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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Monday Morning Melange
2005-03-07 12:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Over at Baseball Analysts - and I can't believe he waited this long to share it with us - Rich Lederer has a great story about the day that his father, a Dodger beat writer for the Long Beach Independent, Press-Telegram switch places with Dodger manager Walter Alston.

George Lederer managed one half of the Dodgers in an intrasquad game, and Alston wrote the very droll game story that ran in the paper the next day. There are pictures as well.

ALSTON'S ACCOUNT:

I, P-T Scribe Flop as Mgr.

ED. NOTE: Dodger manager Walter Alston and I, P-T baseball writer George Lederer traded jobs Saturday -- for one day. The following is Alston's account of Lederer's managerial debut and retirement, written exclusively for the Independent, Press-Telegram:

By Walter Alston

(Who feels quite secure today)

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- I'll try to break it to you gently:

Your Dodger reporter, George Lederer, mixed his signals Saturday as he mixes his metaphors. His team -- which he named the "Lettermen," but should have named "Leadfoots" -- lost 6-2 in an intasquad game.

I wouldn't say that the opposing manager, Phil Collier of the San Diego Union, was smarter. I'll let Collier say that.

Great stuff, and I'm inspired to invite Jim Tracy to blog with my son rolling around at his feet while I juggle Henri Stanley and Russell Martin in the Dodger lineup.

* * *

Fourth Outfielder Tom Meagher discussed the future of Dodger prospect Joel Guzman over the weekend. Like me, Meagher is concerned about Guzman's plate discipline; unlike me, he has the ability to go deeper.

Here is Meagher's guardedly optimistic conclusion, after posting the data to back it up:

The issue for Guzman is not whether he can cut down on his strikeouts but rather how he'll cut down on his strikeouts. If he can start hitting more pitches but continue to hit them hard, he'll have no problem - in other words, if he can keep mashing while becoming less selective, there's no question that he's an outstanding prospect. Conversely, if his current selectivity is necessary for his power, he'll need to develop a better feel for the strike zone and turn a lot of those strikeouts into walks. So far, he's mainly done the latter, as his batted balls per plate appearance hasn't fluctuated much but his K and BB rates have improved. If he continues to do that - and continues to smack the balls he does hit - he'll be just fine. If Guzman can't cut down on his strikeouts without compromising his ability to pound the ball, then his future is in jeopardy.

Update: Baseball Prospectus has an interview of Guzman by Carlos J. Lugo - a Dodger Thoughts reader, I'm happy to say.

Had the 6-foot-6 Guzman grown up in the United States, it seems pretty clear we would be talking about replacing Kobe Bryant, not Adrian Beltre:

BP: What was your favorite sport?

JG: It was basketball. I played a lot of basketball and was the sport I was most advanced and developed. Obviously I was very tall for my age, the size helped me a lot and I was a good player.

BP: Why has your interest turned to baseball?

JG: Well, baseball is the main sport in the country and there are more opportunities playing it. As I told you, I played with my friends, and as I advanced in the Little Leagues people started to get noticed. When I was around 13 or 14 years old I started to make tryouts, and several organizations showed interest when their scouts saw I had talent. Finally, 2001, I signed with the Dodgers.

An encouraging tidbit is that one of Guzman's main accomplishments in winter ball this past offseason was to focus on hitting to the opposite field.

JG: One of the things that most helped me last season was learning to use the whole field, specially going the opposite way with outside pitches and avoiding trying to pull the ball with those pitches. I tried the whole season to handle those pitches that way. The great right-handed hitters hit to the opposite field with ease - guys like Julio Franco and Manny Ramirez. I won't say I was consciously trying to hit all the pitches the opposite way here in the Dominican, but I kept working on it with my hitting coach here every day and thank God the results were good.

* * *

Don't miss the Dodger Thoughts Roster Competition 2005 post before it slides off the front page. By the way, didn't I tell you that the papers would be getting to the Jason Repko story soon? Today, Steve Henson of the Times wonders whether Repko is playing himself into a fifth outfielder slot (right behind Tom Meagher, I suppose) - or whether Repko is playing himself into trade bait like Jason Romano a year ago.

* * *

I'm only mentioning this so you don't have to:

<95> OBP (on-base percentage). Somewhere between Bill James and "Moneyball," the OBP overtook ERA in a palace coup to become baseball's most elite statistic.

Oh, and it could lead to the Dodgers' ruination.

OBP is based on the total of hits, walks and hit by pitches divided by total at-bats, walks, hit by pitches and sacrifice flies <97> kind of sticks in your throat, doesn't it?

The theory on OBP is you can trade star players for a bunch of slap hitters who work every count to 3 and 2.

Some believe OBP is a code word for "cheapskate ownership."

Move along ... nothing to see here.

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