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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Letters to Buster
2005-04-11 12:29
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Buster Olney of ESPN - The Magazine ran the following letters on his blog. Any Dodger Thoughts readers want to lay claim?

Despite Jose Valentin's opening day error, you are incorrect about his defense. Valentin is a defensive upgrade. As for Kent, he is not a defensive upgrade, but if you are saying that you'd rather have Cora than Kent … Of course, Cora-Beltre is a better combo offensively AND defensively than Valentin-Kent. But it is not nearly as bad as you made out, and it IS a whole lot cheaper as a combo, thanks to the enormous contract Beltre got.
Doug D., Cincinnati

Come on, I know you know Moneyball. Choi's on-base percentage last year for Florida when DePodesta traded for him was .388, so he's on base almost 4 out of every 10 times he comes to the plate. Every time he gets on base, he's not making an out. Every time he's not making an out, he's giving his team a chance to score runs. So what if his bat is slow. You could run me out there (I haven't seen live pitching in 6 years), and if I found a way to get on base four out of every ten plate appearances, I would be helping the team, too.
Will, Lexington, Ky.

As a Dodger fan, I have to ask you to tell me something different. Your Opening Day article on L.A. is the same piece that has been written since Beltre walked, and we signed Lowe and Valentin. There is more to the story ya know, and it's not all negative moves. If Valentin was a bad move because of yesterday's performance, Lowe is certainly looking like a good move.
Travis Landrum, San Francisco, Calif.

I'm going on the record with Dodgers winning the West by 5 games.
Matt, Oakland

(Matt -- You got it. I got 'em finishing third. That's part of the fun of this, laying some opinions and seeing how they pan out. If the Dodgers win the division, all credit to you -- and to DePodesta, for that matter, and feel free to check back in October and remind us).

Comments
2005-04-11 13:00:56
1.   Dr Love
My mother never said to me "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And thankfully so.

Olney is a tool. Go Dodgers.

2005-04-11 13:47:07
2.   Bob Timmermann
Olney says in his bio that he grew up a Dodgers fan. It's possible that he just has higher expectations.
2005-04-11 13:59:11
3.   Marty
Off topic, but I stumbled on another Dodger blog the other day that I haven't seen any mention of on this site. It's called "Depo under the scope" at http://depounderthescope.blogspot.com/

Some pretty good info/opinion there.

2005-04-11 14:24:48
4.   Suffering Bruin
Anytime someone writes in to disagree with a writer, said writer will go to his/her stock defense: "Well, you're entitled to your opinion, I'm entitled to mine."

To go into any deeper analysis is tiring, I guess.

2005-04-11 14:30:25
5.   Bob Timmermann
My high school journalism teacher told me that good journalists just run letters opposing them without any commentary. She said that being a journalist doesn't entitle you to the last word on everything.
2005-04-11 14:38:30
6.   ElysianPark62
Re: disagreeing with writers, it seems more and more that they have smug answers and leave it at that.

It also is too tiring to put some critical thinking into things, rather than spouting cliches and stereotypes (Dodgers are cheap, unappreciative of last year's players, have an unclear plan, etc.).

However, when their performance goes against common thinking (such as making good plays or the gritty games from last week), the experts ignore or minimize it. Typical.

2005-04-11 14:54:12
7.   Aug C
It just occurred to me... why is the rotation being juggled so that Weaver gets the starting nod for the home opener? Odalis has been with the Dodgers two more years and has basically had a better career so far than Weaver. Just because Weaver grew up in the Southland? It seems a tad insulting towards Perez.
2005-04-11 14:55:49
8.   bigcpa
Olney is still coming with "you can't find anybody in baseball who thought [DePo's] off-season moves made sense." He really wears a badge of honor that he's part of this "in baseball" groupthink. The more you read this stuff the more you see these guys have axes to grind. And clearly Rob Neyer, Alan Schwartz and the Prospectus guys who picked the Dodgers aren't "in baseball."

While we're on the topic, can anyone here tell me anything that Harold Reynolds or John Kruk has ever said on the air that you'd consider insightful? Their idea of analysis is:

"You just CANNOT throw that pitch to Pujols in that situation- he's gonna beat you every time."

or... "I'll tell you what, you talk about Erstad, here's a guy that's going to lead and give you everything he has night in and night out."

How is this analysis or color or anything but dead air? Such a shame.

2005-04-11 14:58:47
9.   TommyLasordid
Personally, I love the fact that writers and broadcasters trash Depo and the Dodgers for the "unorthodox" moves. It's like being on the inside of a good joke. Let the naysayers shake their heads and smirk. then watch them squirm and wiggle and backpedal as the Dodgers keep winning.
2005-04-11 15:00:35
10.   Jon Weisman
Aug C, I think it's more pragmatic than that. I think the Dodgers want to go R-L-R with their pitchers whenever possible, to keep the opposing hitters from getting in a groove. This also plays to a certain extent with the styles of the pitchers involved.
2005-04-11 15:15:00
11.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
I actually think you guys are maybe being a bit too hard on Buster. He did at least leave open the possibility that he was wrong, and that if the DePo-boosters are right, we get to make him eat crow come October.

I actually like Reynolds. He's well-spoken and gives a player's perspective, which I think has its place on the BBTN crew. He helps call the games for the LLWS with a refreshing enthusiasm. Sure, I haven't agreed with any of his actual baseball analysis on the Dodgers since "the Trade" last July, but I can live with him.

I certainly prefer Harold to Kruk, who seems to fill the "meathead" role best exemplified by the inestimable Ron Dibble. I cringed when Kruk declared with great emphasis the idea that if Florida will be successful, Beckett and Burnett need to "pitch like men!"

I also think Gammons gives a little more balance to the BBTN crew. If we're leading the division at the all-star break, I think Gammons will give us our due in a way that guys like Olney will not. The problem with Gammons is he's almost too mainstream--he doesn't like to rock the boat, and although I think he actually knows where DePo is coming from, he'd never be willing to go out on a limb and actually call us the division favorites.

In a perfect world, Rob Neyer would give the BBTN team some balance. Gammons, Neyer, and Reynolds would be a good crew. Ravech can be shockingly unknowledgable--I still remember Theo Epstein correcting him on national television last season during a WS pre-game show when he said Billy Beane was the author of Moneyball--but being a sports anchor is no easy task in-and-of-itself, so he fills his purpose in life.

This, of course, will never happen, unless we build a dynasty and take the baseball world by storm. TJ will go sulk and probably beat up on the Lakers, while Plaschke will act as if he always knew what would happen.

WWSH

2005-04-11 15:20:59
12.   fernandomania
Kruk predicted that Randy Johnson would win 30 (thirty) games this year. I take his analysis for what it's worth: practically nothing.
2005-04-11 15:21:44
13.   Rick A
Re: Opening Day @ The Ravine

This really isn't a surprise is it? We've known for almost a month now that Tracy was going to have Weaver pitch the home opener. I don't see this as a slight to OP at all. Perez may have been our most dominating starter (at times) last season, but Weaver was the most consistent.

2005-04-11 15:24:45
14.   Im So Blue
Re #7, Tracy announced the opening day pitchers (Lowe, Weaver at home) back on March 16:

"This is about setting both of them up," Tracy said. "I want Jeff Weaver to pitch Opening Day in LA. He deserves to be that guy."

At that time, Perez' health was uncertain.

See story from 3/16 on dodgers.com: http://tinyurl.com/4equl

2005-04-11 15:27:20
15.   GoBears
I think I agree with most of what WWSH said on the issue of talking heads, but I'll take it one step further. To some extent, the blogs and subscription websites (BP, etc.) are victims of their own success. As they get smarter, "free" media (ESPN, etc.) get dumber. Kinda. But what I really see is market segmentation, and different outlets playing different roles. ESPN has a contract to show baseball games. Local announcers work either for the teams they broadcast or for the network that has paid lots of money to show games. Their job is NOT even-handed, brutally honest anaylsis. Their job is sales. ESPN WANTS Harold Reynolds selling Erstad's grit or Cora's knowledge, or some other washed-up has-been's professionalism, because they want to give the non-SABR viewer a reason to watch the games and the wrap-up shows. Elitists like all of us know where to go for quality analysis. Plus, we get the warm fuzzies that come from feeling smarter than those bozos.
2005-04-11 15:34:55
16.   Aug C
But Jon, in order to keep the R-L-R (also sinkerball-not sinkerball-sinkerball) thing going, Perez should follow Lowe in the order just like he did against the Giants, and then Weaver should take his turn. I agree with that logic. But now that they've shuffled, they have Weaver following Lowe, which is what Tracy talked about avoiding when he set up the rotation in spring training. So, they're going to have to shuffle once again, which means they're going out of their way to give Weaver the home opener.

And Rick A, when the decision was made in spring training, I assumed the initial Lowe-Perez-Weaver order would give Weaver the home opener without juggling. But it turns out they are in fact juggling, and they're going to have to juggle again in order to get back into the regular order. And if you really wanted, you could say Weaver was "more consistent" that almost anybody last year because he kept a grip on that quality start leadership for awhile, but Perez was better and he's been here longer.

2005-04-11 15:37:06
17.   GoBears
By the way, any update on Lowe? LA Times (I think it was) said he's OK and won't miss a start. Just a bruise, I guess. That'd be some rare good news on the injury front.
2005-04-11 15:39:59
18.   Aug C
Re: #17
I guess the Perez uncertain status at the time might have had to do something with this, as I remember they were even talking about maybe giving Alvarez the second day start. But it's just weird to me that they're shuffling and (assumedly) going to be reshuffling at the expense of out last vestigial link to Mike Piazza (and who's seriously been very good for us for three years).
2005-04-11 15:42:36
19.   Jon Weisman
It doesn't matter whether Weaver follows Lowe in this instance: two different opponents are involved. That's why it makes more sense to put Perez second.

Then, with the second off day this coming Thursday, they can reshuffle again without missing a beat. Of course, you also have the matter of whether Lowe can make his next start.

So they are juggling to get Weaver the home opener, but it's a minor juggle, and anyway, why not give recently ailing Perez the extra rest while they still can.

By the way, the idea that it's an honor to start the home opener, when it isn't the season opener, is a new one to me. Assuming that it even is an honor, I can see the case for starting Perez. But the difference is minor. I can't imagine it's something to be insulted over.

2005-04-11 15:45:44
20.   GoBears
Jon,

Just saw this list on Sportsline.com. The figure for the Dodgers is $7.5M more than on your sidebar. Any clue as to why? Do you think your guess on incentives could be that far off? Do those even count in "official" accounting of payrolls? Is the difference the assumption about the Dreifort insurance payment?

Finally, I'm a little surprised that the Phillies are finally a big-market club.

2005 Team Payrolls
No. Team Payroll
1. New York Yankees $205,938,439
2. Boston Red Sox $121,311,945
3. New York Mets $104,770,139
4. Philadelphia Phillies $95,337,908
5. Los Angeles Angels $95,017,822
6. St. Louis Cardinals $93,319,842
7. San Francisco Giants $89,487,842
8. Chicago Cubs $87,210,933
9. Seattle Mariners $85,883,333
10. Atlanta Braves $85,148,582

2005-04-11 15:49:05
21.   TommyLasordid
GB: That's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that are at $95M
2005-04-11 15:49:42
22.   Jon Weisman
AP's overall figure is of course going to be more accurate, but I'm fairly certain the bulk of the difference is AP isn't counting the Dreifort insurance payment. Add about the roughly $6 million I've allocated for that payment, and we're close to even.
2005-04-11 15:50:31
23.   Jon Weisman
Oh, yeah - look at that. Tommy Lasordid is right. I made the same mistake as GoBears. Well, we'll figure it all out.
2005-04-11 15:53:34
24.   Icaros
I guess Sportsline is reporting that the Dodgers are playing for free this season.

How gritty is that?

2005-04-11 15:53:35
25.   Jon Weisman
The Dodgers are No. 1 in ESPN's RPI! Go crazy!

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/rpi

It helps that the Diamondbacks are No. 4...

2005-04-11 15:54:08
26.   Jon Weisman
And entering today, San Diego was No. 30!
2005-04-11 16:06:00
27.   Icaros
I just hope the Dodgers can lead the league in Productive Outs.
2005-04-11 16:06:07
28.   fanerman91
Bob Timmerman #5,

I agree. If I were the guy that asked buster the question, I'd much rather just have him post it without a reply along the lines of "everybody's entitled to their opinions." I'd feel like I was just shrugged off like a fly. Hell, I kinda do already being a Dodger fan and seeing as how the guy makes a good point.

2005-04-11 16:12:03
29.   Icaros
According to that Sportsline list, the Dodgers are at #11 with a payroll of $81,029,500.

?

For some reason, I trust Jon's calculations more than I do the people at CBS.

2005-04-11 16:22:46
30.   GoBears
# 21. by TommyLasordid
"GB: That's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that are at $95M"

Oh man, that's embarrassing. I guess Moreno is onto something. OK, so Jon's estimate is off by almost as much in the opposite direction. No big deal, but I was just wondering what the differences in methodology were.

2005-04-11 18:40:21
31.   Eric Enders
I didn't even know ESPN did an RPI-like calculation. That's pretty cool, actually.
2005-04-11 19:22:33
32.   Nagman
New to Thoughts... by far the most mature, intellectual Dodger thinkers around, I have enjoyed lurking.

Anyway, don't know if anybody else saw Lowe getting his ring. He was waving his cap with his right arm pretty well with no visible bandages. We may have gotten lucky.

Kruk thought it was disrespectful to their current teams for Lowe and Roberts to don Sox unis for the ceremony.

Personally I don't see the big deal...

2005-04-11 19:39:50
33.   Identity Crisis
I would have rather seen them in something other than a Sox uniform. There is currently a poll at ESPN.com and 50k have voted so far. 52% believe they should not have worn the uniforms.
2005-04-11 19:49:41
34.   GoBears
Geez! What a bunch of whiners (I refer to those who have the chutzpah to act offended by something this silly)! Those players were part of the team that not only won the WS, but won it in Boston after all that heartache. This was a celebration of last year's team, not this year's. Let them enjoy it! Would these folks object to retired players donning the uni? Get over player movement, people! Free agency has been around for most of your lifetimes! Despite the rhetoric of war (hey, didn't everyone solemnly swear to eschew such metaphors after 9/11 and Iraq, etc. - notice how long that lasted?), it ain't war. It's a game. They're not traitors. They're employees who moved on to better jobs (in most cases). Shame on ESPN for even bringing it up.
2005-04-11 20:09:46
35.   TommyLasordid
I believe they were getting rings for being part of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox. Of course they should don their Red Sox uniforms for the celebration. No brainer in my opinion. ESPN must just be trying to get their moneys worth out of their polling software.
2005-04-11 20:13:11
36.   gvette
Personally, I'm more offended at being assaulted with hundreds of commercials for that Drew Barrymore Red Sox chick flick
while trying to watch a game, then with anything that Lowe wore when he got his Ring.

After all, Gibson was pretty homesick for his pals on the Tigers in 88, and he did okay for the Dodgers. I'm sure Lowe knows where his paychecks are coming from.

Wonder if Drew Barrymore is now a "real" Red Sox fan after publicizing her movie, kind of like the way that Travolta became a "real" Angel fan when he could get face time on the 2002 WS broadcasts?

2005-04-11 22:51:27
37.   Linkmeister
Wouldn't an actor named Barrymore be more likely to be a Yankees fan? Broadway's in NYC, after all.
2005-04-11 23:23:50
38.   Bob Timmermann
Drew Barrymore was born and raised in Southern California. I doubt she will be much of a baseball fan after "Fever Pitch" comes out on DVD.
2005-04-11 23:54:30
39.   gvette
I doubt she was ever much of a baseball fan before "Fever Pitch" came out, which makes all the publicity spin and junkets so laughable,

Then again, I went to a lot of Angel games in the 70's, and I don't ever recall seeing "longtime" Angel fan Travolta as part of the 8,000 loyal fans at the Big A who would cheer on the likes of Leroy Stanton, Bruce Bochte and Rudy Meoli.

2005-04-12 00:46:05
40.   BMny
Not that ESPN had much insights to offer, but it is specifically Olneyan and Krukesian comments and 'analysis' that have drove me away from its audience. I just can't stand them.
2005-04-12 00:54:04
41.   Nolan
Olney is a twit. EPSN is not catering to the lowest common denominator...
2005-04-12 03:32:40
42.   Langhorne
Kruk said that he was bothered by Lowe and Roberts wearing the Red Sox jersey. He went on to say that Tommy Lasorda said he had no problem with it and if it was all right with the truest Dodger of them all it was okay with him. Thanks John, that's a minute of my life I'll never get back. The Times today said that Lowe had a plate of food in the clubhouse after yesterday's game and his teammates were relieved when they saw him tearing apart spareribs with both hands.
2005-04-12 08:20:19
43.   Colorado Blue
I also love the fact that ESPN has this "Inside" option. As if you're gonna get anything remotely as insightful as you do on DT... and you have to pay for it! What a Kruk-of-#$%&.
2005-04-12 15:50:44
44.   Jason 73
Yeah I used to subscribe to the espn "insider" till I realized that they have all the same info & articles, sans the ESPN personalities, over at foxsports.com

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