Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Help
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Search
Google Search
Web
Toaster
Dodger Thoughts
Archives

2009
02  01 

2008
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2007
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2006
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2005
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2004
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2003
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2002
09  08  07 
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

Yardwork
2005-05-03 08:40
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Like a good husband who's gotten lazy with the chores, the Dodgers intermittently fail to do the dirty work against annoying but manageable opponents. To add to the aggravation, the annoying guy from next door has finished mowing his lawn and is now washing his car to a shiny sparkle.

San Francisco has won six games in a row. Despite missing Barry Bonds and now Armando Benitez, despite washout seasons from Ray Durham and Marquis Grissom, the Giants are 14-11, two games behind the 16-9 Dodgers.

Jason Ellison, the last of the goats from the Dodgers' opening day comeback victory, has been a temporary sparkplug, going 17 for 29 (.436) with five extra-base hits and four walks. Moises Alou is back from the disabled list and has reached base 16 times in 28 plate appearances during the winning streak. Edgardo Alfonzo hasn't cooled off all season - his OPS is .974, and Omar Vizquel, Lance Niekro, J.T. Snow, Pedro Feliz and Mike Matheny are all above .800.

The pitching hasn't been anything to brag about - even with an offense averaging 7.2 runs in the past six games, four of San Francisco's six victories have been by one run - but life has been pretty good. The Giants are no doubt pretty happy to have fended off most of the Dodgers' 12-2 start, knowing that Bonds, if nothing else, hasn't issued any new retirement statements lately.

For all the topsy-turvy that comes with watching the Dodgers so closely, my thoughts on the Giants haven't changed much. While the offense has been better and the pitching worse than I expected, those figure to moderate. Meanwhile, there's still enough talent, however old, for them to remain competitive - and when Bonds returns, they get dimensionally better. While others hopped on the San Diego bandwagon before the season began and a few have boarded Arizona's since Opening Day, the Giants are the hedge that refuses to be clipped.

The Dodgers remain the favorites to win the National League West. It's easy to pick on them after a game like Monday night, pick on them when they've lost seven out of 11, but they have strength after strength returning this month in Eric Gagne, Wilson Alvarez, Jayson Werth and to a lesser extent, Antonio Perez. Brad Penny is already doing good deeds. The Giants have no significant reinforcments coming off the disabled list other than Bonds, and the offensive onslaught of some of their current regulars is about as believable as Jennifer Wilbanks before they found her Triptik.

The Dodgers are younger than the Giants, have capital to spend at the trading deadline, and remain in first place despite a slump. They led the Giants by six games on April 20 - at that point, one could have surmised that Los Angeles would outdistance San Francisco by 20. Well, it won't be so easy - but that doesn't mean the weeds have taken over the yard completely. It makes no more sense to extrapolate from the worst 10 days of the season than from the best.

But the closer the Giants stay to the Dodgers, the more motivated Bonds becomes in his rehabilitation and return, and the more overwhelming the chores become in the hot summer sun.

Comments
2005-05-03 10:48:17
1.   PeterB
It's never good to be comfortable with the Hated Ones within striking distance. Still, the fact that a two game lead comes after dropping 7 out of the last 11 (with a concurrent 6 game winning streak by the Giants) should give the Dodgers some encouragement.
Baseball prospectus still has us at 49% chance of winning div vs. 19% for the Giants, for what it is worth.

Off-topic, but has anyone heard anything else about Mike Sweeney, or is this old news?
(Gammons - http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/gammons/story?id=2051224)

2005-05-03 10:56:18
2.   Jon Weisman
It's old news, and it doesn't seem to have any meaning.
2005-05-03 10:58:10
3.   Bob Timmermann
In the Giants 6-game win streak they have used 3, 5, 1, 8, 4, an 7 pitchers in each game.

The "3" was Benitez' last game. The 1 was a CG from Tomko.

2005-05-03 10:59:51
4.   Eric Enders
I still have a hard time picturing the Giants as anything other than contenders for third place. The injuries they've had so far are just the tip of the iceberg; this is literally the oldest team in MLB history. And even when they're healthy, they ain't that good.

And it's also an open question whether Barry Bonds, upon returning from knee surgery, will become Barry Bonds again. But even if he does, I don't see the Giants winning anything this year.

2005-05-03 11:06:55
5.   Sam DC
This couldn't be more off topic; it's even off the off-topic from above. But it's pretty startling what's happened to the Orioles attendance with the Nationals here in DC.

Last night, the first place Orioles played the second place Blue Jays at Camden Yards. The game was not televised, and the Nationals were out of town and also not on TV. (There was a lot of playoff basketball, including the Wizards, on TV, however.) According to today's Wash Post "[t]he announced crowd of 15,641 was the smallest in Oriole Park at Camden Yards history." And that was just beating a record set just a couple of weeks ago; game after game that does include the Red Sox or Yankees has been scraping the bottom of the attendance barrel. (Of course, the Os get a lot of games with the Yankees and Red Sox . . .)

Ouch.

2005-05-03 11:09:14
6.   bigcpa
Am I the only one who can't tell who to root for in these SD/SF/AZ games? To me the most telling stat on SF is their 6-10 record against teams other than Colorado and Pittsburgh. They're 3-7 vs. LA and SD.

Still there's a real chance SF will land in 1st by May 19th. They've got AZ/Wash/Pitt/Hou/Col for the next 15. By that date we'll have played 10 vs. StL/Atl/Fla.

I think I'll just root for the Dodgers to stay around .600 all year.

2005-05-03 11:38:58
8.   Marty
I root against SF almost always. If SF is playing someone breathing down our neck, I can't bring myself to root for them. I just decide to be blissfully ignorant of that particular game.

That said, San Diego still worries me most. I wish they would trade for Byung-Hyun Kim.

2005-05-03 11:40:13
9.   Marty
That's interesting. No #7. I think that was me trying to post what became #8. But the site was slow and then it seemed to do nothing when I clicked submit.
2005-05-03 11:40:35
10.   Sam DC
I think #7 said it best.
2005-05-03 11:48:00
11.   Icaros
Hey guys, I guess you missed the memo. Post #7 has been permanently retired on Dodger Thoughts in honor of J.D. Drew's +.400 OBP.
2005-05-03 12:00:20
12.   GoBears
The guy that has impressed me in the Giants lineup is Alfonzo. Not just because of the numbers, but he looks 5 years younger. i noticed this during teh first series - he's swinging much more easily - I wonder what miracle cure he found for those chronic back problems (or, alternatively, wonder when they'll return and he'll go back to the Alfonzo that Giants fans know and hate).
2005-05-03 12:08:18
13.   Colorado Blue
I agree with Marty's post #8... I can't ever bring myself to cheer for the Midgets; ask me again in Sept. when either SD or AZ is breathing down our necks... I pray there is never a situation where I have to root for Bonds to hit a homerun.

As an aside, Valentin needs to quit pulling his head out when he swings... he's looked miserable lately.

2005-05-03 12:09:01
14.   Colorado Blue
RE Post #12: Bonds leftover BALCO stash.
2005-05-03 12:15:18
15.   Nick Schulte
Re: Post #12

Us Giants fans are convinced that it's Trimspa! that is helping Fonzie. His weight loss coming into spring training was talked about a lot around here.

2005-05-03 12:21:18
16.   molokai
Just a quick note. I've noticed several posters commenting on the players that we let go having bad starts and that it actually means something. All 3 of those hitters (Beltre, Green, Finley) are notorious slow starters. Wait until Sept before jumping to any conclusions. Before the year is out I expect all of them to have had successful seasons though none will be worth the contracts the new teams are paying them. Will maybe Green since were paying a large % of his salary.
When it comes who to root for, I'm currently rooting for the Diamondbacks and against the Pod's and Giants. I love the underdog and any team that can come back from as bad a team as Arizona was last year, then trade the best pitcher in baseball who would only play for the Yankee's and become a contender in one year is worth my vote. Would just love to see the Diamondbacks end up with a better record then the Yankee's but in 2nd place and have Vazquez outpitch Dandy Randy.

On the other hand Jose Valentin is usually a hot starter. If you now combine his last 300 ab's with this years 100 ab's you probably have the worst hitter in baseball that is starting for a potential contender. He is still walking but that is about it. He is one player who I think is done, and Antonio Perez will get a shot at showing what he can do if he impresses the brass enough at Vegas during his 3 week rehab. JMO

2005-05-03 12:22:20
17.   molokai
Hard to look like a bigger idiot then TJ Simers but I think Jason Phillips just pulled it off.
2005-05-03 12:28:36
18.   regfairfield
The Giant's torrid (considering how bad they are) start can be contributed to most of the lineup playing way over their heads.

A more detailed analysis can be found here:
http://tinyurl.com/9rb4t

I suppose that advertisment could have been a bit more subtle. Live and learn I guess.

2005-05-03 12:28:43
19.   Icaros
Hard to look like a bigger idiot then TJ Simers but I think Jason Phillips just pulled it off.

Of course, you're basing that on an article written by Simers.

2005-05-03 12:32:43
20.   Eric Enders
Interesting BTF thread today regarding Phillips/Simers.

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primer/discussion/28174/

2005-05-03 12:34:06
21.   Shlomo
Yes, but there was a positive side to that article. Compared to Phillips, Jeff Kent is now TJ's best friend.
2005-05-03 12:40:32
22.   Eric Enders
I always find myself wondering to what degree Simers exaggerates his confrontations with players for effect.
2005-05-03 12:48:14
23.   Icaros
I always find myself wondering to what degree Simers exaggerates his confrontations with players for effect.

That's what I was getting at with #19. The only view we have of what happened in the clubhouse is coming from Simers. Surely he wouldn't over-dramatize, would he?

2005-05-03 12:55:04
24.   molokai
Actually just the quote that Simers wanted him to clarify is enough to put him in the idiot class for me. He may be on the bottom rung when it comes to his baseball salary but he's in the top 1% of the world when compared to the rest of us. And don't throw me the "yeah but he only plays for a few years" crap because after 5 years and this is his 3rd, he's fully vested in the greatest retirement plan in the world and will never ever need to worry about another paycheck the rest of his life. And no one who grew up in So Cal as a white man better not comment on how his early life was so tough, not while his teammates come from the Dominican who can really explain to him what a tough life is. JMO
2005-05-03 12:58:20
25.   Icaros
Sounds like you have it all figured out then.
2005-05-03 13:01:13
26.   Jeromy
Simers intends on pissing people off and by causing a scene, he only gets more fodder for his column. I know it is only an opinion column, but isn't there a journalistic ethic where it isn't appropriate for the journalist to create the news and then write about it (thus profiting from his/her own creation). Simers is so far from a serious investigative journalist, yet he uses tactics with players so that he can say he has all these famous enemies. I suppose the plan is to poke at celebrity, but it just comes across as dumb.
2005-05-03 13:16:15
27.   Steve
First of all, this is a Plaschke/Simers team-up. Jason Phillips might have told them he was giving his salary to the United Way, but we would never know it.

I think Phillips' point was valid no matter how much money he makes. Losing a third of your salary is a big deal. There is legitimate concern that the punishment fit the crime.

The poppy-seed bagel stuff was literary license, though Phillips might not know it. "Journalists" like Simers and Plaschke should be able to recognize it. But they are stupid. What more can be said? In many cases, it is difficult to know what is in certain things, and this policy, whether you agree with it or not, does not forgive mistakes easily. That's an issue.

Furthermore, Plaschke alluded to the fact that when he was talking about "Burger King" (more literary license), he was talking about "some" other "players," not himself, Jason Phillips. Guys on the 40 man but not making the minimum. Guys...from the Dominican, who send money home to their families every week, and for whom a 50 day suspension might mean the end of the road. And regardless of how you feel about what David Ortiz said today about Latin players and the steroid policy, his remarks have to be addressed as well.

So Phillips may not have put his point artfully, but I don't expect he's spent his whole life learning the finer points of communication or English literature skills. In any case, having Simers and Plaschke drooling all over you is punishment enough.

2005-05-03 13:22:56
28.   Suffering Bruin
Let's put Phillips' comment in the best possible light.

Your a major league "minimum wager". You take a supplement and you get busted for steroids. You didn't know the supplement was illegal, yada yada... too bad. Fifty game suspension, without pay.

Is this a real fear for Phillips? I think so. Look who's getting busted for steroids: a few no-name major leaguers and minor leaguers by the bushel full. Perhaps the bigger names have better covering agents for their juice but that's beside the point.

So Phillips is suddenly without a third of his income. Now, I don't know about you guys but I base my budget on what I make. You suddenly take a third of that because I just lost my job, a job I prepared to make my career, with little to no guarantee that said job will be there after I finish my suspension... well, a part-time job might very well be necessary.

I think something like this makes a lot more sense. Simers or Plaschke could've tried to get to the heart of what Phillips was talking about. Perhaps he really is a bastard who thinks making $330k a year is equivalent to struggling to feed a family. But I doubt Jason Phillips is such a bastard.

But it sure makes great copy to portray him that way. It's simplistic, it's sexy and it drums up the masses, don't it?

I just don't think it's true. I agree with Icaros, Enders & others who are thankfully writing with more brevity that I am that Simers and Plaschke aren't really interested in what Jason Phillips thinks or means. They are much more interested in portraying him as an unfeeling, unthinking, a-hole.

2005-05-03 13:26:41
29.   Suffering Bruin
And agreeing with Steve as well, who beat me to the point.
2005-05-03 13:32:22
30.   Steve
Oh, and by the way, if any of you think some random Molina brother would have gotten the same Simers/Plaschke treatment for this...well, you would be wrong.
2005-05-03 13:58:31
31.   LetsGoDodgers
Apparently, even Mrs. Simers has the good sense to stay away from her husband. And when did it matter how articulate an athlete needed to be to play professional sports?

I don't pay money to watch journalists drive home the runner on 3rd with 2 outs, so why should it matter if a ballplayer cannot articulate his thoughts very well? All this harkens back to the famous Patrick Ewing mea culpa, "Yeah, we [NBA players] make a lot of money, but we spend a lot of money, too."

On a side note, it sounds like Phillips could use a better financial planner; maybe he should take a cue from the boss and get into real estate?

2005-05-03 14:01:53
32.   LetsGoDodgers
Is it just me, or do Simers and Plaschke remind you of the kind of person who would laugh at you because your mother had the misfortune of being diagnosed with cancer?
2005-05-03 14:05:52
33.   regfairfield
Plaschke would write a heartfelt column about how trading Shawn Green caused said cancer.
2005-05-03 14:16:39
34.   the OZ
This whole steroid mess started with the LoDuca trade. It was terrible then , and it's more terrible now.
2005-05-03 14:29:31
35.   Bob Timmermann
Jeff Kent did come across in the Simers story as being conciliatory to a point. Definitely not as confrontational as he's made out to be.

Perhaps Jason Phillips should go the Barry Bonds route and start his own website for comments or just have one of MLB.com's reporters be his sole outlet for news.

2005-05-03 14:39:22
36.   the OZ
Actually, based on Plaschke's comments over the last year, he might be on a mission to take down as many non-LoDuca Dodger catchers as he can. These recent pieces are just the latest salvo, as in:

"I'm trying to prove how bad that trade was in the face of evidence to the contrary, a whole season after the fact, by trying to make this Phillips guy [who is hitting just fine for $330K, thank you very much] look like an idiot."

He could be setting himself up for an "Instead Of" column in the next few months..."instead of the great LoDuca, we get this joker Phillips...remember what he said about steroids and struggling to live on a $300K salary? See? DePodesta is a terrible GM."

2005-05-03 14:45:47
37.   Xeifrank
That's the second time in a week that J.D. Drew's baserunning blunder has cost the Dodgers.

vr

Xeifrank

2005-05-03 14:54:42
38.   Langhorne
I think Phillips needs to talk to Bradley's anger management people. Phillips made a stupid and offensive comment. Don't blame the reporter for calling him on it. Yes Jason, if you break the rules you have to get a real job. On the plus side, you get a nice paper hat. In his defense, I think the blame falls on MLB and Bud Selig. I get a sense that players don't know what might show up in a drug test. If you are going to suspend people for using a banned substance you'd better have a clear list of what those substances are and where you might find them. The MLBPA should be protecting their members in this way also. Who knows whats in that Jamba Juice?
2005-05-03 15:08:04
39.   Eric Enders
I didn't find Phillips' comments to be stupid or offensive in the least. Post 65 of the BTF thread sums up the reasons, but suffice to say, I think people are already overreacting to this.
2005-05-03 15:12:31
40.   mcrawford
Simers is so unfunny it's infuriating.

Sometimes people will tell me, oh, don't you get it, Simers is making a joke, it's all a big joke. I understand that, but it's not funny. It's not informative, it's not amusing, it's not insightful, it's nothing, really.

Those are just general comments on Simers, which have nothing to do with the fact that Phillips shouldn't have gotten angry about the situation.

2005-05-03 15:24:08
41.   Identity Crisis
#38 I totally agree with what you said. I think Philips made himself look like an idiot but he had a point. There must be a clear list of substances that can not be used.

Philips comments were just as funny as Latrell Sprewell's.

2005-05-03 15:26:38
42.   mcrawford
I liked post #78 from BTF, his take on Simers. That the problem with Simers is that he thinks the column is about him. I want to read about baseball and about sports, not about Simers.

I was also intrigued by this comment by Eric:
"Their game stories usually pale in comparison to those of the L.A. Daily News, which are quite good." I didn't know about the L.A. Daily News. I'll try it out.

2005-05-03 15:30:42
43.   Eric Enders
There must be a clear list of substances that can not be used.
------

Yes, clearly there should be one, there must be one -- but alas, there isn't. Which is a big part of the problem right now.

2005-05-03 15:43:03
44.   Langhorne
Eric,
I don't think Phillips' comments are a big deal but I don't agree with the reasoning in your post. The point isn't whether or not Phillips would work at Burger King. The point is that it sounds very condescending to the majority of Americans who must work low paying jobs without benefits to make ends meet. I find that insensitive and offensive. As to the second part, there is nowhere in this country where the cost of living is so high that getting by on Phillips' salary, or two-thirds of it, would be a burden. We all make sacrifices based on our income. If I can live on a budget so can he. I do think there was a valid point to what he said originally which I stated above. I don't think he did a very good job of making it.
2005-05-03 15:44:04
45.   Jon Weisman
Since the day has become sort of an open chat, and since I won't have computer access at the usual time I post these, I created the Open Chat thread a little early today, FYI.

Of course, the need for me to explicitly state "Open Chat" is disappearing, which is a good thing.

2005-05-03 15:45:14
46.   Jon Weisman
So, you can finish your Simers-Phillips talk here, and then gradually migrate over, I guess. I don't know. You can decide. You're all grownups. Most of you, anyway :)
2005-05-03 16:01:51
47.   bigcpa
Hey where did everybody go? Thanks a lot Jon.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.