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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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The Outside Views Project
2004-07-21 14:29
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

From: Jon Weisman
To: (Various online baseball writers - see below)
Subject: Project

A small but desired request:

Write something about the 2004 Dodgers.

It can be one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, whatever. It can be analytical, funny, effusive, hateful (to an extent), sarcastic, or of course, the ever-popular lucid.

I just want to collect some outside perspectives on the 2004 team. I make no bones about picking their hottest moment to do it. You don't have to buy into the streak at all if you don't want to - say whatever comes to mind about them.

Replies (in order of appearance)
Will Carroll, Will Carroll Weblog/Baseball Prospectus: What is the personality of the '04 Dodgers? McCourt and DePodesta seem to have changed the team very little, making the past administration of this team look good. I think at best, the Dodgers are exceeding expectations while maintaining course, but even then, I don't know what the course is. The off-season is when DePo will assert himself. For now, Dodger fans, enjoy the ride.

Tyler Bleszinski, Athletics Nation: To summarize how I feel about the Dodgers is simple...common enemies and a shared ideology. The Dodgers and A's are on the same side in the Great Idea War raging in baseball between the old school small ballers and the new school Moneyballers. They, along with the Red Sox and Blue Jays, have formed an alliance in this war. Not to mention that Dodger fans hate Giants and Angels fans.

You also have our beloved Paul DePodesta running your team, Athletics Nation friend Jason Grabowski and Athletics fan fave Olmedo Saenz coming off the bench. No wonder blue and green are so closely related. Any chance we can trade bullpens??

Studes, The Hardball Times:

dodgers_forjon.gif

I think this graph shows that, as opposed to last year, this year's Dodgers have been a very balanced blend of offense and defense. Even their ups and downs during the year have been driven by their ups and downs in runs scored and allowed. When the Dodgers win, both the pitching and hitting do well. And when they lose, they both share equally in the blame.

The Dodgers had a couple of winning streaks last year, including a ten-gamer and nine-gamer, but they were entirely due to great pitching. To move to such great balance this year, without major contributions from either Green or Encarnacion, is a real surprise to me.

So my question is, with a record-setting reliever on hand, are Dodger fans now staying until the ninth inning?

BTW, Beltre has already matched his Win Share total from last year.

Larry Mahnken, Replacement Level Yankees Weblog/The Hardball Times: When they write the book on the 2004 Dodgers, there will be many words in it. Someone will probably purchase a copy, and someone will spill their drink while reading it, and the pages will stick together. And they'll debate whether or not to buy another copy, but will decide against it when they are able to pull the pages apart without too much damage.
And a few years later, they'll see the book on sale in paperback, and say, "My, that looks interesting," and buy it, but when they get home they'll realize that they already had a copy of the same book, and will try to give their old copy to a friend, who won't want it because the pages are stained and he's not really a Dodgers fan.
So they'll try to sell the old copy on eBay, but of course it won't move because who wants a stained copy of a book about the Dodgers? So they'll throw the book out, and some homeless guy will find it while going through the garbage, and be so inspired by it that he'll clean up his act, get a job, get married and raise a family.
And his son will grow to be President of the United States. And one day he'll go mad with power, and start the Third World War, destroying all life on the planet, and also several other smaller planets that exist in an alternate dimension.
Stupid Dodgers.

The Score Bard, The Humbug Journal:
I'm not shocked the bullpen is great.
I'm not surprised Beltre bloomed late,
Or that Green has declined.
But I'm startled to find
Izturisn't lost at the plate.

David Pinto, Baseball Musings: There was a lot of gloom and doom at the beginning of the season over the sale of the Dodgers. They had not been able to compete in the free agent market. The new owners had taken on a lot of debt (which may hurt the franchise in the future). The Angels were trying to make inroads with Dodgers fans. The Dodgers, in fact, are quite a pleasant surprise.
Back in the 1980's, the Red Sox often had the best offense in the American League. Given their park and the configuration of the league at that time, offense was easy. When they won, they managed to have mediocre pitching. Not great pitching, mind you, pitching ranked 7th or 8th in the AL in ERA. The Dodgers are the mirror image of that. They always seem to have great pitching. But this year, they are managing mediocre offense, ranked 9th in runs scored. But if you are great at one thing, you only have to be OK at the other to have a winning record. And this year, that winning record is good enough for 2nd overall in the NL.
And there's room for improvement. The most obvious need is 1st base, which also happens to be the easiest position to fill. John Olerud is now available and he'll be real cheap. He won't hit for power, but he'll get on base. We'll see if he's willing to go to another team, or if he'll just stay home and retire. Right field is another area of offensive weakness. I'm a real fan of DePodesta, so I'm anxious to see what moves he makes as the Dodgers head down the stretch.

Alex Belth, Bronx Banter: It's hard for me to know what to make of the Dodgers. Truthfully, the only time I've really paid attention to them was when the Yankees were in town. But it seems to me that, like the NL East, anything is possible. Why the Dodgers (or Padres or Giants, for that matter)? Well, why not?

I think Jeff Weaver looks great in L.A.'s home uniform, and I did catch the highlights of his brief run-in with the Giants a while back which was amusing. One bit that turned me off about the Dodgers this year is the "Game Over" display on the scoreboard when Gagne enters the game. Coming from a Yankee fan, who is inundated with pomposity and self-aggrandizement, it still seemed more than somewhat presumptuous. Which is not to discount Gagne's dominance. He's been stunningly good. But that "Game Over" stunt is bad karma, man.

To be honest, I've got more questions about the Dodgers than I have answers. I don't mean that I don't believe in them, I mean that I just don't know about them. How has Bradley been since his explosion? How is Jim Tracy getting on with DePodesta? Etc, etc.

Peter White, Mariner Musings: Still not outscoring Detroit.

Jay Jaffe, The Futility Infielder: Last week I decided to check in on the Dodgers on MLB.tv for the first time in a few weeks. It was the inning where Green hit the grand slam, the kind of thing that makes you believe that just maybe they can win something. Of course, with Jim Tracy, I always think they can find a way to be in it. Smoke, mirrors, duct tape around Adrian Beltre's ankle and the arms of the starting rotation, perhaps some voodoo dolls - one of these days Tracy's skill at getting the most out of this motley collection will pay off, and the Dodgers will return to their rightful place atop the NL West. I'm beginning to think that this is the year.

Mark McClusky, Baysball: While their eight game winning streak has pushed them to a 2.5 game lead in the West, the rest of the division is lucky that it's not much more. While the Dodgers are nearly four games better than their runs for and against would lead you to expect, the Giants are six games above their projections, as are the Padres.

This whole division is playing over its head right now, and it's due for a fall. But they're all going to fall together, and I'd expect the Dodgers to fall the least, unless Adrian Beltre can't keep gimping it out there on his ankle.

If you put a gun to my head, I'd pick the Dodgers to win this division. I was going to say that I would expect the NL West winner to get bounced in the first round, but the NL is a weird league this year. Beyond St. Louis, no one is playing great baseball, and that might make this year's playoffs more of a crapshoot than usual.

Steve Treder, The Hardball Times: To a Giants fan, the 2004 Dodgers are the undead. They've been clubbed, slashed, shot, burned, and buried six feet underground, only to be found up and around yet again, greedily consuming wins, stalking first place with a glazed-eyed mindlessness that maddens us all the more.

DIE, Cesar Izturis! DIE, Shawn Green! DIE, Alex Freaking Cora! But death seems to hardly slow their monstrous trudge.

Apparently nothing short of a stake through the heart at the stroke of midnight, at home plate at Chavez Ravine, will suffice.
I'll bring the hammer!

Brian Gunn, Redbird Nation: This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I don't have a strong opinion about the Dodgers, even though I live in the town where they play. I mean, the L.A. Dodgers have never been a team that enflames people's passions -- they're not like the Yankees or Cowboys or Lakers, where EVERYONE has an opinion about them. Instead, they come across like a group of good upstanding guys wearing good upstanding starched shirts. And this year's Dodgers are no different. I mean, sure, you've got the psychodramatics of Milton Bradley, and the fearsome charm of Four-Eyes Gagne, but my attitude about the 2004 Dodgers is the same as it's always been - I like 'em. I wish 'em well. But I doubt they'll move me until they win a game or two in October.

Thanks for inviting me to share some words, and I wish I could be more of a booster for the ballclub. The Dodgers are probably my second favorite team in baseball, but I wish they gave me more to sink my teeth into.

TwinsFanDan, Will Carroll Weblog: I don't have much to say because I frankly don't follow the Dodgers much, but are they peaking too early? Especially for only +2.5 games on July 21 after a 15-2 streak. The schedule looks relatively favorable, though, as the only road non-divisional series games are at CHC, as opposed to PHIL, ATL, FLA at home. (These teams deemed to be Wild Card or Divisional contending teams by TFD. STL cancels out, with three home and three away.)
I will say, I do want the Dodgers in meaningful games in late September/October. The Dodgers/Angels in it late is only good for baseball.

Updates
Bryan Smith, Wait Til Next Year: Give the Dodgers some credit; they can sure find prospects. Despite an Edwin Jackson slump, a Greg Miller injury, and Franklin Gutierrez trade, Los Angeles still has one of the five most loaded systems out there. Sure, sabermatricians are going to look down on any system flush with young pitching prospects, but out of quanity comes quality. Between Jackson,
Miller, Chad Billingsley, Jonathon Broxton, Mike Megrew, and Chuck Tiffany,
the Dodgers are going to find someone worthwhile. Though let me say, investing a little more capital in injury prevention would be a good move by
DePo.

Mike Carminati, Mike's Baseball Rants: The Dodgers' 2004 season as a Leelee Sobieski poem:

2003 disappointing.
Fifteen and one-half back.
Games.
Best pitcher. Kevin Brown. Monster contract. To Yankees for playoff goat.

Best hitter. Shawn Green. Moved to first. Can't hit.

Hideo Nomo. No less.
Three wins. Losses ten. 8.06 E…R…A.
DL.

Hideous. No mo'.

Staff ERA.
Best in 2003.
ERA. Seventh. NL. 2004.

No Matter.

Milton Bradley—not a game. Plays a game.
Indian--not Native American. Lollygags on flies. Falls in lap.

Beltre. Lazarus. Resurrects career. Two more homers, 260 points in OPS.

Oh. Dallas. Perez. ERA. Run and half less.
Ishii. Higher ERA. Already two wins more than 2003. Uh? Sheez!

Odd team. Odd year.
But not.
No not when but was. If was, was when. If.
'94. Best Pitcher Ramon Martinez. Staff ninth in ERA. NL.
Could hit. Piazza. Mondesi. Butler. Wallach. Sixth..in. runs scored…NL.

Strike. No playoffs. Best, not best.

Padres. Giants. Within three games.
Bonds. But unbound.
Where. To. Now... To go!
Take me! Out to the Ballgame. Crackerjacks. Peanuts. Not Crunch 'n' Munch.

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