda, sitting near Dodger coach Monty Basgall.

Lasorda, Basgall dying a little bit in the Dodger dugout. Tommy's not feeling well anyway. He's got a cold for about a month.

Gene Garber, sporting the kind of beard you just don't see ballplayers wear anymore, was warming up in the bullpen as Moore went 3-1 to Sax. One inside pitch later, Torre was out of the dugout with a hook for Moore. As Moore, the victim of a devastating playoff home run in October 1986, left the game, Tom Niedenfuer, his October 1983 counterpart, began warming up for in the Dodger bullpen for the 10th inning.

Russell, sporting the kind of physique you just don't see ballplayers compete with anymore, then struck out in his second consecutive critical at-bat.

Dusty Baker, in his last season with the Dodgers before his acrimonious departure, was the batter with one out and two on. Even Baker, with more than 200 career home runs, was thin back then.

Baker swung and missed at Garber's sidearm delivery, then took one low and outside. On the 1-1 pitch, Baker hit a pop fly that fell between second baseman Royster and right-fielder Claudell Washington, a defensive replacement for Komminsk. The bases were loaded with the tying runs.

This crowd is on its feet and pleading. They're all getting up. It is that time of day. Never mind the seventh-inning stretch. This is the wire.

Cecil Espy came in to run for Baker, and Guerrero came up to the plate. His at-bat took more than six minutes.

'This Is Hanging Time'
Guerrero swung and missed at the first pitch, took one low and outside, then hit a grounder just foul.

Boy, what an exhausting finish to a long afternoon at the ballpark. Well, it figured the Dodgers and the Braves are gonna put you through the ringer, right down to the last day. So naturally, they do it right down to the last minute.

Guerrero took one low, evening the count, 2-2. Then he grounded one by third base, just foul.

The table is set and the big man is in the chair.

Pitch No. 6 of the at-bat was six inches off the ground, outside - and still fouled off by Guerrero.

Boy, he was late. He just did get a piece of that. After you get that palmball trickery of Garber ... it was almost in Benedict's mitt.

No. 7: another grounder, just foul.

And the tension remains ...

With Garber about to throw the eighth pitch, Guerrero stepped out at the last moment and called time. Vinny, laughing:

Oh yeah, these are tough to take, I tell you what. Guerrero just had to back out. I mean, this is hanging time. Woo!

Garber bounced the resin bag back and forth on the front and back of his right hand. Guerrero stepped back in, and Garber threw. Low - ball three.

It is almost too much to take ...

Guerrero went back in for the ninth pitch of the at-bat, then called time again.

You can just imagine the pressure - you'd have to be a block of wood not to feel it.

Here came the pitch. Two feet outside. Guerrero flung the bat away backhanded and strutted to first base.

Anderson scored the first run of the inning, cutting the Braves' lead to 6-4. The ballpark shadows have just reached Garber. Third-base coach Joe Amalfitano counseled the next batter, Marshall.

Garber slipped on his right foot in delivering the first pitch outside for ball one. The next pitch was outside as well.

Marshall then hit a long drive to right. Washington, with his glove on his right hand, went toward the wall with his back to the right-field stands. But the ball was slicing behind him, and Washington turned his body 180 degrees to try to find and catch the ball in the late-afternoon sun.

It didn't take. The drive landed right at the base of the wall. Murphy, coming over to back up the play, nearly collided with Washington as the latter threw the ball back. Two runs scored on Marshall's double - tying the game at 6 - but Guerrero was held at third. On-deck hitter Brock stood near home plate, raising his hands behind his head like he thought Guerrero could have scored, but the replay showed that Amalfitano probably was wise to hold Guerrero.

With the winning run on third and first base open, Brock was walked intentionally - the first wide one barely snagged by a staggering Benedict.

The batter will be the kid, R.J. Reynolds, with a chance to win it.

Holding Back to the Last Second
Reynolds stood at home, looking at Amalfitano, and stretched the bat over both his shoulders.

And now, with the bases loaded, the infield is up, the outfield looks like a softball game, and the batter is R.J. Reynolds.

The first pitch is outside. Reynolds looked at Amalfitano again.

Gene Garber is battling to stay afloat.

If this was a game of Bad News Bears moments, this was Ahmad's.

Reynolds didn't give it away. In slow motion, the bat doesn't even start to come off Reynolds' shoulder until Garber's pitching arm is all the way back.

But then ... Reynolds' left hand finds the barrel of the bat. He lays the bat forward, relaxedly, at a slight downward diagonal pointing below his waist, then corrects it to a straight horizontal line to meet the ball.

Reynolds pauses a millisecond to watch. Garber's follow-through carries him toward the third-base side of the mound, but the bunt rolls toward the first base side.

The SQUEEZE! And here comes the run!!

By the time Garber reverses field and lunges for the ball, Guerrero is 15 feet away from home plate. Before Garber is even upright, Guerrero touches home, banging his hands together in exultation.

He squeezed it in!

Backs of jerseys from our past - Yeager, Thomas, Maldonado, Landestoy, Rivera - come out to rain congratulations on Guerrero. Lasorda risks smothering Reynolds in a headlock.

By the way, if you are keeping score in this madhouse, not only did R.J. squeeze, he got a base hit and an RBI. And Guerrero brought the winning run home. BEDLAM at Dodger Stadium.

Replays and images of celebrations pass in front of us for several seconds, without comentary - you know this is Vinny's way, to let the moment be the moment. We catch Ross Porter, in short-sleeved shirt and tie, is in the dugout to prepare to interview Reynolds.

Finally, Vin is ready to speak again.

The pictures told it all. There isn't any way I could improve on the picture. What a story. The squeeze in the ninth. The Dodgers score four times and pull it out and beat the Braves, 7 to 6. They show the squeeze on Diamond Vision and the crowd, EUPHORIC in its joy, roars again.

R.J. Reynolds has put the Dodgers in the right direction.

And so he had. The victory put the Dodgers three games up in the NL West, and three games up in the NL West is how the Dodgers finished the 1983 season.

Reynolds was a hero. A baseball hero, at least.

And a game for the ages, a game worth remembering, I hope, even on the saddest of anniversaries, was over.

Comments (123)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-09-11 00:27:23
1.   LoneStar7
Thank you for that, a piece of dodger history i was unaware of..

anyway while Manny was again a stud, and i was of course ecstatic about Loney's bomb..
tonight I was most pleased with Dewitt and Wade. Wade continues to quietly be wonderful and its comforting to see.

if dewitt does keep stroking and playing great defense will we keep him at 2nd the rest of the way?

2008-09-11 00:34:21
2.   Alex41592
http://tinyurl.com/6d4s95

Go to 1983:

Reynolds' Bunt Squeezes Braves in 1983 and click Watch.

Absolute chills. Incredible moment.

2008-09-11 00:49:42
3.   The Dude Abides
Awesome post, and link. Anyway, most of you probably haven't seen this, but this AZ Snakepit post was made before the day's events that saw the Dodgers go up by 3.5 games. Still laughing, even now.

http://www.azsnakepit.com/2008/9/10/611450/apocalypse-now-or-how-the

2008-09-11 05:22:32
4.   Bluebleeder87
Dusty Baker, in his last season with the Dodgers before his acrimonious departure

I'd heard he left in bad terms.

2008-09-11 05:27:33
5.   herchyzer
I'm afraid, folks, the Dodgers have to be honorable. They owe the Red Sox some more, uh... money, at least. That wasn't a fair trade.

I don't rate GM's moves in my little evaluations by what they should have, or could have, known. I'd never get to the bottom of each one. I go by results, with a caveat. For example, I judge Depo's trade of LoDuca for Penny by what Penny has given and don't take away credit because Penny kind of fell into his lap while he was making a play for Johnson, or something. The caveat I make in my judging criteria is to not remove credit if a player gets hurt but, clearly, after we aquired him. I don't fault Colletti because Furcal is injured now. His was an excellent pickup, IMO.

That being said, wouldn't people agree that Colletti's "Good Move" side of the sheet has gotten a huge bump since the middle of the season? For me, at least, it's beside the point to argue, as some have done, that Manny somehow fell into his lap. Colletti did it, and Manny's been great. The Dodgers are in first and rolling. No downside, period.

Where's that leave Colletti now in the handling-the-development-of-the-young-Dodger-team department? He's:
1)basically retained the core and let them develop, growing pains and all;

2)made a couple of horrible trades of talent like Navarro and Jackson. Very bad;

3)(kills his grade) made some lousy free-agent signings, but, except for Pierre, all short-lasting, and Pierre, many say, is tradeable now. Plus, some of the old guys, like Kent (resigned) and Nomar, have produced, at times;

4)Furcal was his excellent free-agent signing;

5)made the moves, 2, mind you, of the 2010 season, turning a "Bleh!" team into an actual contender.

I don't know. Right now I'm thinking he's turned a "C-/D+" grade into a solid "B". I may just be hollering "Yippee!" at the top of the roller-coaster, probably am.

2008-09-11 05:47:22
6.   Bluebleeder87
Dodgers Dot Com on D-Lowe's injury [ http://tinyurl.com/592539 ]

so I guess no news yet on his condition. It didn't look all that bad but still.

2008-09-11 06:42:47
7.   whodat807
5 Some bad free agent signings? Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones are two of the worst free agent signings not of their respective off-seasons, but of all time! Just those two giant lumps of dead weight costs almost $30 mil a YEAR. And I don't believe Pierre and the $33 million left on his contract are tradeable until I actually see him in a different uniform. I think you're giving Colletti way too much slack for his dismal free agent history.
2008-09-11 06:54:06
8.   Ken Noe
0 Jon, reading this piece only makes me wish I'd discovered DT much sooner.
2008-09-11 07:13:46
9.   Bob Timmermann
By the way, if you are keeping score in this madhouse, not only did R.J. squeeze, he got a base hit and an RBI. And Guerrero brought the winning run home. BEDLAM at Dodger Stadium.

Except Garber turned a threw out Reynolds at first. To this day, no one knows why.

2008-09-11 07:31:49
10.   timm
7 Yep, those will be the deals that he will be measured by.
2008-09-11 07:40:16
11.   Disabled List
I feel a little lousy for admitting this, but I didn't even realize that the 9/11 anniversary was upon us until I was walking home last night, and I saw the twin beams of light blazing skyward from ground zero. They do it every year on the anniversary, and it's an awesome stop-you-in-your-tracks sight.

On a happier note, I present today's BP postseason odds:

Dodgers: 93.1%
D-backs: 6.8%

Magic number is 14. I wonder how BP runs its simulation, because 93% really feels like it's too high. The Dodgers are only three games up in the loss column, and there are still 16 games left to play. The division title is still very much up in the air.

2008-09-11 07:47:23
12.   Bumsrap
I think I would have to toss Stan Conte's name into the hat of bad signings.
2008-09-11 07:49:26
13.   Disabled List
11 cont. By comparison, the Mets are 4 games up in the loss column, and are favored by a slightly smaller margin (90.1% to 9.8%) over the Phillies. Same for the Cubs, who are 5 games up, but are favored over the Brewers 91.1% to 8.7% for the division title.

I guess the tougher remaining schedules, and the head-to-head matchups have something to do with that.

2008-09-11 07:54:51
14.   wronghanded
6 I hate to mention this but before the line-drive (and for the majority of the game) Lowe looked very uncomfortable on the bump. His mannerisms were almost passive at times like he had to convince himself to make the next pitch. He seemed to be laboring that inning and I even mentioned to my wife the pitch before the liner that I thought something was wrong with him. I hope I'm wrong but it looked as if he was dealing with an arm issue.
2008-09-11 08:13:21
15.   ToyCannon
It is easy to criticize Ned after the fact but how many here can really hold their hands up and say they were against the Schmidt and Jones signing at the time they happened? I know D4P and Scareduck can but I'm not sure about the rest of you.

The Pierre signing was universally lambasted from the moment it happened but it doesn't take much detective work to check out DT and the thoughts on the two dead contracts that currently weigh us down headed into the future. We may have expected regression from Schmidt but not to get anything out of him for three years would have taken a soothsayer. A Jones was a high risk gamble that he lost, but I'd rather he take the gamble then count on an outfield of Ethier/Pierre/Kemp in 2008.

It hugely backfired but even in that you can find a silver lining. If A Jones had just stayed at his 2007 level and not sunk into a hole of despair, Manny would not be wearing Dodger Blue, and who knows if Ethier or Kemp would have gotten the at bats they have gotten this season. While many point at the A Jones signing as one of the worse things Ned has ever done, it caused an action that became the best thing Ned has ever done.

2008-09-11 08:14:06
16.   Marty
I think you are put through a wringer rather than a ringer.
2008-09-11 08:15:05
17.   Ken Noe
As a high school football player, I consistently hid pain from the coaches. I developed a nasty case of shin splits while trying to run college track. When I finally told the coach, I gave him the excuse to cut me, which he did. I don't think it's unsurprising that Penny or anyone else hides pain when positions are on the line. Stupid, yes, but not surprising. Now if someone can establish that it's worse with Ned/Conte than elsewhere, that's a story.
2008-09-11 08:16:02
18.   Ken Noe
17 ...I don't think it's surprising...
2008-09-11 08:24:45
19.   mwhite06
17 You were cut from the track team due to an injury? That's pretty harsh...
2008-09-11 08:26:00
20.   cargill06
11 Maybe they figure they have to make up 3.5 games vs. Lincecum, Cain, Cueto, Volquez, Harang, STL 4 times. While we play all teams below .500 and the only pitchers of note are Cain, and Peavy.
2008-09-11 08:28:16
21.   Im So Blue
For those of you who missed Jon's appearance on KCAL-9 last night:
http://www.cbs2.com/video/?id=76944@kcbs.dayport.com
2008-09-11 08:29:25
22.   Ken Noe
19 Well, I was also lousy and probably should have been cut simply on merit. But I must say that I don't remember the man well after I went to him for help and he used the moment to get rid of me.
2008-09-11 08:32:55
23.   nofatmike
Coincidentally, Jeff Hamilton helped the Dodgers win the NL West title a five years later. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN198809110.shtml
2008-09-11 08:36:23
24.   old dodger fan
17 Not too surprising. After lettering my Soph and Jr years in track and X-County I had a leg injury my Sr yr. I asked the coach to let me just run some slow long runs but go easy on the sprints for a day or 2. He told me to do what he asked or leave. I left. Probably a good thing because it took a year to heal. More running would have made it worse.
2008-09-11 08:41:05
25.   Nestor
Jon,

Thank you for the wonderful site, I've been visiting it most of the year and registered today.
It's funny what made me register today - my disappointment in Brad Penny.
It was not the poor showing in last night's game or the poor record and high ERA this year but rather his quotes in Dylan Hernandez article in the LA Times.

Brad Penny said he wants to start again this year and that he is "absolutely" certain that he can regain the form that made him an All-Star in each of the last two seasons.

"I know who I am as a pitcher," said Penny, who was 6-9 with a 6.05 earned-run average in 17 starts.

"I don't want to play somewhere where I'm not wanted. If they don't want me, that's fine."

"It just tells me they were never sold on me, which is fine," Penny said.

"That's why I was out there trying to push myself -- because I didn't have a guaranteed job next year," he said. "I went about the whole situation wrong. If I had to do it over again, I would've just shut myself down."

So in the middle of a pennant race Penny decided to play the "me first" attitude (sounds like Pierre after the Manny trade). He wants to start again, and it's Ned's fault he pushed himself because the Dodger's didn't pick up his option.

While his teammates have won #10 of 11, Penny is more concerned with an extension and having his option pick-up. And he admits they he was pitching while he was hurt earlier in the season (joining Procter and Jones as selfish players who hurt the team playing through pain).

I've have been a fan of Penny in the past, and I've defended his past attitude on the mound as a completive athlete who wanted to win. Today I'm hoping we pick-up his option and ship him to Pittsburg.

2008-09-11 08:57:39
26.   kinbote
0 That is just outstanding writing.
2008-09-11 08:58:09
27.   old dodger fan
25 How in the world can he think that pitching lousy will get him a guaranteed contract? Amazing.
2008-09-11 08:59:23
28.   old dodger fan
26 We are so spoiled.
2008-09-11 09:01:46
29.   underdog
25 That is indeed distressing. First he hides his injury for way too long, then he tries to rush back; he pitches horribly all year, the team's in a pennant race and he's worried about his status for next year. Plus he's giving Andruw a run for the money in the added blubber department. Elisha, whip some sense into him!

Btw, great post Jon, thanks for the memories. Casey Blake's beard has nothing on Gene Garber's.

2008-09-11 09:03:13
30.   underdog
Eliza, that is.

--
I don't know why, but I always get a kick out of seeing Sid Bream run on the field in that celebration.

One of a stream of promising and ultimately disappointing first basemen the Dodgers ran out there in the 80s.

2008-09-11 09:07:00
31.   JoeyP
If A Jones had just stayed at his 2007 level and not sunk into a hole of despair, Manny would not be wearing Dodger Blue

The Andruw Jones (18mils owed in 2009) signing in and of itself could prevent the Dodgers from signing Manny as a free agent.

Thats not much of a silver lining.

2008-09-11 09:10:05
32.   bhsportsguy
On today's post, I can absolutely say it was a hot afternoon.

UCLA fans can speak of "Michigan hot," but I always remember how hot it was that day.

Since August 1st, Manny Ramirez leads NL in OBP, Slugging (over 100 PA), HRs and RBI.

2008-09-11 09:10:12
33.   silverwidow
I still don't get why many think it's a given Penny's coming back.

He's not. Bet on it.

2008-09-11 09:10:33
34.   Bob Timmermann
The governing body for Olympic wrestling is called:
International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles

Now that is a cool name.

It's abbreviated FILA.

2008-09-11 09:11:54
35.   regfairfield
33 Because you can't find a pitcher as good as him for 7.5 million.
2008-09-11 09:14:08
36.   silverwidow
35 Problem: The GM has openly expressed his disatisfaction with the guy, numerous times.

He's gone; I don't care how much he makes.

2008-09-11 09:14:16
37.   old dodger fan
33 It will cost $6.75 million more to keep him next year than to release him.

I think Torre wants to use him when he can to see what's left. If he needs surgery I expect he's gone. If he is structurally sound I think we will exercise the option.

2008-09-11 09:15:26
38.   Xeifrank
15. Good point, but they were both really risky signings at the very minimum. Colletti rolled the dice and crapped out betting huge chunks of bankroll. The buck stops with him, and combined with the Pierre signing it's hard for him to climb out of the hole. Also, he should get some kudos for the Ethier trade if he's going to take the blame for the bad trades.
vr, Xei
2008-09-11 09:15:33
39.   regfairfield
36 The shopping list for the off season is already at five players, I think Ned's going to do everything he can to not make it six.
2008-09-11 09:15:38
40.   cargill06
What Manny's doing as a Dodger (221 OPS+) Bonds had 4 full seasons higher than that, that must've been 4 enjoyable years to watch as a Giant fan.
2008-09-11 09:16:10
41.   Ken Noe
Backloading a Manny deal to work around Jones and Schmidt's last years actually is possible if Boras will buy into it, but it also means clearing the deck this winter of Penny and anyone else releasable or movable (except Kuroda) who is making over $2 mil.
2008-09-11 09:16:27
42.   scareduck
5 - That being said, wouldn't people agree that Colletti's "Good Move" side of the sheet has gotten a huge bump since the middle of the season?

No. Manny and Casey Blake are free agents at the end of the season. The Dodgers are disgorging prospects faster than they can promote and groom them. It is entirely possible that the Dodgers will have neither Manny nor Blake in spring training 2009. This is a team built to win now and only for 2008. Beyond that it's a mystery. I absolutely do not think the Manny acquisition is a sound one.

2008-09-11 09:17:41
43.   silverwidow
39 It's a different situation when Ned doesn't like a player or his actions. If it didn't matter, he would've re-signed Drew.
2008-09-11 09:19:03
44.   ToyCannon
31
True, but this silver lining may get us some post season victories, so as brief as it might be, I'll try to enjoy it while I have it.
2008-09-11 09:20:07
45.   TellMeTheScoreRickMonday
Beautiful writing Jon, great job. Now if I could only get that video clip to load...
2008-09-11 09:21:16
46.   old dodger fan
40 In those 4 years (01-04) they won the NL West once.
2008-09-11 09:24:51
47.   ToyCannon
36
I'm unaware of Ned being dissatisfied with Penny publicly. When healthy you just can't throw away a Penny for 6.75. I think they would rather pay him 6.75 to pitch then to just give him 2 mill to walk away but who know how Ned thinks.

Penny is not a bright bulb if he thinks pitching lousy gives him better leverage then taking care of his arm.

2008-09-11 09:25:25
48.   scareduck
0 - Retrosheet records Reynolds out on a sac bunt. So does Baseball-Reference (though it's likely the latter gets its data on this game from the former):

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN198309110.shtml

The Times' account of the action also had Garber tagging Reynolds out on the first-base line.

2008-09-11 09:26:06
49.   ToyCannon
42
Amazing how much we disagree.
2008-09-11 09:27:02
50.   JoeyP
Its going to be interesting to see if Lowe/Penny both leave.

Billingsley/Kershaw/Kuroda/?/?

If the plan is CC or bust, I'm not sure if signing CC and Manny can work given McCourt's finances.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-09-11 09:27:36
51.   underdog
42 I agree, except that I think the Manny acquisition was a no-brainer (which is why Ned accomplished it, tee hee). I thought our goal is to make the playoffs and have a chance at getting to the world series. I agree with some of the concerns about the future but why should we always be waiting for the future when we have a chance to also go to the WS now? I guess I'm greedy and want both - a promising future (which I think the Dodgers still have, it's not like we suddenly have no good young players on the team and no prospects) and a shot this season. That said I worry about Colletti's lack of a plan and hope no further damage is inflicted on our farm system.

But compare the Dodgers to the Dbacks right now. Who much more close to literally mortgaged their farm system to win now and may not make the playoffs. Which situation would you rather be in, theirs (minus the haul of top prospects they gave up), or ours?

All that said, I still hope Colletti isn't back next season.

2008-09-11 09:29:51
52.   underdog
51 Actually reading back on my comment, I don't really agree, maybe I meant "I totally understand what you mean, but..." ;-)

I do agree about worries about Colletti and a plan, or lack of one, though.

2008-09-11 09:30:34
53.   silverwidow
47 He threw Penny under the bus when he was horrible earlier this year.

It also dates back to the '06 off season (when Schmidt signed) when there were rumors everywhere that Ned wanted to trade Penny.

2008-09-11 09:30:50
54.   Bob Timmermann
The end of Mark Heisler's story in the LA Times for this game has this line:

"Mike Marshall was given the Mr. Potatohead Award."

2008-09-11 09:31:05
55.   MC Safety
I don't understand how one could be content with Coletti. The low expectations just blow my mind. I don't care about anything else, just give me a GM who is willing to sign good players in their prime. Outside of Furcal, Coletti doesn't do that. There has to be someone out there who can spend money better than Coletti.
2008-09-11 09:33:19
56.   cargill06
I can't explain it, I just always have a negative vibe when the Dodgers go to Colorado. I'd be happy if the Dodgers win 1 game there.
2008-09-11 09:33:37
57.   JoeyP
How do you figure the Dbax mortgated their farm?

I think mortgaging your farm system to win now means acquiring short term players~ which the Dodgers did with Manny/Blake.

The only guy the Dbax did that with was the Bonafacio for Rauch trade. Bonafacio isnt that good of player.

Sure they gave up a bundle of prospects for Dan Haren, but they also resigned Haren to a very good contract for 4 years.

2008-09-11 09:33:41
58.   silverwidow
50 Billingsley/Kershaw/Kuroda/?/?

I would love to get CC and Sheets. That's probably not possible, though.

2008-09-11 09:35:33
59.   JoeyP
I'd be happy if the Dodgers win 1 game there.

Thats the key.
As long as the Dodgers dont get swept the rest of the season, I think its smooth sailing to the playoffs.

2008-09-11 09:36:38
60.   Jon Weisman
48 - Yes, I know. I can't really rewrite what Vin said though.

Garber definitely didn't tag Reynolds, so that's wrong. There's video of him throwing the ball. But there's no video of what happened at first.

I'd be curious to know what Retrosheet's source for calling it a sac was. Did the scoring change his ruling after Vin was off the air? Was Vin wrong? Or is it possible Vin was right?

2008-09-11 09:37:24
61.   old dodger fan
54 This spud's for you.
2008-09-11 09:39:16
62.   cargill06
59 If the Dodgers finish 9-7 that forces the D'Backs to go 13-4 just to tie. It's a pretty comfortable situation.
2008-09-11 09:39:46
63.   underdog
57 How do I figure that? Because they traded away Carlos Quentin, who could've been AL MVP this year before his injury, choosing Eric Byrnes instead. Then for Haren (who nobody would deny is a fab pitcher, but one with a history of fading down the stretch, as he is doing right now) they gave away:
left-handers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith; infielder Chris Carter; and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez. How are the A's enjoying that one now? And then yeah the Bonifacio for Rauch trade, a middle infield prospect for a middle reliever, another concept none of us are ever too keen on.

Maybe "mortgage" is overstating it but as great as Haren is if the Dodgers made the equivalent trade I can only imagine the feelings here. Reading some DBacks forums earlier this season a lot of fans were already worried about it. Certainly, they have some other good young prospects out there so the cupboard's not dry. But still.

2008-09-11 09:40:37
64.   Kevin Lewis
I gotta say with th culture of baseball and the way signings work, I would probably do the same thing as Penny. I don't like it, but I understand it. The thing that concerns me in that article is the apparent lack of communication Ned has with some of the players. I think back to the talk of Russell and his agent wanting to work a deal, but it seems like Ned doesn't talk too much with the players about the future. I don't pretend to know the best way to handle this as a GM, but it would be frustrating as a player.
2008-09-11 09:40:37
65.   scareduck
49 - seriously? Does NOBODY remember the barrel that Jeff Shaw had the team over when it turned out he could become a free agent? That's exactly the kind of negotiating leverage that Manny has starting this offseason. And the Dodgers will have to overpay for the services of an increasingly one-dimensional left fielder in his decline phase. Color me underwhelmed. There seems to be no thought going into this team's construction, only the chasing of whatever bright, shiny bauble appears this week.
2008-09-11 09:40:41
66.   Bob Timmermann
60
Mark Heisler's story claimed that Garber tagged Reynolds, but I had always thought he threw over to first. Probably out of frustration.

Retrosheet would have used the official daily totals which would have indicated a sacrifice for Reynolds. Also Garber is credited with an assist and Chris Chambliss got a putout.

2008-09-11 09:42:25
67.   Bob Timmermann
I figured Arizona mortgaged its farm system because I was in Josh Byrnes' office and his piece of paper that had all the farm system teams on it, was turned over and he wasn't collecting any rents when people landed on Tucson.
2008-09-11 09:42:39
68.   scareduck
60 - interesting. The graf from the Times reads:

Guerrero was a step away from the plate, the game was an instant from being over, but Garber chased the ball down, reached out and just managed to tag Reynolds. What better did he have to do?

2008-09-11 09:44:32
69.   cargill06
Man, I'd hate to see this thread if we were 3.5 GB.
2008-09-11 09:44:52
70.   underdog
67 Do you think he'll have to foreclose? I heard initially the team had a Countrywide loan in order to get Adam Dunn.
2008-09-11 09:46:19
71.   regfairfield
63 The A's haven't got too much out of the deal yet. Eveland and Smith couldn't even put up a 100 ERA+ with Oakland's defense, Gonzalez is still nothing but potential and is getting to the age where he's going to have to start showing results soon, Carter struck out 156 times in high A, and Cunningham looks like another one in the A's tradition of Travis Buck that are good players for the money. Brett Anderson could be the only one of those guys the Diamondbacks regret losing. In exchange, they got one of the best pitchers in baseball.

If we traded that bunch for Dan Haren, I'd be thrilled.

2008-09-11 09:52:02
72.   Jon Weisman
65 - I think there should be a distinction made between types of baubles.
2008-09-11 09:54:35
73.   Bob Timmermann
70
You know, if you pay off a mortgage in Monopoly you're supposed to pay 10% interest.

But nobody ever does.

Nor do they properly sell back their houses.

Nor do they exploit the limited number of houses.

2008-09-11 09:56:56
74.   JoeyP
Because they traded away Carlos Quentin, who could've been AL MVP this year before his injury, choosing Eric Byrnes instead.

Well, Eric Byrnes is still in his prime & on a multi-year deal.

Its not like they traded Quentin for a rental.

2008-09-11 09:58:23
75.   Ken Noe
Let's start with the basic premise: McCourt's in money trouble. All signs suggest it. All discussions should admit it. What does he do?

1. Gets into this post-season's revenue stream by trading bodies instead of cash (Toy Cannon's piece on True Blue regarding this is excellent).

2. Fires Ned and promotes White, who is better equipped to build cheaply from the draft, and can't be blamed for Jones.

3. Resigns Manny to keep filling seats and coffers.

4. Unloads as many other expensive PVLs as possible.

5. Hopes for more breathing room after Schmidt and Jones are gone in '10.

2008-09-11 09:58:46
76.   JoeyP
And the Dodgers will have to overpay for the services of an increasingly one-dimensional left fielder in his decline phase.

They could move him to 1st base ;)

2008-09-11 09:59:58
77.   CanuckDodger
I trust he will tell me if I am mistaken, but I think Regfairfield believes that having Brad Penny next year for $9 million dollars is more important to the Dodgers' prospects for 2009 success than having Blake DeWitt at 2B for $400,000. Just to be fair, I will wait for him to confirm or deny before I accuse him of being quite, quite mad.
2008-09-11 10:00:20
78.   OaklandAs
71 That's a pretty negative way to look at the trade. GSmith has a 99 ERA+ in 167 IP, and Eveland is at 95 over 150 IP. That's pretty good for two young pitchers in their rookie seasons. Cunningham had an OPS near 1000 between AA and AAA, and Carter hit 39 HR as a 21 year old in High A ball. I think both sides are pretty happy with the trade.
2008-09-11 10:01:48
79.   jasonungar07
So Penny wanted a multiyear extension and Coletti said go out there and perform this year and we will talk about it....Penny is bitter because he performed the last two years and is hurt this year now and knew it. Now he goes to the press and complains in the middle of a Pennant race.

Have a seat Brad, join Juan and Andrew and Jason and Nomar and Kent and Furcal. The 8+ million club of cheerleaders.

2008-09-11 10:02:04
80.   cargill06
75 I'd be happy with that.
2008-09-11 10:02:10
81.   Jon Weisman
An unusual Derek Lowe interview. Rule 1 violations within.

http://theguyreport.com/news-190/Interview-with-Dodgers-Derek-Lowe.html

2008-09-11 10:06:31
82.   JoeyP
77- Forget the salaries for a second. Just considering how to make the 2009 team better, I'd agree that having Penny as a starter than Dewitt at 2nd would be better for the Dodgers.

Penny's shown how good he can be.
Just last year he was great. His velocity is still good & he's still in his prime.

Dewitt, you dont know how good he can be, but my expectations would be .720 OPS at 2nd base. That doesnt excite me.

2008-09-11 10:09:27
83.   MC Safety
I cracked up reading the first comment of the Juice Blog. Kudos, Toy.

Thank God for Rule 5, too.

2008-09-11 10:13:28
84.   Sean P
81

That was the best interview that i have read in a long time. Thanks for posting that.

2008-09-11 10:13:57
85.   natepurcell
71

Carlos Quentin should be included in that since they did trade him for Chris Carter...

2008-09-11 10:18:29
86.   CanuckDodger
82 -- And I knew JoeyP would agree with Regfairfield:) Dewitt has been one of the better hitters (albeit not at Manny or Ethier levels) on the team since replacing Kent, and his 2B defense is far superior to Kent's. He's only 22 and there is every reason to think that a projected OPS of .720 for next year is too conservative. Penny is hurt and I think his arm is going to get worse, not better. There is no reason at all to think the 2009 Penny is going to be the old one. He is far more likely to be the 2007/08 Jason Schmidt than the 2006/07 Brad Penny. Bottom line, looking at OLD stats to make projections when RECENT information is more relevant almost makes one like Ned Colletti, looking at the stats on the back of bubble gum cards to make talent evaluations.
2008-09-11 10:21:52
87.   Bob Timmermann
Does anybody know what the tiebreaker is for draft order purposes if two teams have the same record?
2008-09-11 10:25:59
88.   Bob Timmermann
87
I found the answer.
2008-09-11 10:30:30
89.   ToyCannon
86
I'll take an OPS of 720 from a 23 year old 2nd baseman with good defense if that is the downside. I expect the upside to be close to a 850 OPS by the time he's 26.
2008-09-11 10:31:50
90.   CanuckDodger
87 -- I THINK the preference goes to the team that had the worse record the previous year, but I could be wrong.
2008-09-11 10:32:15
91.   KG16
17 , et al - that's one of the reasons I don't blame guys for playing through the pain and hiding injuries. It is ingrained in our sports culture that you're suppose to do that. The old "rub some dirt on it and walk it off" mentality. Top down, from the age of 10 until retirement, it's what athletes are taught, it's what coaches expect. The only exception is when you get hurt during the course of a game/match.

Nor, do I suspect, is it something that will change anytime soon.

2008-09-11 10:32:39
92.   Bob Timmermann
90
That agrees with what I've found so far.
2008-09-11 10:33:09
93.   scareduck
72 - What difference does it really make? The Dodgers get a Hall of Fame bat for two months with no guarantees past 2008 (unless they renege and invoke his team options) and then have to overpay if he hits free agency? I truly do not get this.
2008-09-11 10:33:47
94.   Bob Timmermann
91
Last night on ESPN's broadcast, Rick Sutcliffe was remarking about Mark Kotsay that "he has the same kind of back injury as JD Drew....But he's still out there playing."
2008-09-11 10:34:14
95.   JoeyP
Does Dewitt play good defense at 2nd base? Or is it too early to tell?

I'll say Dewitt at 2nd base is much more acceptable than 3b.

2008-09-11 10:34:33
96.   Andrew Shimmin
If Eric Byrnes is in his prime, then I am Marie of Roumania.
2008-09-11 10:35:13
97.   KG16
86 - pure hypothetical, I was thinking about last night/this morning. Assuming the Dodgers are able to resign Manny, what do people think of a trade of Young and a mid-level prospect for Cano? Cano at second, DeWitt at third, Hu-ever at short. The follow up to this would be to move Jones and Pierre for prospect packages, perhaps swallowing part of their salaries, if necessary.
2008-09-11 10:36:06
98.   cargill06
From Keith Law

Seth (Los Angeles): Are the Dodgers going to get burned by the Casey Blake deal in two years? Is Carlos Santana going to rock in the majors?

Keith Law: (1:34 PM ET ) Yes. It will turn out that they gave up more for Blake than they did for Santana.

I don't get that part.

2008-09-11 10:36:41
99.   Daniel Zappala
73 Bob, you've never played monopoly with me.
2008-09-11 10:37:03
100.   scareduck
81 - best section of that:

TGR: What do you think of Tommy Lasorda?

DL: He talks a lot.

TGR: We knew that.

DL: He's passionate about the Dodgers.

TGR: Does this generation of players listen to him?

DL: Um….

TGR: (Laughter)

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-09-11 10:38:03
101.   JoeyP
He probably meant Manny.
I agree also.

If the Dodgers had only dealt Santana/Meloan to the Pirates, kept Laroche & still had Manny - that would have been better.

2008-09-11 10:38:09
102.   scareduck
98 - I'm sure what he's getting at is that the Blake deal is bad for the Dodgers considering Santana's upside.
2008-09-11 10:38:49
104.   cargill06
98 Oh he probably meant to say Manny instead of Santana... I'm slow sometimes.
2008-09-11 10:39:39
105.   Jon Weisman
98 - I think he meant "It will turn out that they gave up more for Blake than they did for Ramirez."

93 - I'm just pointing out the difference between trading for the bauble that is Manny Ramirez and trading for the bauble that is Julio Lugo.

2008-09-11 10:43:30
106.   Tripon
97 It would take a trade of Bills and Kemp to get Cano.

So says the New York media.

2008-09-11 10:45:07
107.   Tripon
Keep LaRoche and his 45 OPS+? Better replace the current coaching staff then.
2008-09-11 10:45:35
108.   KG16
106 - every response I have about the New York media would involve violations of Rules 1, 5, 6, 7, 13, and 14.
2008-09-11 10:47:34
109.   bhsportsguy
Elias Sports reports today that Manny Ramirez is the first player acquired in a mid-season trade to have 14 HRs and 40 or more RBI in his first 40 games with a new club since Hank Sauer did it with the Cubs in 1949. Sauer, who was acquired in June, had 14 HR and 47 RBI in his first 40 games.
2008-09-11 10:48:43
110.   CanuckDodger
Does anybody have DeWitt's triple slash stats since taking over for Kent? Also, if there is a site that has that sort of info, I would like to know so I can look up this sort of stuff myself.
2008-09-11 10:52:01
111.   cargill06
110 Since his first start at 2B .342/.409/.553
2008-09-11 10:52:21
112.   Tripon
BP has our playoff odds at 93.1%
2008-09-11 10:52:44
113.   regfairfield
110 You can use the game logs at Baseball Reference to get numbers from any two points in time.
2008-09-11 10:52:52
114.   cargill06
110 Go to baseball-reference.com click on the players gamelog than click on the game you want to start with than click on the game you want to end with.
2008-09-11 10:53:04
115.   Ken Noe
I think that DeWitt is the '09 second baseman, guaranteed, and I'm happy with that. Short is open to Hu or, if reasonable in cost, Furcal. I bet they keep Mr. Snipes as well. The real question is third base, and short of a miraculously risen Abreu, I haven't a clue what will happen there. Blake I read wants to be closer to Iowa.
2008-09-11 10:53:44
116.   herchyzer
This may be totally obvious, but I think the Dodgers need to bring back either Penny or Lowe. If both leave, man, that's a pretty bad thinning out of the staff. I don't know if Lowe's serious about going east or if that's an unfounded rumor, but I'd love to see the Dodgers make him a serious offer.
2008-09-11 10:54:44
117.   Sushirabbit
108, :-)
2008-09-11 10:54:50
118.   Gilberto Reyes
0 The RJ Reynolds game is probably the greatest game that I have ever witnessed in person. It is one of the best game highlights during my time working for the team.

4 Unfortunately, Baker did leave on bad terms because of some unfortunate rumors and whispers which I don't believe were true.

2008-09-11 10:56:26
119.   CanuckDodger
113,114 -- Thanks.
2008-09-11 10:58:08
120.   Bob Timmermann
118
If you want to be accused of being a drug addict and a lot of other things, I think you can understand Baker's bitterness.
2008-09-11 10:59:47
121.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-09-11 11:04:29
122.   scareduck
105 - I understand that. I'm reminded of something Arte Moreno said after McCourt bought the Dodgers: "We have a business plan, and it's not like it's written on the back of a napkin." Frank's is.
2008-09-11 11:05:07
123.   Fan since 59
[0} Next to the opening game of the 88 World Series, this is the game I was at that I have the most vivid memories of. Along with three friends, I was in the Loge level between the first base dugout and the plate. I remember typical Dodger fans leaving after the seventh inning and my friend Brian asking them where they were going. We were still high-fiving and hugging other fans 45 minutes after the squeeze bunt. I'll always have fond memories of R.J. because of this game. Thanks, Jon.
2008-09-11 11:26:33
124.   Gilberto Reyes
120 Dusty took Steve Howe under his wing and tried to help him deal with his personal problems. Unfortunately, some people in the organization turned that into guilt by association, which was wrong.

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